Vice President of Programs

Vice President of Programs

Public Welfare Foundation

Flexible Location (Washington, DC preferred)   |   March 9, 2021

About Public Welfare Foundation

For over seventy years, Public Welfare Foundation has supported efforts to advance justice and opportunity for people in need.

Today, the Foundation’s efforts focus on catalyzing a transformative approach to justice that is community-led, restorative, and racially just through investments in criminal justice and youth justice reforms. Public Welfare Foundation is the only foundation in the country that is singularly focused on youth and criminal justice reforms.

The Public Welfare Foundation team believes that the best ideas bubble up from communities, so it works to engage deeply in and with the communities the Foundation funds. These efforts drive transformation from multiple angles including policy advocacy, organizing, leadership development, and demonstration projects. PWF is committed to funding innovative solutions earlier in their lifecycles and investing in the leadership of those most proximate to the issues facing this nation.

With assets of over $550 million, Public Welfare Foundation makes grants nationwide and focuses its grantmaking in difficult, and often overlooked, areas where it believes it can serve as a catalyst for justice reform. In 2020, PWF was pleased to distribute $21 million in grant support to its partners. Current jurisdictions of focus for its youth and adult criminal justice work include the states of Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Louisiana, as well as the cities of Jackson, Mississippi; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Washington, D.C.

The Public Welfare Foundation team is committed to advancing a new, transformative vision of justice guided by its core values of racial equity, economic well-being, and fundamental fairness for all. A small and dedicated team of 10 people is based in Washington, D.C. and housed in the historic True Reformer Building. The staff is steeped in experience leading and building criminal justice reform, youth justice, and restorative justice programs, aligning their passion for community-driven solutions in criminal and youth justice reform. They serve under the leadership of President and CEO, Candice C. Jones, who joined the Foundation in 2017, bringing leadership experience in philanthropy, social services, and government.

For more information on Public Welfare Foundation, please visit the Foundation’s website at

The Opportunity

Public Welfare Foundation seeks a strategic and committed leader to serve as Vice President of Programs. Working in collaboration with the Foundation President and Program Team, the Vice President of Programs will play a critical role in implementing the strategic vision and direction of PWF’s grantmaking. The Vice President of Programs will provide leadership and management for the Program Team related to its grantmaking initiatives, as well as the Foundation’s role in the broader philanthropic space. As a key member of the senior team, the Vice President of Programs will provide organizational oversight of the Program’s team and will be a deep thought partner and collaborator to the Foundation’s President & CEO and Chief Financial and Administrative Officer.

This position is ideally based in Washington D.C. though location may be flexible for candidates in other parts of the country. The team is fully remote until fall 2021 but will shift to being in-office part-time after that point. When safe and appropriate, this position will include approximately 30 percent of U.S.-based travel.

Candidate Profile

The Vice President of Programs will bring experience in and a passion for effective and forward-thinking grantmaking. They will have a multi-faceted background, with experience that includes philanthropy, as well as “on the ground” work in organizing or advocacy, social services, organizational leadership, or other areas that have given first-hand professional or personal insight to the challenges faced by communities impacted by the criminal justice system.

While no candidate will bring every qualification desired for the Vice President of Programs role, the list below encapsulates the key skills, qualities, and experiences that would best prepare someone to serve in this senior leadership position. Given the Foundation’s current staff expertise in criminal justice and youth justice, there is not a requirement that the Vice President of Programs brings that specific professional background.

Philanthropy Strategy

  • Evidenced practice in developing, implementing, and evaluating philanthropic strategies, whether in a private or public foundation, with government funders, or through other grantmaking entities
  • Working knowledge of grantmaking processes and procedures, including budgeting and learning, monitoring, and evaluation practices and hyperlocal grantmaking

Organizational Value-Add

  • Analysis that centers racial equity with either professional or lived experience that has given in-depth understanding of oppression and injustice
  • Demonstrated experience taking risks and implementing participatory, innovative grantmaking or programming models that are nimble and responsive to the needs of the community being served
  • Passionate belief that the answers come from the people closest to the problems and experience in thoughtful collaboration with impacted communities

Communications and Relationship-Building

  • Excellent skills communicating in writing, verbally, and interpersonally with interest in acting as a frequent external representative of PWF through public speaking engagements, media interviews, and written materials
  • Proficient in communicating succinctly and effectively with diverse audiences to translate complex information
  • Active networks in the philanthropy community and proven skills developing partnerships and affiliations with peer funders

Executive Management

  • Experience supervising and leading teams of highly skilled professionals and collaborating around a shared vision
  • Demonstrated ability to engage in strategic, analytical, and critical thinking as it relates to overall organizational leadership and problem-solving
  • Determined commitment to and competence in working with diverse staff and building inclusivity among staff
Compensation & Benefits

For this role, Public Welfare Foundation offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits that will be discussed directly with interested candidates.


Public Welfare Foundation has engaged Koya Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Melissa Madzel and Shelby Woods through Koya’s website at: or email [email protected]. While there is not a firm deadline for applications, please submit materials as soon as possible.

All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Public Welfare Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

Diversity and equal opportunity employment reflect the core values of the Public Welfare Foundation. Employment opportunities at Public Welfare Foundation are based on individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, citizenship, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law.

Furthermore, applicants who have been impacted by the criminal justice system may apply.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part 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