Research Director

Race Forward advances racial justice through research, media and practice. Founded in 1981, Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help people take effective action toward racial equity. Race Forward publishes the daily news site Colorlines and presents Facing Race, the country’s largest multiracial conference on racial justice.

The Research Program’s mission is to produce forward-looking, innovative and accessible analysis and thinking about systemic racism and racial justice, grounded in the stories and perspectives of people of color. Research also provides guidance and support for impact planning and evaluation to other Race Forward programs.

The primary purpose of the Research Director is to develop, design, conduct and project manage major, multi-year, collaborative research projects with the guidance of the Vice President for Research. The Research Director works with allies and colleagues across Race Forward programs to develop contemporary racial justice theory, reveal and explore current racial disparities, highlight solutions to racial inequity, define and measure the impacts of racial justice work and solutions, and outreach to grassroots/advocacy, professional and academic communities. The Research Director is also critical to developing and maintaining productive relationships with major funders.

The position will be based preferably in the organization’s Oakland, CA or New York, NY office, and may require monthly travel (more frequent if working remotely). This position reports to the Vice President for Research.


  1. Conceptualize short and long-term research projects, including desired outcomes/impacts.
  2. Develop research plans, and direct and conduct research as necessary, including intermediate to advanced quantitative research, public opinion research, media content analysis and qualitative research.
  3. Evaluate/measure the impacts of racial justice work and solutions (internal and external), such as policy and practice impacts, capacity building of advocates, narrative change initiatives, institution and sectoral change strategies, etc.
  4. Provide project management for effective inter-departmental collaboration on major, multi-year projects (particularly of large budget-size).
  5. Write and edit appropriately for multiple public products such as reports, research briefs and reviews, scripts for multimedia products such as documentary video, and online editorials/blogs.
  6. Design and deliver presentations on research findings and other Race Forward products and content in professional and media settings.
  7. Lead or co-lead the development and monitoring of program goals and/or objectives, as directed.
  8. Supervise, train and help hire other staff, interns and volunteers, as directed.
  9. Develop and manage an internship program(s).
  10. Support organizational fundraising efforts, including but not limited to conducting foundation visits, drafting grant proposals and reports.
  11. Disseminate research results, including making presentations at conferences.
  12. Lead, support or provide service to organizational committees and/or initiatives led by other programs/departments.
  13. Active participation – including facilitation and note-taking – of departmental and organizational meetings, retreats, and designated convenings.
  14. Additional duties as assigned by the Vice President for Research.

Skills and Qualifications

  1. Advanced degree (M.A., or Ph.D.) in anthropology, communication, economics, political science, public policy, psychology, sociology, or another social science or race/ethnicity-focused interdisciplinary field or established record of distinction at the Research Manager level or equivalent.
  2. At least 6-8 years of experience in applied social science research (e.g., in service to or partnership with community-based organizations, non-profit organizations, labor unions, state/local government, etc.), preferred.
  3. Qualitative and/or quantitative research skills with some corresponding, demonstrated training experience of research platforms/software, preferred.
  4. Strong familiarity or expertise in at least two distinct substantive areas of contemporary racial justice theory, history, landscapes, or practice (e.g., implicit bias theory; published research on queer leaders of color in a particular geographic area; implementation or evaluation of racial equity impact analysis tools, etc).
  5. 2-3 years of experience, managing, coaching and/or mentoring researchers.
  6. Experience training interns, volunteers, and/or support staff in conducting research.
  7. Experience with non-profit grant writing, grant reporting, and/or other research fundraising activities preferred
  8. Strong project and time management skills
  9. Strong writing ability and ability to communicate complex ideas into accessible language for public consumption
  10. Strong formal and informal communication and presentation skills, including audience awareness
  11. Patience, punctuality, self-awareness, a strong and collaborative work ethic, good judgment and a well-honed sense of humor.
  12. Comfort in diverse settings, from grassroots meetings to professional conferences.


The starting salary for this position is $82,000. In addition, we offer an excellent benefits package including health and dental insurances, employer contribution to retirement plan and to flexible spending account, vacations, and a sabbatical.

How to Apply

Submit a cover letter, resume / CV (not to exceed 3 pages), list of 2-3 references, and up to two writing samples to with subject heading “RESEARCH DIRECTOR”.

At a minimum, your cover letter should speak to:

  • your commitment to using research to advance racial equity
  • any specific substantive areas of racial justice-related research expertise that you would bring to the program
  • your record and interest in designing and/or leading collaborative research projects
  • your demonstrated supervision, project management, and/or training skills

A review of applications will begin on June 8, 2018 and continue until the position is filled.

Race Forward is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation, color, sex, gender identity, age, national origin ordisability.