Program Associate

  • Full-time

Company Description

Title:                     Program Associate  

Reports to:           Program Director, Early Childhood

Status:                  Full-Time

Apply by Date:     January 20, 2023

Salary Range:      $75,000-$80,000 with an annual performance bonus between 3-7%

Location:              Chicago, IL



The Irving Harris Foundation (Foundation) enhances the quality of life for pregnant and birthing people, infants, young children, families, and communities by advancing human potential, social justice and equity, and creative experience and expression. The Foundation is a strategic grantmaker, investing approximately $13 million annually in the fields of infant and early childhood mental health, early childhood development, reproductive health and justice, arts and culture, and Jewish values in the U.S. and Israel. The Foundation’s grants aim to address root causes, leverage public and private resources, provide technical assistance, and foster collaboration through public-private and funder partnerships. Rooted in the Jewish tradition of giving back to communities, and our deep and historic commitment to Tikkun Olam (repair the world), the Irving Harris Foundation envisions a world where all people are treated with dignity and are not discriminated against based on their religion, race, ethnicity, citizenship status, gender identities, sexual orientations, education levels, and abilities.

The Foundation has embraced and worked to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in our philanthropic efforts. For the foundation, DEI is not a goal to be accomplished, but a reflective, intentional journey in which we are consistently striving toward more equitable policies, systems and communities. We continue to lean into the commitments we made as a Foundation in solidarity with Black Lives and the Foundation’s decision in 2021 to center intersectional racial equity. This includes internal work to deepen our efforts to be an antiracist organization including racial equity and culture change training, strengthening our policies and procedures, and new grantmaking practices. Externally we are centering racial equity in our grantmaking, field leadership, and special initiatives which includes increasing the amount we invest in Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) led organizations, exploring how to lift-up parent voice, focusing on community driven solutions and using our grants and field leadership to support efforts designed to dismantle systems of oppression that have and continue to cause harm.

Job Description


The Program Associate (PA) is part of our diverse team dedicated to supporting equitable care and outcomes for pregnant and birthing people, infants, young children, and families; and working with partners to advance community-driven solutions, build movements and power for systemic change, address racial, gender, and economic disparities, and cultivate and support BIPOC leadership in the fields in which we work. Reporting to the Program Director (PD), Early Childhood (EC), and in partnership with the Program Director, Reproductive Health and Justice (RHJ), the PA works to advance the vision, goals, and objectives of the EC and RHJ Program areas. The PA will work closely with the EC and RHJ Program teams to implement an array of grantmaking, capacity building, grants management, technical assistance, evaluation, communications and funder and stakeholder organizing efforts, while supporting and fostering key relationships within the Foundation and with our external field and foundation partners. In particular, the PA will assist with grantmaking, provide administrative support; including scheduling, data entry, and notetaking; conduct research, and support internal program team meetings and external partner tables that the Foundation leads. The PA will provide support to the overall EC and RHJ Program areas and help support collaboration and shared work across the EC, RHJ, Infant and Early Childhood IECMH, and JV Program areas. Finally, the PA works collaboratively with the full program team, staff, and Board to advance an intersectional approach across our work and deliver on the goals and objectives of the Foundation.


Support Strategic Grantmaking

  • Support EC and RHJ Program Directors in the grant review process including reviewing grant materials to ensure application submission is complete, following up with grant partners for missing information, scheduling and conducting notetaking for grant review meetings/calls, reporting calls, and organizational check ins, conducting data entry and filing grant partner materials into grants management system, SmartSimple
  • Manage scheduling and calendar maintenance for EC and RHJ Program Directors, including coordinating calls, meetings, and travel
  • Primarily work with EC and RHJ Program teams to prepare grant communications on grant renewals and new grants
  • Engage with organizations through meetings/calls to conduct due diligence, gather additional information, and cultivate relationships
  • Provide administrative support to EC and RHJ Program teams when conducting landscape and/or field analyses to develop strategies to inform and advance new and ongoing grantmaking as appropriate.
  • Support Program Directors with planning for Program Team meetings, virtual and in person retreats, workplan review meetings, and individual EC and RHJ program team meetings.
  • Support, maintain and contribute to the development of strong, efficient administrative systems and practices to improve the work
  • Manage the updating of grantmaking calendar and project management tools to ensure the EC, RHJ and JV Program teams meet key deadlines throughout the year.

Assist with Field Leadership and Special Initiatives

  • Assist with field leadership efforts including scheduling meetings and conducting notetaking during meetings related to the Illinois Early Childhood Funders table and the Reproductive Health and Reproductive Justice Funder table
  • Develop and cultivate relationships with foundation colleagues in the field in the fields in which we work
  • Represent the Foundation at funder convenings, committees/workgroup meetings, conferences, and other events
  • Provide support to the EC and RHJ Program teams on the development of special initiatives and projects
  • Provide administrative support to EC and RHJ Program teams for funder organizing needs and activities, including providing logistics and planning support for meetings, events, briefings, webinars, etc.

