Community-led Development Specialist, Communities and Governance Practice

Domestic Washington, District Of Columbia


DATE REVISED:     1/16/19 


GRADE: 7                                                    

POSITION TITLE:  Community-led Development Specialist

REPORTS TO:         Director Communities & Governance Practice    

LOCATION:             Washington, DC

ABOUT IREX          

IREX is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to building a more just, prosperous, and inclusive world by empowering youth, cultivating leaders, strengthening institutions, and extending access to quality education and information.


IREX seeks a strategic, entrepreneurial, and collaborative Community Cohesion and Development Lead to advance IREX’s innovative community-led development initiatives. This position is housed in the Communities and Governance Practice and will also provide technical leadership and programmatic management within the practice. 

The successful candidate will have a deep understanding of global community development and cohesion initiatives, international development, and proven experience with the philanthropic and CSR communities. A self-starter, they will work across IREX to identify strengths that can be harnessed to advance our community-led initiatives and the IREX- READ Global partnership, to design pilot initiatives, measure their results, curate lessons, and integrate those lessons in the work and ethos of IREX. This position will spearhead new partnerships with government, foundation, corporate, and individual donors to advance the mission of Communities Thrive. S/he will continually identify and assess the competitive landscape for new opportunities to raise revenue in support of our community-led initiatives and the IREX- READ Global partnership as part of IREX’s overall organizational goal of strengthening civic and governing institutions. This will include working closely with the IREX Strategy and Development Group to incorporate innovative ways of fostering community cohesion and to drive positioning efforts, outreach, philanthropic and CSR market assessments, partnership cultivation and fundraising to advance identified business development priorities in community development and cohesion. It will also include oversight or management for relevant IREX programs.

This position will also provide technical leadership and programmatic management to the Communities and Governance Practice.  The Communities and Governance Practice provides high-quality solutions to challenges that communities, and public and civic institutions, face worldwide with emphasis on, improving the effectiveness of institutions of local government, empowering communities to be positive change agents, helping preserve civic and political space for free expression and assembly, advancing gender equity and social inclusion, and fighting modern slavery. 

The position will work with professionals across IREX to cultivate a spirit of entrepreneurship and support colleagues developing and implementing community development and cohesion initiatives or programs in areas of priority to IREX. This is a role that combines strategy; program design and proposal development; excellence in execution and management; delivery of technical advice; experience with learning and measurement; and coalition and relationship building. 

Serve as the lead manager of IREX’s Communities Thrive community-led development initiative in partnership with READ Global.

  • Spearhead the operationalization/execution of IREX’s strategy for community-led development initiatives with a focus integration into the programs and thought leadership of IREX. Develop a forward-looking vision for community development initiatives; designs pilot initiatives to translate that vision into reality; and identifies, coordinates, and monitors the use of resources (i.e. existing IREX staff time or consultants) necessary to operationalize.
  • Work closely with READ Global, to develop a broad partnership implementation plan that reflect key stages and milestones, and monitor its progress.
    • Liaise with local officials, READ offices, international and local NGOs and civil society organizations, local religious leaders and other community members.
    • Identify and articulate in writing synergies with IREX’s strategy, practices, and future programs that add value to the IREX-READ partnership and increase the impact of both.
    • Facilitate the provision of – and provide when appropriate – technical assistance to the READ country chapters or centers.
  • Work with the Strategy and Development team to proactively shape new business opportunities for IREX, and the IREX-READ Global partnership in particular.
    • Initiate, create or co-create, and marketing new services and products in the community development portfolio of activities;
    • Cultivate and steward relationships with individual, corporate and foundation donors;
    • Lead (and/or author portions of) complex proposal efforts which reflect best practices, cutting edge approaches, research, and relevant insight;

Provide technical leadership and program management within the Communities and Governance Practice

  • Play a key role supporting on-going projects in the Communities and Governance Practice. Ensure effective project management with a focus on results, impact, and donor deliverables. Provide or oversee effective and timely management of project start-up and close downs as assigned.
  • Provide leadership, vision, and technical expertise to IREX’s community development and social cohesion work across the organization in support of its impact goal.
  • Work across IREX to provide strategy, vision and technical inputs to initiatives or programs designed to bolster community-led development, cohesion, and empowerment -- including guiding a shared learning agenda and the development of a common framework of metrics.
  • Represent IREX through in person or written thought leadership or influencer initiatives to increase community cohesion and to empower communities to be change agents.



  • A deep commitment to IREX’s mission
  • At least 10 years of relevant experience 
  • Demonstrated experience in designing, developing and managing initiatives that promote community cohesion and that seek to empower communities to generate sustainable solutions to their challenges
  • Proven command of innovative approaches, tools, or techniques to strengthen the cohesion of communities and to empower them to be change agents
  • Ability to engage and collaborate with colleagues across the spectrum of interests and programming at IREX; prefer complementary experience with one of institutional strengthening; inclusion; anti-trafficking; or work in closing space.
  • Demonstrated experience in raising funds from multiple sources to support community development initiatives; ability to translate and shape complex, innovative ideas into compelling funding proposals or develop other models of revenue generation
  • Success as a forward-leaning, entrepreneurial, and adaptive leader within organizations; ability to think and plan strategically in the context of broad organizational goals
  • Superb organization and communications skills; ability to translate strategy into concrete initiatives with the people, revenue, and partners necessary to achieve results
  • Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously under tight deadlines
  • Flexibility for significant travel internationally and domestically, as needed, to develop and maintain relationships
  • Bachelor’s degree required; graduate degree preferred