Program Officer (WA)

Department                                                              Civil Society Program

Reports to                                                                  Program Director

Location                                                                      Washington DC

Status                                                                            Full Time

FLSA Status (OT eligibility)                                Exempt


Wellspring Advisors, a private philanthropic organization, seeks a Program Officer to join its Civil Society Program (CS). CS seeks to help build a fully representative electorate, robustly engaged in the democratic process. Strategies include non-partisan voter engagement (registration, mobilization and education); grassroots, issue and constituency organizing; statewide coalition and issue campaign strategies; and programs addressing research, data and technology, leadership development, voting rights and election administration. The Civil Society Program’s focus is on historically under- represented constituencies, often known as the New American Majority, and in particular on communities of color.  The Civil Society strategy holds that states are an essential arena for change, and that making change is a long-term project – therefore CS invests in supporting sophisticated, multi- faceted, multi-year strategies for bringing change and grassroots empowerment to states.

Under the direction of the Program Director, the Program Officer will focus on the voter engagement, grassroots and community organizing, and state-by-state strategy elements within the Civil Society Program.

The work of the Program Officer will consist of staying abreast of relevant issues, trends, techniques and innovations in voter engagement and organizing strategies; building and maintaining close relationships with grantee organizations; soliciting and reviewing proposals, and recommending and evaluating grants; and participating in funder collaboratives. The Program Officer will be expected to maintain in- depth knowledge about politics and conditions in states where CS is engaged, about the major players and issues, and about strategies and potential strategies for change. The Program Officer will be expected to focus not just on individual organizations but on networks, coalitions and the broader ecosystem for change, and to invest themselves creatively and effectively in promoting collaboration and coordination to achieve long-term impact at ever-increasing scale. Wellspring places a high priority upon humility and discretion in the conduct of its grantmakers. But with those caveats and within those constraints, the Program Officer will be expected to be an active participant in the strategic conversations and debates within the field, and over time, as appropriate, to exert field leadership. 



  • Under the guidance of the Program Director, develop grantmaking priorities and strategic  approaches, and proactively explore and describe 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 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 and field knowledge, and pursue mutual beneficial collaboration.


  • 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 CS priorities); 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

  • With other team members, create annual work plans, annual reports, and undertake other activities to educate donors and clients on issues related to the Civil Society Program.
  • Exercise leadership through active engagement with peer funders and civil society organizations working in fields integral to or relevant to the Civil Society Program.
  • Engage in creative use of convenings, co-funding, partnerships, pooled funds and/or other tools with different actors to promote shared analyses and strategies and coordinated grantmaking agendas, and to advance learning in the philanthropic and advocacy sectors.

Organizational engagement

  • Prepare materials and presentations to educate others within Wellspring, including donors and clients, about the Civil Society Program
  • 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’ experience with social justice or non-profit organizations or in philanthropy.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required.
  • Knowledge of national, state, and local organizations working on civic and voter engagement and social justice, particularly those focused on New American Majority constituencies; personal experience a plus.
  • Knowledge of advocacy and organizing strategies; personal experience a plus.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in and build multi-racial organizations and movements
  • Experience working at both local and statewide levels, including with leaders of statewide organizations, and within ambitious statewide strategies
  • Excellent judgment and ability to synthesize information.
  • Strong research, analytical, problem solving and writing skills.
  • Ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.
  • Facility with MS Office programs, and comfort with other forms of technology, software and communications
  • 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.
  • Ability to handle confidential information with complete discretion.
  • Ability to travel extensively (25-50% time).
  • Hope and humor, resilience and determination, commitment, generosity and good cheer


  • Knowledge and understanding of the history of social justice movements in the U.S.
  • Experience interfacing with leaders at the national level, and with national social justice strategies
  • 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.
  • Understanding of the power differential in the funder-grantee relationship and ability to handle relationships with humility and respect


Salary range: starting $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 organization that operates 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.

Wellspring’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]— CS PO.” All applications must include:

  • resumé;
  • 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.

The application deadline is September 5, 2017.

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