Research, Evaluation and Learning

  • Support EC and RHJ Program teams on tracking developments in the fields in which the Foundation works – including policies, best practices, model programs, advocacy and organizing campaigns, trends in funding, and movement needs.
    • Conduct research and literature reviews, prepare summaries and analyses, and synthesize trends and opportunities in the fields in which the Foundation works
    • Supports the Program Directors and Program Officers to advance collaborative work across the Foundation’s program areas of EC, RHJ, IEMHC, and JV
    • Support the Program team’s ability to evaluate its work through grant partner surveys or other tools, following up with grant partners, analyzing survey results, and managing contact lists
    • Collaborate with other members of the Foundation team to support internal project priorities
  • Deepen own learning and knowledge and professional growth in the field through conferences, meetings, webinars, etc.
  • Engage in professional development and continuous learning including involvement in funder networks and other field building/professional development opportunities that will enhance leadership development 
  • Plan, coordinate and/or participate in Program team projects as needed.

Reporting and Communications

  • Support the Program Team’s efforts to track and communicate the Foundation’s work, investments, and impact across different strategies internally and externally
  • Assist Program Team with materials in preparation for Board meetings
  • Work with Program Team to help develop visual materials that highlight the Foundation’s initiatives, field leadership, and grantees for internal use and for external use (including website, meetings/conferences, or other events) as needed

Overall Foundation Effectiveness

  • Work across the Foundation’s program areas and the Foundation overall to help advance the vision, mission, internal and external goals, and overall effectiveness of the organization
  • Support updates and revisions to grantmaking processes as we continue to advance our commitments to Trust Based Philanthropic practices
  • Participate in full team and relevant Program team meetings
  • Perform administrative and other tasks developed by Program team to support the Foundation’s vision and mission

Foundation Organizational Culture

  • Support Foundation-wide efforts to build a thriving and supportive organizational culture that is joyful, inclusive, equitable and trusting
  • Support the Foundation’s commitment to live into its values of becoming an anti-racist organization 
  • Engage and participate in workshops and consultation on racial equity including activities of the Equity Belonging and Transformation Committee


  • Commitment to Irving Harris Foundation's mission
  • Team member who values diversity, equity and inclusion and takes pride in working with and collaborating on a team that brings together diversity of thoughts, perspectives, and expression
  • Minimum of three to five years of relevant experience in a related field
  • Bachelor’s Degree required and preferably in a related field such as public policy, early childhood, child development, education, social justice, public health, maternal child health, psychology, community development, social work, journalism, and humanities.
  • Knowledge of issues related to early childhood, maternal and child health, organizing and movement building, policy, advocacy and systems-building, and racial, gender and economic justice preferred
  • Demonstrated passion for advancing social justice and equity through community driven approaches and solutions.
  • Independent and highly motivated
  • Strong program and time management skills
  • Strong interpersonal skills, and ability to collaborate and work well with internal and external partners
  • Ability to meet deadlines, independently conceptualize and manage project plans, and work on several projects simultaneously
  • Ability to be flexible, adaptable, and to think conceptually, strategically, and learn quickly
  • Demonstrated problem-solving and strong analytical, written, and verbal communication skills
  • Tech savviness - able to creatively navigate multiple platforms from Microsoft Office to o survey tools, basic web-design/updating, databases, social media platforms, video conferencing software (Zoom), etc.
  • Candidates with high levels of integrity, thoughtfulness, curiosity around creating equitable and just internal processes, and sense of humor will be prioritized.
  • Show strong growth mindset, receptivity to feedback, the ability to learn from successes and challenges, and be adaptable

Additional Information


The Foundation offers a competitive salary/benefits package and the opportunity to work with a small, collaborative, and dedicated team.

  • Competitive Fulltime Salary – salary range $75,000 - $80,000 commensurate with experience
  • Annual performance-based bonus, 3-7%
  • Professional Development Opportunities
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • 401(K) contributions of 15% after 1 year (no match required)
  • Generous employer paid Health, Dental and Vision package
  • Vacation accrual of 3 weeks in year one, increasing in year 2
  • 13 PTO days (up front) upon hire
  • Bank Holidays plus 3 floating holidays
  • Closed the week between Christmas and New Year
  • Work week 4 ½ days per week
  • One in-person collaboration day a week and access to an office at any time

The position is based in Chicago, Illinois. The Program Associate may travel on occasion.


All staff are required to be fully vaccinated upon hire with the Foundation as of their first day of employment with the Foundation. Upon hire, all are expected to provide a photocopy of their vaccination card during the onboarding process.

Equal Employment Opportunity: The Irving Harris Foundation is committed to an inclusive, fair and equitable workplace where everyone is a respected and valued member of the team. The Foundation values and actively seeks diversity in its workplace. The Foundation’s inclusive and equitable practice is embedded in recruitment, hiring, training, and promoting persons in all job classifications. The Foundation does not discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of their employment based on that individual’s race, ethnicity, color, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, age, disability, pregnancy, childbirth, medical condition, marital status, military service or veteran status, sexuality or status in any other group protected by federal, state or local law. In addition, the Foundation administers all personnel decisions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, layoffs, returns from layoffs, etc. in accordance with the principles of equal employment opportunity.

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

Apply by Date:        January 20, 2023