Program Director, PropelNext 


The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation champions economically disadvantaged youth. We partner with other investors to expand programs with compelling evidence in order to help more vulnerable young people become successful adults.

In contrast to EMCF’s large, long-term investments in programs that have demonstrated their effectiveness and potential for growth, PropelNext makes smaller grants to organizations whose programs are promising but not yet fully formed or codified.  EMCF founded this initiative in 2012 to help promising nonprofits transform their passion for serving disadvantaged youth into data-driven insights and practices that strengthen their programs and foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Currently EMCF and four California-based foundations are engaged in the PropelNext California Partnership to boost the impact of youth-serving organizations in that state.

For more than four decades, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation has sought to uphold the values that inspired the Clark family to create it. In our work with grantees and with each other, EMCF and its staff strive to live up to and put into action five core values: humility, belief in people, pragmatism, trust and high standards. 

Position Profile and Responsibilities

Reporting to the Director of PropelNext, the Program Director manages, coordinates, oversees and guides the delivery and ongoing refinement of the PropelNext capacity building program. In support of the Director of PropelNext, s/he will also help ensure partners, grantees and co-investors have an excellent and productive engagement with the program, generating results that meet the goals and expectations of the initiative and its stakeholders.

The Program Director integrates program components (i.e. virtual and in-person group instruction, individualized coaching, etc.), implements ongoing program refinements, and fosters a peer network and community of practice for maximum synergy and impact.  With support from outside expertise as needed, s/he designs, integrates and executes virtual programming and online learning community strategies to create a fully blended learning program.  The director leads the transition from a primarily consultant led program to one that is internally managed.

S/he designs and annually orchestrates delivery of two in-person large group learning sessions, and two to three sets of small group workshops per active cohort; and serves as a general facilitator and draw upon experts for content delivery and presentations.  The director manages a consultant team that provides individualized coaching support to grantees implementing the PropelNext program; and supports the community of practice among coaches to maximize their ability to serve grantees.

The Program Director must be familiar with, and able to adapt into the program design, the latest adult learning methodologies and capacity building strategies that may be of greatest use for PropelNext grantees; and design and oversee strategies to continue PropelNext’s engagement and support of the growing alumni network.

S/he leads learning and internal performance management efforts, including ongoing codification and refinement of the program model; and conducts initial organizational assessments of grantees after selection to lay the foundation for their successful participation in the program.

The Program Director coordinates and collaborates with other PropelNext program staff on annual grantee milestones setting and performance reviews in alignment with program goals and frameworks; potentially manages a small number of grantee relationships; effectively balances independent work with PropelNext’s highly collaborative and strong team culture; and supervises 1 – 2 PropelNext program staff members.


  • Ideally, the Program Director will have strong knowledge of and commitment to philanthropy and the nonprofit sector, particularly in the area of youth development.  S/he will have a deep understanding of promising youth organizations, be skilled in helping them advance toward greater impact, and have an affinity for working with their particular assets and challenges.
  • 10 – 12 years’ experience with capacity building programs, or capacity building programs combined with organizational development, leadership development, and nonprofit consulting experience; at least five years of senior management experience, as well as an appreciation for and experience managing the dynamics of organizational change.
  • Substantial nonprofit operating experience or other experience that ensures a deep understanding of grantee context and environment, and a Master’s degree in public policy or administration are greatly desired.
  • Considerable experience with adult learning methodologies, and effectively facilitating group learning activities, ideally on the topics of program design and implementation; experience designing and delivering virtual programming is desired.
  • Demonstrated ability to identify and design appropriate strategies and interventions for grantee organizations within the context of an established program model.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including experience building relationships and advising senior executives; able to work with a diverse group of peers, consultants, advisors, and grantees with differing backgrounds and experiences.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills, able to successfully navigate and translate information for technical and non-technical audiences.
  • Experience using data for ongoing learning and improvement; excellent quantitative and qualitative analytical skills; comfort analyzing disparate and even contradictory information.
  • Energetic, methodical and strategic, can balance a meticulous and highly rigorous professional approach with flexible and empathetic demeanor that is responsive to the needs of grantees, teammates and partners.
  • Ability to effectively cope with change and ambiguity – to change strategy mid-stream, acting without always having the total picture; coping with things that are up in the air; comfortable with measured risk and uncertainty.
  • While skilled at thinking, working and making sound decisions independently, and with confidence, also engages, respects and remains open to others’ contributions, listening well and collaborating to land on a mutually agreed upon approach.
  • Insightful and creative in problem solving, with a demonstrated ability to leverage diverse resources and opportunities to benefit PropelNext and its grantees.
  • Extremely organized, detail-oriented and able to manage multiple complex work streams and prioritize as necessary; demonstrated ability to lead and manage teams, programs and projects that are effectively organized and efficiently leverage resources to accomplish work goals.
  • Takes a leadership role in supporting the Foundation’s culture; own behaviors demonstrate support of the Foundation’s values; shows awareness of and appreciation for own strengths, challenges and vulnerabilities as well as those of others; learns from own mistakes and communicates in a positive, constructive manner with others. 
  • 3-5 years’ experience supervising and developing individual staff members.
  • Strong internet and computer skills, including extensive knowledge of Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and the ability to master new applications quickly.
  • The willingness to travel approximately 25% of the time to carry out program activities, learning sessions, grantee site visits, and other responsibilities that require in-person attendance at locations away from home.

Salary & Benefits
Total compensation includes a base salary, commensurate with knowledge, skill and experience, and the potential for an annual incentive award. The Foundation offers an exceptional benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, 403b retirement plan with employer contributions and generous time off.

Application Procedure
Applicants will send their resumes and cover letters to

No phone calls or in-person applications, please.

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.