Jobs and Internships

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The Institute for Policy Studies is the nation’s oldest and largest multi-issue think tank promoting progressive thought.

IPS is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer and encourages applications from people of color, women, and other groups that have historically been subject to discrimination.


Climate Policy Program Director

Reports to: Executive Director
Salary Range: $60,000-$65,000 (see benefits below)
Travel: up to 10% domestic and international travel

About the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS)
IPS is a progressive think tank dedicated to building a more equitable, ecologically sustainable, and peaceful society. In partnership with dynamic social movements, we turn transformative policy ideas into action. As Washington’s first progressive multi-issue think tank, IPS has served as a policy and research resource for visionary social justice movements for over four decades — from the anti-war and civil rights movements in the 1960s to the peace and global justice movements of the last decade. Some of the greatest progressive minds of the 20th and 21st centuries have found a home at IPS, starting with the organization’s founders, Richard Barnet and Marcus Raskin. IPS scholars have included such luminaries as Arthur Waskow, Gar Alperovitz, Saul Landau, Bob Moses, Rita Mae Brown, Barbara Ehrenreich, Roger Wilkins and Orlando Letelier.

Today the Institute’s work is organized into ten projects, reflecting our public scholars’ diverse areas of expertise. We encourage collaboration at the project level in order to reach our shared vision: we believe everyone has a right to thrive on a planet where all communities are equitable, democratic, peaceful, and sustainable.

About the Climate Policy Program
The aim of the Climate Policy Program is to support the transition from a fossil fueled economy to equitable, democratic and local living economies. We organize our work around the premise that to solve the climate crisis, we must confront systemic economic, social and racial inequality – at home in the U.S. and globally. To do this we use “public scholarship” in the form of research, writing and strategic conversations to develop bold ideas in domestic and international policy spaces that redefine what is politically possible. We seek to nurture deep relationships with grassroots organizations and networks and to align our efforts with the goals of social, economics and environmental justice movements.


Project Design and Management

  • Develop and implement a program strategic plan in consultation with communications, development, other program directors and allies
  • Supervise consultants (including a long-term consultant who works on international aspects of the program from abroad) and interns. As the program grows, recruit, retain, and support the professional development of any new hires for the program
  • Work with the Operations and Finance Director, Executive Director, and Development Director to create and adhere to a budget for the program

Research, Policy, and Advocacy

  • Lead IPS’s climate and energy related policy research and advocacy
  • Generate and refine policy ideas that contribute to the goals of the program, by identifying gaps in knowledge, research, and action on climate justice
  • Deliver timely briefings, articles and policy papers to stakeholders (grantors, policymakers, and movement-building allies)
  • Connect cutting-edge research with movement campaigns, particularly interdisciplinary or cross-issue research and movement support
  • Translate ‘inside’ policy positions into ‘outside’ popular demands and vice versa
  • Liaise with Congressional and Administration offices, particularly in State and Treasury Departments

Media Outreach

  • Act as a spokesperson for the program: inform national and international debates on root causes and solutions to climate change, industry influence and fair financing through regular appearances on radio, TV, print, workshops and panels
  • Work with the IPS Communications team to design a communications strategy for the Program, which may include Op-eds, talking points, trainings/webinars, media appearances, and local events

 Campaign Organizing and Movement-Building Support

  • Support movement efforts to define and implement just transition pathways to equitable, democratic and fossil fuel-free economies
  • Engage with organizations and networks in developing policy platforms and campaigns to move decision makers to adopt clean energy (democracy) strategies
  • Connect climate and clean energy advocates with climate justice, economic equity, worker, development, environment, peace, and faith groups and coalitions
  • Play a key role on an IPS team that is working with a leading national economic justice network, including taking part in dialogues with state affiliates on shaping and adapting campaigns for long-term change


  • With support from the development team, raise program and institutional funds through grant writing, foundation and major donor cultivation, and funder briefings
  • Manage grant deliverables, reporting to funders on project performance, completion, and impacts
  • Serve as a point of contact for foundation program officers
  • Hold relationships with individual donors to the program
  • Work with the Finance and Operations director to complete grant financials

Institutional Participation

  • Serve on the Program Committee with fellow IPS project directors, working collaboratively with other programs to identify areas of overlap with climate justice campaigns/research, or to identify new efforts or emerging issues
  • Serve on search committees or planning committees for IPS-wide events
  • Participate in weekly staff meetings



