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.


Finance and Operations Director

Reports to: Executive Director
Is a Close Peer to: Development Director and Deputy Director
Supervises: Operations Manager and Operations and Development Associate
Salary Range: (Department Director, 63,000-70,000)

The Finance and Operations Director is a new position. The person in this role will be a strategic thought-partner that will be a hands-on and participative manager and will lead and develop an internal team to support the following areas: finance, business planning and budgeting, human resources, administration, and IT.


  • Familiar with non-profit grants and how budgets and reports are created in general, and ready to learn and improve IPS systems
  • Demonstrated ability to design and implement best practices in financial and operations management
  • Fluent in Quickbooks – can pull reports and create new ones as needed. Is able to check for quality control
  • Exceptionally detail oriented (e.g., notices when codes are off by one number or the wrong name is listed), but can also see the big picture (notices trends in spending or income that may have implications for the project)
  • Is patient and flexible, able to adapt to different styles and approaches for different tasks
  • Demonstrated interest in professional development of junior staff
  • Demonstrated commitment to the mission and values of IPS, and familiarity with social movements
  • Degree in finance related field or other continuing education is a plus, but not required


Organizational Finance Strategy

  • Act as a strategic, active member of the Senior Management Team with the primary responsibility of strengthening and maintaining strong financial management and operations systems to enhance IPS’s internal capacity and adhere to accounting standards;
  • Consult with Senior Management Team on spending trends or decisions with financial implications related to projects, contract/consultant expenses related to projects, and issues with grants management with projects.
  • Oversee implementation and annual review of financial policies and procedures;
  • Support and supervise two staff members to carry out the day-to-day finance and operations functions as outlined in their job descriptions;
  • Work with the Director, Development Director, and Deputy Director, to plan, coordinate and execute the organizational annual budget and individual program budgets;
  • Work with the Operations Manager and the contracted CPA to coordinate and lead the audit process;
  • Advise the Director and Senior Management Team on financial planning, budgeting, cash flow, investment priorities and policy matters;
  • Work with Development Director to maintain charitable status and high standards of financial accountability and transparency;
  • Ensure compliance with laws and regulations of nonprofits;
  • Serve as a primary contact for our investment firm and bank;
  • Develop, over time, increasing responsibility to project and plan for organizational spending and growth, including multi-year cash flows; and
  • Design and execute an allocation system for general administrative and support staff expenses that is spread across the projects, and supervise the Operations Manager on how to enter this information into QB for accurate project reporting and expenses.

Grant Financial Management

Coordinate  with the Development Team and Project Directors to:

  • Implement a program budget planning process, and create grant budgets based on true program costs;
  • Supervise Operations Manager to track spending in grants on a monthly basis, and check in with project directors on spending, as necessary; and
  • Calculate, complete and sign off on interim and final financial reports for grants.

 Reports and Tracking

  • Keep senior management team abreast of organization’s financial status through monthly reporting and analysis of financial reports, such as budgets vs. actuals statements;
  • Coordinate with the Development Director, on a quarterly basis, to reconcile Quickbooks and  Luminate CRM fundraising income records  to ensure proper coding and amounts;
  • Develop and track quarterly financial reports for the organization and each project, for the contracted CPA and Deputy Director to finalize;
  • Analyze and collate annual financial statements and reports with contracted CPA for all donor segments and Board meetings; and
  • Serve as the management liaison to the Board of Trustees Finance Committee, Executive Committee and Director to effectively communicate and present financial important financial matters to the Board and committees.

 Human Resources

  • Work with the Deputy Director to oversee improvements to HR strategy and policies;
  • Supervises Operations Manager to
    • Review Payroll expenses and proper coding
    • Ensure staff know about HR rules and resources

Facilities and Administration

  • Oversee improvements to our contract management policy and processes;
  • Serve as an external representative, negotiating and signing agreements related to HR, finance, and facilities;
  • Supervises Operations Associate to learn how to negotiate good vendors and contracts, stay within budget, and problem solve on any advanced facilities issues; and
  • Oversees contract and vendor issues with IT

Management and Supervision

  • Oversee, direct, and organize the work of the staff under their direct supervision;
  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality;
  • Ensure staff members receive timely and appropriate training and development;
  • Establish and monitor staff performance and development goals, assign accountabilities, set objectives, establish priorities, conduct annual performance appraisals, and administer salary adjustments; and
  • Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach: assign accountabilities; set objectives; establish priorities; and monitor and evaluate results.


