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Special Assistant and Project Administrator (Office of Race and Equity Research)

About Urban Institute:

At the Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. As a nonprofit focusing on social and economic policy, our researchers and policy entrepreneurs open minds, shape decisions, and identify transformative solutions to the most pressing issues of our time.

Our Mission

To open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.

Our Values

Collaboration, Equity, Inclusivity, Independence, and Integrity
For more information on the Urban Institute, please visit

The Opportunity:

Central to Urban’s mission is fostering a truly inclusive community that ensures ongoing relevance to a changing world. The Office of Race and Equity Research is an interdisciplinary hub for innovation in research, policy, and practice to drive equitable outcomes. Researchers are harnessing data across disciplines, disentangling the effects of race, class, and gender, and shifting from documenting racial and ethnic disparities to exposing injustices and informing solutions. In this new era, the Urban Institute’s Office of Race and Equity Research seeks to remedy structural inequities and foster prosperity and opportunity for all people. 
The Office provides research, advisory services, thought partnership, and technical assistance for a wide range of changemakers, including front-line practitioners, advocacy partners, and public officials at all levels of government. The Office also develops catalytic initiatives and builds capacity at Urban and across the field for race and equity research that meets high standards for excellence, accessibility, and policy relevance. To this end, the Office of Race and Equity Research helps researchers partner with communities to elevate lived experience as a vital source of knowledge and authority; draw on innovations in data science to measure equity, design more equitable policies and evaluate their impact; and hold institutions accountable for achieving equity goals.
Under the general supervision of the Director of Center Operations, the project administrator will assist researchers with project budgets, coordinating schedules for various meetings, providing research staff with guidance regarding internal policies and operations, proposal preparation, tracking project milestones, and planning and managing logistics related to events for the Office of Race and Equity Research. Additionally, this person will act as the Special Assistant to the two Vice Presidents of the Office of Race and Equity Research. In this role, the special assistant will manage the Vice Presidents’ daily business and tasks, as well as support them in developing procedures and systems to advance ORER’s priorities.

What You’ll Do:

The project administrator / special assistant will be responsible for assisting with the management of day-to-day project tasks. Activities may include:

  • Project Administrator Responsibilities
  • Corresponding with project team members, including various subcontractors, funders and event attendees
  • Assisting with proposal development and submission (compilation of multiple documents and template formatting according to Urban style and branding)
  • Creating and updating project files
  • Tracking project statuses and life cycles
  • Updating various databases monthly with new project-related information
  • Preparing financial reports for submission to accounting
  • Corresponding with prospective external stakeholders and preparing purchase orders and forms for consultant and subcontract agreements
  • Work in a collaborative and dynamic environment and can adapt to changing needs and opportunities as they emerge.
Special Assistant Responsibilities

  • Manage the VPs daily business by scheduling meetings and proactively ensuring that they stay on time, compiling meeting and background materials, and tracking tasks and priorities
  • Represent the VPs by screening and reviewing correspondence and addressing questions and meeting requests directed to the VPs
  • Provide general administrative support to the center through participation in event planning/hosting, updating and creating data files, template documents, deliverable charts, and other related duties as assigned
  • Plan meetings and coordinating events for internal and external audiences
  • Draft correspondence and support the execution of communications and engagement including emails, briefing memos, and various other communications from the VPs to internal and external stakeholders
  • Arrange travel and meetings; develop itineraries, meeting logistics and agendas
  • Complete discrete special assignments by establishing objectives; determining priorities; managing time; gaining cooperation of others; monitoring progress; problem-solving; adjusting plans
Who You Are:
The successful applicant must have:

  • Demonstrated commitment to equity, racial equity, and inclusion
  • Strong organizational, communication, and interpersonal skills with experience coordinating collaborative projects and working in team environments
  • Display excellent and versatile writing skills including composing messages and other professional correspondence for a variety of audiences
  • Established comfort adapting to rapidly shifting goals and priorities, a commitment to continuous improvement, and the ability to take the initiative and work creatively
  • The ability to use good judgment prioritizing and managing numerous requests/deliverables
  • Ability to exercise high level of confidentiality and use professional judgment and discretion
  • Demonstrated fiscal responsibility when committing financial resources or processing financial transactions and ability to recommend approaches to streamline for greater operational efficiency
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office products (specifically, Word, Excel, and Adobe)
The successful applicant may have:

  • A bachelor’s degree or equivalent and the management and operational skills needed to perform the duties described above.
  • Two to four years of relevant professional experience or equivalent
  • Prior experience working with enterprise operating and financial planning systems, Salesforce, and budgets is a plus
  • Previous experience editing, scheduling meetings, coordinating events and/or assisting project teams is desired

What You’ll Experience:

No matter your role with Urban, you will contribute to meaningful work that makes a difference for people and communities across the country. And whether you call the Washington, DC area or elsewhere home, you can expect to be part of a welcoming and hybrid workplace. We are committed to cultivating a community and working in a manner defined by collaboration, equity, inclusivity, independence, and integrity.
Urban’s greatest asset is our people.
Urban is committed to supporting our staff’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being through a robust benefits package for yourself, eligible dependents, and domestic partners. It includes generous paid time off, including nine federal holidays, medical (including prescription), dental and vision insurance, and transit benefits. Urban is unique in that we offer 403(b) retirement plan participation immediately after you’re hired and a generous employer contribution after five months of service and 1,000 hours, with immediate vesting. You’ll also have access to a health advocate, personal finance coaching, an Employee Assistance Program, and educational assistance for undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
As a federal contractor, Urban will comply with Executive Order (EO) 14042 that requires federal contractors, subcontractors, and their respective employees to comply with Covid-19 vaccinations. All Urban Institute employees must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and comply with masking and distancing requirements, regardless of responsibilities or work location. New hires must also be fully vaccinated before starting work. Employees may request exemption from vaccination against COVID-19 based on either a medical condition or a sincerely held religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated. Where such an exemption is approved, Urban will discuss with each employee potential accommodation.
The Urban Institute has formally recognized the Urban Institute Employees’ Union, which is part of the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU). Urban management and the Union work together in good faith and are motivated by a shared commitment to this institution. This position is included in the Union-represented collective bargaining unit, and specific employment terms and conditions are subject to collective bargaining negotiations.
The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by the people assigned. This posting is not an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and requirements. Urban management reserves the right to amend and change duties, responsibilities, and requirements to meet business and organizational needs as necessary.
The Urban Institute is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender or gender identity, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, veteran status, pregnancy or family responsibilities, matriculation, disability, political affiliation, or any other protected status under applicable law.
We are committed to equal employment opportunity and providing reasonable accommodations to applicants with physical and/or mental disabilities. If you have a physical and/or mental disability and are interested in applying for employment and need special accommodations to use our website to apply for a position, please contact Human Resources at Reasonable accommodation requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.