Senior Program Officer, Blended Literacy and Engagement (Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund)

Robin Hood Foundation - New York, New York - Full time

About Robin Hood

Founded in 1988, Robin Hood finds, fuels, and creates the most impactful and scalable solutions on economic mobility in New York City. The largest poverty fighting organization in New York City, Robin Hood partners with top nonprofits in New York City and invests in legal services, housing, meals, workforce development training, education programs, and other vital services that give New Yorkers in need the tools they need to build better lives. The programs it funds are often the first of their kind and serve as demonstration models to identify what works before being replicated in other cities. Because its Board of Directors covers 100% of all administrative, fundraising, and evaluation costs, every dollar donated goes directly to organizations helping New Yorkers in need.

While Robin Hood’s primary focus is on New York, its impact extends far beyond the borders of the city. Its pioneering, metrics-based approach has become the gold standard for charities around the nation as Robin Hood works to understand and evaluate the impact of its partners to ensure that its philanthropic dollars are utilized to maximum impact. Robin Hood also supports its community partners and their leaders with financial and strategic support and management assistance that allows those organizations to maximize their impact.

Building on our 30 years of experience, Robin Hood is expanding our impact with an explicit focus on lifting families sustainably and measurably out of poverty through supporting the most effective community partners; influencing public policy; raising our thought leadership profile; importing and exporting effective ideas and strategies nationally; and building new collaborations with strategic partners. As New York City emerges from the worst of the global pandemic, we are focused on getting families back on their feet; getting kids back on track; and getting New Yorkers back to work.

Robin Hood also understands that if we are to support families living in poverty and find permanent pathways out of poverty and towards financial independence, we must become an effective partner with government, especially at the City and State levels. We do this by leveraging the expertise of those who are closest to the challenges of poverty, including community members, community-based organizations, and others with specialized skills and knowledge. We also aim to collaborate with New York City government to fund program and policy innovations that hold the promise of expanding economic opportunity in New York City – providing nimble “risk capital” for high-potential strategies. In this way, we seek to leverage our philanthropic investments by finding ways to advance the highest-impact strategies at scale.

Given its long-standing reputation among influencers and support of over 200 New York City non-profit organizations, Robin Hood has the unique ability to be a catalyzing force for households experiencing poverty, bringing distinct constituencies together to develop and spread the most effective strategies to advance economic mobility in New York City and beyond.

About Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund

The Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund (“The Fund”) is an eight-year collaboration with the Overdeck Family Foundation and Siegel Family Endowment to unlock the potential of technology to transform learning and advance achievement for low-income students in New York City. We are just beginning our fifth year of operations with a goal of transforming New York City into a supportive ecosystem for technology-powered learning innovation.

Position Overview

The Senior Program Officer, Blended Literacy & Engagement will be responsible for advancing two priority areas:

  • A portfolio of investments focused on combining the advantages of a personalized and blended approach with high-quality, content-rich literacy instruction to boost low-income students’ (K-8) achievement. This portfolio works closely with school leaders, educators (in-service and pre-service), families and organizations to create an effective ecosystem of support within NYC. The portfolio endeavors to integrate literacy and computing education so as to effectively converge the two strategies of the Fund.
  • The Fund’s engagement efforts, including its internal community of practice geared at generating shared learning, action and support, and thought leadership and awareness building to elevate the work of the Fund and our partners to broaden the field and promote uptake and investment in blended literacy and computational thinking.

Senior Program Officers oversee Robin Hood’s current grants, serve as a resource and thought partner for community partners, and operate as a catalyst for identifying potential new investment opportunities. Senior Program Officers also articulate a clear and persuasive rationale for funding new and ongoing programs as well as identify strategic shifts that will drive even greater positive outcomes for the communities Robin Hood serves. This is accomplished by thoroughly understanding the landscape, the need and the evidence on what works, while also conducting comprehensive reviews of performance data and nonprofit organizational health. Senior Program Officers have a demonstrated track record of success in creating the programmatic and organizational impacts sought by Robin Hood.

