New York, NY

Program Officer, International Human Rights, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

 About Wellspring Philanthropic Fund

Wellspring Philanthropic Fund is a private grantmaking foundation dedicated to advancing the realization of human rights and social and economic justice for all people. With offices in Washington, DC and New York, NY, Wellspring’s work is rooted in respect for the dignity and worth of every human being and is informed by the following beliefs:

  • Social institutions and structures should promote the full realization of human rights and human potential, and should be accountable to these ends
  • The rights of all people are advanced when the rights of the most marginalized and vulnerable peoples are protected
  • Social justice movements should employ means that are consistent with their ideals, and should give agency to the people whose interests they seek to advance
  • As responsible stewards, we must strive to maximize the impact of our charitable investments

Through grant making and philanthropic leadership, Wellspring’s International Human Rights (IHR) Program seeks to advance the full range of human rights as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; to deter abusers and hold individual, state and non-state perpetrators accountable for rights violations; to advance policy and practice that uphold and advance implementation of human rights norms; and to support the agency and leadership of communities most affected by human rights violations.

The work of the International Human Rights Program will be highly active December 1st, 2020. Ideally, the Program Officer will be fully engaged by this date. However, qualified candidates are encouraged to express interest even if that timeline is not optimal.


For more information on Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, please visit


The Opportunity

One of the greatest challenges facing the global community is how to stop mass violence and violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The public is saturated daily with images and stories of large-scale violence and suffering in the context of armed conflict, natural disaster, and other emergencies. Yet while the human rights field has strong, effective tools for holding those who violate human rights accountable years after violence ends, generating public outrage and political will to prevent or stop atrocities is difficult to spark and sustain.


Wellspring Philanthropic Fund’s International Human Rights Program seeks a Program Officer to manage an international grantmaking program focused on ensuring that the international community prevents and responds to large-scale, systematic violence against civilians – situations that include genocide, crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and other mass atrocities. The Program Officer will be based in the New York, NY office and will report to Program Director Lesley Carson.


The work of the Program Officer will consist of staying well-informed of relevant issues, trends, and policy developments; managing part of the program’s grants portfolio, including monitoring and evaluating existing grants and soliciting and recommending new or continuing grants, and building and maintaining relationships with other Foundation staff and field thought leaders. Additional responsibilities include collaborating with Human Rights program teammates on workflow and team initiatives, mentoring junior staff, communicating strategy and impact with internal audiences, and taking part in cross-programmatic and Foundation-wide learning, committees, and collaboration.


The Program Officer, International Human Rights’ primary responsibilities fall into four broad categories, each of which is central to the role:


Strategy Development and Implementation

  • Under the guidance of the Program Director, develop and implement a grantmaking strategy focused on the prevention of atrocities and protection of civilians, including work on early warning and early response mechanisms, consistent with the program’s current multi-year work plan
  • Stay well-informed of new developments and trends in the atrocity prevention and response field to find emerging needs, gaps, and opportunities, and to supply analyses to synthesize implications for the program
  • Identify efforts to challenge field orthodoxy and ways of working that reinforce power dynamics between the Global North and South and undermine local, national and regional change efforts
  • Explore emerging grantmaking strategies that invest in leadership of communities most directly affected by mass atrocities, generate public demand for action to stop human rights violations, and leverage power at local, national, and regional policy levels



  • Explore potential grantee partnerships, manage grantee relationships, analyze background information, ask for and develop funding proposals, determine appropriate funding levels, and prepare grant recommendations
  • Conduct site visits to monitor grantee work, reviewing progress reports, conducting evaluations of grantee programs, and monitoring use of grant funds
  • Ensure compliance with internal grantmaking due diligence and monitoring protocols. Liaise with Wellspring’s grants management and legal teams to troubleshoot compliance issues and ensure prompt and smooth grant transactions


External Relations

  • Create annual work plans, annual reports, and prepare presentations and memos to educate Wellspring leadership and donor clients on strategy, emerging areas, and grantmaking impact
  • Build and keep engagement with peer funders, thought leaders, affinity groups, and civil society organizations working in fields relevant to human rights and atrocity prevention and response
  • Engage in creative use of convenings, co-funding, partnerships, pooled funds, and other philanthropic tools in order to promote a common grantmaking agenda and advance learning in the philanthropic and advocacy sectors, among others


Team and Organizational Engagement

  • Contribute to the advancement of organization‐wide initiatives at Wellspring, including internal committees or task forces with program and operational staff
  • Initiate and lead institutional discussions on common thematic areas of interest or grantmaking practice, collaborating with staff from other program areas to share and align strategic thinking
  • Participate in team activities to coordinate workflow, learn, align grantmaking, and represent the Human Rights team internally


Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

  • Minimum of 7 years of programmatic experience in international human rights, atrocity prevention and response, social justice, and/or or related fields
  • Experience working with a human rights or humanitarian aid or advocacy organization dedicated to atrocity and/or conflict prevention and response and protection of civilians during armed conflict
  • Experience as part of public advocacy campaigns targeting multi-lateral institutions
  • Deep knowledge of sub-Saharan Africa or Latin America
  • Understanding of how to work as an impartial player in coalitions across a range of progressive movements and with a diverse set of actors, developing and implementing strategic plans or initiatives that engage a range of perspectives and stakeholders
  • Strong understanding of regional and United Nations legal and policy frameworks on conflict and atrocity prevention, as well as the understanding of linkages between national, regional, and international policy forums and advocacy
  • Proven organizational skills, with the ability to handle a variety of programmatic and administrative tasks independently and meet deadlines
  • Excellent research, writing, editing, and communications skills
  • Initiative, resourcefulness, flexibility, and strong multicultural skills
  • Ability to handle confidential information with complete discretion
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required; Master’s degree in conflict studies or relevant field preferred
  • A commitment to continued learning on issues related to race, gender, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging
  • Foreign language skills a plus
  • Grantmaking experience preferred, but not required
  • Ability to travel up to 30% of the time required (Note that Wellspring Philanthropic Fund is prioritizing the safety of its team in COVID-19 and has suspended travel for the time being)


Compensation & Benefits

The annual salary for this role will be $115,000-135,000, commensurate with qualifications and experience.


Wellspring Philanthropic Fund offers a very generous benefits package, including payment of 100% of the health insurance premiums for employees (and 80% of the premiums for spouses, domestic partners, and qualified family members). Wellspring also offers other benefits, including life insurance, long-term disability protection, a group 401(k) retirement plan (with employer match), support for continuing education, up to $5,250 in annual student loan repayment or college savings assistance for dependents, and is committed to providing transgender-inclusive healthcare.



Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Molly Brennan and Turner Delano are leading this search. To recommend potential candidates or to express your interest in this role, please visit this link. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.


Wellspring Philanthropic Fund believes it is strengthened by the diversity of its staff, and welcomes such diversity, including race, gender identity or expression, educational attainment, disability, veteran status, and personal experience with the criminal justice system. Wellspring welcomes applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and strongly encourages people of color and persons with disabilities to apply. Wellspring actively cultivates an institutional culture that reflects the values of respect, equity, and inclusion that it seeks to amplify in the larger world.


About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.


For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit

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