U.S. Social Justice Program Officer (AF)

Organization Summary:

Founded in 2000, the Arcus Foundation is a leading global foundation dedicated to the idea that people can live in harmony with one another and the natural world. Arcus’ work is based on the belief that respect for diversity among peoples and in nature is essential to a positive future for our planet and all of its inhabitants. Arcus works with experts and advocates for change to ensure that LGBTQ people and our fellow apes thrive in a world where social and environmental justice are a reality. The Foundation works globally and has offices in New York City and Cambridge, United Kingdom.


The Arcus Foundation staff and Board of Directors are a diverse group, reflecting the diversity inherent in the world the Foundation’s work supports. The Foundation works globally to support partners in their pursuit of lasting change. The mission is driven by the vision of Arcus’ founder, Jon Stryker, and by a shared dedication to the emergent global human rights and conservation movements.


With a deep commitment to integrity and humility, the leadership and staff of the Arcus Foundation hold each other accountable for implementing the Arcus mission. This includes practicing shared leadership and recognizing, celebrating, and taking collective ownership of Arcus’ success. Because a strong work ethic and responsible decision-making should exist at all levels of leadership, the Arcus Foundation applies fact-based decision-making and encourages all staff to proactively ‘course-correct,’ to efficiently manage resources so that those Arcus serves will benefit.


The ultimate goal of the Social Justice Program is to achieve dignity, safety, inclusion, and opportunity for LGBTQ people around the world, especially those most marginalized. This is accomplished by ensuring:


  1. Increased safety in lived realities of LGBTQ people;
  2. Increased LGBTQ-affirming protections that promote full inclusion and equal opportunity; and
  3. Increased social inclusion of and public support for LGBTQ people.


Priority regions and focus areas within each have been identified based on assessments of the potential for success and opportunities for impact on a 10-year timeframe, the presence and severity of threats against LGBTQ people, and the extent to which intervention in a region or focus area might positively affect other geographies.

Arcus’ strategy rests on the understanding that some communities of LGBTQ people face more pernicious forms of systems of exclusion. Such communities and individuals live at the intersections of social identities— for example, LGBTQ individuals who are also people of color. With this knowledge, an “intersectional” analysis is used to make grant and other decisions that the Foundation believes will advance LGBTQ justice in ways that are equally resonant with the movements of racial, gender, and economic justice.


Candidate Profile:

The U.S. Social Justice Program Officer is an experienced field leader and grantmaker who will work under the direction of the Program Director to implement a program strategy that develops, supports, and evaluates the advancement of the Foundation’s goals in the social justice arena. As a member of a seven-person Social Justice team, the Program Officer will be expected to work in a fully integrated manner and actively contribute to team projects while also working collaboratively with other departments on projects of mutual concern. Implementation of the Social Justice Program strategy includes the ability to effectively execute the Foundation’s three key roles: strategic grantmaking, listening and learning, and leading in a manner that is reflective of the respect and humility that are key values of the Foundation.


In line with the Social Justice Program’s vision and philosophy, the Program Officer will work in ways that advance the program’s three goal areas and support base-building, movementbuilding, and the general self-determined power of the populations the program centers, including transgender and gender nonconforming communities, and people of color. The geographic scope will include U.S. grantees and activities, with most of the work focusing on the advancing the strategy within the Southern tier of the U.S.

Reporting to the U.S. Social Justice Program Director, the U.S. Social Justice Program Officer will be responsible for the following areas:


Strategy Advancement Through Program Development and Assessment

The Program Officer will support the U.S. Program Director in continuing to develop and improve the program’s work through learning from the field, and through the monitoring, measuring, and narrating the impact of Arcus’ efforts to advance its U.S. strategy through grantmaking and other activities.

  • Ensuring that the information and learning gathered through engagement with a wide range of activists, funders, researchers, and other experts is utilized to inform the continued development and implementation of the program’s work.
  • Supporting research, policy analysis, scoping projects and other efforts that can deepen both the Foundation’s and the field’s knowledge of the opportunities and challenges of
  • LGBTQ communities in the program’s focal geographies.
  • Supporting the U.S. Social Justice Program Director and the Social Justice Program Vice
  • President by gathering relevant data from grant reports and other sources to enable the
  • Foundation to assess the impact and tell the stories of its grantmaking in the context of the movement ecosystems being supported.
  • Participating in Social Justice team discussions to provide input into the Foundation’s overall learning and evaluation processes, guidelines, and systems.


