Program Officer, Racial Justice Program

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund (WPF) is a private grantmaking foundation dedicated to advancing the realization of human rights and social and economic justice for all people. With 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.

Core to Wellspring’s commitment to social justice, the Racial Justice Program (RJP) seeks to confront and dismantle entrenched racism and related intersecting systems of oppression, and to build a racially just society in which Black people in all their diversity experience liberation, safety, and dignity. WPF now seeks a Program Officer to join its Racial Justice Program (RJP) who will lead a new portfolio of work dedicated to transforming the United States’ racialized economic system. This new Liberation Economy theme aims to build a more inclusive economy in which Black people and all people of color have their basic economic needs met, have economic safety and security, have their labor properly valued and compensated, and are able to leverage economic power to improve life chances. The Program Officer will be the first to oversee development and implementation of a grantmaking strategy designed to achieve these objectives:
• Advancement in national economic policies that reduce racial inequity and increase racial justice by strengthening organization and field capacity.
• Elevated research and analyses of racial impacts in policymaker and public discourse by expanding strategies, capacity, and tools.
• Expansion of fair chances to work for people with criminal histories by removing barriers to employment.

The ideal candidate will have deep knowledge of racial and economic justice, and economic policy development, to design and oversee an economic justice portfolio that helps shape pressing economic policies now, while also establishing the foundation for more racially just policies in the future. They will have experience engaging movements to drive policy change at the federal and state levels, as well as experience advancing economic justice and reducing economic inequality through policy development, organizing, advocacy, research, and analysis. The successful candidate will embody WPF Racial Justice Program’s values and approach to center anti-Black racism in its strategy and grantmaking and be drawn to the opportunity to support this important movement work as a trusted partner.


As a private grantmaking foundation with a focus on human rights and social and economic justice, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund focuses its funding in the following areas:
• Promote the realization of human rights and access to economic and social justice – including racial, gender, and economic justice – as reflected in global norms, national policies, and local practice.
• Expand the voices, dignity, and interests of the most marginalized and vulnerable communities, including women, children, people living in poverty, people of color, people with disabilities, LGBTQI people, and people affected by armed conflict and mass atrocities.
• Encourage vibrant, responsive, participatory democracy.
• Support the ability of people to hold governments and other powerful institutions and individuals accountable to the rule of law.

The Racial Justice Program (RJP) – RJP’s mission affirms its commitment to the liberation of Black people as a means to ensure a more liberated and just society for all people. The mission acknowledges the range of experiences within Black communities while asserting that Black people have a central role to play in dismantling structural racism and white supremacy, because the legacy of chattel slavery and persistent structural anti-Black racism have resulted in particularly acute harm to people of African descent in the United States. Focusing on Black liberation and power building acknowledges that improving Black people’s conditions improves conditions for all. The RJP’s work revolves around three primary themes:

• Building power in Black communities by creating a robust and sustainable, Black-led racial justice movement, grounded in a shared vision of justice, prosperity, and the wellbeing of Black people and capable of disrupting white supremacy and dismantling systemic racism.
• Shrinking the size, scope, and breadth of the U.S.’ racialized criminal legal system by reducing the number of Black people and people of color funneled into jail, prison, and other forms of correctional confinement and transforming the system into one that promotes health, safety, equity, and healing.
• Building an inclusive and equitable U.S. economy, informed by the needs and priorities of Black people and communities, which promotes and produces economic security and stability.
• Core to all work at WPF is a set of organizational and programmatic values that form the basis for how they approach the work and serve as guiding principles for Wellspring staff:
• Humility: openness to listening to and learning from groups and leaders working on the ground, from colleagues in philanthropy and across WPF, and to elevating the work of our grantees, not ourselves.
• Respect: for WPF grantees and colleagues, their perspectives, pressures, and contributions.
• Teamwork: a desire to work collaboratively and supportively with grantees and WPF.
• Curiosity: to explore, to learn, to adapt, and to innovate in developing a grantmaking portfolio that is centered on the needs, priorities, and perspectives of those most impacted.


Under the direction of the Racial Justice Program Director, the Racial Justice Program Officer will work in close collaboration with six program teammates, colleagues in the Economic Justice Program, as well as staff across the foundation. The Program Officer’s responsibilities fall in three broad categories, each of which is central to the role:

Strategy and Grantmaking
• Develop, refine, and implement grantmaking priorities and strategic approaches to advance the program’s theory of change, goals, objectives, and outcomes and contribute to strategic learning, research, evaluation, and program adaptation.
• Monitor new developments and trends in the field and provide analyses to synthesize implications for the program and ensure that Wellspring’s resources are directed appropriately toward the highest level of impact.
• Identify potential grantees and invite grantmaking proposals; build relationships and trust with prospective grantees and partners; conduct due diligence; and write grant recommendations.
• Effectively manage grantee relationships, review progress reports, conduct evaluations of grantee programs, and monitor use of grant funds.
• Act as a connector between grantees and partners, strengthening relationships across sectors and seeking opportunities for collaboration.
• Ensure adherence to internal grantmaking processes via appropriate documentation, grant budgeting, data entry, and reporting.
• Collaborate with the department of Learning and Evaluation to develop ways to evaluate grants and share learnings.

