Director of Foundation Relations (Polaris)

Washington, DC

About Polaris

Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris acts as a catalyst to systematically disrupt the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. By working with government leaders, the world’s leading technology corporations, and local partners, Polaris equips communities to identify, report, and prevent human trafficking. Its comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what it does—helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate. Polaris is headquartered in Washington, D.C., operates on a $12.7 million budget in 2019 and has approximately 105 staff members.

Position Description

Founded in 2002, Polaris is currently in a period of rapid growth in order to achieve a bold vision for an increased global presence and the introduction of new programs aimed at strategic interventions to disrupt human trafficking where it is occurring and restoring freedom to survivors.

As part of this growth, Polaris seeks a Director of Foundation Relations to join a nine-person development team charged with building organization’s financial support base from a wide range of funding sources including foundations, government, corporate, individual and earned revenue sources. The Director of Foundation Relations devises, leads and implements a comprehensive foundation and government funding strategy. In addition to being the lead architect of the foundation strategy, she/he develops solicitation and reporting materials, oversees engagement and communication with institutional funders and personally manages a portfolio of high value foundation and government donors and prospects.  In doing so, the Director of Foundation Relations works closely with staff on the program, finance and the Executive Team. Current institutional funders include the Kellogg, Walmart and NoVo foundations and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The total foundation and government portfolio represents approximately $6 million.


Strategy and Leadership

  • In collaboration with the Chief Development Officer, develops, implements, and assesses an overarching foundation and government funding strategy that aligns with Polaris’s mission and core program areas;
  • Writes, edits and finalizes LOIs, proposals, reports and other funder materials;
  • Conducts thorough prospecting and research to identify, prioritize new leads for foundation and government funding;
  • Expands the existing institutional funding portfolio by securing new sources of foundation and governing support; and
  • Meets annual revenue targets.


  • Frequently engage program directors and the Executive Team to develop LOIs, proposals, reports and other funder communications;
  • Mentor and supervise the Grant Writer
  • Contributes to the planning and execution of the Development team’s annual fundraising strategy and strategic plan;
  • Provides high level support and preparation to the CEO and CDO; and
  • Works closely with the Chief Program Officer, program directors and the finance team to develop budgets.

Relationship management

  • Develops and implements a multi channel funder engagement strategy to cultivate and advance relationships with institutional supporters;
  • Oversees and manages a multi year calendar of funding deadlines including LOIs, proposals, reports and other key donor communications;
  • Serves as a front line fundraiser by overseeing a portfolio of institutional funders and prospects by routinely communicating by phone, mail, email and personal visits; and
  • Expertly articulate Polaris’s value proposition to new and existing funders.

 Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent combination of education and/or experience
  • Minimum eight years of professional work experience in a foundation and government funding capacity
  • Proven track record securing six and seven figures institutional grants
  • Ability to travel up to 25% to meet with foundation and government funders and prospects
  • Outstanding interpersonal and communication skills, both oral and written
  • Ability to work independently and in a collaborative team environment across multiple programs and departments, including supervisory experience
  • Excellent problem-solving skills, strategic thinking, and attention to detail
  • Experience with research and prospect identification strategies
  • Solutions-oriented, collaborative, self-directed, and self-disciplined
  • Highly organized, reliable, and able to set and balance multiple priorities and meet deadlines.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience with federal grants management
  • Knowledge of international funding sources
  • Experience with Salesforce or similar Customer Relationship Management software
  • Commitment to and interest in social justice and human rights; specific interest in human trafficking.

Values Statement

The work of Polaris is grounded in a set of values and organizational beliefs that provide a common starting point for all of its activities. Polaris looks for talented individuals who are passionate about combating all forms of human trafficking and who will strive to embody and model these values within the Polaris community and in the anti-trafficking field. Please take a moment to make yourself familiar with these values and Polaris’ mission statement before submitting your application. You can find a full description of those values here.