The Wallace Foundation
New York, NY
Background: The Wallace Foundation — an independent, national, New York-based philanthropy with $2 billion in assets – 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 mission is to foster equity and improvements in learning and enrichment for young people, and in the arts for everyone. Their work is grounded by their core values, which guide how they work together, and their mission and approach, which describes what they do. They aim to create a workplace where all can thrive and contribute to support the mission.
Wallace Foundation Core Values
The Wallace Foundation seeks to improve complex social systems in ways that are meaningful, measurable, and sustainable. They value behavior that demonstrates a commitment to Mutual Respect and Support, Diversity, Continuous Learning, Collaboration, Excellence, and Accountability.
Wallace Foundation Approach
The foundation has an unusual approach: in each of their focus areas – Arts, Education Leadership, and Learning and Enrichment – they seek to identify, and help answer, one or more significant questions whose answers are not known but which, if known, could help propel progress more broadly. Accordingly, they work with a small number of grant recipients both to help them test new ideas and generate improvements for those they serve, and to generate evidence and insights that, when shared broadly, can improve policy and practice in an entire field. Wallace works in education leadership with approximately 100 districts in 32 states plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.
This “Wallace Approach” is reflected in the way the foundation develops its strategies and designs its initiatives. They begin by attempting to understand the context of the fields in which they work in order to identify the right unanswered questions to address. They then simultaneously fund programmatic work in the field by organizations— including technical assistance and peer learning communities—and research that studies the process and results of their efforts in order to generate improvements and insights that can benefit both the people served by the grant recipients and the field. The public reports emanating from this work support our strategy of catalyzing broad impact, acting as a source of credible, useful lessons to be disseminated to key audiences.
For more information on The Wallace Foundation and to see examples of their work, please visit http://www.wallacefoundation.org
Position: Building on Wallace’s decades-long work on principal pipelines, the Education Leadership Unit together with the interdisciplinary Education Leadership team is focused now on catalyzing an accelerated take up of principal pipelines (with several field-based and policy-based projects of large scale) and on its new Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative (ECPI). Taken together, the education leadership work is in over 110 districts in 32 states plus Puerto Rico and Washington DC.
The accelerated take-up of principal pipelines is accomplished in several ways: primarily through the use of evidence-based strategies and tools to inform Federal, State and local policy efforts, partnerships among state, district, universities and local communities. Much of this is accomplished through provision of technical assistance, facilitation support and learning communities.
The new five-year Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative (ECPI) seeks to learn whether and how districts can develop and implement comprehensive, aligned principal pipelines that produce equity-centered leaders who can help bring a district’s vision of equity to fruition. Eight school districts will each get about $8.2M for projects that will focus on equity-centered school leaders, with each district defining what equity means for them. Districts will form partnerships with local universities, state education agencies, and community organizations. This initiative will try to discover what knowledge and skills equity-centered leaders should possess; the best way to get these leaders in to schools; and how to get districts to prioritize equity-focused leadership.
Reporting to the Director of Education Leadership, the Program Officer will manage work on accelerating take-up of principal pipelines and implementation of the new Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative. Much of the education leadership work, regardless of accelerated take up or new initiatives to answer an important question for the field, uses professional learning communities to facilitate continuous improvement across all grantees. This includes networking, critical friends’ feedback on deliverables, and incorporation of the growing body of evidence.
The Program Officer will manage the effective implementation of grantee workplans toward ECPI’s five-year common goals, as well as the district’s individual goals. They will foster relationships that support the achievement of these goals, and support knowledge-sharing and dissemination of lessons learned. Program officers are key contributors to The Wallace Foundation’s success, bringing substantive field knowledge and experience to the strategy discussions that shape its initiatives. The program officer will interface with all aspects of the initiative and must demonstrate the capability to build relationships of trust, candor, and transparency both internally and externally, a collaborative approach that leads to shared problem resolution, and contribute to an environment where progress and success is recognized and built on.
As with all Wallace initiatives, ECPI has dual goals: direct benefits for the participating school districts and the development of research-based lessons for the field that can contribute new knowledge and improve educational practice more broadly.
The Program Officer will be the district partnership team’s primary contact, with the following responsibilities:
• Assist with the development of annual scopes of work and workplans, including evaluation of both successful implementation and quality of work, course-correcting as necessary
• Assist with the development and course correction of annual budgets and financial plans (including sustainability plans and identifying additional funding sources)
• Monitor, on an on-going basis, the workplan, spending and sustainability
• Identify and use technical assistance resources, both local and initiative-wide, such as:
o An equity review;
o Stakeholder engagement (local community, school boards, state);
o Assessing the quality of the preparation programs and planning/implementing improvements;
o Developing partnerships across the ecosystem; and
o Leader Tracking Systems.
• Ensure clear communications within the team and with grantees to support them in their work and as learning partners
• Develop and facilitate a process to solicit timely feedback from grantees about resources that will support them in planning and implementing their Wallace grant. Based on the input from grantees, work with the team to develop tools, templates, protocols, guidelines and associated materials that are responsive to this input
• Coordinating with the technical assistance providers across the initiative to try to minimize redundant data requests to the districts; getting the research teams data from the districts they request; assisting the research teams to get raw data from the technical assistance organizations when requested
• Networking with other ECPI grantees and past Wallace education leadership grantees (for consultation, intervisitation, etc.)
• Managing the initiative-wide technical assistance and PLCs in order to coordinate a comprehensive approach to accomplish the activities on the workplan. Includes bi-monthly convenings of the eight superintendents and, separately, of the eight project directors as well as biweekly meetings with all the ECPI consultants and coordination meetings among all technical assistance providers, consultants and research teams
• Working with the research teams to use the on-going research insights to inform the work of the district partnership teams
• Maintain up-to-date grantee record, including report reviews and feedback, to ensure the integrity of the foundations grants management database
Experience and Qualifications
• Multiyear experience at the systems level in a large urban school district, or philanthropy; Knowledge of education policy desired
• Detail-oriented with the ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment; resilient, flexible and patient
• Strong skills in Microsoft Excel or the willingness to learn
• Excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to anticipate issues before they arise
• Ability to bring together and build productive relationships with and among external parties (grantees/partners/vendors)
• Outstanding project management skill and the ability to effectively manage competing priorities
• Excellent conceptual and analytical thinking skills
• Superior communication skills: listening, writing, speaking
• Commitment to a collaborative approach that leads to open communications and shared problem resolution in an interdisciplinary team structure
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 salary for this position is $140,000.
• Health, dental and vision for employee and covered dependents at hire
• 403(b) Retirement Plan with employer contribution
• Generous Paid Time Off (PTO) and schedule of annual holidays
• Professional development initiatives for growth
• Leaves of Absence providing employees time to manage personal or family responsibilities, recover from an illness or injury, or respond to civic duties
COVID-19: The Wallace Foundation office is currently open on a voluntary basis with the expectation that staff will return in a hybrid environment in early 2022. Applicants will therefore be expected to move to and live in the New York metropolitan area.
How 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:
Please put “Wallace Foundation” in the subject line of your emailed application