Program Associate, Early Childhood (IHF)


The Irving Harris Foundation (Foundation) enhances the quality of life for children, families, and communities by advancing human potential, social justice and equity, and creative experience and expression. The Foundation is a strategic grantmaker, investing approximately $13 million annually in the fields of early childhood development, reproductive health and justice, arts and culture, and Jewish values in the U.S. and Israel. The Foundation’s grants aim to address root causes, leverage public and private resources, provide technical assistance, and foster collaboration through public-private and funder partnerships.


Under the direction of the Program Director, Early Childhood and in partnership with the Program Director, Reproductive Health and Justice, the Program Associate will provide program  support to the Foundation across its program areas including grantmaking, special initiatives, and field leadership.


The Program Associate reports to the Program Director, Early Childhood


  • Manages a portfolio of local grantee organizations
  • Reviews grant application materials and reports including analyzing organization and program goals, outcomes, measures, budgets and financial data, and other relevant information; drafting grant reviews and recommendations; and conducting site
  • Supports Program team to conduct checklist review of grant applications to ensure all required materials have been submitted; requests additional information from organizations, if necessary, to complete grant reviews
  • Prepares first draft of grant write ups in EC portfolio for Program Director’s review when appropriate
  • Supports Program team to schedule and document meetings related to grantmaking, field leadership and special initiatives
  • Works closely with Program and Operations teams to support tracking of Foundation’s impact including through a leverage report and the Foundation’s grants management system, SmartSimple
  • Works with Program Director on Chicago-based early childhood issues
  • Tracks the Foundation’s investments across different strategies in EC and RHJ; develops reports and visuals of trends over time
  • Supports Program Directors and Program Officers’ ability to track and capture developments of intersectional work in EC and RHJ as needed including infant and maternal morbidity; economic, gender and racial justice; and child care
  • Works with Program Directors and Program Officers to research, analyze and synthesize trends and  opportunities in the EC and RHJ fields and translate into potential opportunities for action and  investment
  • Stays current on relevant issues, policies, exemplary programs, resources and information in the EC and RHJ field
  • Represents the Foundation at policy tables, funder convenings, committee/workgroup meetings, conferences and other events as appropriate
  • Works with Program Directors and Program Officers to develop narrative and visual materials that highlight the Foundation’s initiatives, field leadership, and  grantees for external use at meetings, conferences and other events and for website
  • Advances diversity, equity and inclusion across portfolio
  • Conducts additional research and literature reviews and prepares summaries and analyses as needed
  • Perform administrative and other tasks developed by Foundation team to support the Foundation’s vision and mission

Position Requirements and Qualifications

  • Demonstrated passion for and investment in advancing justice and equity, particularly in systems that work with infants, children, and families
  • Entrepreneurial experience or spirit; self-motivation is a must
  • Strong interpersonal skills, and ability to build successful partnerships/collaborations, including working well with networks of potential partners
  • Proven project coordination and management track record with ability to develop and implement multiple projects independently and meet required deadlines
  • Leadership experience including examples of working with and motivating groups around shared interests
  • Strong analytical, written, and verbal communication skills
  • Able to conceptualize projects and work well independently using excellent organizational skills
  • Tech savviness - able to creatively navigate multiple platforms from Microsoft Office, to survey tools, basic web-design/updating, databases, social media platforms,
  • Minimum of 3-5 years of relevant experience and Bachelor’s Degree in a relevant area Graduate Degree or working toward Graduate Degree in a relevant area preferred


Salary is commensurate with experience and qualifications. The Irving Harris Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from under-represented communities.


Interested individuals should submit a cover letter, resume and two to three-page writing sample to [email protected] by August 7, 2020, with email subject line: Application for Program Associate.

The Irving Harris Foundation is committed to an inclusive, fair and equitable workplace where everyone is a respected and valued member of the team. The Foundation values and actively seeks diversity in its workplace. The Foundation’s inclusive and equitable practice is embedded in recruitment, hiring, training, promoting persons in all job classifications. The Foundation does not discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of their employment based on that individual’s race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, age, disability, pregnancy, childbirth, medical condition, marital status, military service or veteran status, sexuality or status in any other group protected by  federal, state or local law. In addition, the Foundation administers all personnel decisions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, returns from layoffs, etc. in accordance with the principles of equal employment opportunity.