Chief Program Officer

Reading Is Fundamental - Washington, DC - Full time

Career Opportunity

RIF has an exciting opportunity for a Chief Program Officer who will serve as a thought leader for children’s literacy, responsible for building and providing executive-level leadership to RIF, forming partnerships with other organizations committed to this issue, and serving as a subject matter expert to many diverse audiences via various forms of media.

The CPO reports to the President and CEO and is a member of the RIF senior management team. The position will provide leadership, management and programmatic skills to the organization and the literacy community in order to impact literacy outcomes for children and provide them with the fundamental reading tools necessary to succeed. The CPO will develop effective, integrated strategies to promote RIF’s literacy mission, carry out the vision, and oversee the daily activities of the literacy team. This will include but is not limited to managing the budget, staff, and internal processes.


Program Management:

  • Serve as a visible and effective spokesperson for RIF, both verbally and in writing, to reinforce and build positive understanding of the organization. Serve as an effective advocate for RIF, children’s literacy, and RIF’s programs including READ FOR SUCCESS.
  • Develop resources to support literacy outcomes for children in support of the RIF mission, including the creation of assessments and evaluations for the READ FOR SUCCESS program.
  • Ensure RIF provides innovative solutions to the literacy needs of children and delivers support that aligns to the evolving needs of digital learners.
  • Develop and implement an integrated program strategy that includes print and digital solutions to impact children’s literacy.
  • Develop the research agenda for RIF.
  • Stay current with the latest academic research and methodology in the areas relevant to RIF’s mission and programming, incorporating it into RIF’s programs when appropriate.
  • Align with leading partners in the children’s literacy space to ensure RIF leverages all expertise in the field to have the maximum impact on children’s literacy.
  • Develop and manage department and specific project budgets; ensure wise and cost-effective spending.
  • Employ metrics to ensure programs reach short/long-term goals within critical deadlines.
  • Serve as a spokesperson for RIF at events and conferences in support of the RIF mission.
  • Collaborate with other departments to meet the goals and objectives of RIF.
  • In partnership with the senior management team and the Board, vision, develop and implement strategic plans, annual operating plans, and new services that deliver on the RIF mission and impact children’s literacy.

Organization Management:

  • Establish strong working relationships with the President, Board, and staff.
  • Identify and address RIF staff professional development needs in children's literacy and create internal training procedures to address those needs.
  • Develop and oversee the literacy team to create and communicate a relevant and consistent organizational identity.
  • Recruit, hire, supervise, evaluate and coordinate the efforts of the literacy team; encourage cross-departmental relationships.

Fundraising & Grants Management:

  • Ensure RIF is competitive for federal, state, corporate, and foundation grants related to the RIF mission, managing the process for federal and state grants.
  • Act as SME (subject matter expert) on grants for RIF.
  • Collaborate with Development department on foundation, corporate, and private fundraising as it relates to READ FOR SUCCESS programming.
  • Oversee the research, preparation, submission and implementation of grants directly related to RIF’s mission.

Qualifications Needed

  • Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree preferred.
  • Demonstrated expertise in scholarship and research; proven management and leadership abilities.
  • Track record of building partnership around common outcomes.
  • Experience in the nonprofit/education sector is highly desirable, along with experience and demonstrated expertise in designing, conducting and assessing reading, family literacy or children’s educational programs.
  • 10 - 15 years’ experience and demonstrated expertise in Educational Training and professional development, working with a variety of audiences, from parents and caregivers of children at economic disadvantages to staff in community based organizations and school and/or school system personnel.
  • Demonstrated excellence in writing ability and editing skills.
  • Previous managerial expertise of diverse staff groups in program development and administration, educational services and project/organization management in a nonprofit organization or educational institution.
  • Demonstrated ability to use intermediate and some advanced functions of Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook), the internet and web-based forms.
  • Passion and commitment to the mission and goals of RIF, its mission and programs, culture, values, history and finances; an understanding of the roles and contributions of the Books for Ownership and Literacy Services departments.
  • Comfortable interfacing with diverse publics and communities, including education, government, and corporate leaders. Sound judgment and decision-making skills, and an appropriate risk-taking/creative problem solving mentality.
  • Results-driven and ability to prioritize projects. Trustworthiness, loyalty, and credibility with senior management and other internal and external constituents. Creative, innovative, and “ahead-of-the curve” approach and mindset with ability to anticipate and embrace the possibilities. Motivational consensus- and team-builder. Professional demeanor and maturity.

How to Apply

Applicants should send a letter of interest, resume, writing sample and salary requirement by clicking on this link:

RIF offers a comprehensive benefit package including health, dental & vision plans, generous annual leave, 403(b) plan with company contribution, and company paid life and disability. For further information on RIF, please visit: Phone calls and emails regarding this opportunity are not accepted.

RIF is an equal opportunity employer. 

Apply Now

Experience Level

11 or more years

Reading Is Fundamental

Join an amazing team. Impact Children’s Literacy.

Reading is Fundamental (RIF), the nation’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit, is seeking a top-notch Education Professional who understands the impact that literacy has on the lives of children. For fifty years RIF has prepared and motivated children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most. We have inspired children to be lifelong readers through the power of choice by providing access to new books that they can make their own. The seeds of inspiration in these books have motivated children to follow their dreams and achieve their potential. Yes, it seems incredible for a book to launch a life, but it happens every day as hungry, inquisitive young minds reach out and grab hold of the new people, places, and ideas that books bring them.

Literacy remains a fundamental need and RIF is committed to delivering innovative solutions to support the most at-risk in our communities. Our most recent effort tackled the growing “summer slide” with a new, exciting evidence-based program, READ FOR SUCCESS, which builds on our founding principle of access to books to impact literacy and prepare children for success in school.

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