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Posted 4 months ago
Job Description

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The Associate Counsel provides legal representation to the foundation on a wide range of matters, both programmatic and operational, and has primary responsibility for legal support provided to operations functions under the Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer of the foundation (including information technology, facilities management, and operations). Reporting to the Senior Counsel, the Associate Counsel is responsible for day-to-day management and oversight of the foundation’s contracts function. The Associate Counsel supervises the Office of Legal Service’s contracts management team and numerous outside counsel. The position involves direct contact with senior management and frequent and extensive collaboration with program and operations staff in New York and the regional offices, grantees, co-funders, and other parties.



Responsibilities include but not limited to:

  • Operate with a significant degree of autonomy to provide legal representation to the foundation’s operational functions and facilities.

    • Draft, review, and support negotiation of various types of complex agreements, including technology license agreements, non-disclosure agreements, software-as-services agreements, and vendor agreements.

    • Lead or assist the legal team’s efforts in the preparation, implementation, and refinement of forms and processes related to contracts and the contracts management system, including updates to the delegation of approval authority.

    • Advise business team leaders on all legal matters affecting areas of coverage.

    • Build close relationships with personnel at supported departments and obtain and maintain a strong knowledge of their functions and objectives.

    • Manage outside insurance litigation counsel.

  • Provide substantive support for the rest of the legal team on an as-needed basis.

  • Review grants and advise program staff globally on legal and reputational issues relating to U.S. and international grant making, including tax, regulatory, and OFAC compliance.

  • Provide deep and varied legal support to specific assigned regional offices, including compliance with registration requirements and filings as well as local laws and regulations relating to grantmaking, tax, real estate, and employment matters.

  • Advise staff as requested on interpretation of foundation policies and procedures.

  • Train program and operations staff on pertinent legal issues.

  • Review and negotiate grant agreements and contracts with outside service providers, including operational and programmatic consultants and vendors.

  • Advise and assist on other matters as needed, such as intellectual property, employment law and benefits, real estate, finance, litigation, and special projects throughout the foundation.

  • Supervise outside counsel as necessary.


  • JD, New York license, and a minimum of 6 years of experience working at a foundation, non-profit organization, or representing tax-exempt organizations at a law firm.

  • Significant experience that demonstrates maturity, outstanding judgment and discretion handling highly confidential information.

  • Specific expertise relating to legal issues for private foundations and corporate transactions.

  • A creative focus on how to achieve the business' goals while minimizing legal risk.

  • Strong project management skills and ability to corral stakeholders from across a global organization on cross-functional projects.

  • Ability to interface with tact and diplomacy at all levels of the foundation and with outside individuals/firms.

  • Excellent communications and interpersonal skills.

  • Must have the ability to work in diverse teams with shared responsibility and accountability.

  • Proficiency using Microsoft Office Suite.

SALARY: The Ford Foundation is committed to practicing salary transparency. The minimum hiring salary for this position is $209,000 and maximum is $244,000.

LOCATION: This position is based in the foundation’s New York office. We operate in a hybrid model and require staff to be in the office three days per week.


This position is primarily a sedentary role. However, the person in this position may need to occasionally move about inside the office to liaise with internal staff, access files, office machinery and a copy machine/printer. At the moment, the Foundation requires all staff to be in the office three days a week.

The Ford Foundation is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its programs, and operations. As part of this commitment, the Foundation will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If a reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application process, please contact, or call (212) 573-4627.


Alignment to Culture and Values

  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, openness, collaboration, trust, accountability and urgency

  • Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor

  • Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues

  • Action-orientated and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams


  • Hybrid Workplace and Flexible Work Arrangement policies

  • Medical and dental benefits for employee and immediate family on first day of work

  • Retirement savings account with matching company contributions of up to 13%

  • Three weeks’ paid vacation in first year of work; four weeks in subsequent years

  • Tuition Reimbursement

  • Office closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day

  • Professional development initiatives for growth

  • Generous parental leave (maternal and paternal) during new child’s first year (born into family or adopted)

Equal employment opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at The Ford Foundation, where employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/affectional preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law. The Ford Foundation does not discriminate against formerly incarcerated individuals.

This position is no longer open.