Imagine your next career opportunity

Director, Citizenship and American Identity, Aspen Digital Program

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, USA
Posted on Thursday, August 10, 2023

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Since its founding in 1949, the Institute has been driving change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most critical challenges facing communities in the United States and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

To achieve our mission of a more free, just, and equitable society, we commit to working proactively to advance the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion across our myriad endeavors such as the recruitment, compensation, training, and advancement of staff. The best people-serving institutions make this commitment, and we seek to be a leader in the ways that we do so and learn from others. Visit our website to learn more about our commitment and recent actions taken toward building and nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment.

Program Description:

The Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program focuses on the challenge of sustaining strong citizenship in America and coherent national identity in an age of demographic flux and severe inequality. In a time when this country has never been more diverse and polarized and when its role in the world is rapidly shifting, the question of what it means to be American – and how we create a sustainable story of “us” – is of prime consequence.

In practice, this work is grouped into several major initiatives, namely the Better Arguments Project, Who Is Us, and What Every American Should Know.

  • The Better Arguments Project is a national civic initiative created to help bridge divides – not by papering over those divides but by helping people have Better Arguments.
  • Who Is Us is a research project to more deeply understand how Americans from a multitude of backgrounds are grappling with the question of what it means to be American today, and ultimately how this impacts the way American democracy functions.
  • What Every American Should Know is a nonpartisan and participatory exploration of the elements of cultural and civic social literacy for our increasingly diverse nation. Through these initiatives, the Program encompasses a range of activities, including research, roundtables, workshops and public forums.

Basic Function:

The Aspen Digital team is seeking a team leader with a deep commitment to the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program’s mission and point of view about civic engagement and civil discourse.

The Director will help to lead the Citizenship and American Identity Program’s strategic development within the Aspen Digital Program. In this capacity, the Director will, identify and refine opportunities for the Program as it maps its future and collaborate within the Aspen Digital Program.

The Director will serve as the primary daily leader of the Program, overseeing and informing the daily work and implementation of the Program’s mission across a diverse array of projects and staff and identify opportunities to increase operational efficiencies across the Aspen Digital team.

Most current team members are not based in Washington, DC but the Institute highly prefers a Washington, DC-based Director. For employees within range of an Aspen office, there is an expectation of working at an Aspen Institute office at least 40% of the time. Select team members are full-time remote employees.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Strategic Development and Growth

  • Hold responsibility for defining and steering the organization’s trajectory and structure.
  • Work in partnership with Aspen Institute leadership r to develop and execute philanthropic engagement strategy to engage and secure investors in service of the Program’s mission and goals.
  • Identify strategic partnerships and forums for the Program to engage in and ensure added value.
  • Serve as an external spokesperson for the Program.

Team Leadership

  • Provide a strong day-to-day leadership presence for Program staff and manage upward to Aspen Digital senior staff.
  • Connect staff with necessary mentorship, coaching, and professional development. Serve as a visible and approachable sounding board and resource.
  • Oversee recruitment, hiring, and onboarding of new employees.

Programmatic Oversight

  • Oversee and support the activities of staff, ensuring smooth operations, effective communication within the program and clear adherence to priorities. Key to this function is ensuring overall quality control for programs and coordination of the team and working with Aspen Digital staff.
  • Provide consistent oversight and as-needed hands-on support for daily programmatic activities, ensuring projects and/or initiatives are successfully executed and key milestones are reached. Provide regular internal and external reporting and visibility on project statuses.
  • Ensure that the overall program is executed in alignment with donor agreements and the applicable donor regulations.
  • Identify opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of the work.


  • Oversee risk management and legal activities, which include preparing and finalizing contracts and agreements and ensuring all project plans meet Institute guidelines.
  • Develop and implement appropriate internal systems, policies, procedures, controls, and standards.
  • Maintain continuous lines of communication, keeping relevant internal and external stakeholders informed of all critical issues.
  • Monitor the schedule of grant reporting deadlines and coordinate with colleagues to ensure reports are prepared and submitted on time.
  • Act as a liaison with other Aspen Institute departments as necessary.

Financial Management and Oversight

  • Administer all financial plans and accounting practices.
  • Oversee the program's operating budget, monitor and track program and project expenditures and revenues, conduct monthly budget reconciliation, prepare financial forecasts, and monitor the health of the program's grant portfolio.
  • Coordinate the annual budget planning process and oversee long-term budgeting.
  • Authorize and approve expense reports, reimbursements or requests for payments for staff, consultants, vendors, contractors, and speakers/moderators as needed, ensuring that payments are made in a timely manner.
  • Develop and monitor project budgets to assure organizational efficiency and appropriate resource allocation; manage cash flow.

Knowledge, Education, and Experience:

  • A deep commitment to the Aspen Institute’s Citizenship and American Identity Program’s mission and point of view about civic engagement and civil discourse.
  • A deep commitment to values of equity and inclusion.
  • A genuine desire to make an impact.
  • 10+ years of relevant professional experience including managing initiatives, staff, and budgets with limited oversight.
  • Experience leading an organization and/or team through a period of growth and change.
  • Proven subject matter expertise in topics related to civics and democracy.
  • Experience fundraising and managing relationships with funders.

To Apply:

Cover letter should highlight the applicant's strengths, interest, and specific qualifications for this position. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered. Outreach to Aspen Institute staff about this position is not encouraged.

The Aspen Institute offers a generous benefits package including health, dental, vision, and prescription benefits, retirement benefits, and paid leave.

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.