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Chief Program Officer

The Fresh Air Fund
New York, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Dec 17, 2020

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Position Type
Education, Social Services, Youth
Employment Type
Full Time
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The Fresh Air Fund has provided free summer experiences in the outdoors to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Each summer, thousands of children either visit volunteer host families in rural and suburban communities along the East Coast and Southern Canada or attend six Fresh Air camps in New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley. Young people also participate in year-round leadership and educational programs. Summer 2020, during the difficult realities of COVID- 19 and the economic crisis, The Fresh Air Fund re-imagined summer and developed new in-person and virtual summer models to support youth in New York City.

Position Summary:
The Fresh Air Fund is seeking a dynamic, creative, data-driven and forward-thinking youth development professional who will provide skilled leadership for all aspects of The Fresh Air Fund’s programs including our Summer Camping, Friendly Towns and year-round programs. With a priority on strategic program development and innovation, and team building and talent-development, the CPO will build on the work of The Fund. In addition, the CPO will strengthen the existing program models with particular understanding and attention to racial equity.

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Chief Program Officer will be responsible for leading and managing our programs, drive the exploration of new programmatic opportunities, and providing leadership and vision to improve and better support opportunities for NYC youth to thrive and connect to the outdoors.

Working with senior leaders across the organization, the CPO will evaluate current programs, introduce best practices from the field, and align to successfully execute The Fund’s strategic vision. The CPO will influence and inform the programs portfolio, oversee program teams and budgets, and represent The Fund’s programming and impact to external audiences including funders, partners, and the Board. The ideal candidate will have demonstrated success in leading program strategy, has experience managing large teams, is committed to a collaborative environment, and proficient at devising and implementing creative solutions in a complex nonprofit setting. Above all, this role will provide leadership, inspiration, and support to an energetic, passionate and dedicated team and contribute to The Fresh Air Fund’s legacy of changing the lives and trajectories of generations of New Yorkers.

Strategic Program Planning, Development and Innovation:

  • Develop a vision and strategy for program growth and evolution, which will involve planning, understanding and defining program challenges and growth opportunities
  • Review data and impact and integrate research-informed, evidence-based, and best in class practices and resources
  • Create and execute a plan for year-round program offerings for participants who start relationships with FAF’s summer program models, including a framework for strategic partnerships
  • Understand systemic inequities that impact our participants and communities; uses that knowledge to improve on program performance and initiatives

Program Management:

  • Lead a high-performing team investing in a culture focused on leadership and accountability with continuous learning, collaboration, measurement and goal achievement
  • Manage summer and year-round youth programming, operations and budgets
  • Ability to conceptualize, communicate, and implement a cohesive program vision, strategy and plan
  • Oversee fiscal management of all programs in collaboration with the finance team, including creating programmatic budgets and reporting needs
  • Using data analysis and impact, consistently advance program improvements, innovations and modernization, and leverage data to inform changes
  • Use program data to communicate program quality, impact and stakeholder satisfaction. Develop programmatic and curriculum planning standards and implement appropriate evaluation and improvement processes
  • Represent the Fund to external audiences and establish and maintain strong working relationship with external stakeholders

Collaborative Leadership:

  • Lead a team of 14 full-time staff and support their professional growth and development, and support the ongoing professional development and management of over 500 summer staff and 600+ volunteers in our Friendly Towns Program
  • Plan and conduct scalable training models to build skills of full-time and part-time staff with a commitment to creating a sustainable workforce development model
  • Plan and conduct program observations, reviews and debriefs in collaboration with program staff and volunteers
  • Remain current on relevant research, trends and practices within youth development, out-of-school time, social and emotional, and education model


  • Must have demonstrated knowledge, understanding and commitment to the communities, participants, and families served by The Fresh Air Fund
  • Understanding the importance and value of environmental programs, outdoor engagement, summer sleep-away programs, leadership development and educational enrichment and out-of- school-time (OST) programs for youth
  • Ability to understand, use and organize data to enhance program quality, and demonstrate program effectiveness and impact
  • Demonstrated ability and experience developing and managing budgets and resource allocation to maximize available resources for highest and most effective use
  • Ability to understand the importance of The Fresh Air Fund brand and continue to elevate our work on youth development, summer learning, opportunity gap, and more


  • We seek a candidate who has experience leading in nonprofit or human service settings, working across multi-site or other complex organizational structures with a range of stakeholders
  • Experience hiring and retaining program staff and leading through transitions and growth
  • Has a proven track record of developing and managing high quality programs, program models, tools, and resources to increase program efficacy, and of leveraging data to drive continuous learning and program improvement
  • A strategic thinker with demonstrated success in program innovation and has experience in program evaluation
  • Has exceptional managerial experience, with an inclusive leadership style, skill in giving and receiving feedback, the ability to hold staff accountable and drive continuous improvement, and experience in change management
  • Has experience applying a racial justice and equity lens to programs as well as to building and leading staff teams and management structures
  • Strong communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills,
  • Demonstrated ability to form and maintain strong collaborative partnerships and to build consensus with colleagues and other strategic stakeholders
  • A minimum of 10+ years of progressive professional experience in youth-development, administration, management of programs. A Master’s Degree or graduate degree preferred

Salary commensurate with experience.

The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, not-for-profit agency. The Fresh Air Fund is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, committed to inclusive hiring, and dedicated to diversity in its work and on its staff. We strongly encourage candidates of all identities, experiences, orientations and communities to apply.

How to Apply:
Email cover letter and resume to No calls please.

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