Implementation of Program Strategy Through Grantmaking

  • The Program Officer will manage a portfolio of grants and related activities that advance the Program’s strategic goals, including annual grant cycles and stewarding grantee relationships within that portfolio.
  • Engaging in deep consultation with leaders in the LGBTQ and allied social justice
  • movements and various stakeholders to determine key issues and opportunities for the Arcus Foundation’s work, convening grantees and others, when appropriate.
  • Learning and applying the full range of Arcus grantmaking policies and procedures and working collaboratively with the Grants Management team.
  • In consultation with the U.S. Program Director, ensuring that the managed portfolio is aligned with strategic objectives and that the annual grantmaking budget for the U.S. is expended appropriately.


Ensuring that Strategy and Its Implementation Are Informed by Field Engagement

The Program Officer will contribute to shaping and promoting the Arcus Foundation as an

impactful, values-driven philanthropic partner.

  • Connecting the Foundation with various relevant sectors of the U.S. LGBTQ and allied social justice movements to help build authentic relationships with potential and active grantees, with colleague funders, and with other stakeholders of philanthropy and social justice.
  • Leveraging additional resources from other donors to support program strategies and to supporting the U.S. Program Director’s efforts to develop creative mechanisms for collaborative grantmaking.
  • Engaging in speaking, writing, public advocacy, and other leadership strategies to promote the Foundation’s values and goals in relevant forums.

The Program Officer will be expected to affirmatively contribute to a positive organizational culture of constructive collaboration through participating in staff meetings, board meetings, and organizational retreats. This is a full-time position located in New York, NY.



While we understand that applicants may not embody every skill or experience, a strong candidate will demonstrate many of the qualifications and attributes listed below.

  • Passion for the Arcus Foundation mission with strong credibility as a social justice advocate and experience in building power and voice among marginalized communities
  • Previous work in a grantmaking organization dedicated to advancing social change
  • Specific experience in LGBTQ or allied social justice movement organizations, preferably in a leadership role
  • Demonstration of a deep intersectional analysis of SOGI, race, gender, and economic justice
  • Appreciation of the power dynamics that shape grantmaking relationships and a commitment to building trust, two-way accountability, and mutual respect with grantee organizations
  • Demonstrated ability to assess the leadership, track record, and capacity of social sector organizations and collaboratives
  • Experience analyzing, synthesizing, and presenting data and information with desire to learn monitoring/evaluation techniques
  • Flexibility in schedule to travel domestically 30% of time
  • BA/BS degree or advanced degree preferred, but not required


Key professional and personal characteristics will include:

  • A minimum of 10 years of professional work experience, with three-five in a program officer or comparable role, such as project manager, program director, chief of staff, or director of planning/special projects
  • Proven track record planning and managing multiple complex projects and initiatives;
  • Extremely strong organization skills, with great attention to detail; History of taking a conceptual project vision or goal and translating it into concrete objectives and steps
  • Demonstrated ability to meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment with competing priorities
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills; Confidence and public speaking ability to represent Arcus with diverse audiences
  • Comfort with ambiguity and willingness to be flexible and adaptable to changes in the needs of the Foundation’s various initiatives
  • Collaborative team and cross-team approach with a proactive and self-motivated work style; Ability to partner with and bring out the best in a variety of colleagues, stakeholders, and partners
  • Ability to handle confidential information with complete discretion
  • Sensitivity and respect for cultural values, practices, beliefs, and social experiences of diverse communities, including race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV status, age, and ethnicity
  • Solid decision-making ability, independence, and initiative; Ability to create systems and solve difficult problems using sound judgment and analysis


Application Process:

Please submit a cover letter and resume through the employment page of the Arcus website.

Priority consideration will be given to applications received by Tuesday, August 4, 2020.


The Arcus Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and is firmly committed to complying with all federal, state, and local equal employment opportunity laws. The Arcus Foundation prohibits discrimination against employees and applicants for employment because of the individual’s race or color, religion or creed, immigrant, citizenship or non-citizen status, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, sexual and reproductive health decisions or decision-making (of employees or their dependents), disability, marital status, familial status, domestic partnership status, genetic information or predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, preemployment arrest record, or any other characteristic protected by law. The Arcus Foundation also considers for employment qualified applicants with criminal histories consistent with federal, state, and local law.


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.