Senior Program Officer (YEF)

Job Announcement

Senior Program Officer; Exempt Full-time; NYC Preferred (open to candidates in locations key to YEF’s vision); $85,000 – $95,000 commensurate with experience


Who We Are

The Youth Engagement Fund (YEF) is the only donor collaborative in the United States created to increase the civic participation and electoral power of young people and has been dedicated to doing so for over a decade. We are uniquely positioned to catalyze and facilitate greater philanthropic investment in building political participation and civic activism among young people, their networks, and communities to accelerate progressive social change. In 2018, YEF committed to a vision that builds the voice and agency of youth of color and marginalized young people to advance democratic governance and generate a culture of year-round civic engagement. YEF’s grantmaking principles lead through a philanthropic leadership model that: 1) demonstrates commitment to racial equity; 2) supports the advancement and power building of marginalized youth, especially youth of color and their communities; 3) adds value to building local infrastructure in geographic areas with the largest and growing numbers of communities of color; and 4) expands resources for youth focused efforts that create vehicles for youth and communities of color to lead and become life-long civic participants through issues that are important to them. YEF invests in state-based youth- focused social justice organizations –mainly in the South and Southwest –that engage youth of color and marginalized young people in civic engagement, including non-partisan voter engagement, issue and electoral campaigns. To buildgrow and catalyze resources, infrastructure, and leadership in the youth civic engagement sector, YEF provides monetary grants, serves as a connector and convener, and supports access to technical assistance to ensure youth focused groups are equipped with the tools, relationships, and structures necessary for success. YEF brings together diverse donors both institutional and individual, working across issues, and in varied regions, to enable collaborative grantmaking towards the common goals of a more reflective and inclusive democracy. We aim to build a generation of marginalized and youth leaders of color who are activating their peers and their communities into lifelong civic participation by engaging philanthropic and organizational decision-makers to make investing in youth of color one of their priorities to making the U.S. democracy reflective of all people.

A Power Building Team

Over the past year, YEF engaged in thoughtful organizational and leadership development processes to meet the demand of the socio-political moment. Going into 2020, YEF is guided by the leadership of new Executive Director, Alejandra Ruiz who has been involved in the movement for social justice for 15 years since she first shared her story as an undocumented student turned new youth voter. Alejandra comes to YEF with experience in grassroots organizing at the local and national levels, and expertise in navigating the world of philanthropy, especially with funder and donor partners invested in youth leadership and civic engagement given her most recent fundraising roles at United We Dream and Movement Voter Project. Her approach to leadership is informed by a racial justice and intersectionality lens formed by her development as a youth leader of color in the progressive movement in the United States. Joining YEF is an opportunity to be part of a new approach to building a philanthropic community towards a vision for intersectional grantmaking. Working with YEF is an opportunity to excel and grow as a leader. YEF has a strong commitment to the personal and professional development of staff.

Position Summary 

This is a top leadership position in the organization that serves with the guidance of the Executive Director, focused on supporting the growth and impact of YEF’s movement partners (grantees) and the youth civic engagement sector more broadly. The Senior Program Officer will lead and manage relationship building and partnerships with grantees including movement, training, and research partners; manage grantmaking; support the development of the YEF’s giving strategy; advance programming that builds the capacity of grantees; and work with the Executive Director to amplify YEF’s philanthropic leadership.

Core Responsibilities

  • Manage Grantee Relationships and Grantmaking
    • Evaluate ongoing work of and build relationships with existing grantees.
    • Scope new possibilities, building relationships with prospective grantees, experts and activists in the field, peer donors, and others to advance grantmaking as well as other civic engagement and social justice efforts.
    • Maintain and build an analysis of the youth civic engagement sector to build a portfolio for strategy development and implementation.
    • Design, implement and manage programming that builds the capacity of grantees.
    • Conduct research and effectively communicate findings.
    • Lead YEF’s grantmaking process, ensuring that proposal invitations and grant report requests are sent in a timely manner, and that grantees have all necessary materials and are communicated with on a regular basis.
  • Philanthropic Leadership
    • Develop strong relationships with other colleagues in philanthropy and advance YEF’s vision across all sectors of philanthropy.
    • Represent YEF at key social justice, civic engagement and philanthropy meetings and events.
    • Co-create media messaging and communications materials, such as op-eds, press releases, reports, and blogs.
  • Donor Collaborative (Board of Directors)
    • Play an active and engaging role with YEF’s Donor Collaborative.
    • Work w/ the Executive Director on communications related to field analysis and updates
    • Co-create and co-facilitate agenda for meetings and calls
  • Other duties as assigned.

Skills and Qualifications

  • Commitment to the Youth Engagement Fund’s vision.
  • Experience in social justice movements (youth and civic engagement / electoral preferred).
  • Knowledge of race, class, gender lens and experience using it in verbal and written communications.
  • Experience leading youth and/or people of color centered programs that include multiple affiliates/organizations, and rely on the participation of many.
  • Experience designing and managing capacity building / technical assistance programs.
  • Excellent team building and facilitation skills.
  • Record of success building and maintaining thorough tracking systems.
  • High comfort level in interactions with philanthropic leaders, donors, and organizational leaders.
  • Positive and energetic outlook, engaging personality.
  • A core strength in advanced listening, translation, and problem-solving skills.
  • High degree of personal organization and results-orientation that allows success in an outcomes- oriented environment.
  • Proven ability to exercise sound judgment and work independently on complex initiatives.
  • Strategic thinking capability combined with effective management and attention to details.
  • Ability to effectively and concisely communicate issues, program strategies, and results to a wide range of audiences in written and verbal communications.
  • Supervisory experience with junior staff and consultants.
  • Experience serving on an executive and/or other senior level leadership team.
  • Ability to travel multiple times a year, often cross-country, including overnight stays.


$85,000 – $95,000 commensurate with experience. A competitive benefits package includes health, dental, vision, and life insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan, paid holidays, and generous vacation and sick time. Opportunities for additional training and advancement are available.

To Apply

Please send cover letter (max 2 pages) and resume to [email protected] by September 2, 2019Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and priority will be given to applications received by August 29, 2019.

Equal Employment Opportunity: The Youth Engagement Fund is a fiscally sponsored project of NEO Philanthropy. NEO Philanthropy is an equal opportunity employer. We consider applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, or any other legally protected status.

The Youth Engagement Fund is committed to economic, racial and social justice. We aim to attract, develop and retain exceptional people, and to create a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and that enables each of us to realize our potential. Women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, and members of other historically disenfranchised populations are strongly encouraged to apply.

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