Senior Director: Grant Compliance

Finance & Compliance Washington, District of Columbia Anywhere, United States


The salary for this position is $150,000 - depending on experience*

About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

The Program / Department / Team 

The Grant Compliance Support Unit provides support to Mercy Corps’ Country Office and Global Support Team operations, including financial, program and administrative staff, on donor regulations compliance along with related internal policy compliance. GCSU also provides primary support for the subaward administration function, with an emphasis on drafting compliant subaward agreements and modifications. GSCU supports grant compliance and subawards through a three-part strategy of expert technical guidance, training and grant compliance, and subaward resources. Our mission is to increase the level of knowledge and the availability of tools and resources to promote the highest possible standards of financial accountability, transparency, efficiency and donor compliance. 

The Position

The Director of Grant Compliance is responsible for overseeing and managing GCSU’s grant compliance responsibilities, and setting the Grant Compliance’s team’s strategy and direction particularly in line with the agency’s upcoming strategy. The Director leads and oversees the MC Global HQ grant compliance team and serves as the focal point for donor regulations and grant compliance matters for awards managed by the MC Global entity.  With the support of the GCSU team, the Director works to increase Mercy Corps’ team members' knowledge of and compliance with donor regulations as well as Mercy Corps’ internal policies and procedures.  The Director leads donor compliance projects and manages or supports other organizational projects as assigned. Finally, this Senior Director will play a critical role in Mercy Corps’ efforts to boost, right-size, and align the global Grant Compliance team with the agency strategy and priorities, particularly locally-led response and equitable partnerships. 

Essential Responsibilities

Strategy, Vision and Leadership

  • Lead the agency grant compliance vision and strategy. Execute a cohesive plan for strengthened grant and donor compliance, with a focus on strategic business needs, global priorities and ensuring the right systems, knowledge and supports are in place to ensure Mercy Corps’ teams uphold donor regulations and compliance. 
  • Determine staffing needs and suitable organizational structure for the MC Global HQ Grant Compliance team, ensuring diverse and inclusive team operations. Provide oversight, mentoring and support to team members to ensure the team is able to meet its goals and responsibilities.
  • Establish and execute the Grant and Compliance team strategy in line with agency strategy.
  • Provide thought leadership for  critical business operations reforms, particularly in support of agency localization’s efforts and other strategic priorities. 
  • Determine team priorities and projects to support agency objectives and annual plans. Approve project scopes of work, work plans and other tools to ensure coordination among team resources and stakeholders.  Ensure project objectives and timelines are met.
  • Partner with Mercy Corps Europe’s Compliance, Governance & Risk team to ensure seamless compliance support for country programs. In partnership with MCE’s CGR team, ensure a harmonized approach in meeting donor requirements across MC Global’s donors as well MCE’s donors to the maximum extent possible
  • Role model, create and sustain a diverse and inclusive work culture where all team members are supported and can thrive
  • In collaboration with the Finance team, and agency as a whole, develop standard practices and implement best practices across Mercy Corps compliance programs.  

Compliance - Donor Regulations (MC Global Awards)

  • Oversee the systemization of new/revised donor regulations. Monitor and implement primary donor regulations for changes to regulations. Ensure departments affected by changes are informed in a timely manner.
  • Lead the development of compliance plans for new/revised regulations as applicable and ensure finance documents and tools are updated as needed.
  • Oversee the development, implementation and maintenance of efficient and transparent internal controls to ensure compliance with donor regulations.
  • In collaboration with International Finance, oversee the development of tools, processes and procedures that satisfy requirements for the monitoring, analysis and compliance management of awards throughout their lifecycle.
  • Staff and manage the “Compliance Help Desk” function. Ensure support to the International Finance team, the Regional Program Team, and the field in reviewing award agreements and other compliance-related documents.  Oversee responses and/or research of technical regulations related to questions from IF, RPT, the Technical Support Unit and field teams.
  • Staff and manage the direct compliance field support for Complex Programs and highest risk programs, along with special field support projects.
  • Staff and manage the Subaward Support function. Oversee drafting of subaward agreements and modifications. Oversee support provided to IF, RPT and the field with other agreed procedures related to subaward compliance.  Includes overseeing the development of procedures and training program for maintaining subawards in Mercy Corps’ accounting system.
  • Ensure compliance with U.S. Government Single Audit and Foreign Recipient audit monitoring for subrecipients as well as FFATA reporting, according to agreed procedures.
  • Oversee in-house training on USG regulations compliance program for Mercy Corps HQ and field team members, promoting consistency and sharing across programs.
  • Lead the resolution of compliance related audit issues, including assisting with responses to notices of potential donor disallowances, supporting OIG audits, serving as team resource for the Internal Audit response teams and other audit related support as assigned.

