The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF; the
Foundation), headquartered in Princeton, NJ with an office in
Washington DC, is seeking an Assistant Vice President (AVP)
for Policy. Since 1972, we have focused on developing and
promoting innovations in health and healthcare to improve the lives
of millions and are currently the largest philanthropy in America
dedicated solely to health. In partnership with others, we are
working toward a nation that is rooted in equity, compassion, and
respect. We aspire for an America where everyone has a fair and
just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they
live, or their financial means. This requires addressing many
harmful obstacles to well-being, including poverty, powerlessness,
and discrimination. The Foundation’s ability to tackle our nation’s
most pressing health challenges is supported by our Guiding
Principles and a talented team that brings a wide range of
experiences, passions, and perspectives to this work.
The Policy Department leads and coordinates the Foundation’s
efforts to inform policies at the federal, state, and local levels
to dismantle structural racism and achieve health equity. The
Department holds a vision that all federal, state, and local
policymakers value and consistently pursue policies and structural
reforms that give everyone – no matter their race, income, or zip
code – a fair and just opportunity for health. Key activities of
the Policy Department include managing the Foundation’s policy
engagement and influence in Washington, DC and state capitals;
serving as an internal policy consultant, connector, coordinator,
and supporter of policy agendas across RWJF; and strategic
grantmaking that supports our key priority
areas, addresses upstream policy drivers, and builds
relationships with an ecosystem of state and federal policy and
Reporting directly to the Vice President (VP) for Policy,
Avenel Joseph, the AVP is a member of the Foundation’s senior
leadership team, and the Department’s senior management team. An
experienced senior leader, the AVP will help to shape and steward
the Department’s budget (approximately $80M annually) and serves as
a connector of organizational policy goals and initiatives across
THE OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU
The Assistant Vice President for Policy brings superior
strategic and management skills to the position, (1) serving as a
vital thought partner with the Vice President for Policy in shaping
Foundation policy strategy; representing the VP at senior
management meetings and externally as needed; making significant
contributions to the intellectual and organizational development of
the Foundation’s overall operations; and (2) managing tactical and
short-term program operations to ensure that Department staff and
relevant collaborative partners across the Foundation can do their
work efficiently and effectively.
The AVP will be charged with:
- Supporting the development, execution, and impact assessment of
Departmental strategy, informed by continuous learning and
consideration of the evolving policy landscape.
- Serving as a core member of senior staff, leading cross
foundation strategic or programming efforts as needed, and
representing the Foundation, primarily on Policy Department
strategies, but as needed for all Foundation strategies.
- Working with the VP and Department staff, Finance, and others
to plan and manage the Department’s program, administrative and
staffing budgets, as well as organize and monitor grantmaking and
- Collaborating with other Departments (Law, Finance, Grants
Management, Program Themes, Communications) to identify operational
barriers and implement any needed process changes.
- Supporting the management and organization of staff and
consultants, including providing input and counsel on recruitment,
goals, onboarding, mentoring, performance assessment and other
- Assisting, and as requested, directly managing selected
programming and department staff, in work to: engage with policy
activities of various Foundation Departments; facilitate learning,
collaboration and coordination; track key policy areas; support the
Foundation’s direct influence activities, and develop and lead
strategic grantmaking efforts.
- With the support of Research Evaluation and Learning, oversee
the evaluation of effectiveness and influence of the Foundation’s
policy activities, coordinate learning experiences for staff, and
implement quality improvement measures as identified on an ongoing
- Representing the VP, as appropriate, internally and externally
by networking, building relationships, coordinating, and promoting
activities across teams and with other organizations and
DESIRED ATTRIBUTES OF THE ASSISTANT VICE
While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications
enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the
following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and
- Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and Guiding
Principles, including leadership experience that demonstrates a
personal and professional commitment to equity, diversity, and
inclusion along with an ability to approach this work with
humility, continuous self-reflection, and bravery. Familiarity with
concepts related to racial equity, structural racism, and the
social and economic determinants of health. Successful experience
fostering an inclusive environment, and working effectively with
persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds.
- Seven (7) or more years of relevant work experience with three
(3) or more years of progressive experience in a complex management
and leadership role with direct supervision, budgetary management,
and extensive project management responsibilities, preferably in a
decentralized, matrixed organization.
- Completion of an advanced degree (e.g., MA, MPH, MJ, MBA).
- A background in Federal and/or state health policy and advocacy
(but not necessarily specific subject-matter expertise) with an
awareness of forces that shape policy landscapes and an orientation
toward policy change that addresses structural racism and advances
- Track record of exceptional operational effectiveness, ability
to think and act independently with limited supervision, comfort
working in ambiguity, adaptability and flexibility, and experience
providing leadership during periods of significant organizational
change. Demonstrates maturity and good judgement.
- Proven ability to think strategically; to make sense of complex
issues; to synthesize material and focus quickly on the essence of
an issue and specific opportunities while still seeing the big
picture; to think creatively and make connections.
- Strong people management and interpersonal skills that support
a collaborative, productive and thoughtful working environment and
relationships with colleagues, grantees, consultants, external
funders, and others. Ability to inspire colleagues within and
outside the Department to achieve shared goals.
- Strong written and verbal communication skills, able to
communicate clearly, persuasively, and strategically. Possesses
persuasive and respectful presentation skills—for communications
with internal leadership, external high-level stakeholders, and
people from communities with whom we are working. Able to manage
- Familiarity with, although not necessarily a professional
background in, philanthropy, including a basic understanding of
grantmaking processes and legal considerations.
- Ability to travel between Foundation offices with the
understanding that one will function as the AVP’s office of record.
Additional travel will include site visits and representing the
Foundation at external meetings.
The AVP can be primarily based at one of the Foundation’s
offices – our headquarters in Princeton, NJ or in Washington, DC.
Please note that this is not a remote position. The
starting salary range is $225,000 - $235,000 depending on prior
experiences and skills. Information on our comprehensive benefits
package is available via a dropdown menu available
More information about the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation may be found at: www.rwjf.org
This search is being led by Emily Wexler and Robert Diggs of
NPAG. Candidates may submit
their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications,
along with their resume via NPAG’s website.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is an equal
opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from
people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ and
other underrepresented applicants.