Program Officer (SAGE)

About the SAGE Fund

The SAGE Fund strengthens accountability for economic actors by spurring innovation in approaches and building greater field capacity in the human rights movement to address critical gaps in protection created by the global economy. The Fund works interactively with NGOs, affected communities and other partners in the field to cultivate new strategies and tools, and provides grants to pilot their development. The Fund also works with donors to facilitate field discussions and provide a vehicle for identifying opportunities for impact.

Position Summary 

The Program Officer will work closely with the SAGE Fund Director and Program Associate (both based in Baltimore, Maryland USA) to develop and manage SAGE’s grantmaking program, including identifying and vetting potential grantees and global economy approaches poised for greater development. Under the guidance of the Director, the Program Officer will analyze opportunities that emerge from the field and participate in developing new thematic areas of focus for the grantmaking program. The work of the Program Officer will consist of building and maintaining close relationships with grantee organizations, conducting ongoing outreach to identify new groups and ideas in the human rights field, soliciting and reviewing proposals, conducting due diligence of potential grantees and recommending and evaluating grants. Additional responsibilities include development and implementation of funding strategies and grantmaking best practices, among other activities.

Essential Responsibilities and Tasks  

  • Under the guidance of the Director, develop grantmaking priorities, themes and projects, proactively researching emerging issues and opportunities.
  • Identify and vet strong proposals and key opportunities (through RFP, ongoing outreach or other means), evaluate concept notes, and work with the Program Director to develop thematic grant areas.
  • Develop collaborative exchange with potential grantees, identifying ways to strengthen proposed projects and support their successful development.
  • Evaluate grant proposals, conduct due diligence, develop strategy and background memos, and prepare written grant recommendations.
  • Through meetings, site visits, phone conversations and correspondence, cultivate connections to prospective grantees and maintain deep relationships with current grantees and colleagues in the field. 
  • Develop evaluative systems to ensure grantees are meeting goals.
  • Lead site visits, meetings with grantees and organizations, and serve as grantees’ primary point of contact with the SAGE Fund.
  • Monitor issues, strategies, and funding in the field through literature reviews, research, and relevant conferences or meetings; build collaborative relationships and engage as a thought leader with donors, academics and NGOs working to advance human rights.
  • Perform other duties and responsibilities as requested.

Required Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills and Ability  

  • Minimum five years program experience in a human rights, social justice or grant making organization working on issues related to human rights in the global economy.
  • Graduate degree or equivalent experience in law, public policy, social sciences or a related field.
  • Experience working in or with human rights organizations. 
  • Demonstrated expertise in issues related to rights in the global economy: corporate accountability, economic and social rights, natural resources, and/or development.
  • Deep knowledge of the ecosystem of organizations and actors working to advance human rights in the global economy, and how local, national, regional and global efforts link together to achieve larger goals.
  • Strong external relationship skills, ability to collaborate with a wide variety of stakeholders across sectors, including financial institutions, philanthropy, the public sector, NGOs and social movements.
  • Experience writing or reviewing grant proposals, engaging in strategic planning, and evaluation.
  • Excellent judgement and ability to synthesize information.
  • Excellent analytical, research, problem solving and writing skills.
  • Strong verbal skills for communicating with broad and diverse stakeholders, and ability to communicate clearly and persuasively with people outside the human rights field. 
  • Written and oral fluency in English is required; fluency in other major languages such as French or Spanish is highly desirable. 
  • Understanding of the power differential in the funder-grantee relationship and ability to handle relationships with humility and respect; bringing the highest standards of integrity in managing and stewarding resources.

Valued and Non-Essential Education, Experience, Knowledge, Skills and Ability  

  • Strong understanding of human rights campaigns, how strategies and actions of different actors join together to advance human rights and social justice.
  • Strategic vision for the development of a vibrant movement for the advancement of accountability for human rights in the global economy. 
  • Experience living and working in countries and civil society movements outside the USA. 


  • Passion and commitment to advancing human rights accountability.  
  • Ability to drive and facilitate collaborative group decision-making processes; build consensus; and meet deadlines. 
  • Extremely well organized, detail-oriented and analytical. 
  • Sense of humor and strong team orientation.
  • Experience working on a small team in a collaborative environment (we make our own copies).
  • Close attention to detail, self-directed and ability to drive several projects forward simultaneously.
  • Intellectual quickness, curiosity, discipline, and resourcefulness. Proven strong judgment and calm under stressful conditions. 
  • Willingness and ability to travel in the US and internationally up to 25% of the year. 


Preference for a candidate who is able to work out of the SAGE Fund office located in Baltimore, Maryland USA (candidates should have legal work authorization and be eligible to work in the US). We will also consider exceptional candidates working remotely from other locations in the US or internationally, with required regular visits to the Baltimore, USA office.


Interviews will be held in-person in Baltimore, Maryland USA the week of 25-29 March 2019.

Salary and Benefits

The SAGE Fund offers a competitive salary and benefits package, including a generous 401k plan, health and dental insurance (or the equivalent for a hire outside of the US). Salary will be commensurate with experience and education.

The SAGE Fund is a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. NVF is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. NVF’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.

To Apply

Please fill out the application form and send a cover letter and resume (CV) to: [email protected]. Please make the subject line of your email: Last Name, First Name_SAGEFund_PO


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