Job Opportunity for Program Officer – India, Nepal and Sri Lanka at Ford Foundation in New Delhi

Website Ford Foundation

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The Ford Foundation, created in 1936, is a US-based philanthropic organization and private international donor focusing on social justice. It has ten offices across the world in Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well as in the United States. 


The Ford Foundation India Office, based in New Delhi, seeks a dynamic, collaborative, innovative and multi-talented Program Officer to help drive and shape the Foundation’s regional and international work on Civic Engagement and Government (CEG). The work of the India office specifically focuses on Gender Racial and Ethnic Justice (GREJ), in particular addressing gender-based violence and women’s safety in public spaces, Civic Engagement and Government (CEG) focusing on the livelihood of farmers, and a portfolio supporting local philanthropy. This particular Program Officer will focus mainly on the CEG portfolio but will work in collaboration with the entire program team. 

The Program Officer will work in collaboration with the India office’s program team and with stakeholders in government, civil society, private sector and other donor agencies active in the region. The Program Officer will also work with the International CEG team on global strategy related processes, as well as support other global initiatives. The ideal candidate should have proven experience in and knowledge of how civil society operates in India and the region. The Program Officer will bring their perspective to grantmaking and the team as they implement the office strategy. The Program Officer will support the strategy of the India Office and the broader social justice goals of the Foundation globally. The candidate will also have a track record in helping build the institutional capacity and financial resilience of local civil society and grassroots organizations.


Program Officers are responsible for the development of grant portfolios and ensuring all related activities (grant making, convenings, thought leadership, civil society strengthening, government relations) are designed to deliver on the India office goals and strategies. The Program Officer assesses and analyzes the landscape of organizations and identifies issues/themes as well as actors to work with, to shape agendas that would promote specific strategic outcomes; and makes grants to this end. The PO tracks and understands shifts in context to identify opportunities and challenges to inform grantmaking.  

Program Officers are networking agents and partnership builders–striving to share substantive knowledge with Foundation colleagues; collaborate broadly with Ford’s India office team; coordinate with the international CEG strategy and serve as a ‘connector’ of grantees. The Program Officer works with practitioners, government officials, scholars, NGOs, community-based organizations, other donors and corporate sector leaders on issues of common concern to leverage resources towards common goals. More specifically, as part of a multi-disciplinary team, the Program Officer will: 

  • Contribute to the ongoing definition, development and adaptation of team strategies, working toward India Office goals, including identifying opportunities at the intersections of other individual programs such as the gender justice strategy. 
  • Develop grant making activities in a team-oriented way, that are aligned with global goals in partnership with the CEG-International team, and local strategy goals, and designed to achieve significant and scalable impact. 
  • Be responsible for crafting grantmaking ‘from’ the region to inform global outcomes.
  • Manage, monitor and coordinate a grants portfolio, including annual grant planning, identifying and working with the Foundation’s grantees to develop proposals for grant recommendations, undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantees, performing grantee site visits, reviewing financial and narrative reporting from grantees. 
  • Develop and implement grant-making approaches that support the use of broad coalitions and strategic communications as part of the program strategy.
  • Develop and implement grantee convenings and reflections to strategize and review opportunities, challenges and advances. 
  • Identify ways to support grantees in the portfolio to become more durable, more resilient, and more effectively networked with each other. This includes support for strategic vision, leadership, management systems, financial stability, and organizational diversity, equity and inclusion. 
  • Develop and implement grant-making approaches that support the use of strategic communications and narrative change as part of the program strategy. 
  • Recommend and participate in learning and evaluation activities to guide the evolution of programmatic work, promote exchange and strategic partnership. Learn from and collaborate with key stakeholders inside and outside the Foundation. 
  • Represent the foundation and its work to the government, media, academic, business, philanthropic, and civic leaders through meetings, updates, speeches, briefings and interviews, with guidance from the Regional Director.
  • Play a leadership role on team, working toward and influencing team collaboration, team building and team effectiveness, modeling these skills for the team.  Serve as a mentor and coach to Program Associates and Program Assistants.   
  • Support the team in assessing contextual risks to program impact as well as opportunities to further advance regional strategy and outcomes.   


