Director of Grants Programs (CRUS)


Through the power of entertainment, Comic Relief US mobilizes the masses to create awareness, inspire participation, and raise money to support organizations that address the important/critical/key global issues identified within the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our organization and our work is a powerful platform to bring together the public who donate and the grantees through which funds are put to work, providing services and support to address short term needs and create long term change. We partner with organizations to amplify our collective impact through a range of campaigns, programs and grants. By creating a movement accessible to all, fueled by hope and positivity, we believe we can help create a just world, free from poverty, and full of opportunity.

Launched in the US five years ago, Comic Relief US has raised over $260MM, mainly through its signature campaign Red Nose Day, aimed at alleviating child poverty by ensuring children in need are safe, healthy and educated. Red Nose Day is generously supported by core partners including Walgreens, NBC, and Mars Wrigley M&M’S, as well as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With the money raised through Red Nose Day, Comic Relief US makes grants to over 25 nonprofit partners, such as Covenant House, Save the Children and Laureus, to support programs for children living in poverty, in America across all 50 states and Puerto Rico and internationally in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Through these efforts, Red Nose Day has positively impacted nearly 25 million children in America and around the world. Comic Relief US is a sister organization to Comic Relief UK, which has raised over $1 billion since its launch in the UK in 1988. Comic Relief was co-founded by Richard Curtis, a film writer and director, behind films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Love Actually, and Mr. Bean. Richard is also a UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate.

With five years of steady success, Comic Relief US is now looking forward to evolving and diversifying its platform, scaling the organization for growth, and increasing the ability to drive material benefit to those in need throughout the year. In September 2019, Comic Relief US brought in a new CEO, Alison Moore, with extensive experience as a top executive in the media and technology industries, where she has successfully expanded business operations and growth initiatives for a number of content-driven organizations and world-renowned brands. With strong support from the Board, in the past five months, Alison has articulated a new strategic vision to drive the continued growth of Comic Relief US and expand its role as a leading philanthropic player in the United States, creating a new, innovative roadmap for Comic Relief US to engage with audiences, corporate partners, foundations, and grantee partners. Powered by this new approach, the organization seeks an experienced VP of HR / People, to help support and build as we drive the dynamic plan ahead.


The Director of Grant Programs will partner with the Senior Vice President in delivering a strategic and effective grants program that enables Comic Relief US (CR-US) to achieve its vision of a just world free from poverty. The Director is responsible for managing the Red Nose Day (RND) grants portfolio to ensure it aligns with the 2020-25 grants strategy. This position also serves as a senior relationship manager for Grantee Partners with regard to Red Nose Day campaign support and year-round Comic Relief partnership. The geographic focus of the Red Nose Day Fund is both domestic and international and this Director would hold responsibility for grantmaking in 30+ countries including the United States. One special focus of the role is growing the RND portfolio in Latin America. The Director reports to the SVP of Grant Programs. S/he supervises the Grant Program & Communications Manager. S/he also supervises an additional Grant Program Manager on the development of the Opportunity Grants portfolio and on portfolio monitoring and evaluation. The Director is a member of the Grant Program Team and supports the SVP of Grant Programs in promoting the engagement and growth of all Team members.


Strategy and Program Development (20%)

● Collaborate with SVP of Grant Programs to design, refine and implement the Comic Relief/Red Nose Day grantmaking strategy.

● Participate in thought leadership bodies and external meetings on behalf of Comic Relief; bring learnings to bear on grantmaking portfolio.

● Research trends, interview experts and identify opportunities to extend the reach of high-impact programs serving low-income children and youth domestically and globally.

● As part of the Opportunity Grants portfolio, develop new funding initiatives and research and identify potential grantees.

● Lead on strategic decisions for rapid response/natural disaster-related grantmaking. Monitor natural disasters as they occur both domestically and internationally.

Grantmaking (60%)

● Serve as senior relationship manager for Grantee Partners; nurture and strengthen collaborative, supportive relationships with grantees, community leaders and funders; facilitate connections and partnerships across the portfolio.

● Manage a diverse portfolio of domestic and international grantee partners aligned with the mandate to end child poverty.

● Oversee assessment of letters of inquiry/concept notes and proposals, review grant evaluations conducted by a team of Independent Assessors.

● Partner on the preparation and facilitation of quarterly grantee calls; work with the full Grant Team in designing and conducting topical grantee gatherings.