External Relations
• Engage with peer funders and external stakeholders working in fields relevant to the RJ Program by sharing best practices and integrating new learnings into the portfolio.
• Take part in creative use of learning processes, conferences, convenings, co-funding partnerships, pooled funds, and other tools to promote common and complementary grantmaking agendas and advance learning in the philanthropic and advocacy sectors.
• Participate on panels at funder conferences and other learning opportunities highlighting WPF’s grantees’ work and progress made under the program’s grantmaking strategy.
• Remain well-connected to key actors in the field and understand what new and deepening opportunities exist to lift up and support communities on the ground.

Organizational Engagement
• Support and contribute to the RJ Program team development and infrastructure, including weekly meetings and annual retreats.
• Shape and participate in internal program presentations and opportunities for shared learning.
• Advance institution‐wide initiatives, including by serving on internal committees and/or task forces.
• Contribute to educating and engaging Wellspring’s donors, leadership, other staff members, and public audiences on issues and develop program communication materials, in collaboration with the team and other Wellspring departments.


The ideal candidate brings a deep commitment to WPF’s mission and should be passionate about Black liberation. They should bring both a seriousness of purpose and a sense of joy to the work. WPF seeks a colleague eager to learn, grow, and be part of an enterprise larger than themselves. Key qualifications include:

Content Knowledge and Champion
• Minimum of twelve years’ experience in social justice, organizing, or movement work paired with deep knowledge and expertise of racial & economic justice and economic policy development at the state and federal levels; track record of shaping and implementing policies that change economic conditions for Black people.
• Deep knowledge and understanding of racism’s presence in and impact upon the U.S. economic system gained through professional and lived experience.
• Familiarity with key issues and policies that disproportionately affect Black people and how to shift systems and build power among those impacted; experience developing and implementing organizing and power building strategies.

Reasoning and Strategic Thinking
• Deep commitment to social justice, including racial and gender equity as an organizational operating principle – and maintains commitment to continued learning on issues related to race, gender, equity, and inclusion
• Excellent research and analytical skills with the ability to recognize connections and identify patterns; curiosity to seek out information and connection across a broad range of issues and synthesize information clearly and concisely.
• Sound judgment and the ability to make complex, multidimensional decisions based on both facts and experience.
• Strong oral and written communication skills and dexterity in communicating with a broad diversity of partners and audiences with clarity and authenticity.

Building Relationships and Influencing Others
• Demonstrated ability to establish and maintain close, collegial, and effective working relationships with colleagues and grantees of diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
• Strong listening skills with the ability to quickly connect and build trust.
• A collaborator and team player, someone who is open, adaptable, and leads with humility.

Portfolio Management
• Ability to plan and manage multiple priorities on different timelines.
• Sophistication and commitment to adhere to confidentiality policies and manage confidential information thoughtfully.


While this position will be based in New York, NY, please note that due to COVID-19, all WPF staff are currently working remotely. WPF anticipates being able to reopen their offices in accordance with health and safety guidelines this March 2022 at which time the position is expected to work out of the NY office on a hybrid schedule, (three days a week and outside the office two days a week). Once it is safe, travel 30-40% of the time will be required as the Program Officer builds relationships and engages with partners.

The salary range for this position is $130,000 – $145,000 based on experience. WPF offers a very generous benefits package including health insurance (with 100% of the premiums paid for employees and 80% of the premiums paid for spouses, domestic partners and qualified family members), life insurance, long‐term disability protection, 401(k) retirement plan, support for continuing education, up to $5,250 in annual student loan repayment or college savings assistance for qualified dependents, and is committed to providing transgender‐inclusive healthcare.


More information about Wellspring Philanthropic Fund may be found at:

This search is being led by Carolyn Ho and Chaz Chapman of NPAG. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website ( If we can make the application process easier through accommodation, please let us know.

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund is an equal opportunity employer who believes we are strengthened by the diversity of our staff, and welcomes such diversity including race, gender identity or expression, educational attainment, disability, veteran status, and personal experience with the criminal justice system. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and we strongly encourage people of color and persons with disabilities to apply. We actively cultivate an institutional culture that reflects the values of respect, equity, and inclusion that we seek through our work to amplify in the larger world. Since our effectiveness as a social justice grant maker is enhanced to the extent that our team includes individuals whose life experiences and perspectives have proximity to or alignment with the life experiences and perspectives of those whose interests they work to advance, BIPOC job seekers are especially encouraged to apply.

Wellspring 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 Foundations’ service needs and business requirements. All personnel decisions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring, compensation, assignment, training, promotion, discipline, and discharge, are made without discrimination based on any protected characteristic as defined by law (e.g., race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, disability, gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, marital or familial status, domestic partner status, veteran or military status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, and prior criminal histories, as well as educational attainment.

All applicants must already be legally eligible to work in the United States at the time of application to be considered for this position.

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