Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives

  • Kansas City, MO, USA
  • May 04, 2020
Full time Lobbyist Public Policy

Job Description

Health Forward Foundation is an independent public charity foundation whose mission is to use leadership, advocacy, and resources to eliminate barriers and promote quality health for the under-served and uninsured. Health Forward’s service area encompasses Kansas City, Missouri, and Jackson, Cass, and Lafayette counties in Missouri; and Johnson, Wyandotte and Allen counties in Kansas. The foundation is exempt from federal income tax under the provisions of section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and is classified as a supporting organization under section 509(a)(3).



Investments do not adequately meet the health needs of our community. Since inception Health Forward has used its position to effect policy change to achieve our mission of eliminating barriers to health for the uninsured and underserved. In addition to giving approximately $22 million annually in grants to nonprofit organizations, Health Forward supports policy advocacy and system change at local, state, and national levels to advance our mission. In doing so, we acknowledge that health is not distributed equally.


Accordingly, a strategic imperative exists for Health Forward to shape and advocate for policies that address the structural and systemic factors which distribute power, money, and resources unequally. Such policies ultimately impact health and health outcomes. The complex issues and injustices at the intersection of health, race, income, and wealth call for action as we seek to catalyze change in our service area and effectively advocate that health belongs to everyone.



Health Forward Foundation is currently seeking a Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives who will be responsible for establishing the strategy for Health Forward’s policy priorities and executing a plan to fulfill those objectives through direct lobbying, grantmaking, and strategic partnerships and initiatives. This position will strategically raise Health Forward’s presence, influence, and impact in the policy environment at local, state, and national levels with a central focus on the nexus of health, economics and equity.


This role acts as Health Forward’s policy spokesperson and point of contact for policy and civic engagement activities and policy-related grantmaking. The Director of Policy and Strategic Initiatives manages Policy Associates, oversees the foundation’s position on relevant public policy issues, and works closely with the President and CEO to formulate biennial policy agendas, engage policymakers, and a broad array of stakeholders in Health Forward’s work.


Strategy Development and Execution

  • Work collaboratively with the senior leadership team, board of directors, and associates to establish Health Forward’s strategy and culture, integrating policy into strategic initiatives, programs, and grantmaking.
  • Ensure economic and racial equity is centered in all components of policy-related functions and strategic initiatives. Leverage an approach that recognizes the inter-connected ways in which marginalization takes place and establish inclusive and strategic partnerships, initiatives, and policy-based strategies to upend them.
  • Develop and implement the Health Forward’s biennial policy agenda, in alignment with the organization’s strategy and priorities, with input from grantees, associates, board members, peer foundations, and cross-sector community stakeholders.

External Affairs and Direct Lobbying

  • Cultivate, enhance, and manage Health Forward’s relationships with key political and governmental entities, peer foundations, civic organizations, policy partners, and business leaders.
  • Position Health Forward as a leader on issues related to health policy by participating in media interviews, speak on behalf of the foundation at conferences, represent the foundation in key collaborations or partnerships, seek opportunities to disseminate information related to the work of the foundation, and collaborate on Health Forward’s public affairs agenda in partnership with the Director of Communications and President and CEO.
  • Manage relationships with local, state, and federal lawmakers. Communicate directly with lawmakers to share Health Forward’s position on specific bills under consideration. This includes writing and/or delivering testimony to legislative committees.
  • Register with the Missouri and Kansas Ethics Commissions as a lobbyist and maintain up-to-date disclosures to the states regarding Health Forward’s lobbying activities.
  • Develop and maintain a system for tracking Health Forward’s lobbying activities in collaboration with the finance team and ensure they are accurately reported to and compliant with IRS rules for 501(c)(3) organizations.


  • Manage the Policy Associate to meet Health Forward’s policy objectives, particularly around the foundation’s convening, training, and events that work to support the policy and civic engagement work of grantees and community partners.
  • Directly conduct or manage contracts for policy-related research.
  • Provide the CEO, leadership team, board of directors and associates with timely and accurate information about Health Forward’s policy activities and related strategic partnerships and initiatives.
  • Collaborate with Health Forward’s program, communication, finance, and evaluation teams to ensure alignment of activities. Ensure policy and civic engagement strategies are incorporated in all aspects of grantmaking.
  • Provide regular policy updates and education to Health Forward associates, board, Community Advisory Committee, and relevant committees.


  • Provide leadership to a portfolio of health policy and advocacy projects and activities by identifying opportunities that align with Health Forward’s mission and goals. Manage staff responsible for day-to-day oversight of projects and activities and provide direct leadership to high-profile projects.
  • Retain and manage consultants as necessary to deliver on Health Forward’s strategy and objectives. 
  • Oversee a portfolio of policy-related special initiative grants and projects.


Education and Experience

  • Master’s degree in public policy, public health, political science, social work, or a related field. A master’s degree in law or a J.D. degree, preferred.
  • Must possess 7-10 years of related experience in progressively responsible positions.
  • Significant experience leading policy, government affairs, and strategic initiatives with a successful record of developing and managing complex, non-partisan policy and advocacy strategies.
  • Ability to manage, lead, and empower a team of direct reports through positive influence.
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to successfully engage internal associates and external cross-sector constituents.
  • Experience directing projects from inception to completion with attentiveness to timeline, process, and delegating responsibilities across multiple parties

Personal Qualities

  • Passionate advocate for Health Forward’s mission and a strong personal value system that aligns with the foundation’s values and commitment to equity.
  • Flexible, adaptable, and innovative with an ability to envision strategic opportunities in an ambiguous, complex and dynamic environment.
  • Self-directed with a high level of initiative, energy, and drive.



A competitive compensation package, commensurate with the experience level, credentials and personal characteristics of the candidate will be offered.

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Health Forward Foundation