Website DrugPolicyOrg Drug Policy Alliance


Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is the leading organization in the U.S. promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. DPA envisions 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.

DPA has grown to more than 40 staff in New York, California, New Mexico, and Washington, DC with an annual operating budget of approximately $15 million, 12,000 dues-paying members, and more than 170,000 online subscribers. The organization has a solid track record of success at the local, state, and federal levels and consistent visibility in prominent media and policy circles.

Recognizing the broad reach of the war on drugs, DPA works across issue areas to engage more deeply with organizations and leaders in immigration, family policing, education, reproductive justice, housing, and other aligned spaces. This commitment to building power across movements and building a base contributes to and works in tandem with DPA’s work on policy and legislative change.


DPA’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) is a senior-level leadership position intentionally designed to play a vital role in supporting DPA’s sustainability and success through deep and strategic partnership with the Executive Director.

Reporting to the Executive Director, the COO will provide strategic leadership and daily management of organizational finance, HR, IT, and staff security functions, with seven direct reports. The COO 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. With a strong ability to multi-task, they bring vision and practical wisdom to all facets of the DPA and a proven ability to develop organizational capacity. They are skilled at identifying problems and determining solutions. Finally, the ideal candidate is a deeply collaborative leader with an engaging management style and ability to balance big picture strategy with immediate needs.

This is a full-time, exempt position.


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, events, 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 (including reserve and investment policies, audit, and 990); implement policies and systems that model best practices in each of these areas
  • Partner with Development Team to monitor projections and ensure accurate, consistent revenue recognition practices
  • Oversee compliance with lobbying regulations and reporting requirement, including navigating 501 c3/c4 complexities
  • Lead ongoing efforts to increase financial literacy across the organization to promote effective budget management and develop internal leadership, including monthly budget-to-actual results to budget owners
  • Oversee quarterly financial position reporting to Board of Directors

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
  • Develop and implement staff compensation strategy
  • Ensure the necessary technology, security protocols, and office infrastructure are in place to support DPA’s teams and safeguard data security, including training, compliance, inventory management and upgrades
  • Oversee staff training and professional development


  • 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

Compliance & Risk Management

  • Ensure legal compliance and limit risk exposure, including contract review
  • Manage relationships with pro bono attorneys and outside counsel. Seek advice on federal, multi-state, and international employment law, as needed
  • Oversee management of intellectual property

Board Relations

  • Steward Board of Directors Audit & Finance Committee
  • Support enhancement of board communications, logistics, and management


  • Oversee NY office redesign and overall operations
  • Oversee staff team-building activities
  • Oversee, review, and implement protocols to ensure staff safety
  • Oversee logistical and administrative aspects of the 4-day, 1,000 attendee bi-annual REFORM Conference


To fulfill the responsibilities of the role, we are seeking candidates with the following qualifications and characteristics:

  • Senior management experience working cross-functionally across finance, operations, human resources, and IT in complex organizations; nonprofit experience required
  • Commitment to DPA’s mission and strong social justice orientation; capacity to operate with a clear head within emotionally complex content
  • 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


The COO role is based in New York City. The COO is expected to be onsite 2-3 days per week and may work remotely other days.

The salary range for this position is $175,000-$200,000, depending on the level of experience and geographic location. Benefits for DPA staff include comprehensive health insurance and coverage (including dental and vision), 403b retirement plan with generous employer matching contribution, paid time off including 20 days of vacation, plus national holidays, sick days, organizational closure at the end of December, and Summer Fridays.


Drug Policy Alliance is an equal opportunity employer and values a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. DPA encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, ethnicity, personal appearance, political affiliation, family responsibility, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction.  Drug Policy Alliance is particularly interested in hiring people who have been adversely affected by the war on drugs.

To apply for this job please visit