Program Officer, Racial Justice Program (WPF)


Wellspring Philanthropic Fund (WPF) seeks a Program Officer to join its Racial Justice Program. Launched in 2016, WPF’s Racial Justice Program envisions a day when Black people and other people of color in all corners of the U.S. thrive and experience full participation in the U.S. democracy.  In service of this vision, the program provides grants and field support that build power within Black communities and communities of color creating a more just and equitable society by challenging anti-Black racism and White supremacy that perpetuate structural racism and a racialized criminalization system.

WPF seeks to hire a Racial Justice Program Officer with deep knowledge of the U.S. criminalization system who shares our core institutional and program values, including:

  • Humility: openness to listening to and learning from groups and leaders working on the ground, from colleagues in philanthropy and across WPF, and to elevating the work of our grantees, not ourselves,
  • Respect: for WPF grantees and colleagues, their perspectives, pressures, and contributions,
  • Teamwork: a desire to work collaboratively and supportively with grantees and WPF colleagues, and
  • Courage: to support work that is bold, strategic, and informed by those most impacted by criminalization and injustice.


The Racial Justice Program at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund is dynamic and growing.  Under the direction of the Racial Justice Program Director, the Racial Justice Program Officer will work in close collaboration with three program teammates to continue building out an ambitious grantmaking strategy and rooting the program within WPF and the philanthropic sector. The Program Officer’s responsibilities fall in to three broad categories, each of which is central to the role:

Grantmaking: The Racial Justice Program Officer, in collaboration with the Program Director, will shape and manage a portfolio of grantees within the Racial Justice Program grantmaking strategy.  The Program Officer must listen to and learn from the racial and criminal justice fields the program supports, including formerly incarcerated people and communities of color directly impacted by criminalization and punishment, and Black communities and other communities of color building movements for social justice.  Specific grantmaking tasks include:

  • Staying abreast of new developments and trends in the field, and providing analyses to synthesize implications for the program,
  • Undertaking initial screening of potential grantees; analyzing and assessing background information; conducting site visits; soliciting and developing funding proposals; and writing concise and clear grant recommendations,
  • Managing grantee relationships, reviewing progress reports, conducting evaluations of grantee programs, and monitoring use of grant funds, and
  • Ensuring adherence to internal grantmaking processes via appropriate documentation, grant budgeting, data entry and reporting.

Organizational engagement: The Racial Justice Program Officer will work in close alignment with others on the Racial Justice Program team and across WPF, and will contribute to the success of the program and of WPF. The Program Officer will work both independently and collaboratively toward program and WPF goals.  Organizational engagement activities will include:

  • Supporting and contributing to Racial Justice Program processes and infrastructure, including weekly meetings and annual retreats,
  • Shaping and participating in internal program presentations, including staff lunches and workshops,
  • Advancing institution‐wide initiatives, including by serving on internal committees and/or task forces,
  • Collaborating in learning and grantmaking with colleagues from across WPF, and
  • Communicating the program’s progress and challenges across the Foundation.

External Relations:  The Racial Justice Program Officer will represent WPF and the Racial Justice Program in the philanthropic community and the fields we support.  External relations activities will include:

  • Engaging with peer funders and community-based organizations working in fields relevant to the Racial Justice Program, including mass criminalization and incarceration, civic engagement, youth leadership, economic justice, public health, and narrative change,
  • Engaging in creative use of convenings, co-funding partnerships, pooled funds and other tools with different actors to promote a common grantmaking agenda and advance learning in the philanthropic and advocacy sectors, and
  • As appropriate, appearing on panels at funder conferences highlighting our grantees’ work and progress made under the program’s grantmaking strategy


The ideal candidate is passionate about social justice and building power in Black communities and communities of color, and has a bold vision of what is possible.  WPF seeks a colleague eager to learn, grow, and be part of an enterprise larger than themselves.  Candidates should possess the following knowledge, skills and qualifications:

  • Minimum of seven years of experience with a social justice organization or in philanthropy
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain close, collegial and effective working relationships with colleagues and grantees of diverse backgrounds and perspectives
  • Deep knowledge and understanding of criminalization of communities of color and the criminal justice system—personal experience with criminalization or the criminal justice system is a plus
  • Ability to think and work intersectionally, particularly with regard to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity
  • Familiarity with organizing and power building strategies
  • Strong research, analytic, problem solving and writing skills, and ability to synthesize information clearly and concisely
  • Close attention to follow-up and detail
  • Ability to communicate clearly and persuasively, orally and in writing
  • Ability to plan and manage multiple priorities on different timelines
  • Ability to handle confidential information with complete discretion
  • Ability to travel extensively (30-40% time)
  • Understands and values social justice, including racial and gender equity as an organizational operating principle – and is committed to continued learning on issues related to race, gender, equity, diversity, and inclusion.


Salary range: $110,000‐$120,000 based on experience. Wellspring offers a very generous benefits package including payment of 100% of the health insurance premiums for employees (and 80% of the premiums for spouses, domestic partners and qualified family members). Wellspring also offers other benefits including life insurance, long‐term disability protection, a group 401(k) retirement plan (with an employer match), support for continuing education, up to $5,250 in annual student loan repayment or college savings assistance for qualified dependents and is committed to providing transgender‐inclusive healthcare.


Wellspring Philanthropic Fund is a private grantmaking foundation dedicated to advancing 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.

As a private foundation, Wellspring’s key functions are to conduct research and education tailored to our mission; manage a grantmaking portfolio of various programs, administer grants and monitoring grantee performance; and work to promote the effectiveness of programs that receive donor funding.

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund believes we are strengthened by the diversity of our staff, and welcomes such diversity including race, gender identity or expression, educational attainment, disability, veteran status, and personal experience with the criminal justice system.  We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and we strongly encourage people of color and persons with disabilities to apply. We actively cultivate an institutional culture that reflects the values of respect, equity and inclusion that we seek through our work to amplify in the larger world. 

Wellspring 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 Foundation’s service needs and business requirements.  All personnel decisions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, compensation, assignment, training, promotion, discipline and discharge, are made without discrimination based on any protected characteristic as defined by law (e.g., race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, disability, gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, domestic partner status, veteran or military status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, and prior criminal convictions, as well as educational attainment.


For employment consideration, please submit application to [email protected] Subject

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

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

NOTE: At this time our preference is that applicants have work authorization to work in the United States. If you need sponsorship, please let us know in your cover letter.

The application deadline is April 22nd, 2019.

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