VP of Programs (GF)

Founded in 1994, the Gill Foundation is one of the nation’s largest funders of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality. Since its inception, the Gill Foundation has invested $342 million toward the goal of creating an America in which all people are treated equally and respectfully. 


With an annual budget of approximately $16 million and a Denver-based team of 18 people, the Gill Foundation seeks a creative idea-generator to develop a strategy to advance equality for LGBT Americans and manage a team of six program officers to execute that strategy.


The ideal candidate will embody the following guiding principles of the foundation:

  • Tolerance for risk and willingness to engage unlikely allies.
  • Nimble, reacting quickly to new ideas, information, and
  • Innovative, eschewing a business-as-usual approach.
  • Iterative, learning quickly from mistakes and pivoting to new approaches.
  • Daring and creative, embracing failure as an opportunity to learn and improve.

For more information, please visit www.gillfoundation.org.



Reporting to the CEO, the Vice President of Programs is both an internal and external foundation leader, responsible for developing and executing strategy, managing a team of program officers who implement the foundation’s priorities, and leveraging external relationships to support and strengthen the foundation’s work.


The Vice President of Programs will be an idea-generator and will intentionally create generative spaces internally and externally to develop breakthrough investment opportunities and encourage bold, measurable actions to maximize those opportunities.


The Vice President of Programs will inspire the programs team to embody the foundation’s guiding principles of being nimble, innovative, and iterative. This position manages up and down to ensure senior leadership and the programs team have the information they need to make judgment calls and represent the foundation externally.


The Vice President of Programs will leverage the experience of several key team members: 1) coordinating with the VP of Communications to infuse communications strategy into the projects and public education efforts we fund; 2) partnering with the COO to develop, implement, and manage the annual outcomes and budget, as well as ensuring that all programs and communications comply with federal, state, and local laws; 3) working with the Director of OutGiving to leverage additional funds into the foundation’s priorities; and 4) regularly engaging the programs team in brainstorming sessions to explore and develop innovative programs to advance LGBT equality.



  • Models the guiding principles of the Gill Foundation and helps ensure a mission-driven culture.
  • Generates new ideas and strategies to effectively carry out the foundation’s priorities.
  • Manages up and down effectively, prioritizing good communication inside our organization.
  • Develops the programs team, coaching them to tenaciously pursue the foundation’s goals and undertake their work with excellence and creativity.
  • Models an obsession with learning from both the successes and failures of our grantees and ensuring those lessons are incorporated into future investments.
  • Promotes curiosity and exploration of uncharted territory.




Strategy Development and Execution - 40%

  • Work with senior leadership and the board to develop and execute new, innovative ideas to achieve the foundation’s priorities.
  • Drive the monthly grant docket to align with foundation strategies and spur the team to integrate experiments, risk, and innovation into their grant portfolios.
  • Consistently develop spaces internally and externally for generative, innovative program and strategy development.
  • Travel as necessary to explore, establish, and maintain strategic relationships within and outside of the LGBT movement.
  • Keep the senior team informed about areas of alignment, improvement, and risk based on intelligence from the field.

Manage Programs Staff - 40%

  • Oversee and manage program officers implementing the foundation’s priorities.
  • Be an inspirational coach who provides guidance on strategy, priorities, goal-setting, professional development, and context to programs staff for how their day-to-day work connects with and supports the vision of the CEO and board.
  • Work with program officers to develop specific, measurable annual work plans and grantee outcomes that align with the foundation’s goals. Review and refresh work plans tri-annually, providing both clear verbal and written feedback.
  • Synthesize weekly and monthly updates provided by the programs team and use that content to drive individual meetings and identify how staff can synergize with one another.
  • Oversee the grant docket process, ensuring grants are in alignment with work plans, in compliance, and include measurable benchmarks and outcomes.
  • Review and suggest improvements to grant write-ups.
  • Guide the agenda for weekly programs team meetings and periodic retreats and provide ideas for monthly all-staff meetings.


Evaluate and Report - 10%

  • Foster a mission-driven team that learns from its successes and failures by:
    • Driving a monthly reporting process and convening the team to discuss emerging trends and lessons learned.
    • Identifying opportunities for team members to evaluate initiatives and share lessons learned.
  • Work with the COO and VP of Communications to package successes, failures, and progress toward annual outcomes for each board meeting report.


Drive Internal Communications - 10%

  • Report up.
    • Through weekly in-person meetings and regular written communications, brief the CEO and relevant senior team members on successes, emerging challenges, and concerns of programs staff, keeping the senior team updated as you drive to resolution.
    • Leverage the experience of the senior team by creating opportunities for them to engage – either individually or with the whole team – to troubleshoot particular obstacles and challenges.
  • Report down. Ensure program officers know what the senior team is doing and why.
  • Ensure information flows to the donor and communications teams. Stay current on and help provide stories, program updates, and field intelligence relevant to those teams’ goals.


Key Qualifications

  • Strategy experience in the political, business, or campaign fields.
  • Vision and agility, with the ability to think strategically, act nimbly, anticipate future consequences and trends, and incorporate them into the foundation’s plan.
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Exceptional capacity for leading and building the capabilities of a driven, bright, diverse team. The successful candidate will have management experience.
  • Excellent organizational skills, the ability to develop the processes that ensure the organization runs smoothly, and the capacity to hold staff accountable.
  • Enjoys working hard and tackling challenges. Able to act and react as necessary, even if limited information is available.
  • Understanding of budgeting and human resources.


Desired Personal Characteristics

  • Idea-generator and critical thinker.
  • Operates with excellence in mind in all matters, with the confidence to defend/debate ideas without ego interfering.
  • Ability to exercise tact and diplomacy in organizational settings.
  • Transparent, direct, and curious.
  • Disciplined self-starter.
  • Spark, imagination, and creativity.
  • Able to remain focused in the face of pressure; delivers against timelines.



This is an outstanding opportunity to work with strong leaders across the Gill Foundation. The Gill Foundation offers competitive compensation packages including base salary and health, retirement, and vacation benefits.


Equal Opportunity Employer

The Gill Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. It is our policy to provide equal employment opportunity in full compliance with all federal, state, and local laws. The foundation’s policy applies to all terms, conditions, and privileges of employment and prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, national origin, disability, height, weight, military status and any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws.


This position is based in Denver, CO. To apply please send a resume, cover letter, and applicant cover sheet to [email protected].


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  • Biz Ghormley
    published this page in Job Board 2018-10-11 10:06:49 -0400