Chief Program Officer

Russell Berrie Foundation | Teaneck, New Jersey


The Opportunity

The Russell Berrie Foundation, a New Jersey-based foundation dedicated to advancing innovative ideas, seeks a Chief Program Officer to strengthen the foundation's grantmaking. The Chief Program Officer will lead the Foundation's grantmaking activities and in collaboration with the CEO and other executive team members help the Foundation strengthen its analytics, alignment of funding priorities, and its impact.

The Organization

The Russell Berrie Foundation was created in 1985 to express the values and passions of Russell Berrie through social investments in innovative ideas designed to:

  • Promote the continuity and enrichment of Jewish communal life locally, regionally and in Israel
  • Support advances in medicine focusing on diabetes and humanism in medicine
  • Foster the spirit of religious understanding and pluralism
  • Recognize individuals who have made a significant difference to the lives of others
  • Elevate the profession of sales

To fulfill this vision, Trustees of The Russell Berrie Foundation are guided by the major themes set forth above, with New Jersey, Metropolitan New York, and Israel as the primary geographic foci of grantmaking.

Job Summary

The Chief Program Officer Role

The Chief Program Officer is responsible for implementing and managing all aspects of grantmaking in the Foundation's major program areas and for assisting the Foundation's leadership in developing strategic priorities for its grantmaking. The Chief Program Officer will report to the CEO and serve as a member of the executive team.

Reports To

Chief Executive Officer


Key areas of responsibility include:


  • Manage the Foundation's grantmaking process
  • Maintain a deep understanding of all grants, including their history, fit with mission, and impact
  • Lead the in-depth and critical analysis on proposals through due diligence, site visits, and research
  • Lead the establishment and management of relationships with grantees
  • Ensure grantees receive support to identify opportunities, solve problems, and build program capacity and effectiveness
  • Develop management reports on the Foundation's pre- and post-award grantmaking
  • Lead the monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of program grants
  • Work with the CFO/COO to review and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of workplans, activities, initiatives, and grantmaking systems
  • Manage program staff, foster professional development of staff, and delegate roles and responsibilities to ensure an efficient and effective grantmaking operation
  • Fully leverage the capabilities of the local Israeli staff and consultants for due diligence, site visits, grant monitoring, and learning to support best-practice grantmaking
  • Participate in Trustee and staff site visits to Israel and Rome
  • Participate in site visits and conferences locally and nationally as appropriate  


  • Collaborate with CEO, executive team, and Trustees to refine strategic priority funding areas and further derive impact goals
  • Work with the executive and program teams to frame the development of major grant initiatives and "big bets"
  • Develop a network of resources with other funders, in collaboration with the CEO, to expand the knowledge base of grantmaking and best practices
  • Lead a collaborative team to develop a year-end reflection process for staff and trustees to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies for achieving the Foundation's impact goals and/or grantmaking priorities
  • Collaborate with the CEO and Trustees to provide updates for the Foundation's communications


Qualifications and Experience

Ideally, candidates for the Chief Program Officer position will demonstrate:

  • At least 5 to 7 years' previous grantmaking experience, including management of teams.
  • Experience developing and evaluating strategic programmatic, philanthropic, or policy initiatives.
  • Facility with collecting and analyzing data as a measure of grantee and grantmaking success.
  • Awareness of and commitment to strengthening Jewish communal life and a pluralistic Israeli society.
  • Excellent written, verbal and presentation skills.
  • Familiarity with grant management software (the Foundation uses Fluxx).
  • Flexibility to adapt to evolving demands and creatively solve problems.
  • Ability to work both independently and as a member of a team.
  • Willingness to travel to Israel and other regional sites to assess progress of grant partners.
  • A Bachelor's degree (or the equivalent). Additional post-graduate study is preferred.

The Russell Berrie Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and seeks a diverse pool of candidates for this position.


Commensurate with experience

How to Apply

This search is being conducted by Schall & Russo Planning Works, LLC. Interested candidates should email (noting “Berrie Foundation CPO” in the subject line) a thoughtful cover letter and resume, in confidence, to:

Steven Schall, Schall & Russo Planning Works,  Tel: 917-207-7191

Russell Berrie Foundation