JOE Listings (Job Openings for Economists)
February 1, 2019 - July 31, 2019
Position Title/Short Description
Section: Full-Time Nonacademic
Location: New York , New York, UNITED STATES
JEL Classification: I2 -- Education and Research Institutions
Status Update: Listing Closed - Enough Applications Submitted
Full Text of JOE Listing:
Created in 1974 by the Ford Foundation and a group of federal agencies, MDRC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social policy research organization dedicated to learning what works to improve programs and policies that affect the poor. MDRC is best known for mounting large-scale demonstrations and evaluations of real-world policies, real world programs and policies targeted to low-income people. We are a trusted source and national leader in providing objective, unbiased evidence about policies and solutions that shape our nation.
MDRC operates in an ever-changing environment. The underlying causes of the problems we tackle evolve as the political landscape changes and as social norms, technology and the economy change. Examples include the opioid epidemic, racially biased policing and incarceration, single parenthood, stagnant earnings, widening inequality, Big Data, Behavioral Economics as a diagnostic tool and intervention strategy, the evidence-based movement and a hyper-partisan political environment.
MDRC bridges, links and influences several different fields – academia, government and nonprofit service delivery. Our role provides opportunities to connect the dots and leverage change, which requires a high degree of creativity, problem solving and collaboration at every level of our organization. We don’t typically invent new methods, but we work through the changes required to make it feasible to apply those breakthroughs in real-world settings. In the practice world we don’t run programs, but we provide on-the-ground technical assistance that make programs more effective, and we design, develop and evaluate solutions to social problems, identifying policy shortcomings.
MDRC occupies a unique space in the social policy research field. It has played a leading role in the evidence-based movement, building evidence and enabling its effective use in both policy and practice. With a staff of over 300 in four locations and an annual budget of nearly $100M, MDRC typically manages up to 70 independent projects at a time, each with multiple funders, separate workplans, budgets and time constraints, and a pipeline of 40 or more new funding opportunities in earlier stages of development.
There is, consistently, ambiguity relative to opportunities and competitive advantage. Funding terms vary in challenging ways. Some funders pay prospectively, others retrospectively, some cover overhead, others do not. Protecting the confidentiality of large data sets, complying with regulations for privacy and human subject research and government contracting requirements add to the complexity of these projects and require the well-managed and nimble coordination of human resources, IT, legal and operations professionals, under the direction of the President.
We operate in a highly competitive and complex market, with small margins, multiple risks, and little room for error or missteps. President Berlin’s attention to fundamental corporate leadership, his unrelenting attention to the bottom line, to staff leadership, to steady revenue flow and to organizational development and performance have been key to our success, and need to be continued with our next President.
Current Circumstances and Position Requirements:
The transition to the next President is underway at an optimal moment for MDRC. Gordon Berlin is retiring after 15 years of great leadership. The organization is strong and healthy. We have a highly talented staff. Their commitment and exemplary performance are the foundation of our credibility and leadership in this field. We have fully assimilated an inclusive culture that encourages, supports and celebrates diverse voices and ideas, drives continuous process improvement, professional development and active communication across traditional boundaries and hierarchies. The board enjoys a highly effective and trusting relationship with the President and is ready to work with a new leader and an evolving strategy to be shaped in this transition.
How might MDRC further enhance its impact on social policy and practice? Are there better means to communicate what we do so well, to engender more support or opportunities to expand and further innovate? Are there strategic relationships to be considered that might strengthen our reach and impact? Are there opportunities for newer and more nimble research and evaluation methods that may complement our core work, or new venues in which to extend our work? Are there opportunities to develop additional revenue streams or build an endowment to support innovation and expand our impact? Might we build on our expertise to convene thought leaders and seek a more visible and impactful role in the public square? These are questions and opportunities to be taken up by our next generation of leadership.
We are fortunate that the state of the organization allows us to raise these aspirational questions as we prepare for this transition in leadership, but we must choose wisely. We believe that welcoming candidates who may introduce a range of strategies and approaches to these questions, and who may bring diverse life experiences and perspectives, is the best way forward. We look to engage with promising candidates in a discrete, frank and informed dialogue, sharing our thoughts and expecting concrete ideas and potential strategic agendas to emerge.
The next President must devote considerable energy and vigilance to sustaining and augmenting this demanding body of work as an executive manager, strategist and spokesperson. Our talented staff, who prize our healthy culture and our exacting standards, will rely on our next President’s active devotion to these principles as we move forward.
MDRC is a large, complex organization. The President must have high-level executive, managerial and strategic expertise and experience, must embody our values and our dedication to finding solutions to some of the most difficult problems facing our nation, must maintain our core work and our standards, and must be able to convey our vision to policy makers, funders, practitioners and the public thoughtfully and in a manner that compels respect and support for our work and our continued evolution.
Serious inquires and recommendations, and the opportunity for a discrete conversation, will be welcomed by our Board consultant Ted Ford Webb at mdrc@
MDRC is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer. MDRC does not discriminate, and all qualified applications will receive consideration without regards to race; color; national origin; religion; creed; sex or gender (including sex stereotyping and gender identity or expression); sexual orientation; citizenship status; pregnancy; disability; age; military or veteran status; marital or partnership status; genetic information, genetic predisposition, or carrier status; previous unemployment status; consumer credit history; status as a victim of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking; or any other category protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws. Legal work authorization is required.
- Application Instructions Below
Serious inquires and recommendations, and the opportunity for a discrete conversation, will be welcomed by our Board consultant Ted Ford Webb at mdrc@ .