DRF/DRAF Executive Director

Disability Rights Fund
May 6, 2021
Boston, MA
Post Type
Experience (minimum)
10+ Years
Education (minimum)
Travel Required?
Base Salary
Not specified


DRF/DRAF Executive Director Job Description


About the Disability Rights Fund and the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund

The Disability Rights Fund (DRF) and its sister organization, the Disability Rights Advocacy Fund (DRAF), are a dynamic collaboration between donors and the global disability rights community.  DRF supports persons with disabilities around the world to build diverse movements, ensure inclusive development agendas, and achieve equal rights and opportunity for all.  DRAF supports advocacy for legislative change.  The DRF/DRAF Strategic Plan outlines our three primary strategies: grantmaking, advocacy, and technical assistance.  At present, DRF/DRAF provide resources to organizations that advocate for human rights and are led by persons with disabilities in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Caribbean.


The Funds – which are based on a participatory grantmaking model – currently have a total annual budget of approximately USD 8.6 million and provide more than USD 6.7 million per year to fuel disability rights and inclusion.  Each year, the Funds make approximately 100-125 grants (of USD 5,000-50,000 each) to organizations of persons with disabilities (OPDs) to advance the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), including to pursue implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The Funds also provide technical assistance to support (i) movement building to ensure inclusion of marginalized sectors of the disability movement and (ii) rights advocacy, especially in national, regional, and global fora. In pursuing these activities, the Funds promote bridge-building across human rights movements to ensure inclusive and participatory approaches that advance an intersectional understanding of rights and leave no one behind.


About the Executive Director Position

Building on the success of a founding executive director who has led the organization for over a decade and established DRF/DRAF as unique global human rights funders, the new Executive Director (ED) will direct the next chapter of DRF/DRAF’s growth and maturation.  The ED will work to strengthen the organizations’ financial sustainability, lead the development of the next strategic plan, and create the future vision for these global participatory grantmakers as they actively grow and expand their impact and influence at global, regional, and national levels.  The ED will also further develop the organizational structure and systems that ensure a working environment in which all of the organizations’ personnel, including the many staff and governance members with disabilities, can thrive – an environment that models the radical inclusion and leadership of people with disabilities.


The ED will focus on positioning the Funds to continue their leading role in light of increased funding to support the global disability rights movement.  The ED will also ensure the Funds’ resiliency in the face of crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic and political upheavals, and will strengthen partnerships across other rights movements.  As the Funds grow and evolve, the ED will ensure continuity of the participatory approach to governance, staffing, and grantmaking.


Major Responsibilities

  1. Strategic vision and leadership – Working with the Board of Directors, refine and build the organizational vision and plans for the future, given the current global environment. Lead strategic planning processes to update the organizations’ strategic plan and ensure that DRF/DRAF aims can be and are achieved.  Inspire staff and align resources, operations, and Board to achieve this vision.  Orient diverse stakeholders - including donors, staff, and Board - to the global disability rights movement, intersections with other rights issues, and DRF/DRAF’s unique participatory model.
  2. Resource cultivation and stewardship – Nurture strong partnerships with current and potential donors and other stakeholders, collaborating closely with the Development Team and Finance Team to set fundraising goals and implement efficient and effective fundraising strategies and systems.  Manage existing relationships with top staff of key bilateral donors and foundations and inspire donors with updates concerning DRF/DRAF achievements and progress.  Identify and build innovative and creative relationships with new donors, networks, and partners that add value to DRF/DRAF’s implementation capacity.  With the Board of Directors, ensure the organizations effectively manage incoming and outgoing resources to enable implementation of programs and operations.
  3. Field-building and advocacy/external representation - Serve as the lead spokesperson for the organizations, publicly representing and promoting the DRF/DRAF mission and model to enhance the Funds’ global visibility and credibility. Serve as a thought leader within philanthropy on disability-inclusive grantmaking and disability rights, including producing and publishing written thought pieces that demonstrate critical and analytical thinking and leadership.  Inform and influence other human rights communities to address disability inclusion, social inequality, and the intersectionality of disability with other rights.
  4. Governance – Partner with the Board of Directors to lead the organizations. Promote collaboration and information sharing to fully engage and leverage the Board’s skills and expertise. In partnership with the Program Director and Director of Grants Management, manage a robust participatory governance model encompassing the global Board of Directors and a Grantmaking Committee, composed of donors and activists, to establish annual grantmaking guidelines and approve grants in line with the approved budget.  Report to the Board Co-Chairs and serve on the Executive Committee and other Board sub-groups.
  5. Financial management - Working in close collaboration with the Board of Directors and Finance Team, ensure sound financial management and sustainability of the organizations and judicious use of resources to achieve organizational goals. Promote and oversee strong budgeting and accounting systems, appropriate financial controls, and risk-management strategies to protect organizational assets.  Ensure value for money in overall financial management.
  6. Management of global, growing, and inclusive organization – Direct and, in partnership with the Deputy Director, oversee all operations of the organization. Ensure legal compliance and effective financial, programmatic, and operational management.  Promote accessible and inclusive practices to enable full participation of all stakeholders.  Build successful inroads with new donors and incorporate the vision of the Funds into communications.  Demonstrate a collaborative, positive, and creative leadership style.  Work closely with senior management to operationalize the mission and vision of the Funds while ensuring a cohesive and productive team.


Qualities and Qualifications

  • Strategic visionary with a passion for the DRF/DRAF mission and the ability to inspire others
  • Senior management experience in other US nonprofits or similar organizations, with at least 10 years of relevant leadership experience
  • Significant experience in global disability and human rights, including a deep understanding of intersectionality and gender justice, in particular
  • Lived and/or professional experience with disability and diverse disability communities
  • Proven fundraising track record, including attracting, maintaining, and growing major gifts from government donors and major foundations
  • Effective and creative leader with significant experience with operational implementation, including financial and programmatic management
  • Inspiring and confident leader who can build a positive and productive team spirit
  • Bridge and movement builder, connecting multiple and diverse stakeholders to advance disability rights/human rights
  • Experience with board development and governance issues
  • Strong analytical thinker and communicator, excellent working ability in English, and high capacity for public communication and leadership; outstanding communication and presentation skills
  • Deep knowledge of UN human rights systems, and specific knowledge of the CRPD and the SDGs
  • Familiarity with the global community of OPDs
  • Willingness to travel within and outside the US – approximately 30% of the time under normal conditions (i.e., absent COVID-19 or other restrictions)
  • Ability to communicate across cultures, time zones, and political contexts and in an organization in which many personnel work remotely
  • Ability to spend significant time in headquarters offices, which are located in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, is strongly preferred
  • Work permit for the US will likely be required
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent is required; advanced degree in a relevant field is desired



Preference will be given to candidates located in Boston, MA.


Salary and Benefits

This is a full-time position; salary will be commensurate with experience. DRF/DRAF offers an excellent benefits package including employer paid medical, dental, and vision insurance for employees.




Documents should be emailed to:


Executive Director Hiring Committee

ed.candidates@disabilityrightsfund.org (please, no phone calls)



Applications reviewed on a rolling basis through July 1, 2021.



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