  • Demonstrated commitment to IPS mission and vision
  • At least 5 years of experience implementing successful advocacy campaigns or producing exceptional research around issues of climate justice
  • Proven ability to create a project plan, set ambitious goals, and achieve them
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision, and to plan and execute work independently
  • Strong research skills and commitment to integrity and excellence in research work
  • Proven ability to write for a variety of audiences including both progressives and mainstream newspaper readers
  • Proven ability to speak to and interact with a variety of audiences, including elected officials, government agencies, multilateral institutions, academics, activists, movement-building groups, and donors.
  • Willingness to represent project area in media interviews
  • Proven ability to manage a project budget
  • Passion for social justice, commitment to building a program on anti-oppression principles
  • Demonstrated understanding of the role of organizing in social change, and how public scholarship can support it


  • Existing connections to grassroots movement groups
  • Previously published writing, research and/or media work on climate issues
  • Experience contributing to funding narratives and foundation grant management
  • Experience managing staff and interns


Send a cover letter, resume/CV, and two writing samples in a single PDF file to with the words “Climate Policy Director” in the subject line. No phone calls, please. We will review applications on a rolling basis until position is filled, so we encourage candidates to apply soon.

IPS is strengthened by the diversity of our staff and board, and we actively welcome applications from people of color, women, LGBTQ candidates, and candidates who hold other historically marginalized identities.

IPS values the well being of our staff. We offer generous leave, excellent employer-paid benefits for employees and their dependents, a 403b retirement plan with employer match, and flexible work hours. Our office is located in DuPont Circle, with sunny windows and a gym with showers and lockers in the basement.


Meet our Summer 2016 Next Leaders

Spring 2017 Internships (DC Office)

Deadline: November 13th*
*Deadline: November 13th is our preferred deadline, and applications received by November 13th will be given strong preference. However, we will continue to accept applications received after the deadline until all spots are filled. Our internships are open on a rolling deadline. We are seeking to fill positions as soon as possible with the expectation that we’ll be doing interviews in mid to late November. Changemaker applications are due November 13th.

Calling all emerging change-makers!

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) seeks dedicated young folks hungry for systemic transformation to join our Spring 2017 internship program. The world crisis in governance and economic stability demands that we do our best to prepare to secure and sustain a more just, green, and peaceful future. At IPS we aim to compel action by sharpening young voices and new ideas through training in public scholarship, a term we define as the connection between policy research and grassroots activism. Team up with us for this program, and you can forget fetching coffee and filing folders!

Below you will find the following information:

The Experience

Each participant in our spring program will get hands-on experience by working on one of our projects and will receive individualized mentorship and training from one of our IPS public scholars. We will also provide opportunities for professional development through brown-bag discussions, trainings and workshops, and networking events. Although we are seeking folks who can commit to working with us beginning in early to mid January until the end of April/first week of May, we are more than happy to adjust the time commitment based on individual schedules and needs. Additionally, we strongly request that applicants be available between the hours of 12:00 and 3:00 on Tuesdays to attend our staff meetings and workshops, but this availability will not affect application status.

Compensation and Academic Credit

IPS offers paid and unpaid internship opportunities. Interns may also receive academic credit, and our staff is happy to help you fill out any necessary paperwork to ensure you maximize your school funding or academic credit opportunities. IPS offers transportation assistance of $8 per day for unpaid internships but does not offer housing assistance.

Changemakers Fellowship

The Changemakers Fellowship is a program that provides funding for two incoming IPS interns per semester. The Changemakers Fellowship is a part-time fellowship that pays $11.50 an hour for 10-15 hours weekly for 12-14 weeks. This funding may be applied towards any open unpaid internship. To apply for the Changemakers Fellowship, please complete the online application form in addition to your application for an unpaid internship.

Internships at IPS are ideal for rising scholar activists who care deeply about racial justice, economic justice, and inequality, and are ready to think creatively about new policies that better care for people and the planet. We created this Fellowship to open up more opportunities for stellar prospective interns who might not otherwise be able to join us. To be eligible for the Changemakers Fellowship, you must be accepted into the internship program first. IPS deeply values building a staff of people from diverse backgrounds. People of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

Available Internships

Fundraising and Development Internship (paid)

The Development Team at the Institute for Policy Studies first seeks a detail-oriented intern who is interested in organizational development, fundraising, and event planning to join our team.

The Development Intern will play a key role in preparing for our annual multi-channel spring fundraising campaign, and organizing donor engagement activities. Other responsibilities may include lending a hand with foundation prospecting and submissions, assisting with donor relationship management, and additional projects as determined by experience and interest. (We want to create an internship that is tailored to fit your professional development goals!)

