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Aspen Institute employees come from a wide range of backgrounds and possess a unique blend of education, skill, and policy experience. We recognize that our people are our vital resource and we value their knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment. At the Aspen Institute we offer competitive salaries and a wide variety of benefits to our employees and their families.

If you would enjoy working in a dynamic environment and are looking for an opportunity to become part of a stellar team of professionals, we invite you to apply online today.

Project Director -- Project Play 2020

Department: SPORTS
Location: Washington, DC

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado and on the Wye River of Marylandís Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

The Sports & Society Program

The mission of the Sports & Society Program is to convene leaders, facilitate dialogue and inspire solutions that help sports serve the public interest. The program provides a venue for thought leadership where knowledge can be deepened and breakthrough strategies explored on a range of issues.

Project Play

An initiative of the Sports & Society Program, Project Play provides stakeholders with opportunities to build healthy communities through sports, starting with access to a quality sport activity for all children. We develop, apply and share knowledge that can be used to mobilize stakeholders from the national to local levels. Our work has been used by many organizations, from professional leagues to media companies, grassroots providers to community foundations, to introduce programs or shape youth strategies related to sports. More on Project Play here.

Basic Function

The Project Director will closely work with the Executive Director and other staff members of the Sports & Society Program to develop all aspects of Project Play 2020, a multi-year effort by leading sport, health, media and other organizations to grow national sport participation rates and related metrics among youth. Launched in 2017, the initiative represents the first time that industry and non-profit groups have come together to develop shared goals around making sport accessible to all children.

The founding members of Project Play 2020 (PP2020) are NBC Sports Group, Nike, Target, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, Dickís Sporting Goods, U.S. Olympic Committee, Hospital for Special Surgery, PGA of America, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, ESPN, Amazon, the U.S. Tennis Association, Under Armour, New York Road Runners, American College of Sports Medicine, Sports Facilities Advisory, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, and the Global Obesity Prevention Center at Johns Hopkins University. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and Ketchum Sports & Entertainment serve as Technical Liaisons. More on the Project Play 2020 initiative here.

The Project Director also plays a key role in managing the program budget.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Manage the activities of Project Play 2020, driving success against shared goals
  • Support the development of priorities and deliverables shaped by PP2020 members and the Aspen Institute
  • Develop and activate a broader coalition of aligned organizations through the Project Play Champions program
  • Create agendas and coordinate all group calls and in-person meetings, including those of working groups and related Aspen staff meetings, in consultation with the leadership of each group; develop summary reports and related materials; ensure that next steps from each meeting and call are identified, and follow-ups are tracked and completed
  • Facilitate continuous communication efforts across the membership, working groups and coalition to share relevant and timely updates about PP2020 and emerging opportunities
  • Research opportunities for shared actions among members, and advise members on the development of individual, mutually reinforcing actions in service of the shared goals
  • Guide work groups and organizations toward commitments in service of shared goals
  • Lead or assist in the development and distribution of related tools and resources
  • Assess the projected impact of potential interventions by PP2020 members
  • Capture, develop and analyze data to help the members assess progress related to key metrics, working with organizations including the Sports & Fitness Industry Association
  • Create public-facing content that elevates the activities of group and individual members
  • Administrate any effort to verify and/or measure and evaluate commitments
  • Support overlapping Project Play activities, including the Project Play Summit and community-based initiatives in which members could introduce pilot programs 
  • Work with the Executive Director to develop and manage program budget, including tracking of payments, expenses, contracts, proposals, grant reports and invoices
  • Provide operational and administrative support, including the management and maintenance of program calendar and project systems, including computerized resources, administrative files, subject files, and online resources 
  • Contract, manage and supervise vendors as necessary for project-specific work
  • Work with appropriate Aspen staff to develop the programís digital strategy and platforms, and assist in the maintaining of those websites and communications

Principal Interactions

Works closely with Program staff, reporting to the Executive Director. Routinely interacts with program and Project Play stakeholders and handles outside requests for information.


  • Bachelorís or Masterís degree; with at least seven years of related experience, preferably in the sports industry or with non-profit organization
  • Strong knowledge of the landscape of youth sports, its stakeholder organizations, and the framework of Project Play
  • Ability to plan, organize and follow through with staff and a variety of constituencies
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, with an attention to detail
  • Experience in website and digital tools/content development
  • Excellent research skills, including the ability to interpret digital user experience
  • Solutions-focused mentality; ability to think strategically and creatively, while also integrating and acting on the vision of others including the Executive Director
  • Ability to foster trust with staff members, partners and other stakeholders; proven experience in leading or supporting Collective Impact initiatives a plus
  • Ability to work with minimal direction and also as part of a team in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment, with a commitment to excellence in all activities
  • Strong computer and administrative skills, particularly Microsoft Office Suite, contact databases
  • Experience in budget management a strong plus
  • Good interpersonal skills, including a desire to learn and a curiosity about whatís possible
  • Flexible scheduleósome travel and weekend work may be required

Applicants should answer two questions (each no more than one page in length), submitted on a separate Word document when uploading resume and cover letter:

1)     Please describe a time when you rallied and organized disparate parties around a key initiative, the results achieved, and the process you used to achieve those results.

2)     Project Play recognizes that parents are key agents of change in youth sports but are often lost on how to effectively guide their child -- or demand quality from local providers. How do you propose that Project Play 2020 attack this challenge? Please share your strategy, with a description of the key components of a parent engagement campaign including resources that could be developed to assist parents.

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against. 

Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also have the ability to meet regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute. 

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