The Labor Innovations for the 21st Century (LIFT) Fund is a first-of-its-kind fund that identifies and supports unique opportunities to catalyze the conditions under which worker centers, emerging worker organizations, labor unions, and philanthropy can collaborate on strategies to build worker power, improve workplace conditions, and increase community well-being. Through grantmaking, convening, learning, and research, LIFT develops a robust network of collaboration and innovation across the labor movement and philanthropy.
The LIFT Fund is seeking an experienced and visionary Executive Director who will shepherd the organization’s current growth trajectory in a dynamic funder landscape and changing labor market. This includes continued cultivation of the network, development of opportunities for learning and collaboration, and the movement of resources to equip the movement. S/he/they will be an innovative and relationship-oriented professional with a deep understanding of philanthropy, the labor movement, and the role of worker centers. The Executive Director will be passionate about worker justice and drawn to the potential for philanthropy to organize with labor toward worker justice, community well-being, and prosperity. Leveraging the relationships across philanthropy, labor, and workers movements, the Executive Director will have the unique opportunity to strategically position LIFT to shift the conversation around worker power and workers’ rights at a critical time in the nation’s history.
The Labor Innovations for the 21st Century (LIFT) Fund seeks to foster an environment of learning, experimentation, and innovation that provides value for the broader field of worker organizing and for fund members. Established in 2011 as a partnership between the American Federation of Labor/Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and philanthropic institutions, the LIFT Fund is a first-of-its-kind fund supporting collaboration and innovation around new forms of worker organizing.
The fund is led by a Steering Committee, composed of representatives from the AFL-CIO, philanthropic institutions including Omidyar Network, Kellogg Foundation, Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundation, Solidago Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Fund, as well as representatives from academia. Now in its tenth year, LIFT focuses on grantmaking, funder and field learning, convenings, and the dissemination of research and learnings. With $14M in committed and pending contributions, LIFT aims to raise approximately $23M total for its national and southern work in the next 2-3 years. LIFT is fiscally sponsored by the Neighborhood Funders Group (NFG).
Grant-Making: LIFT focuses on moving resources into the field through grants to worker organizations that are engaged in cutting edge strategies for building worker power in collaboration with a labor union partner. The grants provide critical, on the ground support, as well as a means toward broader learning and strategy development within the field. LIFT strives to invest in experimental work and then disseminate those learnings to a broader audience of funders, field leaders, labor leaders, and others.
Convening Spaces: LIFT creates spaces for learning and strategic conversations for field leaders as well as funders. A flagship program of the LIFT Fund is its regular national and regional convenings, designed as spaces for strategic conversations leading to new ideas, collaboration, and experiments in worker organizing.
Documentation and Research: Since its founding, LIFT has supported various research projects documenting innovations in worker organizing. This year, the fund supported research that led to the recently published article, Platform Power to the People, which focused on digital strategies and tactics for worker organizing.
A Learning Hub: The fund serves as a dynamic space for funders and grantees to learn and experiment together, develop new strategies, and document the impact of these unique contributions and investments to advance the labor movement. Key activities for funders include: the creation of a Learning Agenda to analyze the work and shape grantmaking; and Learning Days, which are opportunities for LIFT funders to be on the ground with grantees. In the midst of the pandemic and a significant shift to online work, the fund has supported the creation of a peer learning space between grantees and other labor organizations to think strategically on how to enhance their digital worker organizing strategies.
The Executive Director will be guided by and work in partnership with a highly engaged Steering Committee. Working closely with the two co-chairs, currently representatives of the Ford Foundation and AFL-CIO, they will set the strategic direction of the fund and leverage a diversity of perspectives and experiences to advance worker justice through LIFT.
Vision and Strategic Leadership
External Relationships & Partner Cultivation
Programmatic & Organizational Management
Steering Committee Partnership and Governance
The salary range for this position is between $140,000-160,000. Through NFG, LIFT offers a comprehensive benefits package.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
The Executive Director will pair a passion for advancing worker justice with a sophisticated understanding of both labor and philanthropy’s roles in supporting movement building. While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:
Connection to the Mission
More information about the LIFT Fund may be found at: https://theliftfund.org
This search is being led by Carolyn Ho, Andres Marcuse-Gonzalez, and Catherine Seneviratne of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s candidate portal.
The LIFT Fund and NFG are equal opportunity employers that do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion or belief, disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by law. Women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people are strongly encouraged to apply.