Compliance - Internal Policies and Procedures

  • Provide thought leadership in the development and implementation of Mercy Corps’ policies, procedures and systems to ensure they comply with primary donor regulations. Participate in joint policy and procedure development projects with the Global Procurement unit, Internal Audit and other units as needed.
  • Oversee the maintenance of GSCU policies, documents and tools on Mercy Corps’ knowledge collaboration platforms.
  • Provide thought leadership and guidance for the automation of policy and procedures and  the implementation of system design, documentation and roll-out to ensure that compliance with donor regulations and key internal controls is respected.
  • Provide  guidance and analysis on anti-fraud disallowance determination, especially as related to subrecipients.
  • Participate in the development of and/or deliver training conferences and programs as applicable, including assistance with regional finance conferences and the Worldwide Finance Conference.

Supervisory Responsibility

Members of the Grant Compliance Support Unit, including Senior Grant Compliance Advisors, Subaward & Grant Compliance Officers, Grant Compliance Assistant. 

Reports Directly To: Chief Financial Officer

Works Directly With: Mercy Corps Europe’s Compliance team, Regional Program Team, Country leadership, Corporate Finance, International Finance, Internal Audit as well as cross-operations departments including People and Strategy, Global Procurement, Monitoring and Evaluation, IT, Legal & Ethics, etc.

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

  • MA/S or equivalent in finance, accounting or a relevant field.
  • An expert knowledge of the rules and regulations governing the management of U.S. Government and other donor-funded grants is required.
  • Minimum 10+ years of progressive financial management experience in a medium to large organization, including responsibility for compliance, donor regulations, financial management and grant management is required.
  • Track ty to engage and influence senior leaders and other key stakeholders globally  at all levels both internally and externally.
  • Ability to communicate effectively, verbally and in writing, in a multicultural, face-to-face and virtual environment and with all levels of the organization.
  • Strong record of successfully managing complex matrixed internal relationships and partnerships across all levels of an organization
  • Strong customer focus and understanding of how to deliver and communicate new ideas and change across diverse teams.
  • Demonstrated experience in successfully addressing complex compliance issues and amicably resolving escalated matters with donors, auditors and regulators is necessary.
  • Broad experience coupled with a deep understanding of generally accepted accounting principles, not-for-profit fund accounting, financial reporting, accounting systems, budget development and administration is required.
  • Effective verbal and written communication, analytical, organizational and prioritization skills as well as training and leadership abilities are necessary.
  • Experience working for an NGO with USAID funding as well as a broad range of other donors is essential.

Success Factors

The successful Director of Grant Compliance will have expert knowledge of the regulations governing Mercy Corps’ grant-funded programs with an ability to represent Mercy Corps positively and effectively to donors in negotiating or resolving compliance matters. They can effectively balance strong internal controls with the timely and efficient delivery of programs to Mercy Corps’ beneficiaries. This person brings strong leadership, project management, team management, training and mentoring skills and is able to establish and meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members. They will have excellent verbal and written communication with both financial and non-financial audiences and are able to communicate technical concepts to technical and non-technical audiences. Success will be based on a positive attitude, strong work ethic and high integrity.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

Some travel (up to approximately 20%) may be required to field locations, including program locations that may include insecure or harsh environments. 

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues. 

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC and have signed on to the Interagency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.