Senior Program Officer (Safe Water)

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Westlake Village, CA, US

Who we are:

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help individuals throughout the world living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage. The Foundation invests in 11 program areas, including providing access to safe water, supporting transition age foster youth, ending chronic homelessness, hospitality workforce development, disaster relief and recovery, helping young children affected by HIV and AIDS, and supporting the work of Catholic sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $2 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.8 billion in grants, distributing $110 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2019. Foundation assets increased from approximately $2.9 billion to $6.6 billion following the 2019 passing of Barron Hilton who, like his father, pledged virtually his entire estate to the Foundation. For more information, please visit

Our Culture:

Our employees are inspired by the Foundation’s mission and are committed to support our program areas in a thoughtful and effective way. Everyone is expected to cultivate the work environment in a way that contributes to respectful, open, and engaging dialogue and connection that support meaningful innovation, learning, progress and outcomes.  

Our Benefits:

We value the health and well-being of our employees and offer comprehensive and generous health care coverage options including fitness benefits, disability coverage, paid holidays, paid time off, paid parental leave, flexible work schedules and technology benefits. Professional learning and development are supported through educational assistance and participation in professional conferences and seminars. To encourage charitable giving, the Foundation triple-matches employee gifts to qualified non-profit organizations.

About the Role

The Senior Program Officer will provide strategic leadership in the Safe Water Initiative grantmaking activities and projects and will have primary responsibility for the Foundation’s Safe Water Initiative.  This individual is a thought leader within the Safe  Water sector and a key member of the program team. This position reports to the Vice President for Strategy and Programs.

Responsibilities and Tasks

Strategic Initiative Planning and Implementation

  • Leads strategy planning and implementation of the Foundation’s Safe Water strategic initiative.
  • Collaborates with the VPSP to presents strategy updates to the Board of Directors.
  • Works collaboratively with the VPSP and Strategy, Learning, and Evaluation Division (SLED) to set and adapt strategy.
  • Works collaboratively with SLED and the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) partners to provide guidance and input into MEL approaches, including efforts to share learnings.
  • Provides vision and collaborates on periodic grantee convenings.

Grantmaking and Grantee Relations

  • Identifies potential grantees and projects in partnership with Initiative team.
  • Investigates and evaluates grant proposals and drafts grant writeups in collaboration with Initiative team.
  • Monitors and evaluates strategic initiatives and grantee performance.
  • Conducts site visits.
  • Conducts due diligence to assess grantee work.
  • Provides advice/area expertise assistance to and maintains an open, ongoing relationship with grantees.
  • Nurtures partnerships among grantees.

Issues/trend analysis

  • Remains informed of current research, policy, activities, and trends in the issues related to safe water philanthropy, non-profits, and government efforts
  • Responds effectively to the broader knowledge in the field by aligning grantmaking with emerging learning and opportunities in the field.
  • Pursues and promotes learning throughout the field.

Thought Leader and Coalition Building

  • Engages and develops relations to strengthen strategic coalition-building within the sector.
  • Convenes meetings of key government, philanthropic, and nonprofit leaders to mobilize coordinated efforts and funding in strategic initiatives.
  • Represents the Foundation to various constituencies through verbal and written communications (annual reports, brochures, correspondence) and through participating in outside conferences and meetings.
  • Works with other leaders in the field to strengthen and further build the field.

Management and Program Team Relations

  • Builds collaborative and positive working relationships and effective communication channels with team members and staff.
  • Effectively manages direct reports and provides mentorship in developing professionally.
  • Participates in team meetings to review grant recommendations, provide updates on grantee progress, determine technical assistance needs of grantees, plan convening, evaluation and communications activities, and share and reflect on experiences in the field and related program activity.
  • Identifies the need and scope of work for consultants within the safe water area, makes recommendations to the VPSP, and monitors work as required.


  • Works with communications team to develop communications and advocacy strategy for the Safe Water Initiative.
  • Writes blogs/articles for the website and supervises web-site content and updates.

Education / Training:


  • Graduate degree in public health, public policy, social welfare, or a related field.

Experience/Technical Skills


  • Demonstrated expertise and work experience in safe water related issues at program, research, and public policy levels.
  • Knowledgeable of international safe water policy at global, national, regional and local levels; leadership experience within the sector.
  • Experience, or relevant experience, in strategic planning and implementation and in coordinating public/private efforts for long-term, systemic social impact.Minimum of 10 years of relevant experience in grantmaking and/or program development/management.
  • A passion for and a commitment to the Foundation’s mission and safe water.
  • Excellent written/oral communication, presentation and public speaking skills.
  • Ability to develop effective and professional relationships with internal and external colleagues and partners.
  • Strong strategic, conceptual and critical thinking abilities; capacity to navigate through ambiguity.
  • Strong organizational, analytical, and time management skills with high attention to priority and detail.
  • Works well independently and within a team and demonstrates a high degree of initiative, flexibility, collaboration and cultural sensitivity.
  • Strong managerial skills and ability to professionally develop team members.
  • The personal presence to represent the Foundation in diverse forums and organizational relationships.


  • Experience living and working in sub-Saharan Africa





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