Senior Specialist, Policy & Legislative

Catholic Relief Services

About CRS

Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. CRS works to save, protect, and transform lives in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work focuses on emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding.


Animated by our Catholic faith’s call to action to alleviate suffering and work to create a more just world for the world’s poorest, most marginalized and vulnerable people, CRS seek s to build a movement of millions of people in the United States and around the world to increase the Church’s impact and influence in combatting global poverty, violence and injustice.

The Government Relations (GR) team within CRS’s Mission and Mobilization division addresses the role of systems and structures to all eviat e suffering and combat injustice on behalf of the people we serve around the world. The GR team works to develop and advance advocacy strategies with Congress and the Administration through bilateral advocacy based on working relationships with these offices, while also leveraging the evidence and writing of programs and policy teams, mobilizing the work of our constituents, influential advocates and church partners, while also work ing strategically with communications to advance our positions in the media and public sphere.

Job Summary

The Senior Specialist will focus on CRS’ priority advocacy issue of global health, issues related to vulnerable children and their families, and CRS’ country program concerns in Central and Southern Africa. The specialist will advance CRS’ issues bilaterally in Congress and with the administration, while working with coalitions and peer organizations to:

Advance USG Global Health Goals

  • Advance annual global health and social services programming appropriations, and any relevant authorization, consistent with Catholic teaching and CRS experience.
  • Ensure any emerging global health issues and responses are appropriately funded and engaged on by the USG
  • Maintain USG leadership in the global health space (PEPFAR, PMI, Global Fund) consistent with Catholic teaching.

Support vulnerable children and their families

  • Ensure CRS’ on the ground experience with best practices in supporting vulnerable children and their families is represented within relevant policy and funding legislation moving through Congress
  • Oversee the successful US Government implementation of the Global Child Thrive Act
  • Advocate with the U.S. administration to ensure CRS programming expertise is translated into U.S. global health policy.
  • Ensure the preservation of 10 percent set aside for orphans and vulnerable children is included in President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief reauthorization.

Provide attention to Central and Southern Africa regional countries where needed

  • Develop advocacy objectives and strategies with country programs
  • Lead regular meetings with key country programs, USCCB, peacebuilding colleagues and MARCOM to ensure continuity of advocacy goals and priorities facing towards the US Congress and administratio n
  • Take discrete advocacy actions, including setting up meetings, briefings and other engagements with Country program representatives and USG, working with coalitions to advance policy goals, utilize media to share information, etc.

Support Education Efforts in Foreign Assistance

  • Work with CRS’ education programs to understand advocacy opportunities and implement in concert with policy team.

The Sr. Specialist will also work to advance collective GR team goals including:

  • Leverage robust USG support for f oreign assistance programs—humanitarian, disaster, & development assistance – and the enactment of reforms for the goals, operation, and funding of these programs
  • Enhanc e t he role of the United States in peacebuilding, humanitarian relief, and reconstruction in a number of global south countries
  • Maxim ize funding for foreign assistance priorities in annual budget resolutions, foreign operations, and agriculture appropriations bills
  • Address i nternational policy issues that affect the poorest nations (i.e., global climate change, human trafficking, and immigration and refugees)

Job Responsibilities:

Develop and lead advocacy strategies

  • Work with policy and program teams to utilize evidence to advance advocacy
  • Provide direction to constituen t engagement efforts
  • Monitor, track, and analyze priority issues and their progress in Congress and the Executive branch.
  • Communicate and lead on understanding political context and state of play of policy issues.
  • Help to s olicit, analyze, and synthesize CRS programmatic experience when developing policy positions and evidence-based advocacy in coordination or collaboration with the policy team
  • Monitor, review, analyze and discuss perspectives on issue areas from think tanks, academics, NGOs, and other issue experts
  • Monitor, and report on policy and legislative developments of significance to CRS and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Implement advocacy strategies to change US legislation and Policy

  • Build strong bilateral working relationships with relevant personnel, committee staff and Members within the USG and Congress
  • Engage United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) where appropriate to advance and coordinate advocacy efforts
  • Write or participate in the creati on of position papers, white papers, policy papers and other documents to summarize CRS experience and analysis
  • Plan and coordinate CRS participation in congressional briefings and hearings.
  • Initiate and arrange Administration and Hill meetings for agency leadership where required, including board members, executives, visiting country program staff, and partners.
  • Draft and review advocacy sign-on letters, in partnership
  • Represent CRS at sector specific working groups and coalitions and geographic specific efforts.
  • Present CRS’ positions in public, especially at Catholic Social Ministry Gathering, University and Chapter events, State Catholic Conference Directors, Global Fellows and as needed.
  • Actively engage with think tanks, academics, NGOs, and other issue experts to advance CRS positions

Catholic Relief Services carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as a part of our staff and as partners people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need.

How to apply

Closing date: 26-Sep-22