Apr 20, 2021

Director, Government Relations & Public Policy

  • The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
  • Remote (Washington D.C., DC, USA)
Full-Time Policy

Job Description

About Us:

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: accelerating meaningful therapeutic advances and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD).  The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business and media assets to this singular focus—thus creating a unique and dynamic organization.  Since inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest global funder of Parkinson’s disease research outside the U. S. federal government, having funded over $1 billion in research projects in both academic and industry labs worldwide.

We believe that to find a cure for PD as quickly as possible, our capital needs to push research forward today—we therefore deliberately have no endowment. We instead start our fundraising from zero each year and seek to deploy funds raised as quickly and wisely as possible. MJFF raises over $90 million annually.  Today, the Foundation has approximately 155 full-time employees who are based in New York City and Washington, D.C.

Position Summary:

The Director of Government Relations and Public Policy directs, oversees, and implements high-level strategy and execution of initiatives that support The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s (MJFF) public policy priorities.  Work will focus on legislative and regulatory policy that increases federal investments in Parkinson’s research, ensures research freedom, and retains and expands access to care, as well as works to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion in policymaking.


The person in this role reports to the SVP of Public Policy and will represent the organization before Congress and the Administration, build relationships and communicate with key congressional offices, collaborate with stakeholder organizations, and engage our national grassroots network of Parkinson’s advocates to support important policy asks.


Primary Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage two to three direct reports to develop and implement a comprehensive, strategic policy agenda that advances Parkinson’s policy priorities and meets or exceeds goals.
  • Evaluate and grow current public policy portfolio, and create new legislative and regulatory opportunities where MJFF can advance its goals for research and access to care.
  • Register as a lobbyist for MJFF and lead relationship-building strategies with Members of Congress, congressional staff and Administration officials.
  • Solve problems, make decisions, and recommend clear and outcomes-driven initiatives to senior leadership for approval.
  • Lead, collaborate and drive strategy that benefits MJFF as a part of various coalitions and working groups.
  • Work collaboratively and be a clear communicator with MJFF marketing communications, development/advancement, industry relations, and research on support for strategizing and executing government relations and public policy goals and objectives.
  • Working with the Associate Director of Grassroots Engagement, set a clear strategy for grassroots advocate engagement in public policy initiatives at the national and state level.
  • Serve as leadership liaison with the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council, as well as MJFF’s Patient Council.

Hiring Organization

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research


Qualifications for the position:

  • Demonstrated, excellent lobbying, public policy, and government relations strategy and skills.
  • Bachelor’s degree required. Law degree or Master’s in public health, public policy, or related field a bonus. Minimum of eight to ten years of relevant work experience on Capitol Hill, an administration, or in a similar federal government affairs position.
  • Experience negotiating with others to ensure the highest level results and outcomes for the Foundation.
  • Knowledge about the congressional appropriations process and federal health care programs like Medicare, the VA system, and Social Security, as well as knowledge of and experience with congressional and regulatory processes.
  • Drive to evaluate current public policy initiatives and suggest revisions as well as new areas of focus.
  • Experience managing people and processes, and a natural instinct for organization, structure, and nimbleness when timely issues arise.
  • Ability to get the best work out of direct reports and help them grow their skills.
  • Excellent and professional negotiation skills.
  • Experience writing, editing, overseeing the creation of legislation and/or report language, regulatory memos, and similar work products.
  • Proven ability to collaborate across teams or subject matter areas, and clear and professional communication skills both in writing and speaking.
  • Able to translate complicated policy issues to clear, understandable language for all audiences to understand.
  • Ability to work with policy makers and staff of all ideologies; ability to work both independently and in collaboration with others.
  • Commitment to MJFF mission and goals.
  • Upon lifting of COVID protections, minimal overnight travel requirements (1x/month to NY office); evening and weekend work on an as-needed basis.
  • Position located in Washington, D.C. with flexible in-office and work-from-home opportunities.


Additional criteria:

  • Ability to work with people at all levels with a professional and collegial approach; a mature sense of humor also is key.
  • Very high level of personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness.
  • Ability to remain calm, professional, focused, and solution oriented under pressure.
  • Thrives and enjoys working in a fast-paced and fun environment.
  • Organized, enthusiastic, proactive in communications, and works with an underlying clear sense of responsibility and accountability.

Industry/Service Area

Foundation/Grantmaking, Public Policy



Application Instructions

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit a resume, writing samples and links to previous work performed in government relations and public policy.  Candidates also must include a thoughtful story-driven cover letter describing their interest in the position, accomplishments that showcase their specific qualifications, and salary requirements. Submissions without cover letters will not be considered. Please click on the following link. Please, no telephone inquiries and do not contact our staff directly. Only applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted. 


The Michael J. Fox Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

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