Program Officer, Racial Justice Program (WA)

Department — Racial Justice Program

Reports to — Program Director

Location — New York City

Status — Full Time

FLSA Status (OT eligibility) — Exempt


Wellspring Advisors, a private philanthropic consulting firm, seeks a Program Officer to join its new Racial Justice Program (RJ). RJ promotes equity and builds power among communities of color denied justice and opportunity because of systemic and structural racism and bias. Launched in the fall of 2016, the Racial Justice Program focuses on challenging the criminalization and punishment of people of color in the U.S., with an emphasis on the criminalization system’s impact on African Americans. Under the direction of the Racial Justice Program Director, the Program Officer will participate in developing and implementing a grantmaking strategy designed to support organizations and movements working to end mass incarceration and criminalization while increasing power for and equity of communities of color.

The work of the Program Officer will consist of staying abreast of relevant issues, trends, and policy developments, building and maintaining close relationships with grantee organizations, soliciting and reviewing proposals, recommending and evaluating grants, and participating in funder collaboratives. Additional responsibilities include development and implementation of funding strategies and grantmaking best practices, among other activities.



  • Under the guidance of the Program Director, develop grantmaking priorities and strategic approaches, proactively researching grantmaking opportunities and challenges.
  • Monitor developments in the field to identify emerging needs, gaps, and opportunities.
  • Write strategy and background papers to present and explain sets of proposed grantees and levels of funding.
  • Work with Wellspring’s Chief Learning and Evaluation Officer and other staff to integrate measurement and evaluation as well as capacity‐building and technical assistance throughout the program, internally and among grantees.
  • Partner with staff from other Wellspring program areas to share strategic thinking.


  • Undertake initial screening of potential grantees; manage grantee relationships; analyze and assess background information; conduct site visits; solicit and develop funding proposals; determine appropriate funding levels (in compliance with Wellspring guidelines); and prepare grant recommendations.
  • Review progress reports, conduct evaluations of grantee programs, and monitor use of grant funds.
  • Ensure adherence to internal grantmaking processes via appropriate documentation, grant budgeting, and reporting.
  • Stay abreast of new developments and trends and provide analyses to synthesize implications for the program.

External Relations

  • Create annual work plans, annual reports, and undertake other activities to educate donor clients on issues related to the Racial Justice Program.
  • Exercise leadership through active engagement with peer funders and civil society organizations working in fields relevant to the Racial Justice Program, including mass criminalization and incarceration, policing, juvenile justice, and criminalization’s health, economic and other consequences on individuals, families and communities.
  • Engage in creative use of convenings, co-funding, partnerships, pooled funds and/or other tools with different actors to promote a common grantmaking agenda and advance learning in the philanthropic and advocacy sectors. 

Organizational engagement

  • Actively participate in the advancement of organization‐wide initiatives.
  • Participation in internal committees and/or task forces.
  • Initiate and lead institutional discussions as needed.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Minimum of seven years of experience with a social justice organization or in philanthropy.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required.
  • Deep knowledge and understanding of the history of racial injustice, and criminalization in the U.S.; personal experience a plus.
  • Deep knowledge of national, state, and local organizations working on racial justice and criminalization, particularly those focused on the African‐American community.
  • Ability to think and work intersectionally, particularly with regard to race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
  • Experience working in coalition across a range of progressive movements and with a diverse set of actors, developing and implementing strategic plans or initiatives that engage diverse perspectives and stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain close, collegial and effective working relationships with colleagues and grantees of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
  • Excellent judgment and ability to synthesize information.
  • Strong research, analytical, problem solving and writing skills.
  • Ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.
  • Desire to work as part of a small team in a highly collaborative environment.
  • Ability to plan and manage multiple priorities on different timelines.
  • Close attention to follow-up and detail, and ability to manage time effectively (we make our own copies and schedule our own meetings).
  • Ability to handle confidential donor‐client information with complete discretion.
  • Understanding of the power differential in the funder-grantee relationship and ability to handle relationships with humility and respect.
  • Ability to travel extensively (50% time).
  • Hope and humor. 


Salary range: $100,000‐$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, and is committed to providing transgender‐inclusive healthcare. 


Established in 2001, Wellspring is a private philanthropic consulting firm that coordinates grantmaking programs that advance 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.

The firm’s services include: working with donors to develop, implement and administer giving programs that meet their philanthropic goals; conducting research and education tailored to the interests of our donors; managing programs, administering grants and monitoring grantee performance; and working to promote the effectiveness of programs that receive donor funding.

Wellspring Advisors, LLC, 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 Firm’s service needs and business requirements.

All personnel decisions are made without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic predisposition or carrier status, marital or familial status, domestic partner status, veteran or military status, sex, sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law (each a “protected characteristic”). This policy applies to all our activities, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, compensation, assignment, training, promotion, discipline and discharge. This policy also bans discriminatory harassment.


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.e. 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 February 20, 2017.

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