● Participate in Assessor Team meetings and engage on grants assessments and research.

● Conduct grant assessments as needed and manage a select number of grants directly.

● Collaborate with CR-US fundraising team on management of matching grant partnerships.

● Partner with the Grant Program Manager on the development and management of the financial model for grantmaking.

● Work with consultants and/or others to institute relevant trainings or initiatives to support grantees’ capacity building.

● Manage production of grant docket for Grants Committee and Board of Directors including producing executive summaries of grant proposals and assessments.

● Participate in and present information as required during Grant Committee Meetings.

● Maintain a close relationship with her/his grantmaking counterpart at Comic Relief UK (sister organization to CR-US).

Evaluation and Learning (10%)

● Partner with Grant Program Manager on the design and implementation of a MEL (monitoring, evaluation and learning) strategy for the Red Nose Day Fund portfolio.

● Monitor the activities of funded organizations and projects; reviewing and analyzing grantee reports; assessing grant program trends, outcomes and impact.

● Monitor external, internal and programmatic risks to programs; proactively communicate risks to SVP of Grant Programs and Grants Committee as needed.

● Share learnings with the Grant Team, Assessors and organization at large.

● Conduct MEL site visits with Grantees (domestic and global) as needed.

Safeguarding and Cross-Departmental Coordination (5%)

● Serve as the Safeguarding Compliance Officer; partner with and support the Permanent Safeguarding Officer.

● Manage organizations’ safeguarding policies and practices.

● Design and run an annual safeguarding training for all staff.

● Consult with and support other CR-US departments in leveraging grantee-provided assets to ensure the dignity and privacy of featured person(s) and serve as primary liaison between other departments and the relevant marketing, communications, PR, creative, digital and talent counterparts at Grantee Partners.

● Present on grantmaking activities and impact to relevant CR-US teams as required.

Impact Communications (5%)

● Provide input on the development of concise and compelling communications about CR-US grantmaking and social impact that can be used for marketing and public engagement.

● Ensure the Grant Team provides content needed to produce the Red Nose Day Campaign.

● Provide child safeguarding guidance on filming projects to ensure that CR-US relationships with Grantee Partners are protected and RND's impact is portrayed accurately and ethically; working with the Grant Programs and Communications Manager, connect film crews with relevant Grantee Partners, participate in briefing calls, and attend filming trips as required.

● Produce or provide feedback on impact-related content; research and write issue briefs/talking points for senior leaders.

Other duties as required.


Education and Background:

The Director will have a good understanding of professional grantmaking in a foundation environment, understanding of work in the nonprofit sector, and a strong desire to work with and support the Foundation’s grantees. Additional experience includes:

  • A minimum of seven (7) years of experience funding and/or directing programs in the field of poverty alleviation, particularly in addressing the needs of children, is essential; experience in both domestic and international is preferred.
  • Demonstrated commitment through lived and/or work experience, educational background, and volunteer experience to poverty alleviation and social justice is essential.
  • Undergraduate degree in a related field is required.
  • Master’s degree in a related field – along with fluency in Spanish - is ideal.


Skills and Qualities:

  • Passionate about and committed to Comic Relief’s mission, vision and values.
  • Demonstrated leadership in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.
  • Commitment to social change and to learning from and with nonprofit partners.
  • Deep analytical skills in the organizational, programmatic, and financial arenas.
  • Strong participatory leadership, management, and organizational development skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead teams and to cultivate trust and positive relationships internally at different levels of the organization and externally with grantee partners and the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors.
  • Professional with a demeanor demonstrating integrity, humility, respect, cultural sensitivity, and flexibility to represent the foundation in diverse forums and organizational relationships.
  • Strong written communication skills, along with highly effective oral communications and engaging presentation skills.
  • Strength in working in a fast-paced environment, under pressure and meeting deadlines.
  • Ability to travel in the local grantmaking area (~10%) balancing time in the field with internal Foundation needs.
  • Great sense of humor.


Commensurate with Experience

How to Apply:

Please email your resume and cover letter to [email protected] with the subject line “Director of Grant Programs position” by August 7, 2020. 

Comic Relief US values diversity and is committed to the recruitment and retention of individuals of underrepresented backgrounds including with regard to race, religion, gender and sexual orientation. For more information on this commitment, please see our DEI statement here:

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