Jobs Board

Program Officer, Criminal Justice (The MacArthur Foundation)

Company Name

The MacArthur Foundation

Company City


Company State


Job Location

The position is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Company Information

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago.

MacArthur is one of the nation’s largest independent foundations. Organizations supported by the Foundation work in about 50 countries. In addition to Chicago, MacArthur has offices in India, Mexico, and Nigeria.

Job Description

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Participate in the design, implementation, refinement and adaptation of grantmaking strategies and in planning future program strategies

  • Assist in the design of new initiatives

  • Identify prospective grant recipients and work with prospective grantees to develop proposals that advance grantmaking strategies

  • Review and evaluate proposals

  • Conduct background research and due diligence, prepare grant recommendations for administrative and Board consideration, and respond to unsuccessful proposals

  • Monitor the performance of grants and the implementation of grant strategies

  • Manage a caseload of active grants, review periodic reports and maintain accurate records and constructive contact with grantees

  • Organize meetings of prospective grantees, program advisors, and others in relevant fields

  • Keep abreast of current events, developments and issues in the field to maintain a balanced and objective perspective and approach to grantmaking

  • Write extensively for internal purposes

  • Conduct research projects and monitor the performance of research grants

  • Build and sustain relationships with colleagues across the Foundation, and with leaders, actors and organizations in relevant fields, including the public and commercial sectors

  • Represent the Foundation at conferences and other public events, including as speaker or panel participant

  • Familiarity with justice systems and change improvement is highly desired

  • Support and maintain relationships with county and municipal grantees involved in local criminal justice reform and coordinate and provide oversight of national grantees that serve as a resource network for all jurisdictions and participants in national criminal justice policy and system reform efforts

  • Build and sustain relationships with individual leaders and leadership organizations in the criminal justice and related fields

Other Duties and Responsibilities

  • Serve on internal Foundation committees as appropriate

  • Perform other duties as assigned

Job Qualifications


  • Advanced graduate training is required

  • At least five years of experience working in justice policy or related public policy areas (e.g. criminal justice systems, public administration, or systems reform)

  • Experience as a policy professional is beneficial

  • Deep knowledge and appreciation of the substance and dynamics of public policy relevant to criminal justice reform, including other public service institutions and systems

  • Demonstrate a commitment to racial equity and justice, including knowledge and experiential expertise of racial justice and/or civil rights policy

  • Able to make effective connections among state and local officials, the courts, and practitioners is essential

  • Strong interpersonal skills and proven ability to function as part of a team and excellent oral and written communications, including the ability to write for publication, and make speeches and other public presentations

  • Well-organized and efficient at managing multiple tasks, self-confidant, diplomatic and collegial, and have high professional standards and good judgment

Physical Requirements and Work Environment:

The work environment is an office setting. Intermittent physical activities will include bending, reaching, sitting, and walking during working hours. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable a person with physical disabilities to perform the job.

Regular travel is required.

The position is based in Chicago, Illinois.

How to Apply

Apply here.

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