Program Director, Education

Program Director, Education

Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

Pittsburgh, PA   |   December 18, 2020

About the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation

The Benedum Foundation in Pittsburgh, PA is an independent foundation serving West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania. A leading place-based funder dedicated to supporting rural communities, the Foundation serves as a true partner to area organizations, getting to know the opportunities and challenges, helping to develop initiatives and projects, and forging important partnerships across entities to leverage strengths and resources. The Foundation’s grantees and partners consistently describe Benedum’s commitment, openness, and creativity alongside their leadership in thinking strategically about challenges, and deep relationships with the communities it serves. The Foundation takes seriously its role in “helping people to help themselves.”

Established by Michael and Sarah Benedum and named after their only son, who died at age 20, the Foundation is designed to exist in perpetuity and distributes at least five percent of the market value of assets each year. Since its inception in 1944, the Foundation has made more than 8,300 grants totaling over $500M. Currently, the Foundation has assets of about $370M, grants approximately $15M a year, and has an annual operating budget of $3M.

The Foundation makes grants in two program areas that serve both states: Education and Economic Development. In addition, the Foundation supports Community Development and Health & Human Services grant programs in West Virginia, and major performing arts organizations within the Cultural District of Pittsburgh.

You can learn more about the Foundation’s mission, guiding principles, and work here. An excerpt from the Fifth Codicil of Mr. Benedum’s will also provides important context on the intent of his philanthropy.

The Opportunity

The Benedum Foundation is seeking a dynamic and seasoned relationship-builder to serve as its next Program Director for Education. Given the Foundation’s hands-on and partnership-based approach to grantmaking, the Program Director will build deep and meaningful relationships with multiple constituents, experts, and potential partners in order to best leverage the assets of the community. This long-term work is in support of increased impact and learning outcomes for students in the areas served by the Foundation. This is an exciting opportunity to work closely with a particularly talented and high-performing team, including an expert Board of Trustees to create meaningful change for the people of West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The primary responsibilities of the Program Director, Education include:

  • Build relationships across the region to deeply understand the context, needs, and opportunities related to improved educational outcomes
  • In partnership, develop and execute effective multi-year grantmaking strategies in two states with distinct ecosystems related to education and governance
  • Broker deep and honest conversations to build partnerships in support of strategies and support the execution of projects as needed; build and activate teams (internally and externally) of diverse players in the ecosystem to support and drive work
  • Process, administer, and monitor grants according to Foundation policies and procedures
  • Prepare reports and other documents for the Foundation management, Board, and partners as needed
  • Work with colleagues across the Foundation as well as other grantmakers on issues of mutual interest
  • Serve as a thought leader and representative of the Foundation in meetings with grantees and partners, local, regional, and state representatives, and other public forums; leverage local and national networks in support of the work of the Foundation
  • Work closely with Data Analyst to utilize data to inform strategy development and evaluation of outcomes
Candidate Profile

As the incoming Program Director for Education, you will possess many, though perhaps not all, of the following characteristics and qualifications:

  • Strong interest in and knowledge of the region served by the Foundation (West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania) with a particular interest in rural grantmaking
  • Professional experience and network in the region, preferably as a nonprofit leader, academic practitioner, agency leader, and/or philanthropist
  • Ability to bring a learning orientation and fresh perspective to the work; knowledge of education and/or philanthropy is preferred as long as you bring an open-minded and creative approach to solutions
  • Demonstrated experience working in complex environments and with many stakeholders to creatively and strategically utilize resources to leverage change
  • Ability to listen deeply combined with outstanding written and verbal communication skills
  • Intellectual curiosity and agility with the ability to exercise initiative and creativity in developing new value-added relationships with community stakeholders
  • A warm and engaging personal style that demonstrates honesty and genuine caring
  • Strong project, time, and budget management skills
  • A self-starter who demonstrates initiative and ability to be successful working independently as appropriate
  • Willingness to travel frequently across the region (when permitted post-COVID)
  • Flexibility and willingness to work collaboratively with the Foundation team
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree in related field preferred but not required
Compensation & Benefits

The salary for the position is competitive and includes a generous benefits package.


Koya Partners has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Cassie Scarano, Managing Director, and Ariella Pasackow, Executive Search Consultant, are leading this search. To express your interest in this role please visit here.

The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation is an Affirmative Action / Equal Employment Opportunity employer, which seeks and encourages expression of interest from groups that are traditionally under-represented. 

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world. For more information about Koya Partners, visit