Chicago, IL

Education Program Officer, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation

The Organization

The Lloyd A. Fry Foundation awards $8 million in grants each year across four main program areas: Arts Learning, Education, Employment and Health.  Across all of our funding areas, our focus is on helping organizations: 1) build capacity to enhance the quality of services and better assess the impact of programs; 2) develop successful program innovations that other organizations in the field can learn from or adopt; and 3) share knowledge so that information which can help low-income communities and individuals is widely and readily available.

Position Overview

The Fry Foundation seeks an Education Program Officer to develop and lead the Foundation’s Education grantmaking. Our education funding, which is ~ $2M annually, is committed to increasing the academic achievement of  students in historically disinvested Chicago public schools.

Our primary strategy is focused on developing highly effective principals and improving the quality and effectiveness of teaching. To accomplish these goals, we are interested in supporting efforts that help Chicago public school principals and teacher leaders improve the school climate for learning and reduce persistent racial academic opportunity gaps.  We are interested in supporting efforts that:

  • Connect principals with current research on strong instruction and help them test and implement instructional strategies that support all students
  • Help principals build and improve school level systems that cultivate a strong instructional climate, including developing teacher leaders to support professional learning in schools
  • Help principals and teacher leaders reduce persistent racial opportunity gaps that play out in schooling
  • We also look for efforts to develop policies and programs that promote the development and retention of strong school principals and teacher leaders across the District

We also support a limited number of rigorous academic enrichment programs for students.  These programs improve educational opportunities, guide students to high school graduation, and support transitions into college or career.  Academic enrichment programs supported by the Fry Foundation target students from historically disinvested schools.

The Foundation seeks to support innovative approaches and knowledge which can help advance practice in the field.  To achieve this, we seek a candidate who is able to identify trends and common challenges across organizations; investigate new topics quickly; synthesize a wide range of information; and adapt and apply ideas across new contexts.


The Education Program Officer’s work is primarily focused on the management and execution of four annual education grant cycles, with the remaining time focused on knowledge development (e.g, learning more about the latest education research or findings related to the Foundation’s priority areas and identifying new grantees and opportunities to pursue), and participating in opportunities (e.g., conferences) that can help our Foundation make an impact in the field.

A breakdown of the Education Program Officer’s responsibilities are provided below:

  • Oversee the education grants portfolio, work with colleagues and the board of directors to identify programmatic goals and strategies, and manage and plan the program grant budget
  • Actively identify challenges that can be addressed through the Foundation’s grantmaking and opportunities that have the potential to advance program goals
  • Solicit and review proposals and letters of inquiry, arrange and manage site visits, prepare proposals for board review, and present written and verbal recommendations to the board of directors. Prepare decline letters and work to communicate clearly with grantees as well as with organizations that do not receive support from the Fry Foundation.
  • Work with grantees to support collaborative work; help organizations advance knowledge and practice in the field; and provide guidance and assistance on program strategy, assessments, and other aspects of building capacity and program development.

The most competitive leaders for this role will have the following experiences and skills:

  • Five or more years work experience; non-profit or education experience preferred
  • Bachelor’s degree; advanced degree is preferred
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including an ability to write compelling recommendations.  The Foundation puts a high priority on clarity of ideas.
  • Strong analytical skills, including the ability to assess information and build persuasive recommendations
  • Superior organizational skills. Program Officers manage all of their own logistics (e.g., site visits, reporting deadlines, and follow-up reporting).
  • Curiosity, and interest in asking questions in order to learn more about a given issue
  • Collaborative and supportive. The Foundation expects team members to work together and learn from each other.
  • Self-motivated; able to work and make decisions autonomously, while knowing when to reach out get additional support or information
  • Welcomes and actively contributes to intellectual give and take — asks thoughtful questions, is open-minded, is comfortable challenging ideas and benefits from being challenged

Compensation and Benefits
The Foundation provides competitive compensation and benefits, which include health insurance, vacation and a generous matching gift program.

Equal Opportunity Employer
The Fry Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and actively invites a diversity of candidates regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, or religion.

How To Apply

Please submit all applications to

A cover letter is not required to apply for this role. Instead, all candidates will provide written answers to the application questions provided in the application. Your responses will be shared with the hiring managers as well as the hiring committee for this search, so please put forth your best effort. Up to 3 paragraphs maximum per response, please.

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