Director of Capacity Building and Community Mobilization

Position Summary

The Director of Capacity Building and Community Mobilization has the responsibility of guiding the vision for the expansion of harm reduction services in the region. As part of this position, you will oversee a strong team of professionals and harm reduction practitioners who identify and meet training and technical assistance needs, develop community action plans, and refine and model best practices around overdose prevention and response and other harm reduction practices.

The ideal candidate is an experienced manager and skilled team leader, who will work closely and collaboratively with the California and NHRC Capacity Building team. This person will be responsible for developing a culture and practices that promote inclusive leadership, teamwork, accountability, excellence, growth and a healthy work environment based on and understanding of burnout prevention. Additionally, the candidate will have experience working with and/or alongside people with lived experiences of drug use, HIV, hepatitis C, overdose, homelessness, incarceration, and sex work.

Company Overview

Company Overview

Founded in 1993, the National Harm Reduction Coalition (NHRC) is a leading advocacy and capacity-building organization dedicated to promoting the health and dignity of individuals and communities affected by drug use and structural violence. Our national organization is committed to advancing harm reduction policy and practice through our comprehensive programs. As a national organization we advance harm reduction policy and practice through six core programs:

  1. Harm reduction policy, community mobilization, and advocacy.
  2. Harm reduction resources including in-person and virtual training, self-paced online learning modules, publications, and maps to locate syringe service and naloxone programs.
  3. National and regional convenings.
  4. Grantmaking.
  5. Fiscal sponsorship.
  6. Technical assistance on overdose prevention education, hepatitis C prevention and treatment, syringe access expansion, linkages to MOUD treatment, and the U.S. opioid crisis.

Our programs center racial equity as guided by our North Star: the National Harm Reduction Coalition creates spaces, dialogue, and action that help heal the harms of racialized drug policies

Key Responsibilities

Essential Functions

  • Lead the continued expansion and development of capacity building, overdose prevention, and community mobilization activities in California and surrounding states.
  • Support the vision, creation, development, and implementation of existing and new initiatives to promote supportive environments for harm reduction services and people who use drugs in California.
  • Develop relationships with current and potential funders and actively contribute to grant writing opportunities, as needed.
  • Lead the California Harm Reduction Initiative (CHRI) in partnership with the California Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS.
  • Oversee the development, implementation, and promotion of NHRC’s capacity building, training, technical assistance, and data evaluation to grantees and non-grantee which are Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) and other harm reduction programs.
  • Provide oversight to San Francisco-based programs DOPE Project - naloxone education and distribution program, Harm Reduction Training Institute and the SRO Project - overdose prevention education in housing and shelter settings.
  • Lead local and state-level advocacy and policy initiatives such as legislative campaigns, budget requests, support for local community mobilization in collaboration with the California team, NHRC Policy Director, California Syringe Exchange Program (CASEP) coalition, and other key stakeholders.
  • Support leadership development and training of CASEP coalition, to shift power to the network of SSPs and people who use drugs/engage in sex work in California. This includes building greater leadership of BIPOC within the network and its organizations.
  • Assist NHRC Director of Contracts and Grant Making with contract development and execution, monitor contract performance, and ensure timely contract reporting.
  • Monitor and project expenditures in all projects and actively participate in budgeting activities with NHRC's finance team.
  • Work with NHRC's capacity building team to train, provide technical assistance, and develop culturally-appropriate strategies for serving underserved and disproportionately affected populations (particularly Black, Native and Latino/x), among other practices.


  • Strategic Vision: The ideal candidate should have the ability to develop and articulate a strategic vision for the expansion of harm reduction services in the region. This includes understanding the unique needs of diverse communities and identifying opportunities for growth and improvement.
  • Leadership and Team Management: As the leader of a team of professionals, the candidate should possess strong managerial skills, including the ability to motivate and inspire others, foster a culture of inclusivity and teamwork, and provide guidance and support to team members.
  • Training and Technical Assistance: The candidate should have experience in identifying training and technical assistance needs within the harm reduction field. They should be able to develop comprehensive plans to address these needs, ensuring the team is equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to deliver effective harm reduction services.
  • Best Practices and Innovation: The candidate should be well-versed in best practices related of harm reduction, overdose prevention and response, and other relevant areas. They should stay updated on emerging trends, research, and innovative approaches in the field, and guide the team in refining and modeling these practices.
  • Inclusive Leadership and Collaboration: The candidate should have experience in promoting inclusive leadership, working collaboratively with diverse stakeholders, and fostering partnerships. They should be able to build strong relationships with community members, policymakers, and organizations to advance harm reduction goals and address systemic issues.
  • Understanding of Lived Experiences: It is essential for the candidate to have a deep understanding of the experiences of individuals affected by drug use, HIV, hepatitis C, overdose, homelessness, incarceration, and sex work. This understanding should be accompanied by empathy, compassion, and a commitment to addressing the unique needs and challenges faced by these populations.
  • Burnout Prevention and Self-Care: The candidate should prioritize the well-being and health of their team by promoting a healthy work environment, implementing practices to prevent burnout, and fostering a culture of self-care and support.
  • Communication and Advocacy: Effective communication skills, both verbal and written, are crucial for this role. The candidate should be able to advocate for harm reduction services, articulate complex ideas and concepts to different audiences, and engage in public speaking and networking opportunities.
  • Organizational Excellence and Accountability: The candidate should have a strong commitment to excellence, ensuring that all activities, programs, and initiatives are carried out with a high level of quality and effectiveness. They should also foster a culture of accountability, where team members take ownership of their responsibilities and outcomes.
  • Cultural Competence: Given the diverse communities and populations served, the candidate should demonstrate cultural competence and sensitivity. They should be able to navigate and address issues related to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic backgrounds to ensure equitable and inclusive harm reduction services.


Required Education and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree in public health, social work, or equivalent work experience.
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in a director or senior leadership position or role, including demonstrated success in restructuring existing programs and developing and implementing new initiatives.
  • Experience in overdose prevention and response and/or working in supportive housing is highly desirable.
  • Minimum of 5 years of experience managing government contracts, private grants, and deliverable-based programs.

Preferred Education and Experience

  • Master’s in public health, social work, or comparable degrees preferred.
  • Experience working in a nonprofit setting; harm reduction setting preferred.
  • Bilingual: English/Spanish


Heavy local travel is required (at least 2-3 times a week) and designated travel for conferences.


We Value | We Care

Join our team and enjoy flexible work hours, a 403B retirement plan, and comprehensive health benefits including medical, dental, and vision coverage. You'll get 20 days of prorated vacation, 13 bank holidays, and 12 prorated sick days. Achieve work/life balance with summer Fridays, a summer break, and a winter break. Control healthcare expenses with our Flexible Healthcare Spending Account, Dependent Care Flexible Spending, Commuter Mass Transit Flexible Spending, and Commuter Parking Flexible Spending options. We prioritize your health, happiness, and success at NHRC.


California (Hybrid/San Francisco Office)


$80,000 - $105,000