Perigee Fund was established by founder and donor Lisa Mennet, PhD. As an infant and early childhood mental health therapist to families and children, and a clinical educator and mentor to other professionals working with children and families, Dr. Mennet has experienced both the positive power of work across promotion, prevention and intervention, and the frustration from a lack of systemic training, programming, and financial resources in fields and for families. Inspired to do more, she established Perigee Fund to promote a vision of communities in which every parent and primary caregiver has access to the supports they need to care for their children with confidence and joy.
Perigee Fund is a four-year-old philanthropic organization focused on early relationships between babies and caregivers. Early relationships are the foundation for healthy child development and outcomes throughout the life-course. Pregnancy and a child’s first three years of life are a period of immense change for families. While all families experience new sources of stress and financial strain during this time, respect and resources are most essential for families affected by trauma, racism, and poverty. When healthy relationships and material supports wrap around young families, they can more easily tap into the power of joy, strength, healing, and connection.
Guided by an equity north star, Perigee is committed to advancing the fields of infant and early childhood mental health and maternal mental health, as well as ensuring prenatal-to-age-three families are supported by policies and programs that tangibly manifest as more time, money, care, and connection. Perigee invests in approaches that connect advocacy and policy, community-based family supports, practice transformation, and workforce development. Perigee’s grantees span national advocacy organizations, associations, reproductive justice and birth equity organizations, and tribal partners to name a few.
With grantmaking and programmatic investments of approximately $30M per year, Perigee Fund invests in both Washington State and national efforts. While no timelines have yet been solidified, Perigee plans to “spend down” on a 12-15 year timeline, which invites thinking and doing in ways that differ from foundations set up to exist in perpetuity.
Perigee Fund is in search of a Senior Program Officer with deep experience in the many facets of advocacy and policy. Perigee’s ideal candidate will:
• Share a passion for Perigee’s focus and vision with the baby and parent at the center.
• Embrace the opportunity to help build and evolve a young but maturing philanthropic organization.
• Demonstrate leadership through deeds and results over words toward equity, diversity, inclusion, and antiracism in policy processes and outcomes.
• Show up as both a leader and collaborator with humility.
• Be able to see and play a 3D chessboard at intersections of early childhood, family economic security, mental health, and more.
This is a senior position and qualified candidates will have ten or more years of experience spanning political strategy, policy development and implementation, and work with advocates across the federal-state-local interplay. This role is responsible for cultivating and nurturing a dynamic portfolio of state and national advocacy and policy grants across an array of prenatal-to-age-three issues. The role is also cross functional – engaging with colleagues inside the organization and across the fields in which Perigee works, proactively leading, advising, and collaborating to enhance the impact and effectiveness of others.
To-date, Perigee Fund has chosen to resource partner organizations powered by families, those with lived experience, and those with field/practice expertise to be the visible and vocal advocates. The Senior Program Officer will further shape and refine Perigee’s policy vision, priorities, agendas, and role.
As a supporting organization of Seattle Foundation, a community foundation, Perigee Fund directly resources select grantee lobbying efforts and employs its own contract lobbyist. Because of its structure, Perigee has abilities not available to or exercised by most private foundations that make this position unique and exciting.
Perigee focuses on highly visible policy issues like child care, paid family leave, and child tax credit. Perigee also focuses on critical but often invisible priorities like public funding for early childhood mental health consultation and increasing equitable access to maternal mental health resources. The new Senior Program Officer will have the skills and passion to achieve gains and bring people together across all priorities.
A sampling of the Senior Program Officer’s opportunities and contributions include:
• Participating in organizational strategic planning starting summer 2022.
• Elevating infant and maternal mental health as actionable state and national policy priorities. For example, working with federal advocacy grantees to incorporate infant and maternal mental health into the current administration’s interest in mental health as a national priority.
• Representing Perigee as a CARE Fund funding partner alongside colleagues from Ford Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Pivotal Ventures, and others.
• Nurturing a seed grant to the WA Early Childhood Policy Fellowship as it launches its first cohort of BIPOC policy fellows in Q4 2022.
• Working with other Washington State early childhood policy funders, campaign consultants, and grantees on the implantation and financing of the Fair Start for Kids Act.
• Working with all Perigee program officers to tie advocacy and policy strategies to key initiatives like Perigee’s Guaranteed Basic Income Pilot launching in 2022.
The ideal candidate brings strong commitment to Perigee’s mission and a deep background in policy and advocacy. They will bring a high level of integrity and thoughtfulness, a commitment to creating equitable and just partnerships and processes, and a collaborative style to the Perigee team. Key qualifications include:
• Minimum ten years of experience working across advocacy, political strategy, and policy. Preference for significant relevant work experience (up to 15+ years) with strong networks and contacts.
• Track record advancing less visible issues through policy using both direct and leveraged approaches.
• Knowledge and experience working across federal, state, and local advocacy and policy a must.
• Sophisticated strategy, technical, and relationship understandings about how policy is influenced and gets made in the real world across legislation, appropriations, and administrative/regulatory action in different political contexts.
• Thorough knowledge and grasp of systems change and the ability to identify and orchestrate the levers of change through philanthropic tools, which are both powerful and limited.
• Sound judgment with the ability to make complex, multidimensional decisions based on both facts, emerging considerations, and experience.
• Skilled in equitable policy analysis with understanding of the forces that create systemic inequities and systemic racism.
• Skilled at authentic, non-tokenizing power building and power sharing with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color advocacy and policy leaders, community organizations, grassroots advocates, and people with lived experience.
• Highly respected, trusted, and valued in both grasstops and grassroots circles.
• Exceptional ability to navigate big and little “p” politics
• Background in early childhood, maternal and child health, mental health, reproductive justice, and/or a related field optional, but highly desired.
• Experience or familiarity with philanthropy’s role in using policy and advocacy as tools for change a plus. If coming directly from advocacy, policy, or political work, must be motivated by philanthropic opportunities and challenges that require being a step removed from the action.
• Embraces working in and contributing to a young, formative organization, which has both exhilarating and messy aspects.
• Entrepreneurial, innovative, and enjoys contributing to a small, talented team with a mighty mission.
The starting salary range for this position is $160,000 – $180,000 and includes a comprehensive benefits package. An 80% FTE arrangement is possible, if desired, with commensurate salary range adjustment. The entire Perigee team, including this position, is based in beautiful Seattle, Washington. Starting in April 2022, Perigee plans to operate on a hybrid arrangement with Tuesdays and Thursdays in the office. Employees may choose to work from home or the office the other days. All employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, unless eligible for religious or medical exemption, and observe changing public health protocols. Travel throughout Washington State and the U.S. will be required as the Senior Program Officer builds relationships and engages with partners, particularly to support field building and advocacy efforts.
How to Apply
More information about Perigee Fund may be found at: perigeefund.org
This search is being led by Cara Pearsall, Sharon Gerstman, and Catherine Seneviratne of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates should submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website.
Perigee Fund is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity.
Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.