The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the leading organization in the U.S. promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. We envision a just society in which the use and regulation of drugs are grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights; in which people are no longer punished for what they put into their own bodies; and in which the fears, prejudices, and punitive prohibitions of today are no more.We have played a pivotal role in transforming the national conversation about drug policy. We heightened the national conversation around the role of race in shaping drug policy and moved vital issues — like legalizing cannabis, ending mass incarceration, and prioritizing health and harm reduction responses to the overdose crisis — from the fringes of U.S. politics to the mainstream.Under the direction of our incoming Executive Director, Kassandra Frederique, DPA will build power to actualize the world that our communities deserve, creating a world that supports people regardless of who they are, what they look like, and what they may or may not choose to put in their bodies.

    We are ambitious risk-takers and unrelenting advocates with radical imaginations, fighting to change hearts and minds and build a world that centers justice, communities, and dignity. We have more than 40 staff in New York, California, New Mexico, and Washington, DC; an annual operating budget of approximately $12 million, 25,000 dues-paying members, and more than 250,000 online subscribers. We have a solid track record of success at the local, state, and federal levels and consistent visibility in prominent media and policy circles.
    For more information, please visit the website at www.drugpolicy.org.

    As we enter DPA’s 20th year, the national reckoning on racial injustice and the COVID-19 pandemic shine a spotlight on the destruction that white supremacist systems and policies have had on communities of color, including the racist war on drugs. Simultaneously, DPA is embarking on an exciting new organizational chapter as the incoming Executive Director, Kassandra Frederique, takes the helm and plans to lead DPA to become a more holistic social justice advocacy organization that links even more deeply with other sectors in the movement.

    Under this bold new leadership, DPA will develop stronger, more collaborative partnerships to address an even broader set of issues in our fight for societal change and justice while building upon the incredible progress we have achieved in reforming the criminal justice system.

    Our team is united and deeply committed to using the momentum of DPA’s successes to be even more forward-thinking, galvanizing, and rigorous as we look to the future. Critical to this path forward is identifying a deeply committed leader to serve as a key advisor to the Executive Director, working with her to operationalize this transformation across the organization and steer day to day operational matters. This is a rare opportunity to work among a high-performing, collaborative, and deeply passionate team with a record of success and life-changing outcomes. We are seeking a candidate who is fired up about DPA’s exciting plan to increase impact and change the course of history in our county to create a more just, healthy, and safe society.

    DPA’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) is a new leadership position intentionally designed to complement our new Executive Director at a pivotal moment in the organization’s growth and a historic moment for the country. Reporting to the Executive Director and serving as her key strategic thought partner in the day to day operations of DPA, the COO will play a vital role in supporting DPA’s sustainability and success.

    The COO will also provide strategic leadership and daily management of organizational finance, HR, and IT functions, and will be responsible for ensuring that DPA has the internal systems and infrastructure in place to support our teams and enable the organization to continue growing in alignment with the Executive Director’s vision. At the same time, the COO will be a crucial steward of the organizational values and culture – championing DPA’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and fostering a culture of innovation, learning, accountability, and continuous improvement along with a dedicated group of colleagues equally committed to DPA’s shared values.

    Our ideal candidate believes deeply in social justice and carries an unyielding conviction that transformative change is possible. They have significant experience as a cross-functional leader with exceptional strategic, financial, and operational acumen and a demonstrated talent for the continuous improvement of organizational teams, systems, and processes. They bring vision and practical wisdom to all facets of DPA and a proven ability to develop organizational capacity. Finally, the ideal candidate is a deeply collaborative leader with an engaging management style and ability to balance big picture strategy with immediate needs.

Strategic Leadership

  • Serve as a trusted advisor to the Executive Director, ensuring that her strategic vision is successfully operationalized across DPA
  • Play a key role in the development and implementation of a new organizational strategic plan
  • Work collaboratively with DPA’s senior management team to promote overall organizational effectiveness
  • Ensure effective communication of priority issues and projects and promote organizational learning across the organization
  • Lead, mentor, hold accountable and supervise a team of seven finance, HR, and IT professionals in the NY office and fostering a culture of collaboration, learning, and innovation with staff across the country

Financial Management

  • Lead DPA’s financial strategy, ensuring short and long-term sustainability and alignment to the organization’s mission and goals
  • Direct the development and implementation of short-term and long-term fiscal planning including annual budgeting and multi-year forecasting, ensuring the highest levels of fiscal responsibility
  • Optimize DPA’s finance and accounting policies, financial controls, and compliance systems; implement policies and systems that model best practices in each of these areas
  • Oversee compliance with lobbying regulations and reporting requirement, including navigating 501 c(3)/c4 complexities
  • Lead ongoing efforts to increase financial literacy across the organization to promote effective budget management and develop internal leadership

Human Resources and Information Technology

  • Own the vision and accountability for the annual performance of the organization’s HR, and IT teams ensuring they are aligned with DPA’s strategic priorities
  • Identify opportunities for improved operational processes across the organization to streamline operations and implement increased standardization across DPA with an eye toward continuous process improvement
  • Optimize HR systems, ensure consistent implementations of HR policies and procedures, and leverage opportunities to innovate and create efficiencies where possible
  • Ensure the necessary technology, security protocols, and office infrastructure are in place to support DPA’s teams and safeguard data security


  • Cultivate an organizational culture that reflects DPA’s deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; support a learning culture that engenders knowledge sharing, feedback, and continuous growth
  • Lead and implement initiatives on best practices in organizational management, performance management, and leadership development


  • 15+ years of senior management experience working cross-functionally across finance, operations, human resources, and IT in complex organizations; nonprofit experience strongly preferred
  • Commitment to DPA’s mission and strong social justice orientation
  • Demonstrated expertise in managing organizational financial activity and systems, including budgeting, multi-year forecasting, modeling, accounting, and reporting
  • Proven ability to navigate complex nonprofit compliance and risk management issues; c4 experience preferred
  • A strategic, analytical, and tactical thinker, with a record of success implementing strategic goals and priorities across an organization
  • Comfort working in a highly collaborative, consensus-driven environment that values open communication and transparency
  • Demonstrated passion for managing, developing, and coaching diverse teams; prioritizes building authentic and respectful relationships with all colleagues within an organization
  • Ability to steward organizational culture including leading diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
  • Confidence and capability to adapt and lead in a fast-paced, changing environment while also navigating ambiguity and change inherent to a fast-paced, evolving organization
  • Effective and persuasive communicator, both oral and written, with exceptional emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills
  • Possesses unquestionable personal and professional integrity, unwavering commitment to equity, and a growth mindset
  • Innovative, creative, and willing to think outside of the box to develop solutions that meet DPA’s unique needs and support our high-performing team
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Advanced degree or equivalent experience preferred

DPA has retained the executive search firm LeaderFit to lead this search. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resume. No calls please.

The Drug Policy Alliance is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship status, sex, age, marital status, disability, personal appearance, family responsibility, political affiliation, or any other status protected by applicable law. Women, people of color, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply. We are particularly interested in hiring people who have been adversely affected by the war on drugs.

Source: People’s Action