Senior Program Officer for Racial Justice (WA)


Wellspring Advisors, a private philanthropic consulting firm, seeks a Senior Program Officer to develop and lead its racial justice initiative, with a focus on criminal justice. The successful candidate will be a seasoned professional with a minimum of 15 years of experience working on criminal justice issues in the United States and their intersection with racial justice, experience working with national and grassroots racial justice organizations, and significant experience collaborating with other funders and/or advocacy organizations on the issues of criminal and racial justice. S/he will have long-term vision, exceptional networking and collaboration skills, and a demonstrated ability to engage disparate groups that s/he will employ to develop the initiative’s strategy. S/he will be open-minded, possess strong listening skills, and communicate openly and effectively with advocates, funders, and other stakeholders on the topic of criminal and racial justice in the U.S.


Strategic planning and strategy development

The SPO will be charged with developing and executing Wellspring’s Racial Justice grantmaking strategy.

  • Design and implement a racial justice grantmaking strategy based on close consultations with the field as well as within Wellspring.  This will include
    • Building close working relationships with national and local civil society actors, including funders and advocates with diverse regional representation, representatives from Black- led organizations, and peer funders;
    • Mapping opportunities especially at the state and local level and selecting specific geographies for grantmaking;
    • Identifying where Wellspring would be value-added as a grantmaker and leveraging the expertise and relationships of existing programs;
    • Sequencing grants and coordinating grantee cohorts in order to learn during the process.
  • Support organizations, leaders, and networks to ensure a strong advocacy infrastructure and inter-connected field.
  • Serve as an internal resource and thought partner in identifying shared racial justice outcomes for Wellspring’s other domestic programs, which focus on reproductive rights and justice, sexual orientation and gender identity, children’s anti-poverty programs and family economic security, and voting rights and civic engagement.
  • Monitor developments in the field to identify emerging needs, gaps, and opportunities.
  • Write strategy and background papers to present and explain sets of proposed grantees and levels of funding.
    • Work with Wellspring’s Research and Evaluation staff to integrate measurement and evaluation as well as capacity-building and technical assistance throughout the program internally and among grantees.


  • Undertake initial screening of potential grantees; manage grantee relationships; analyze and assess background information; conduct site visits; solicit and develop funding proposals; determine appropriate funding levels (in compliance with Wellspring guidelines); prepare docket materials; monitor active grants and review progress reports.
    • Ensure adherence to internal grantmaking processes via appropriate documentation, grant budgeting, and reporting. 

External Relations

  • Educate and engage donor clients on issues related to racial justice initiatives, and Wellspring’s strategies to advance racial justice.
  • Engage with the community of aligned donors and NGOs working to advance the goals of Wellspring’s racial justice program.
  • Identify appropriate partners and collaborations to advance grantmaking strategies including, as appropriate, actively participating in conferences and workshops.

Organizational engagement

  • Actively participate in the advancement of organization-wide initiatives.
  • Other duties as assigned.



  • Minimum of fifteen years of experience working on criminal and racial justice issues in the United States (e.g., personal experience, experience in a non-profit advocacy organization, a foundation, and judicial systems). An advanced degree in a relevant field is preferred.
    • Deep knowledge of and strong relationships with leading national and grassroots organizations working on criminal and racial justice in the African-American community. 
  • Significant experience working effectively in funder collaboratives or in collaboration with grassroots and/or advocacy organizations on relevant issues.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain close, collegial, effective working relationships with colleagues and grantees of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
  • Experience in developing and implementing strategic plans or initiatives that engage diverse perspectives and stakeholders.


  • Respect, open-mindedness, and strong listening skills.
  • Strong public speaking and interpersonal skills.
  • Superior analytic skills and the ability to identify and extract critical information for communication externally with advocates, funders, and other stakeholders, as well as within Wellspring and with donors-clients.
  • Ability to handle confidential donor-client client information with complete discretion.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skillss 


  • Ability to work independently and manage own time.
  • Ability to plan and manage multiple priorities on different timelines.
  • Ability to learn quickly when confronting new issues and priorities.
  • Ability to travel domestically frequently (25%).
  • Good judgment and a good sense of humor.


Salary is commensurate with experience. Wellspring offers a very generous benefits package including payment of 100% of the premiums for employees’ (and 80% of qualified family members’) comprehensive medical coverage (hospitalization, dental and vision). Wellspring also offers life insurance, long-term disability protection, a group 401(k) retirement plan and various other benefits (all commencing the first day on the job).


Established in 2001, Wellspring is a private philanthropic consulting firm that coordinates grantmaking programs that advance the realization of human rights and social and economic justice for all people. Wellspring has offices in New York, NY, and Washington, DC.

Wellspring’s work is rooted in respect for the dignity and worth of every human being and is informed by the following beliefs:

  • Social institutions and structures should promote the full realization of human rights and human potential, and should be accountable to these ends.
  • The rights of all people are advanced when the rights of the most marginalized and vulnerable peoples are protected.
  • Social justice movements should employ means that are consistent with their ideals, and should give agency to the people whose interests they seek to advance.
  • As responsible stewards, we must strive to maximize the impact of our charitable investments.

The firm’s services include: working with donors to develop, implement and administer giving programs that meet their philanthropic goals; conducting research and education tailored to the interests of our donors; managing programs, administering grants and monitoring grantee performance; and working to promote the effectiveness of programs that receive donor funding.

Wellspring Advisors, LLC, hires, promotes and retains employees based on their professional qualifications, demonstrated abilities and work performance, as well as on the degree to which these qualities are required in the employment positions made available by the Firm’s service needs and business requirements.

All personnel decisions are made without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital or familial status, domestic partner status, veteran or military status, sex, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law (each a “protected characteristic”). This policy applies to all our activities, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, compensation, assignment, training, promotion, discipline and discharge. This policy also bans discriminatory harassment.

Wellspring offers competitive compensation and a generous benefits package including 24 days of paid time off during the first year of employment, 100% of employee health coverage (and 80% for spouses/domestic partners and family members), and a contribution/match to a 401(k) plan.


For employment consideration, please submit application to Subject Line: 

“[Your name]—RJ Senior PO.” All applications must include:

  • a résumé;
    • a thoughtful cover letter, including how you became aware of this opportunity (i.e., job portal, referral, etc.);
    • salary requirements (must specify actual amount or range); and
    • one writing sample (no less than 3 and no more than 5 pages, attached in PDF format). 

The application deadline is: June 30, 2016.