van Beuren Charitable Foundation is HIRING: Program Officers

About vBCF

van Beuren Charitable Foundation (vBCF) is a Rhode Island-based private family foundation dedicated to investing in the quality of life and quality of place on Aquidneck Island and surrounding communities. Guided by a Board of Directors comprised of van Beuren family members who have deep familiarity with the community, vBCF invests its grants across four portfolios that support Healthy Lifestyles for all residents, Strong Starts for children and youth, Community Prosperity generated by economic opportunity and planning for the future, and Excellence in the Commons - those shared landscapes and built environments critical to quality of life and quality of place.

In 2016, vBCF adopted a strategic framework that intentionally seeks connectivity between its priority program areas, supports learning and adaption, and increases emphasis on impact. As a place-based funder, the spirit of partnership with our grant partners is critical to our success.

Since its founding in 1986 by John A. and Hope H. van Beuren, the Foundation has made almost $100 million in grants and is one of the largest private foundations in Rhode Island. Its grantmaking and operations are guided by the core values of the van Beuren family: integrity, community, collaboration, leadership and innovation. The Foundation's assets have grown from $100 million 2009 to $220 million in 2018. The Foundation is staffed by a small, dedicated team of professionals in a supportive, high performing culture that values collaboration, continuous improvement, and collegiality.

For more information on the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, please visit:

The Positions and Context

In support of the connected portfolio approach, the grantmaking team operates primarily as generalists, working across the four portfolios. Each member of the team has their own unique experience and skills that they bring to bear in support of the whole team. The types of grants the foundation makes range from operating support, project/program, capital, and occasionally loans. The foundation's grants support planning, implementation, and learning from the work. Because the foundation seeks to have an impact at the community level, we encourage and support collaboration when appropriate.

The work of vBCF is currently supported by a program officer (recently vacated), a grants and business manager, and a grants administrative assistant. We seek to fill the vacant program officer position and a newly created program officer position. The program officers report to the Executive Director, who also carries grants across the various portfolios. The program officers will help build and manage the grants pipeline, maintain communications with our grant partners, and articulate to our board and external partners what we learn from the initiatives we support.

van Beuren Charitable Foundation is guided by the strategic thinking and coaching of an engaged an knowledgeable board of directors.


The program officer responsibilities span planning and strategy, grantmaking, and relationships/leadership.

1. Work with the Executive Director and the grants team to coordinate the Foundation's competitive grantmaking process and grants monitoring.

  • Assess and cultivate funding opportunities that are consistent with the Foundation's portfolio priorities through a process of reviewing proposals, site visits, and other community engagement
  • Evaluate proposals and present to grants team recommendations for action on funding requests based upon strategic fit with portfolios; conduct due diligence; prepare written recommendations for and make oral presentations to the Grants Committee of the Board of Directors; monitor progress of grants made
  • Maintain current records within the Foundation's database
  • Help ensure compliance with grantmaking standards and legal requirements
  • Conduct research and prepare analytical reports/briefing papers, and work on special projects as assigned
  • Collaborate with the Executive Director and grants team in developing grantmaking strategies that will have a strong impact on the foundation's portfolios

2. Work closely with community organizations, local leaders and other funders to identify opportunities for further investment, technical assistance and collaboration as they relate to the Foundation's mission, funding priorities and interests.

  • Stay abreast of developments and potential partners in fields of interest to the Foundation
  • Maintain knowledge about current trend/issues impacting the Foundation's portfolios
  • Work to support grant partner projects, including where appropriate and feasible,
    participating in meetings, reviewing drafts of reports and connecting grant partners to other resources
  • When warranted, work with grant partners to facilitate communications and information sharing among them, encourage collaboration, and deepen knowledge of the field

Important Skills and Qualifications


  • A bachelor's degree is required; graduate degrees in relevant fields are welcomed. VBCF also values life and work experiences that enrich a candidate's perspective on the Foundation's mission
  • A strong record of achievement with a minimum seven years of relevant experience
  • An understanding of nonprofit organizational development
  • Field experience in programmatic areas relevant to vBCF's grantmaking. Versatility and a breadth of experience across more than one program area is preferred. An ability to see the connections between the four portfolios is essential
  • Exceptional management skills, deadline management, sense of responsibility and accountability
  • Experience with and appreciation for the complexity of building collaborative relationships with diverse constituencies
  • An understanding of the operation and role of foundations is helpful; prior grantmaking experience is not required

Analytical Skills

  • Superior analytic and writing skills, including the ability to assess and synthesize complex information into a clear, concise summary
  • Experience in reading financial statements, assessing an organization's health and effectiveness through qualitative reports and in-person conversations and site visits
  • Intellectual curiosity, research and networking skills
  • Informed judgement in the planning, design, development and evaluation of programs and/or real estate
  • Ability to monitor and analyze impact, trends and research and translate into strategic recommendations

Collaboration and Communication Skills

  • Demonstrated ability to work as part of a team with a high volume of work
  • Ability to work comfortably and develop relationships with people who hold diverse perspectives

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

  • Ability and willingness to travel for site visits and other meetings (largely in Rhode Island, but occasionally also in New England and New York City)
  • Foundation staff operates out of the Foundation's Newport office, and will be moving to an open work environment in 2019
  • There are occasional evening meetings and out-of-town travel that may require weekend departures or arrivals

Compensation and Benefits

The Foundation offers competitive compensation, commensurate with experience, and an excellent benefits package. vBCF employment decisions are based on merit and business needs.

Application Process

To apply please send PDF cover letter and resume to with “PROGRAM OFFICER (Last Name)” in the subject line. Only applications submitted to this address will be considered. Applications will be treated in a confidential manner and considered on a rolling basis, with applications due no later than January 25, 2019.

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