Los Angeles, CA

Sr. Program Officer, Refugee Initiative, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

The Organization

Who we are:

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help individuals throughout the world living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage. The Foundation invests in 11 program areas, including providing access to safe water, supporting transition age foster youth, ending chronic homelessness, hospitality workforce development, disaster relief and recovery, helping young children affected by HIV and AIDS, and supporting the work of Catholic sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $2 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.8 billion in grants, distributing $110 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2019. Foundation assets increased from approximately $2.9 billion to $6.6 billion following the 2019 passing of Barron Hilton who, like his father, pledged virtually his entire estate to the Foundation. For more information, please visit www.hiltonfoundation.org.

Our Culture:

Our employees are inspired by the Foundation’s mission and are committed to support our program areas in a thoughtful and effective way. Everyone is expected to cultivate the work environment in a way that contributes to respectful, open, and engaging dialogue and connection that support meaningful innovation, learning, progress and outcomes.

Our Benefits:

We value the health and well-being of our employees and offer comprehensive and generous health care coverage options including fitness benefits, disability coverage, paid holidays, paid time off, paid parental leave, flexible work schedules and technology benefits. Professional learning and development are supported through educational assistance and participation in professional conferences and seminars. To encourage charitable giving, the Foundation triple-matches employee gifts to qualified non-profit organizations.

Position Overview

About the Role

The Senior Program Officer (SPO) is a strategic leader and portfolio manager for the Foundation’s Refugee Initiative. This role will serve to advance the Foundation’s mission of impacting the lives of the vulnerable and disadvantaged specifically by supporting efforts that can make a significant difference in refugees’ livelihoods and early childhood development in refugee settings.

S/he is the content expert in work on refugees and provides creative, out-of-the-box thinking in both strategy development and in the day-to-day management of the strategy portfolio.  In addition to strategic leadership and portfolio management, the SPO is responsible for supporting the management of the team while providing guidance on learning and evaluation efforts that will inform strategy development, grant monitoring, management, integration across the portfolio and future strategy development.

The SPO will initiate and sustain external partnerships with grantees, stakeholders, policy decision makers, and other funders.

This position reports to the Vice President, Strategy and Programs.

Responsibilities and Tasks

Strategic Initiative Planning and Implementation:

  • Provides strategic leadership and develops a long-term vision for the Refugees Initiative
  • Leads Initiative strategic planning to drive significant impact on refugee livelihoods and early childhood development work, bringing in innovation, best practices, and learning
  • Serves as leader for the Initiative at Board meetings, program and grantmaking conferences, and other stakeholder meetings.
  • Works collaboratively with the Strategy, Learning, and Evaluation Division of the Foundation and with external Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) partners to track progress toward initiative goals.
  • Works collaboratively with the communications and advocacy department to develop and implement an influence plan
  • Supports the Vice President, Strategic Programs in advancing the mission of the Foundation through its programmatic work.
  • Supports implementation of program team goals.

Grantmaking and Grantee Relations:

  • Oversees the development and management of a multi-year, large-scale strategic initiative.
  • Identifies potential grantees and projects.
  • Investigates and evaluates grant proposals and presents recommended proposals for funding at Board meetings.
  • Monitors and evaluates strategic initiatives and grantee performance.
  • Conducts site visits.
  • Conducts due diligence to assess grantee work.
  • Provides advice/area expertise assistance to and maintains an open, ongoing relationship with grantees.
  • Nurtures partnerships among grantees and other stakeholders.
  • Participates in meetings with the VP, SP to review grant recommendations, provide updates on grantee progress, determine technical assistance needs of grantees, plan convening, evaluation and communications activities, and share and reflect on experiences in the field and related program activity.

Issues and Trend Analysis:

  • Remains informed of current research, policy, activities, and trends in the issues related to the refugee sector, specifically with attention to the livelihoods and early childhood development sub-sectors.
  • Directs and guides additional research and development specific to the Humanitarian Action strategic portfolio.
  • Responds effectively to the broader knowledge in the field by aligning grant making with emerging learning and opportunities in the field.
  • Pursues and promotes learning throughout the field.

Thought Leader and Coalition Building:

  • Engages and develops external relations to strengthen strategic coalition-building within the refugee sector in support of program enhancement work.
  • Convenes meetings of key government, philanthropic, and nonprofit leaders to mobilize coordinated efforts and funding in strategic initiatives.
  • Develops collaborative relationships within philanthropy by serving on affinity groups, initiating philanthropic partnerships, and leading educational opportunities for other foundations on topics related to the refugee area.
  • Represents the Foundation to various constituencies through verbal and written communications (annual reports, brochures, correspondence) and through participating in outside conferences and meetings.
  • Works with other leaders in the field to strengthen and further build the field.

Management and Program Team Relations:

  • Builds collaborative and positive working relationships and effective communication channels with team members and staff.
  • Effectively manages direct reports and provides mentorship in developing professionally.
  • Builds out a team structure to support the work of the new strategic initiative.
  • Participates in team meetings to review grant recommendations, provide updates on grantee progress, determine technical assistance needs of grantees, plan convening, evaluation and communications activities, and share and reflect on experiences in the field and related program activity.


  • Works with communications team to develop communication strategy.
  • Writes blogs/articles for the website and supervises web-site content and updates.

Education / Training


  • Graduate degree in public policy, social welfare, or a related field.

Experience/Technical Skills


  • A minimum of ten (10) years of senior management experience in the refugee field with international organizations, including substantial experience working in developing countries.
  • Demonstrated networking with major refugee actors and the humanitarian and development architecture, including governments, NGOs and other stakeholders.
  • Knowledgeable of humanitarian and emergency response policy at global, federal, state and local levels
  • Experience, or relevant experience, in strategic planning and implementation and in coordinating public/private efforts for long-term, systemic social impact and experience in growing and managing a team.
  • Advanced written/oral communication, presentation and public speaking skills.
  • Ability to develop effective and professional relationships with internal and external colleagues and partners.
  • Political acumen to coordinate, facilitate and negotiate at all levels across large and complex confederation of stakeholders.
  • Policy, analysis, advocacy and representation skills.
  • Strong strategic, conceptual and critical thinking abilities; capacity to navigate through ambiguity.
  • Strong organizational, analytical, and time management skills with high attention to priority and detail.
  • Strong managerial skills and ability to professionally develop team members.
  • A practical understanding of philanthropy and the nonprofit sector.


  • Fluency in English required and a second major language skill is desired.

How To Apply


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