The Wallace Foundation

Program Officer, Education Leadership

To Apply

The Wallace Foundation has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:

Elly Kirschner, Senior Director
Harris Rand Lusk, 260 Madison Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10016

Please send resume and cover letter with “Wallace Program Officer” in the subject line of your email to: ekirschner@harrisrand.com

Background: The Wallace Foundation, an independent, national philanthropy based in New York City, traces its origins back more than half a century to DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of The Reader’s Digest Association. The Foundation’s work is grounded in their mission to foster equity and improvements in learning and enrichment for young people, and in the arts for everyone. Their core values guide how they work together and with their partners. The Foundation aspires to create an engaging and inclusive work environment based on mutual trust and respect, and driven by equity, diversity, transparency, collaboration, and continuous learning.

Wallace Philanthropic Strategy

The Wallace Foundation funds the development of long-term, inquiry-led approaches to creating a more equitable society by working in partnership with grantees and others, locally and in the field, to explore and document innovative approaches to important problems of practice. We then take the lessons and evidence from this work and disseminate them to support the spread of evidence-based improvements in policy and practice nationwide. We work in three focus areas: the arts, education leadership, and youth development.

The organizational culture at Wallace prioritizes collaboration: after extensive engagement with actors in the relevant field and with the existing evidence base, cross- functional teams comprised of communications, program, and research staff develop strategies, initiatives, and funding decisions in each focus area. All major decisions are made collaboratively by the cross-unit teams, which allows them to benefit from diverse perspectives and the individual expertise each staff member brings to the work.

Position: The Program Officer is a key contributor to the success of the foundation’s initiatives and shares a commitment to equity and social justice for all.  The program officer brings substantive field knowledge and experience to the interdisciplinary team’s work on strategy design, ongoing refinement, and implementation; managing the work of grantees and partners to advance to overall goals of the initiative; and supporting sharing of knowledge.

Specific Responsibilities

Grant/Contracts/Partnerships Management

Act as responsible stewards of the foundation’s resources to ensure that the funded work of initiatives reflects Wallace’s “dual goals:” benefits for the foundation’s partners and those they serve, and benefits through the broader field through knowledge:

  • Manage the work with grantees to advance the overall goals of the initiative
  • Fulfill stewardship responsibilities by ensuring grantee budgets reflect the scope and deliverables; monitor spending, and review financial reports to inform future funding;
  • Maintain an up-to-date grantee record, including report reviews and feedback, conversations with grantees, and budget discussions to ensure the integrity of the foundation’s grants management database.
  • Use feedback skills effectively to build a relationship of trust, candor and transparency with grantees so that discussion of challenges and problems leads to shared problem-solving and resolution, and that progress and success is recognized and built on.
  • Prepare timely analysis of funded work to inform the discussion of strategy, initiative goals and implementation in the team and unit. Analysis includes strengths and challenges in fulfilling scope of work, options with pros/cons, and a recommendation.
  • Fulfill lead role on “strands” of work within an initiative, e.g., Professional Learning Community, conference planning, field data collection, to meet agreed-upon goals.

Participation in Teams

Actively contribute to building high-performing teams to improve how they work together, build trust, and develop strategy, design initiatives, and manage implementation to advance Wallace’s mission:

  • Fulfill individual responsibilities and commitments as assigned within the team and/or unit.
  • Work collaboratively to advance the work by contributing own perspective and listening to understand the perspectives of all members of the team.
  • Demonstrate an approach to shared problem-solving that is grounded in advancing the work, assumes good intentions, demonstrates respect, and welcomes diversity of perspectives.
  • When presenting analyses and recommendations for grants/projects/strands of work to the team, allow for all voices to be heard, consideration of options, and discussion of pros/cons to lead to a consensus.

Knowledge-sharing to catalyze broad impact

Contribute to sharing what we learn to support the foundation’s mission to catalyze broad impact in its fields of interest:

  • Contribute to sharing what is learned to support the foundation’s mission to catalyze broad impact in its fields of interest.
  • Participate in staff review of draft reports and knowledge products to ensure final documents reflect Wallace’s interdisciplinary perspective to only “say more as we know more,” and that they are respectful of the grantees whose work is presented in the report.
  • Drawing on message maps and other resources, share what is learned at conference presentations, in the local communities of our grantees, and in other venues.
  • Cultivate relationships and participate in external networks, such as funder collaborations, “grantmaker” organizations, and professional associations.


  • 8-10 years of experience as an organizational/system leader, in a program management or policy development role in the non-profit or public sector, of which 3-5 years are in a management role. Experience must be in the field of education.
  • Deep knowledge of school organization/district improvement approaches
  • Multiyear experience at the program management level in a school/education focused leadership organization, preferably in a school district, institution of higher education, or state education agency.
  • Ability to bring together and build productive relationships with and among external stakeholders (grantees/partners/vendors).
  • Exceptional project management skills, with the ability to effectively manage multiple projects and competing priorities.
  • Excellent conceptual and analytical thinking skills.
  • Outstanding communication skills: listening, writing, speaking.
  • Full-cycle grant management experience is preferred.
  • Personal commitment to learn about the interdisciplinary approach of the foundation.
  • Demonstrated collaborative approach to shared problem-solving and contributing to program design and strategy – preferably in an interdisciplinary setting – that is grounded in advancing the work, assumes good intentions, demonstrates respect, and welcomes diversity of perspectives.

The Wallace Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to maintaining a diverse workplace where differing perspectives are a source of strength.

Compensation and Benefits
The current salary for this position is in the range of $150K.

A snapshot of the foundation’s generous benefits package includes a choice of health insurance plans and a healthcare reimbursement account, 403(b) retirement plan with 15% employer contribution upon eligibility, and a community service matching gifts program recognizing employee volunteer hours with a financial contribution to a qualifying non- profit organization.

Work Location
Their regular schedule includes collaborating in-person Tuesday through Thursday at our office located in downtown Manhattan, and remotely Monday and Friday.

122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY 10168