Together with the Managing Director and the Program Officer for Computational Thinking & Learning, the Senior Program Officer will be part of a three-person team based at the Robin Hood office in Union Square, New York City.

Responsibilities

  • Manage a portfolio of existing community partners.
    • Monitor community partner performance and health through analysis of outcomes data, site visits, and independent assessment of progress or setbacks identified in management and financial reports.
    • Identify, establish and refine methods for quantifying the impact of an organization’s services with reference to current research studies and findings.
    • Develop a clear articulation of the strengths and weaknesses of a potential renewal grant and write grant recommendations and at times, presentations, for consideration by the Robin Hood Learning + Tech Fund Advisory Board and ultimate approval by the Robin Hood School Age Committee, a committee of the Robin Hood board of directors.
    • Develop contracts and negotiate annual objectives and goals with community partners.
    • Build relationships of trust and mutual respect with nonprofit leaders to support them in delivering on their mission.
    • Support the Program Officer in the collection and analysis of data and learning.
  • Explore, identify and support new approaches to lifting New Yorkers out of poverty.
    • Identify the most pressing needs for the communities served by the portfolio and explore interconnections with partners and needs addressed in other portfolios at Robin Hood, and with collaborating foundations, in particular Overdeck Family Foundation and Siegel Family Endowment.
    • Identify the most innovative or effective interventions and organizations in the field using an equity lens and taking into consideration community voice.
    • Position the Fund within the broader landscape, always seeking the greatest value-add and comparative advantage.
    • Rigorously evaluate potential investments based on Robin Hood’s disciplined methodology for judging potential performance and organizational strength.
    • Build a pipeline of new potential grants that advance the mission of the Fund, are complementary to the existing portfolio, and reflect our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
    • Develop a clear articulation of the strengths and weaknesses of a potential new grant and capture them in write-ups and presentations delivered to Robin Hood, the Fund’s Advisory Board, and Board committees.
  • Lead the Fund’s engagement efforts, including its internal community of practice, thought leadership and awareness building efforts.
    • Lead the internal community of practice and associated supports (community-facing newsletter, asset library) including devising and implementing strategic shifts to respond to partners’ changing needs as the context and work evolves.
    • Build and operationalize a strategy to elevate the Fund and its partners’ work locally and nationally, including conference presentations, earned and owned media, publications (research, opinion, evaluation, human interest) and support the Fund team and our partners in its implementation.
    • Guide the Funds’ collaboration with multiple stakeholders that go beyond the Fund’s financially supported partners (e.g. grantees), including families, education leaders, policy and advocacy organizations.
  • Identify and lead special initiatives that will directly support achieving the mission of the Fund.
  • Represent Robin Hood at external forums and conferences and act as liaison to other philanthropies and government agencies, building relationships and knowledge.
  • Collaborate with other Robin Hood departments and units, including life stage verticals, other bespoke initiatives, development and communications in support of Robin Hood organizational efforts.

Competencies

  • Strategic and creative problem solving. The ability to find thoughtful, high-impact solutions to problems.
  • Analytical and critical thinking. Exceptionally skilled at investigating and assessing qualitative or quantitative data, drawing useful and nuanced findings and being adept at asking questions to refine conclusions; a quick study.
  • Communications skills. Ability to speak and write clearly, effectively, succinctly and spontaneously, especially under time pressure and to multiple audiences. Ability to synthesize information and tell a story about what data means for portfolio grantees and for New Yorkers living in poverty.
  • Project management. Ability to understand the array of factors affecting a decision in a complex environment, and to translate those thoughts into action quickly.
  • Flexibility/Adaptability. Capacity to multi-task, switch directions and assume new or additional assignments quickly and graciously with shifting priorities and conditions.
  • Curious, learning orientation. Committed to learning and growing both individually and as a team.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity. Able to identify assumptions, make forecasts and make decisions, if required, with limited information
  • Entrepreneurial spirit. Drawn to a start-up mentality, excited to take calculated risks with the potential for outsized impact, and to continuously improve as we learn and new opportunities arise.
  • Empathy and good judgment. High degree of awareness of the immense challenges and setbacks in poverty-fighting and education work.
  • Emotional intelligence and humility. The ability to acknowledge achievements of others, to share credit and to welcome feedback.
  • Positive and can-do energy; a team player, willing to do what it takes to get the work done.
  • Demonstrated passion for leveraging technology for learning; preference for individuals with involvement in, or experience with, literacy instruction.

