Program Officer, Survival

About Robin Hood

Robin Hood is New York's largest poverty­fighting organization, focused on finding, funding and creating programs and schools that substantially lift the living standards of poor New Yorkers. Since its founding in 1988, Robin Hood has raised more than $2 billion in dollars, goods and services to support effective social­service providers that include job­training programs, schools, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, medical clinics, supportive housing and micro­lending. Robin Hood's board of directors pays all administrative, fundraising and evaluation costs, so 100 percent of donor’s dollars goes directly to organizations helping needy New Yorkers.

Survival Portfolio

The Survival portfolio makes grants of about $35 million to 75 grantees each year, targeting health, hunger and housing. The grants focus on immigrants, legal services, jobs, domestic violence, veterans and connecting the poor to government­subsidized benefits. Where possible, grants generate multiple poverty­reducing outcomes – for example, improving the health of low­income New Yorkers as well as placing them in jobs. The portfolio works with the city’s best performing nonprofits, government agencies, and creative policy thinkers. The idea is to bring new, replicable ideas into practice.

Program­officer Overview

Program officers at Robin Hood in general serve as a resource for existing Robin Hood grantees and as a catalyst for identifying new grantees. In the current instance, the program officer would manage Robin Hood’s grants to housing programs – programs that serve homeless individuals and low­income New Yorkers. Program officers join with senior program officers and managing directors to promote and articulate a clear and persuasive rationale for funding new and ongoing programs. This is accomplished by understanding the policy and social services landscapes and the need for a particular or various interventions, by participating in comprehensive reviews and by conducting due diligence on program models, performance and evaluating data and fiscal information.


Responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

- Manage a portfolio of 15 – 20 current grantees.

  • Monitor grantee performance through analysis of outcome data, grantee reports, site visits, independent assessment of progress or setbacks in management issues, comparing compliance with other contracts and government requirements and analysis of budgets, audits and outcome data.
  • Identify, establish and refine methods for quantifying the impact of grantee organization’s services with reference to current research studies and findings.
  • Work with Robin Hood management assistance staff to ascertain grantees’ strengths and weaknesses, especially in governance, infrastructure and technical areas.
  • Identify recommendations for management assistance interventions, prioritize interventions with grantees and track effectiveness of interventions.

- Identify and fund new, ways to powerfully help individuals at risk for homelessness, helping them achieve financial security in part by taking advantage of public and private legal services and government­subsidized benefits.

  • Identify the most innovative and effective organizations serving those who are homeless or at­risk for becoming homeless.
  • Rigorously evaluate potential grantees based on Robin Hood’s disciplined methodology for judging mission­related performance of its program grants;
  • Assess funding applicants’ organizational strengths and weaknesses as well as history and potential of the model to be funded.
  • Develop a thoughtful and clear articulation of the strengths and weaknesses of a potential grant and capture them in write­ups and presentations delivered to program staff and board oversight committees.

- Read and interpret data and tell a story about what the data means for your grantees and for New Yorkers living in poverty.

- Support development staff as needed by providing expert program knowledge in support of fundraising.

- Represent Robin Hood at external forums and conferences and act as liaison to other philanthropies and government agencies.


  • Exceptional research, writing and presentation skills.
  • Critical Thinking. Ability to conceptualize, present and explain.
  • Ability to synthesize information, distinguish important details from noise and prioritize takeaways.
  • Excellent analytical and diagnostic skills. Proficient at investigating and assessing qualitative or quantitative data, drawing useful and nuanced findings on problematic or effective areas and being adept at asking questions to refine accuracy and insightfulness.
  • Excellent organizational, planning and time­management skills.
  • Self­Starter. Skilled at completing tasks with minimal support.
  • Flexibility/Adaptability. Capacity to multi­task, switch directions and assume new or additional assignments quickly and graciously with shifting priorities and conditions. Demonstrating poise and aplomb while coping effectively with multiple and complex inputs or changes.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity. Able to identify assumptions and make forecasts with limited information, at the same time creating a framework for decision­ making and moving forward despite unanswered questions.
  • Superb communication skills. Ability to speak and write clearly, effectively, succinctly and spontaneously, especially under extreme time pressures with adherence to high standards in written and oral presentations.
  • Emotional intelligence, good judgment and humility. High degree of awareness of the immense challenges and setbacks in poverty­ fighting and social services work and the ability to acknowledge achievements of others, to share credit and to welcome feedback.
  • Thrives in a fast-­paced environment working under tight deadlines.
  • Expertise in managing programming focused on homeless or vulnerably housed populations.
  • Specific knowledge of New York City’s homeless system, providers and policies preferred.


  • B.A. and 4 years of experience required.
  • Master’s Degree preferred.
  • Experience serving low­income communities and some familiarity with NYC preferred.
  • Experience in non­profit or city/state agency preferred.
  • Experience working in a not for profit agency focused on poverty and housing and homeless services preferred.
  • Experience with complicated operational projects preferred.
  • Experience with technology­ based solutions/projects preferred.
  • Demonstrated leadership of complex project­ based initiatives involving multiple stakeholders.
  • Familiarity with multiple domains within the non­-profit management field such as research and evaluation, program development and budgeting, fundraising and grant writing, IT and data bases, board governance and fiduciary responsibilities.

Robin Hood Culture

Below are some words that describe the people who work at Robin Hood. If this sounds like you, we invite you to apply.

  • Passionate. We are driven to create, find and fund the most effective ways to fight poverty in New York City.
  • Smart. We see the end result and can make quick and thoughtful decisions to get there.
  • Creative. We generate new, unexpected answers to thorny problems.
  • Fast. We thrive on new information and new opportunities and run a continuous campaign against poverty, 12 months a year, 12 hours a day.
  • Gets Good to Great. We constantly look for opportunities to improve our work, searching for best­in­class practices where appropriate, and not reinventing the wheel.
  • Flexible. We are able and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
  • Fun. We take our work seriously, but not ourselves. We like to laugh and hang out together.






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