The ideal candidate will be proactive and communicative, with solid writing, research, and organizational skills, and possess some knowledge of individual and/or institutional fundraising.

Communications Internship (paid)

Our communications internships offer valuable opportunities for young progressives to build concrete skills that they can take to future employers. IPS comms interns work closely with both our comms team and our IPS issue experts on content writing, proofreading, website posting, and media relations projects like building press lists and reaching out to journalists. They’ll also get an opportunity to contribute their own original blog posts or op-eds to the Institute’s in-house publications.

We’re looking for applicants with the ability to take vague or complicated concepts and communicate them concisely and effectively, in a way that’s accessible to a general audience. We need people who have a broad familiarity with current events and progressive issues, strong writing and editing skills, careful attention to detail, and — importantly! — the ability to work independently and meet deadlines.

We’re especially interested in applicants who are familiar with the AP style guide and possess a working knowledge of WordPress. Experience in media relations is a plus, and so is prior experience writing or editing for publication. Patience and humor help, too.

Applicants should expect to commit to 10-12 hours a week.

Global Economy Project Internship (unpaid or paid through Changemakers Fellowship)

This project conducts research and analysis of a wide range of economic issues, including inequality, Wall Street reform, tax fairness, executive compensation, low-wage workers, and international trade and investment. Interns are typically involved in research and writing to produce policy papers, op-eds, and other project materials. Global Economy Interns also sometimes help develop and implement communications strategies on these issues.

Criminalization of Poverty and Race (unpaid or paid through Changemakers Fellowship)

IPS carried out a deep investigation into the Criminalization of Poverty and its impact on women and people of color in 2014-2015, culminating in the widely cited IPS report, The Poor Get Prison, by IPSer Karen Dolan. IPS is now following up on the report by diving into one of the key areas where poor children of color and their families are adversely affected – the grotesquely unjust juvenile justice system. Karen Dolan has teamed up with award winning journalist Nell Bernstein (one of the country’s leading experts on juvenile justice) to map the scope of the juvenile justice movement. They are mapping which individuals and organizations are involved, what major issues those involved are taking on, as well as conducting an assessment of what communications assistance they as leaders, and the movement more broadly, may need. A product of this listening and investigating in the May 2016 report Mothers at the Gate: How a Powerful Family Movement is Transforming the Juvenile Justice System. At IPS, we find it critical to lift up and assist this growing movement that is led by those directly affected.

Through research and writing, the Criminalization of Poverty and Race intern will delve into criminal justice reform issues and look at poverty through this lens with a focus on race and gender identities. This person will focus on the movement of families of incarcerated youth, school-to-prison-pipeline, juvenile justice, gender identity, and other ways that race, class and gender identity are criminalized in the United States. In addition to excellent writing and research skills, social media and graphic design skills are a plus.

Application Process

IPS encourages applicants to apply for more than one internship.

Please send the following materials to with “Spring 2017 internship” in the subject line along with your top 2-3 internships of choice in the subject line.

  1. Resume
  2. Cover Letter
  3. 2-page writing sample

For your writing sample, we say, go wild! This can be a blog piece, an essay excerpt, a letter to the editor for a newspaper, an article in your school’s newspaper, etc. Feel free to provide a couple sentences of context if you’re excerpting your selection from a larger piece. The important thing is for us to get a sense of something you’re passionate about… oh, and, we’d love to see if you can string a sentence together, too.

For your cover letter please make sure to include the following information:

  • Top 2-3 internships of interest (can include a mix of paid and unpaid positions)
  • Tell us about a movement that you’re passionate about and how you would like to see this movement create change.
  • What skills, experience, and/or knowledge would you bring to our internship program?
  • Time commitment including start date, end date, hours per week and days of flexibility

If you’d like to apply for the Changemakers Fellowship, please fill out the form here in addition to sending your materials to

Any questions can be directed to Emily Norton, the Next Leaders Program Manager, via email at

Spring 2017 Application Deadlines: Internships are open until filled. We are seeking to fill positions as soon as possible with the understanding that we’ll be aiming to schedule interviews during the second half of November and early December. Changemaker Fellowship applications are due no later than November 13th.

The Institute for Policy Studies is strengthened by the diversity of our network and our differences in background, culture, experience, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, and much more. We strongly encourage applications from people of color, women, the LGBTQIA community, and other groups that have historically been subject to discrimination.