Send a letter of interest, resume, and 3 references to Please put all materials into a single PDF file. Please include “Finance and Operations Director” in the subject line. No phone calls, please. You may address your materials to the IPS Hiring Team.


Meet our Summer 2016 Next Leaders

Fall 2016 Internships (DC Office)

Deadline: August 4th*
*Deadline: August 4th is our preferred deadline, and applications received by August 4th 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. However, we are seeking to fill positions as soon as possible with the expectation that we’ll be doing interviews in late July and early August. Changemaker Fellowship applications (see below) are due by August 4th.

Calling all emerging change-makers!

The Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) seeks dedicated young folks hungry for systemic transformation to join our Fall 2016 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 fall 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 the last week of August/first week of September until early December, 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 2016 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 fall 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 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Award ceremony and multi-channel end-of-year fundraising campaign. Other responsibilities may include lending a hand with foundation prospecting and submissions, assisting with the cultivation of our individual donor base, 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)

The Communications intern will gain valuable experience while supporting the Communications Team with content writing, proofreading, website updates, and media relations building. This internship will offer opportunities to work closely with our communications department as well as with IPS’s experts on foreign policy, economic policy, environmental policy, and other social justice issues. Applicants should expect to commit to 10-12 hours a week.

The ideal candidate will have excellent writing and editing skills, familiarity with progressive issues, be self-motivated, and able to meet deadlines. We’re looking for someone with the ability to take complicated concepts and communicate them concisely, effectively, and in a way that’s accessible to a larger audience.

Familiarity with AP style, a working knowledge of WordPress, and an interest in media relations are also preferred. They should also possess strong interpersonal skills, patience, and humor. This person should be a rising junior or senior or graduate student with a major or commensurate experience in Communications, Journalism, PR, or similar areas of study.

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.

New Economy Maryland (unpaid or paid through Changemakers Fellowship)

New Economy Maryland seeks to help build an economy that better serves all our people and protects our planet. Our major project is the New Economy Maryland Fellowship that brings together a diverse group of emerging leaders from across Maryland. This professional development Fellowship builds power to create change by training participants in two sets of skills: 1) Mastering a compelling conceptual framework for transforming Maryland into a more equitable, environmentally sustainable, and democratic state. 2) Honing public scholarship skills by learning how to write for a broad general audience in the op-ed and blog formats.

New Economy Maryland interns will be key stakeholders in planning and executing the Fellowship and will help us improve our website, Facebook page, and Twitter outreach. The ideal candidates will have a familiarity with New Economy principles and interest or experience in organizing, fundraising, and event planning. Since our focus is on Maryland, it would be a bonus to arrive with some existing contacts or familiarity with the state.

Peace Economy Transitions (unpaid or paid through Changemakers Fellowship)

The need to bring down the bloated military budget and reinvest resources in averting climate catastrophe has never been greater. The Peace Economy Transitions Project is focused on linking action at the federal, state and local levels to make that transition possible. We believe the jobs base of communities across the country must no longer depend on wasting public money to build weapons we don’t need to fight wars we shouldn’t be fighting. A just transition to a demilitarized economy will free up resources for other human needs. The route to a demilitarized economy will depend on communities, broadly defined, getting a say in what kind of economy they want to replace the one they have. Economic development is one of the systems whose rules we need to change.

Fortunately the demilitarization terrain has a vehicle that we can use for this purpose­ funded by the Pentagon, no less. Its Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) gives planning grants to communities adjusting to base closures and defense contract losses. IPS has launched a project harness the potential of these planning grants, and we are looking for an intern to help us evaluate the success of pre-existing planning grants, uncover case studies of defense companies that diversified into other commercial markets, and help us change the dominant narrative about the US’s exorbitant defense spending.

This internship will support the work of IPS’s Peace Economy Transitions Project and its director, Miriam Pemberton. As a Peace Economy Intern, you’ll do primary source research, help us with our annual Military v. Climate Security Report, co-design a strategy to communicate the realities of defense spending to coincide with the 2016 presidential campaign, and have a chance to work in partnership with our Climate Justice team. The ideal candidate will be a quick learner, have strong research and writing skills, and have an interest in the challenges of demilitarizing our economy.

Application Process

IPS encourages applicants to apply for more than one internship.

Please send the following materials to with “Fall 2016 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 fall 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

Fall 2016 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 last week of July and first week of August. Changemaker Fellowship applications are due no later than August 4th.

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.