Senior Program Officer, Refugees

Strategy & Programs Los Angeles, California Westlake Village, California


Position at Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

International hotelier Conrad N. Hilton established the grantmaking foundation that bears his name in 1944 to help people living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage worldwide. Today, the work continues, concentrating on efforts to ensure healthy early childhood development and sustainable livelihoods for youth, support young people transitioning out of foster care, improve access to housing and support services for people experiencing homelessness, identify solutions to safe water access, and lift the work of Catholic sisters. Additionally, following selection by an independent, international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $2.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to an organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. The Foundation is one of the world’s largest, with $7.5 billion in assets. It has awarded grants to date totaling more than $2 billion, $207 million worldwide in 2020. Please visit for more information.

**Cover letter required for consideration **

Job Summary 

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 Director of Legacy Initiatives. 


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 a 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 the wider program department's 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/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.

Management and Program Team Relations

  • Builds collaborative and positive working relationships and effective communication channels with team members and staff.
  • Effectively manages direct reports (2) 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 website content and updates.


  • Graduate degree in public policy, social welfare, or a related field.
  • A minimum of ten (10) years of senior management experience in the refugee field with international organizations, including substantial experience working in East Africa and/or Latin America.
  • Experience managing or overseeing programs in early childhood development, education and/or livelihoods.
  • Demonstrated networks 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.
  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally.
  • Fluency in English required and fluency in Spanish is desired.

About our Benefits

We value the health and well-being of our employees, some of the benefits we offer include:

  • Comprehensive and generous health and life insurance options
  • Relocation Pay
  • Fitness benefits
  • Paid holidays, time off, and parental leave
  • Flexible work schedules and technology benefits
  • Foundation funded retirement savings plan
  • Professional learning and development and educational assistance
  • Employee matching gifts to qualified non-profit organizations

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is an equal opportunity employer with values grounded in promoting equality and inclusion and embracing diversity. We welcome qualified applicants of all races, colors, gender identities, sexual orientations, economic classes, ages, religions, national origins, and ability/disability statuses. Veterans and individuals with lived expertise are encouraged to apply. We respect and seek to empower every member of our Foundation community. We support and celebrate our collective array of cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, skills and experiences; fully realizing that such diversity is what makes our organization flourish and better enables us to fulfill our mission in the world.