The Wallace Foundation -- an independent, national, New York-based philanthropy with $1.5 billion in assets – traces its origins back more than half a century to DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, founders of The Reader’s Digest Association.
The Wallace Foundation seeks to improve learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children and foster the vitality of the arts for everyone. The foundation has an unusual approach: in each of our program areas – Arts, Education Leadership, and Learning and Enrichment – they seek to identify, and help answer, one or more significant questions whose answers are not known but which, if known, could help propel social progress more broadly. As responsible stewards of our resources, they seek to ensure that their initiatives contribute to Wallace’s “dual goals:” benefits for their partners and those they serve, and benefits for the broader field through knowledge.
The Research Officer is a key contributor to the success of the Foundation’s initiatives, contributing substantive expertise and experience in research, policy analysis and evaluation to the integrated team’s work on strategy design, refinement, and implementation; managing large scale research projects to support an initiative’s knowledge agenda; and supporting sharing of knowledge.
Reporting to the Director of Research, the Officer’s initial responsibilities will include managing major evaluation projects for the Youth Arts Initiative (a multi-site initiative with youth-serving organizations to provide innovative, high-quality arts programming to underserved young people) and Building Audiences for Sustainability (assisting 25 performing arts organizations develop practical insights into how arts organizations could successfully expand their audiences). The foundation also expects a role for the Officer in their new Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning Initiative.
Director of Research
Strategy, initiative design and implementation through interdisciplinary teams
- Actively contribute to strategy design and implementation, bringing a research and policy analysis perspective to the interdisciplinary discussion.
- Contribute to identifying knowledge gaps for Wallace initiatives with a focus on fully integrating an evidence-based approach into the strategy.
- Lead the design of large scale research projects for an initiative, with a focus on generating results that would most benefit practitioners and policymakers, and advance knowledge in the field. These research projects often include: synthesis of existing evidence related to the initiative’s knowledge agenda, implementation evaluations, outcomes studies, and opportunities and challenges for an initiative to inform policy.
- Lead the selection of research teams, seeking input from the team and often using a competitive proposal process.
- Contribute to the development of other (non-research) requests for proposals for the initiative. Participate in the review and selection of grantees and technical assistance providers to recommend for funding.
Project management: initiative research projects
- Manage the work with grantees and contractors to advance the overall goals of the initiative’s local impact and broader field benefits.
- Manage Wallace-commissioned research projects using the interdisciplinary team approach.
- Build researchers’ understanding of the initiative strategy, knowledge agenda, and local context, and how the site grantees’ work connects to the knowledge agenda.
- Collaborate with program officers to manage an integrated process for data collection and the interface between researchers and site grantees, particularly attuned to sensitive data in public school systems and youth-serving organizations.
- Prepare timely analysis of funded work to inform the discussion of strategy, initiative goals and implementation in the team and unit.
- Fulfill stewardship responsibilities: (i) ensure grantee budgets reflect the scope and deliverables, monitor spending, and review financial reports to inform future funding; and (ii) review reports, provide feedback, and maintain an up-to-date grantee record in the foundation’s grants management database.
- Effectively build a relationship of trust, candor and transparency with grantees so that discussion of challenges and problems leads to shared problem-solving and resolution on which progress and success is recognized and built.
Knowledge-sharing to catalyze broad impact
- Lead research briefings to share findings and lessons with interdisciplinary teams and the Foundation Strategy Team for cross-initiative and foundation-wide learning.
- Participate in staff review of draft reports and knowledge products to ensure the final report reflects our interdisciplinary perspective, to only “say more as we know more,” and is respectful of the grantees whose work is presented in the report.
- Drawing on message maps and other resources, share what we are learning at conference presentations, in the local communities of our grantees, and in other venues.
- Cultivate relationships and participate in external networks, other funders and professional associations.
- Capacity to work productively and contribute in Wallace’s interdisciplinary team approach
- Exceptional project management skills and ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment
- Demonstrated capacity to build relationships with research partners, and work with program officers to bring together researchers and site grantees in support of initiative goals
- Advanced training in policy analysis or a related social science discipline with a focus on applied and policy research and/or policy analysis, preferably in a field related to youth development, public education, and/or arts learning and audience-building
- Six to 10 years’ relevant experience, which should include conducting applied research, policy analysis, and research management
- Experience writing and editing research findings for policy and practitioner audiences
- Experience managing the collection of quantitative and qualitative data, including sensitive data from children, while meeting the requirements of relevant laws and norms
- Excellent conceptual and analytical thinking skills
- Outstanding communication skills: listening, writing, speaking
Commensurate with experience.
The Wallace Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to maintaining a diverse workplace where differing perspectives are a source of strength. People of color are encouraged to apply.
How to Apply
The Wallace Foundation has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications may be directed in confidence to:
Anne McCarthy, Senior Director and COO
Elly Kirschner, Director of Healthcare and Advocacy
Harris Rand Lusk
122 E. 42nd Street, Suite 3605
New York, NY 10168
Please put Wallace Foundation in the subject line of your emailed application