The Technology Fellows program is administered by the Internet Freedom unit at the Ford Foundation, which works globally to advance economic and social protections in the Internet environment. Technology Fellows will play a strategic advisory role to the foundation as well as provide practical technical expertise to staff and grantees (Note that this role does NOT include IT and administration responsibilities). Technology Fellows will enable the foundation to better serve the technical needs of grantees, identify emerging opportunities and threats related to technology, help develop networks and communities of social justice mission-driven technology experts, and enrich the diverse perspectives of the thematic areas program experts. As information technology suffuses every aspect of our lives, the Ford Foundation believes that philanthropy has a unique role to play in ensuring that government and public interest organizations truly understand the technical landscape and how developing technologies serve the public interest.
The Technology Fellowship Program has three overarching goals:
Enrich perspectives within the foundation by adding a technical lens
Generate novel, innovative ideas and build new relationships and networks
Technology Fellows positions will be embedded in each of the following thematic areas of work: Creativity and Free Expression, Inclusive Economies, and Youth Opportunity and Learning; each will have its own Fellow. Each Fellow will be assigned to a thematic area based on mutual interest and fit. A Technology Fellow embodies three key roles to serve the thematic area in which they are placed as well as the Foundation at large.
Innovative Strategic Advising - Strategic support is a critical priority of a Technology Fellow. Work in this category may include helping the thematic area examine the role of technology in advancing its objectives, informing development of technology strategies for the thematic area, conducting landscape research, identifying and analyzing potential threats, supporting strategic grant proposal reviews, serving as an internal technology advisory resource, identifying technologically proficient grantees and thought partners working in the thematic area, and collaborating with the Technology Program Officer on Foundation priorities.
Direct Technical Expertise - A fellow’s specific technical expertise will come into effect through activities such as supporting technical proposal reviews, conducting technology assessments, conceptualizing and supporting the development of relevant tools, coaching and mentoring grantees, and working as internal technology “guides.”
Relevant Independent Projects - This role is secondary to the other two and may include developing tools for the field, conducting research, participating in relevant civil society endeavors, writing and publishing on topics at the intersection of technology, social justice, and the thematic area.
Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience with minimum 4 years’ professional experience working with media, technology, advocacy or policy organizations
Strong ability to critically assess technologies relevant to the thematic area, particularly regarding usefulness, effectiveness, security risks, and potential impact
Sophisticated knowledge about existing and emerging technologies, and their potential intersections with at least one of the three thematic areas named above
Experienced in understanding needs of individuals, organizations or communities and collaboratively designing technical solutions to meet them
Strong strategic communication skills, including the ability to collaborate with and articulate the potential roles and importance of technology to diverse audiences - particularly those utilizing more traditional forms of engagement
Self-motivated and disciplined with a high degree of comfort working both independently and collaboratively
Familiarity with the use of information and communication technologies designed to serve the public interest
Experience working with a range of individuals in civil society, government and/or the private sector
Demonstrated experience working effectively as part of a team and with colleagues of diverse backgrounds and perspectives
Excellent analytical, oral presentation, writing, and interpersonal skills
Willingness to work in New York City
Advanced degree in related field of work or equivalent experience
Professional experience working internationally or within a global context
Experience working at the intersection of technology and one of the three thematic areas named above
ALIGNMENT TO THE MISSION AND CULTURE OF THE FORD FOUNDATION:
Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, fairness and diversity
Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor
Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues
Action-oriented and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams