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Program Officer

Stanford Impact Labs
California, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Nov 25, 2021

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Position Type
Programs, Grant Administration, Grant Making, Program Administration and Management
Education, Philanthropic Advisors, Research
Employment Type
Full Time
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Stanford Impact Labs

The world’s biggest social problems are complex, multi-faceted, and pervasive. No academic center, company, or organization can solve systemic issues – such as economic inequality, inequitable access to health care and education, and racial discrimination – alone. We need leaders with different skills and experiences to come together to generate fresh insights, evidence, and action to make progress. 

Stanford Impact Labs – a major new initiative at Stanford University – invests in mission-driven teams of researchers and practitioners from government, business, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropy. These teams – or impact labs – work together on social problems they choose and where practical progress is possible. With our support, they rapidly develop, test, and scale new solutions to social problems that affect millions of people worldwide. Learn more at our work and impact at


Stanford Impact Labs is seeking an inaugural Program Officer to manage a portfolio of grantees putting science to work for society. Reporting into the Director of Investments & Accountability, this role will be joining Stanford Impact Labs at a unique time of dramatic growth in the organization; supporting the organization to build the systems for a replicable investment model; and laying the groundwork for building the case toward substantial national investment in R&D on social problems.      

In this role, you will: 

    Lead due diligence of grants, including reviewing proposals by assessing their scientific contribution, quality of team and partnerships as well as their pathway from science to impact. 
    Independently manage a portfolio of multiple grantees, including by developing tailored key performance indicators for each grantee, supporting grantee learning and continuous improvement; and conducting ongoing portfolio monitoring.
    Evaluate grantees performance, proactively identifying barriers to impact and work with grantees to overcome those barriers, in close collaboration with the Program Manager.  
    Represent Stanford Impact Labs with both internal and external stakeholders, including faculty members, lab partners (which include policymakers in leading municipal, state and federal government agencies, as well as non-profits), among external experts (including practitioners and affected communities) as well as public & private funders that are current or potential future supporters of labs.
    Review and analyze trends across Stanford Impact Labs’ investments. Identify issues and recommend solutions to improve Stanford Impact Labs’ investment process. 
    Support the design, implementation, and on-going evaluation of an investment process to allocate grants to people, projects and labs that deploys our limited resources to where it can most effectively improve outcomes on people’s lives. 
    Support the continued development and delivery of Stanford Impact Labs’ approach to shared governance in our investment process, including by sharing power and voice with practitioners and affected communities. 
    As a new initiative within the university, this role requires the ability to take on new assignments and projects as they arise. Of relevance to this role is the expansion of funding, grantee programming and replication of SIL’s model.      


    You have experience funding, supporting or directly implementing change within US local, state, federal governments or large social sector or community organizations. You understand what it takes to go from idea to action and have 5-10 years of professional experience. You’re a problem-solver, committed to supporting the teams we invest in. You have a strong understanding of the pathways from research to impact and know what roadblocks teams face--because you have faced those roadblocks before. You have demonstrated creativity, problem solving, critical analysis, initiative, judgment and decision-making skills.  You thrive in a dynamic, open, and collaborative work environment. You are at home in a lean start-up environment with the ability to stay focused and nimble in the face of rapid change. You believe in collaboration and including a diversity of views, experiences, and perspectives. You have solid planning and organizational skills and excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills. You are a catalyst for racial and social justice work. You care about social inequities and systems of oppression. You have a demonstrated track record of working effectively across lines of difference. You are committed to centering equity and inclusion in programs and practices. You have a passion for Stanford Impact Lab’s approach and the real-world implementation of research insights through equitable partnerships. You bring a social science mindset to the work.

    You have experience operating at the intersection of research and practice with US local, state, federal governments or large social sector organizations. You have demonstrated experience putting social science insights to work for society; either by participating in multiple researcher-practitioner partnerships, or by overseeing or funding multiple partnerships.  You have an understanding of research design & how research can respond to society’s largest problems. You can quickly assess the strength and credibility of different research designs in answering different types of questions. 
    Advanced degree (Masters or PhD) in economics, public policy, or other social science discipline. This may include graduate-level coursework in research methods, even if a degree was not conferred.  

Profiles for a successful candidate would likely have the following skill sets or background: a) philanthropy professionals who have experience in building and supporting grantmaking portfolios b) management consultants with public sector consulting experience; c) professionals who have effected change within municipal, local, state or US federal governments, or large social sector or community organizations.  

No candidate will meet every requirement. We encourage applications from people who are a good fit - through work experience, volunteering, and other personal experiences - and who will grow and thrive in this position.

Stanford Impact Labs is an equal opportunity organization working to address some of the world’s most challenging social problems. To that end, we particularly encourage people with lived experience of those social problems to apply for open positions. Please submit your resume and a cover letter through the Stanford Career Portal. 

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