Challenging Injustice, Advancing Human Rights

Senior Partnership Officer for Crisis Response

Organization: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) – Based in: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Department: Programs, Advocacy and Action (PAA Department) / Partner Support and Grantmaking Unit
Reports to: Director for Partner Support and Grantmaking
Grade: 7 (bargaining unit)


The Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) is a human rights organization that works to advance human rights and environmental justice around the world. It structures its work around an eye-to-eye partnership model that emphasizes working closely with grassroots organizations.

Guided by UU principles and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, UUSC strives to advance human rights, dismantle systems of oppression, and uplift and affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all people. We center the voices and experiences of those most affected and strengthen those grassroots groups and movements which are organizing themselves to advance these goals. In order to accomplish this, we offer: Justice Education and Leadership Development, Mobilizing for Advocacy and Action, and Grantmaking and Partner Support.

The Senior Partnership Officer (SPO) for Crisis Response is a member of the grantmaking and partner support team and plays a critical role in helping to inform and advance a strategy for UUSC’s crisis response initiatives. The current focus is primarily on protecting the Rohingya and other ethnic and religious minorities in Burma, in addition to a couple of smaller initiatives; the portfolio will evolve over time as new crises arise. In this role, the SPO will cultivate and maintain a portfolio of grants and build deep and trusting relationships with partners, primarily from affected communities. Based on the needs of the communities, the SPO will implement and coordinate a range of support beyond grants that may include advocacy, research, technical assistance, organizing convenings, cultivating additional financial support for partners, possibly informing and implementing creative grantmaking practices (e.g., participatory grantmaking), and more. In order to create deep and meaningful impact, the SPO will work closely with an intersectional team to inform and advance a joint strategy. As an issue area expert, the SPO will represent UUSC with our board and members, as well as external audiences, potentially including UU congregations, membership organizations, advocacy forums, such as the United Nations and more. This position will provide additional programmatic support as needed, including managing other grants across issue areas of focus.

Key Responsibilities

  • Build meaningful and trusting relationships with grantee partners and members of affected communities and center their voices.
  • Conduct site visits and scoping trips to understand the issues and build relationships with partners and key stakeholders.
  • Work with an intersectional team to inform and advance a joint strategy, with a focus on partner support and grantmaking. Research and analyze human rights issues and solicit input from partners and key stakeholders to inform the joint strategy.
  • Manage a portfolio of grants and support partners in the development of compelling proposals, reviewing reports, and assessing impact.
  • Perform due diligence in developing proposals, including reviewing financial documents; assessing organizational health, sustainability, and reputation; and ensuring alignment with the intersectional strategy.
  • Identify and implement a wide range of support for partners, beyond grantmaking, that is welcomed by the partners and will deepen UUSC’s impact.
  • Represent UUSC and our work with our board and members, as well as external audiences, potentially including UU congregations, membership organizations, coalition groups, and more.
  • Engage in advocacy in collaboration with our partners and network of activists at the national and international level.
  • Oversee the Innovation Fellowship, developing an annual theme, disseminating the call for proposals, reviewing submissions, providing grant(s), and communicating with the applicants as well as supporting UUSC’s external communication needs.
  • Support institutional efforts to track and document impact.
  • Track emerging developments and policy related to Burma and other areas of focus on an ongoing basis in order to help inform UUSC’s advocacy, member engagement, grantmaking, research, and justice education.
  • Build and engage with a diverse network in the fields of human rights, crisis response, grantmaking, Burma, and faith groups including collaborating with UU institutions, such as the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA).
  • Take a lead role in the response to natural and man-made disasters by tracking emerging crises, preparing assessments, and building out a long-term strategy.
  • Conduct site visits and scoping trips to understand the issues and build relationships with communities, NGO partners and key stakeholders.
  • Provide information on partners, stories of change, and impact to enhance the communications and institutional advancement strategies of UUSC, including the research, drafting, review, and editing of internal and external written communication pieces.
  • Contribute to the overall learning and development of the organization, and support interdepartmental communication and collaboration.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

The ideal candidate will have:

  • Eight or more years working in the field of international human rights and/or crisis response.
  • Experience in the non-profit sector, especially working for or in partnership with grassroots organizations.
  • Experience managing a grant portfolio and working with grants management software preferred, but not required.
  • Strong working knowledge of the context, current trends, and relevant policies related to crisis response, including the genocide of the Rohingya and the persecution of other ethnic and religious groups in Burma.
  • Demonstrated experience in strategy formulation and program development.
  • Track record of applying a racial, gender, and class lens to the work.
  • Demonstrated experience in establishing and building partnerships and strategic relationshipsthat engender positive social change.
  • Strong communication skills that include writing, interpersonal, listening, and public speaking (capacity-building support can be provided if needed).
  • Ability to work collaboratively with others and be a strong team player.
  • Solid problem-solving and decision-making skills.
  • Must demonstrate the ability to manage multiple tasks and priorities concurrently.
  • Cross-cultural and international work experience required; relevant lived experience preferred.
  • A strong commitment to human rights and UU values is important but an affiliation with Unitarian Universalism or any faith group is not required.
  • Proficiency in a second language preferred with a preference for Burmese, Rohingya, Spanish, Portuguese, French, or Haitian Kreyol.
  • Domestic and international travel required up to 25% of time; must be able to travel outside of the United States.

Compensation and Benefits:
Starting Annual Salary: Competitive salary based on experience (starting annual salary between $76,000 to $84,000 per year).
Employment Benefits: UUSC offers a generous benefits package including: health, dental, and life insurance, STD/LTD, 403(b) tax deferred annuity, retirement plan with 9% of salary contribution to pension plan after 1 year of job retention, flexible spending plans for medical and dependent care, commuter allowance, and generous paid time off.

Non-Discrimination and Equal Employment Opportunity: UUSC is highly committed to the principle of equal opportunity in employment. People of color, LGBTQIA individuals, and people from other diverse communities are encouraged to apply.

Interested candidates may email a cover letter and résumé in confidence to: or mail to: Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (Attn: Director of Human Resources), 689 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA 02139

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