Director of Public Policy & Advocacy

New York, NY, USA
Posted on  

Job Description

Position Title: Director of Public Policy and Advocacy

Reports to: Chief Executive Officer

Status: Exempt, Full Time

Hours: 32 hours per week, 10am-6pm Monday through Thursday, and 10am-2pm on Friday, evening and weekend hours as needed and/or requested by supervisor.



The National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City (NAMI-NYC) is the only nonprofit organization providing direct support to family members caring for loved ones with serious mental illness (SMI), like major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. We offer classes, 30+ support groups, family mentoring, a Helpline in English, Spanish, and 180+ languages, and more, to peers and family members completely FREE regardless of income, insurance, or immigration status. (Even if you don’t apply to this role, check out our calendar and tell a family member or friend about us. It’s free to any New Yorker who needs mental health support. Really.)

NAMI-NYC not only provides virtual and in person free mental health programs and services to the community, but also fights for New Yorkers and our rights, including access to affordable, culturally responsive mental healthcare, peers not police in mental health crisis response, and investment in community-based programs. We also work to prevent people with SMI experiencing further interaction with the criminal legal system and break an unjust, endless cycle of psychiatric hospitalizations, homelessness, and incarceration. We aim to increase mental health access to communities of color, monolingual Spanish speakers, the LGBTQ+ community, the Deaf and hard of hearing, older adults, and other underserved communities. We also care about addressing our country’s mental health crisis, especially among young people. We care about suicide prevention and connecting all New Yorkers to the resources they need.  Check out our website at and follow us on social.



Our Policy and Advocacy department works to improve the lives of individuals, families and supportive community members affected by mental illness across NYC via grassroots organizing and policy change. NAMI-NYC trains individuals who are directly impacted on how to best relay their personal stories to promote positive legislative change on behalf of the mental health community. We then connect these trained advocates, formally known as Advocacy Ambassadors, with their local City Council members, state legislators and other pertinent, local stakeholders to promote policy change and financial investments in a number of key policy areas, including:

●       Family support;

●       Increased access to mental healthcare;

●       Decriminalizing mental illness;

●       Mental health education in schools; and

●       Reforms to supportive housing and the application process.

NAMI-NYC works with NAMI National and NAMI-New York State, as needed, to support the push of state and federal legislation that positively impacts the mental health community.

The Director of Public Policy and Advocacy leads NAMI-NYC's grassroots advocacy efforts and government affairs work. 



●       Serve as the lead staff on public policy and advocacy strategy development and implementation, including responses to outside requests for policy support, opposition, or information

●       Oversees the drafting and publishing of policy memoranda, fact sheets, memos of support, op-eds, and external policy and advocacy reports for internal and external NAMI-NYC audiences in liaison with the Communications and Marketing department, as necessary

●       Conducts outreach and facilitates regular engagement with city and state elected officials, as well as with other relevant representatives from governmental agencies to move policy agenda forward, introduce new legislation, and maintain successful relationships

●       Leads Board Advocacy Committee meetings alongside the Committee Chair

●       Constructs and manages the Policy & Advocacy department’s annual budget

●       Sets key performance indicators and measurements for progress of program initiatives and reports on quarterly progress to internal stakeholders and external funders, as needed

●       Supervises the Manager of Public Policy & Advocacy and interns in coordinating logistics for NAMI-NYC’s Advocacy Ambassador program, advocacy events, such as Monthly Ambassador General Body meetings, trainings and workshops, advocacy days, community rallies, press conferences, panel discussions, coalition strategy calls, and webinars, for internal and external audiences

●       Serves as a representative of NAMI-NYC on relevant coalitions and steering committees, as necessary

●       Cultivates Advocacy Ambassador leaders through committee and development training sessions in public speaking, drafting hearing testimony, etc.

●       Works with Manager of Public Policy & Advocacy to monitor and evaluate success of Advocacy Ambassador program as well as other departmental campaigns and initiatives

●       Plans and leads regular townhalls and/or public-facing events and campaigns relevant to our policy priority areas, including our NAMI-NYS Regional Advocacy Day(s) and the NAMI-NYC City Council Advocacy Week, to mobilize advocates on local and state issues and relay policy updates in a manner that is accessible to all NAMI-NYC community members

●       Drafts and delivers hearing testimony on behalf of the organization during City Council Committee meetings, city and state-level public hearings and at federal level, as needed

●       Maintains records and logs of all lobbying efforts and other engagements with elected officials and reports in a timely-manner to the New York City Clerk’s Office and the New York State Commission on Public Ethics in coordination with NAMI-NYC’s external lobbying firm and external accounting consultant, as needed

●       Seeks and applies for new funding to sustain advocacy efforts in partnership with the Director of Development and CEO

●       Support and participate in other NAMI-NYC events, as requested

●       Other duties as assigned



To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

●    Master’s degree in public policy/administration, political science and social services, government, or in related field required and/or Juris Doctor degree

●    Minimum 4-6 years of experience working in grassroots advocacy, volunteer management, or community organizing, preferably with non-profit organizations and/or working in city-level government affairs

●    Extensive fellowship, internship or independent grassroots organizing experience with a coalition will be considered

●    Political or issue advocacy campaign experience desired

●    Ability to travel to Albany, within New York City’s five boroughs and regionally, as needed, to carry out program initiatives

●    Ability to work evenings and weekends, as needed

●    Strong and extensive experience with the legislative, regulatory, and budget process in New York City and/or New York State

●    Strong and extensive experience in volunteer management or community/grassroots organizing

●    Experience building and working with coalitions

●    Experience with delivering hearing testimony, press statements, and other public speaking statements

●    Respect and compassion for people affected by serious mental illness

●    Basic knowledge of and experience with mental illness, recovery, and the mental health system – either personally, professionally or through a family member

●    Demonstrates the ability to anticipate, identify, organize, and analyze public policy opportunities

●    Possesses excellent written and oral communications skills

●    Detail oriented, flexible, adaptable, organized and able to successfully manage multiple projects and tasks

●    Proven self-starter and independent worker with excellent judgment and careful attention to detail

●    Ability to work effectively with diverse populations with a high level of integrity, diplomacy, and initiative

●    Proficient in the use of personal computers, Google Apps and Microsoft applications

●    Experience with digital organizing and advocacy platform tools, such as OneClickPolitics, Quorum, Ecanvasser, NationBuilder, Action Network, etc., preferred

●    Experience with Canva, or other comparable digital software, a plus

●    Sense of humor


Physical Demands:

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and talk or hear. The employee is frequently required to reach with hands and arms. The employee is occasionally required to stand; walk and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision and ability to adjust focus.

The above job description is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of duties and standards of the position. Incumbents will follow any other instructions, and perform any other related duties, as assigned by their supervisor.



●    $95,000-$125,000 salary

●    Generous PTO policy

●    Half day Fridays

●    Medical, dental and vision coverage

●    401K retirement plan

●    Transitchek (when applicable)

●    $300 towards professional development


The above job description is not intended to be an all-inclusive list of duties and standards of the position. Incumbents will follow any other instructions, and perform any other related duties, as assigned by their supervisor.

To apply: Send cover letter and resume to Be sure to put Director of Public Policy and Advocacy in the subject line. Resumes submitted without a cover letter will not be considered. No Phone calls, please.