The Foundation is committed to hiring candidates with the right combination of skills and experience.   Our desired qualifications are:

  • A post-graduate degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Recognition as a leader on issues related to civil society, demonstrated collaboration with civil society and a perspective informed by the global context.
  • Experience of around 8 years or more leading impact-driven strategies and/or subject-matter expertise in a relevant thematic area, and/or demonstration of strong cross-cutting work in a social justice arena.
  • Deep understanding of the social, cultural and political context of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka and the geopolitical landscape.
  • Significant relevant experience on issues related to inequality at the national, regional or global levels, with a combination of policy analysis, advocacy, communications and implementation experience, including a specific expertise in working on farm livelihoods.
  • Substantive expertise in and experience with applying gender analysis to work.
  • Experience in coalition building and demonstrated experience as a ‘connector’ and ‘convener’ across a range of interested parties, including grantees, practitioners, government officials, scholars, NGO and corporate sector leaders, and other donors on issues of common concern to leverage positive impact toward common goals.
  • Familiarity and experience working with grassroots organizations, NGOs, academic, private sector and governmental institutions 
  • Demonstrated success in program development, evaluation and management—including the ability to strategize, plan, prioritize and identify/assess opportunities, challenges and institutions with which to engage.
  • Intellectual agility and ability to analyze evidence, think critically, and understand scientific and policy studies directly relevant to programmatic funding areas.
  • Experience with grantmaking desirable but not necessary.
  • Fluency in English required. 


The following personal attributes are desired:

  • Passion for social justice.
  • Demonstrated ability to be a collaborative and productive member of a team, respecting differences while working toward shared goals, comfort with periods of ambiguity, constructive participation in ongoing organizational development.
  • Approachable demeanor and openness to input from all levels of staff and grantees.
  • Sensitive to issues of gender, ethnic and cultural diversity and inclusion.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including an ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas, share best practices and experiences, and contribute to a learning environment as well as constructive verbal and written and strong presentation skills.
  • Impeccable integrity and trustworthiness; diplomatic approach to problem-solving.
  • Ability to consistently interact with others in a professional, courteous, and tactful manner, maintain a positive attitude and good working relationships, and work effectively in a team setting.
  • Ability to work well with colleagues, consultants, funders, and grantees across many diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Willingness to work to a flexible schedule, including occasional travel within India, Nepal and Sri Lanka and internationally.   


  • This position is primarily a sedentary role. However, the person in this position may need to occasionally move about inside the office to liaise with internal staff, access files, office machinery and a copy machine/printer. Additionally, domestic/international travel will be expected, approximately 30%; some travel is directly related to grantmaking, but also to attend team conferences, retreats, and meetings.
  • The Foundation moved to a hybrid working model in 2022 and there is a requirement to work from the office 3 days per week.
  • The Ford Foundation is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its programs, and operations. As part of this commitment, the Foundation will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations.  If a reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application process, please contact, or call (212) 573-4627.

Location: New Delhi, India

Target Start Date: Fourth Quarter 2022 

Salary: is based on experience and on the Foundation’s commitment to internal equity. A generous benefits package is provided.

Alignment to Culture and Values

  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, openness, collaboration, trust, accountability and urgency
  • Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor
  • Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues
  • Action-orientated and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams


  • Hybrid Workplace and Flexible Work Arrangement policies
  • Medical and dental benefits for employee and immediate family on first day of work
  • Retirement savings account with matching company contributions of up to 13%
  • Three weeks’ paid vacation in first year of work; four weeks in subsequent years
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Office closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day
  • Professional development initiatives for growth
  • Generous parental leave (maternal and paternal) during new child’s first year (born into family or adopted) 

Equal employment opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at The Ford Foundation, where employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation/affectional preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law. The Ford Foundation does not discriminate against formerly incarcerated individuals.

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