Ford Foundation Internship at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Publish Date: Nov 30, 2015

Deadline: Jan 15, 2016

Ford Foundation Internship at Rio de Janeiro

The Representative directs the Foundation’s activities in Brazil--providing overall leadership to the Foundation’s strategy and grant-making programs, managing the office and team in Rio de Janeiro, and representing the Foundation to government, business, nonprofit leaders, the media and the donor community. The Representative reports to a supervising Program Vice President based in New York.

The Representative is the Foundation’s ambassador in the region to many important constituencies. Specifically, the Representative assesses local political, social, cultural and economic developments and helps shape the Foundation’s strategy in the region and guides its programming and grant-making priorities in alignment with the Foundation’s mission, values and goals. The Representative facilitates development of an integrated office vision and innovative grant-making strategy; synthesizes learning and enhances the quality and impact of programming; and promotes a collaborative working environment in the office and across areas of expertise that maximizes the diverse backgrounds, perspectives and skills of staff to accomplish Foundation goals. The Representative manages, coaches, galvanizes and works closely with a small team of program staff in developing, monitoring and evaluating integrated grant programs and projects in support of regional goals. The Representative also promotes shared learning and works with the ‘institutions core support team’.

Additionally, the Representative prepares and manages the office’s $12 million annual grant budget and overseas administrative staff with responsibilities for accounting, grants administration, and general services functions. The Representative maintains effective ties and promotes strategic partnerships with local leaders, governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations, the media and other donors to leverage new resources, scale impact, and advance the goals of the office. The Representative also collaborates with staff in the Foundation’s New York headquarters to oversee all workforce needs and legal matters, ensures that the Foundation complies with all relevant Brazilian laws and statutory obligations in a timely manner, and maintains constructive working relations with government.

The Representative also works closely with senior management staff from around the world including New-York-based Program Directors in helping shape and integrate various aspects of the Foundation’s work regionally and globally.

The Foundation’s programs in Brazil strive to confront exclusion and expand justice to ensure all people benefit from the country’s abundance and are able to participate in a democracy in which underrepresented groups see their rights protected, and the advantages of progress are available to all. To this end, its staff integrates thematic work on civic engagement and government; equitable development; gender, ethnic and racial justice; and creativity and free expression.

Criteria for Success

  • Proven record of leadership, strategic design, planning, and management success
  • Subject-matter expertise in economics, development, governance or human rights or one of the foundation’s thematic area, and/or demonstration of strong cross-cutting work in social justice arena
  • Substantial previous experience in and deep knowledge of the history, culture and social justice context of Brazil—as well as the country’s broader engagement with Latin America and global developments
  • Exceptional leadership presence—internally and externally
  • Demonstrated exceptional people management and team management skills, including the ability to build teams, constructively lead and coach a staff
  • Proven abilities to diplomatically manage complex relationships with private and public sector stakeholders in the region
  • An understanding of development and social change processes and a proven track record of achieving change
  • In-depth knowledge of the philanthropic sector and grant-making capabilities in social development sector
  • A proven ability to think analytically, independently and critically with agility to translate ideas and insights into action through coherent and viable program work
  • An action oriented, entrepreneurial person who is a self-starter that can work independently, as well as in teams
  • Ability to effectively lead a regional office within a larger global organization with headquarters in New York and strategize/solve problems through solicitation of relevant internal expertise (Human Resources, Finance, Legal Services)
  • An understanding of the civil society landscape in Brazil
  • Administrative skills, in particular an appreciation for the importance of strong fiscal management
  • Strong facilitation skills – the ability to listen and learn from diverse perspectives
  • Exemplary communication skills—strong active listening skills and public presentation skills, as well as fluency in both oral and written English and Portuguese
  • Demonstrated ability to be a productive member of a community of people at work, respecting differences while working toward shared goals; comfort with periods of ambiguity; constructive participation in on-going organizational development
  • Demonstrated organizational skills, and the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously
  • Strong time management proficiency
  • Sound, mature judgment and integrity
  • Personal qualities of humility and capacity for self-reflection
  • Ability to motivate staff through effective leadership, mentoring, coaching, development, facilitation, evaluation and rewards
  • A passion for social justice and reducing inequality as well as commitment to Ford's mission and core values of equity and fairness, diversity, voice and participation, knowledge and creativity, humility and respect, and honesty and integrity


  • A minimum of 10 years’ experience leading strategies, people and teams
  • An advanced graduate degree in relevant field of study or BA and equivalent experience
  • Ability to travel extensively on behalf of the Foundation
  • Creativity, energy and non-traditional thinking capacity
  • Written and oral fluency in English and Portuguese



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