Qualifications

  • B.A. and at least eight years of experience required, with a demonstrated passion for education; classroom teaching experience strongly preferred; graduate degree preferred, but equivalent experience considered.
  • Relevant content background. Knowledge of literacy, educational development and landscape, and economics or another social science research skillset strongly preferred.
  • Experience convening and facilitating stakeholders across various sectors for shared buy-in and learning.
  • Experience analyzing qualitative and quantitative data from multiple, diverse data sources and drawing insightful conclusions from a diverse literature.
  • Experience with public speaking, writing and communications a plus.
  • Experience with generating and analyzing financial statements, with nonprofit exposure a plus.
  • Personal or professional experience with low-income communities and NYC preferred.
  • Exceptional abilities in critical thinking, succinct writing and oral presentation.
  • Excellent organizational, planning and time-management skills. Capacity to multi-task, take initiative, and assume new or additional work quickly and graciously.
  • Able to work collaboratively across the organization and acknowledge achievements of others.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Robin Hood is committed to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and representation in all aspects of its work. As New York City’s largest poverty-fighting organization, Robin Hood believes that building a diverse team is fundamental to its ability to effectively serve and strengthen organizations serving the most vulnerable communities in the city, and to influence the policies that affect them.

Robin Hood believes in the potential that diversity creates – deep and responsive relationships with its community partners; the ability to solve complex problems efficiently and effectively; and, most importantly, the ability of its diverse staff to work to its full capacity.

Robin Hood builds diversity, inclusion, and equity practices into all aspects of its work. Its practices, values, traditions, and beliefs are embedded in the inclusive culture that it creates. Operationally, its formal and informal structures support a work environment that advances the professional development of staff at all levels, allows for innovation, and grounds its work as poverty fighters.

In its workplace, diversity equals representation. Robin Hood seeks to attract and retain a staff that reflects the communities that it serves. Racial and ethnic diversity matter to it, as does diversity among other cultural identifiers (ability, educational background, generation, gender, gender expression religion, immigration status, military status, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status).

Diversity within Robin Hood's staff is enhanced by its efforts at meaningful inclusion. It ensures that team members are empowered to make decisions, offer actionable feedback, and share credit for team success. Further, Robin Hood seeks to develop its talent professionally and has created an intentional focus on mentorship and sponsorship, particularly of junior staff. its goal is to encourage long term talent retention and engagement, while fostering a culture of innovation.

Robin Hood Guiding Principles

As an organization committed to economic mobility, our work is grounded in the following Guiding Principles:

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Proximity and humanity
  • Risk-taking and innovation

Our professional community reflects myriad demographic characteristics, perspectives, and backgrounds, which includes various identities that reflect diversity in gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, ability, and socioeconomic status. Our colleagues have access to opportunity and advancement, as we promote fair and equitable treatment and have encouraged participation by underrepresented groups. As a team, we promote a sense of belonging, high levels of engagement, and shared respect.

  • Robin Hood puts people first. Always.
  • Robin Hood is unafraid to take action and create solutions.
  • Robin Hood is data driven and heart led.
  • Robin Hood works the coat check.

Salary and Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience. Robin Hood has excellent benefits and encourages strong work-life balance.

To Apply

Please visit our website to complete our online application.

Robin Hood is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants from diverse backgrounds and identities are encouraged to apply.

Please note that Robin Hood Foundation has adopted a COVID-19 vaccination policy to safeguard the health and well-being of our employees. As a condition of employment, Robin Hood employees are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, unless a reasonable accommodation is approved or as otherwise required by law.

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Role

Project Management

Experience Level

Mid Level

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