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 advocacy partners.
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 Foundation.
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 contracting.
- 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 staffing considerations.
- 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 basis.
- Representing the VP, as appropriate, internally and externally by networking, building relationships, coordinating, and promoting activities across teams and with other organizations and partners.
DESIRED ATTRIBUTES OF THE ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT
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 experiences:
- 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 health equity.
- 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 upward communication.
- 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 here.
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.