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Vice President for Strategy and Programs

Explore Company PosterThe Conrad N. Hilton Foundation seeks to recruit a strategic leader as Vice President for Strategy and Programs.


The mission of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged people throughout the world. Conrad Nicholson Hilton, founder of Hilton Hotels, established the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation as a philanthropic trust in 1944. The Foundation continues to be guided by our founder’s mandate to “relieve the suffering, the distressed and destitute.” Upon his death in 1979, Conrad Hilton left nearly his entire estate to the Hilton Foundation. His son, Barron Hilton, joined the Foundation as a member of the board of directors and served as board chair from 2007-2012.

Governed by an 11-person board of directors of which a majority are direct descendants of Conrad Hilton, the Hilton Foundation has thoughtfully adhered to the wishes of its founder, Conrad Hilton and his son, Barron Hilton. Like his father, Barron Hilton has pledged the majority of his fortune upon his passing. His planned gift is projected to increase the Foundation’s endowment from $2.9 billion to more than $6 billion and will make Barron Hilton the organization’s most significant donor. The Foundation’s current annual grantmaking is approximately $114 million, which will more than double with the advent of the new assets. The Hilton Foundation is currently the 30th largest private foundation in the United States and is set to become the 12th largest. In 2015, the Hilton Foundation’s President and CEO, Steven M. Hilton, retired from this role but remained Chairman of the board. At that time, a new President and CEO was appointed, Peter Laugharn, who has more than 25 years of experience leading foundations and nonprofits.

Concurrent with this leadership change, was a collective decision by board and staff and to increase the Foundation’s programmatic focus, and in May 2018, some changes to the Foundation’s program areas were announced. Following the discussions, the board elected to focus programmatic investments in seven areas. These program areas include domestic and international work: Homelessness, Foster Youth, Hospitality Workforce Development, Safe Water, Young Children Affected by HIV and AIDS, Disaster Relief and Recovery, and Catholic Sisters. The Foundation is currently transitioning out of Substance Use Prevention, Multiple Sclerosis, Avoidable Blindness, and Catholic Education/School Choice. In addition to the grantmaking program, the Foundation also awards the annual $2 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize. The Hilton Humanitarian Prize is the world’s largest annual humanitarian award.

Guiding the grantmaking, workplace culture and values of the Foundation is an overarching Philanthropic Approach. The Foundation’s Philanthropic Approach employs four key pillars; grantmaking, communication & advocacy, collaboration and learning. Together, these global and inter-related channels work to achieve impact by:

  • Supporting programmatic solutions to sustain and test recognized and exploratory approaches.

  • Investing in strengthening systems support efforts to scale solutions, improve public policy and infrastructure, and drive funders, providers and public leaders to invest resources and improve efficiencies toward shared goals.

  • Developing knowledge from both direct service and system strengthening programs, integrating this knowledge with what was known before, and disseminating the knowledge to create continuous learning and to support the application of knowledge in each area where they work.

The Foundation also has practiced a deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as core principles interwoven throughout the fabric of the organization. With an understanding that the most vulnerable communities are those disproportionately impacted by systemic barriers and forms of discrimination, the Foundation strives to elevate the voices of those impacted by systemic disparities across race, gender, and class lines to support long-lasting social change.

For more information about the Hilton Foundation, please visit: www.hiltonfoundation.org

ABOUT THE POSITION: Vice President for Strategy and Programs

Reporting to the President and CEO, the Vice President for Strategy and Programs serves as a leader and catalyst for enhancing the programmatic direction of The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. With oversight of an annual grant portfolio of more than $100 million, the Vice President guides implementation of programs and initiatives, ensuring that the Foundation’s programmatic priorities align with the mission and values of the founder’s intent.

The Vice President will possess a skillset that is tailored to the needs and culture of the Hilton Foundation: strategic thinking, emotional intelligence and interpersonal finesse, problem-solving competence, management skills, humility and others. The Vice President serves as a thought partner and operational steward to the President and CEO and program leadership, as well as a team member working alongside administrative, communications, investment and other Foundation staff. The Vice President will guide the program teams in their pursuit of strategic impact – making a difference in the lives of those served by the Foundation.

Moreover, the Vice President will build on a legacy of programmatic strengths:

  • Highly engaged staff and board strongly committed to the Foundation’s mission and values.

  • Work that is both “high touch” (concretely helping real people in real time) and “high leverage” (investing in strengthened systems that will benefit many more people).

  • An organization focused both on compassion and on “Thinking Big.”

  • A commitment to high impact and continuous improvement.

  • Humility and a willingness to ‘lead from behind.’



  • Ensure program strategies are systematically aligned with the Foundation’s Philanthropic Approach.

  • Seize the opportunity presented by 2x growth in the Foundation’s assets, guiding the program department to increase the strategic impact of the Foundation’s grantmaking activities.

  • Deepen and strengthen existing program practice in formulating Initiative goals, identifying and steering optimal strategies by which to pursue those goals, and ensure high quality Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning processes and products.

  • Provide the board with optimal information regarding Initiative goals and strategies, and their progress and impact.

  • Work closely with the board’s Program Committee on questions of strategy oversight and board engagement.

  • Strategically partner with the President and CEO on matters related to donor intent and other organizational issues that enhance the Foundation’s ability to thoughtfully execute its mission.

  • Build and institutionalize the evaluation, learning and knowledge management function to support program monitoring, learning and assessment.

Program Leadership and Management

  • Oversee a program department of 35 professionals and an annual $110 million grantmaking budget, both of which are expected to grow significantly.

  • Manage the program leadership team including providing timely feedback and insights on department goals as well as management of the program staff.

  • Provide leadership and support in building cross functional alignment – as it relates to different approaches to program strategy, to creating a program team that blends the collective wisdom and insights of a dedicated team of professionals, and to helping staff create and steer successful multi-stakeholder Initiatives.

  • Serve as a key member of the Foundation’s Leadership Team, which establishes priorities, fosters an environment for the Foundation to achieve goals, mission and creates a sense of organizational cohesiveness in alignment with organizational values and culture.

  • Lead the program department to ensure seamless integration of operations across programmatic areas and organizational functions.

External Relations

  • Provide leadership on policy and program issues impacting and related to the Foundation’s program strategies and facilitating responsive action in key priority program areas and with governments, intergovernmental bodies, and others.

  • Provide support to the President and CEO in building partnerships with other foundations, government and private sector partners.

  • Identify emerging issues of global significance and explore practices and lessons learned from other sectors to enhance strategic impact and leverage the Foundation’s commitment.


The Vice President should ideally possess the following set of professional qualifications and personal attributes:

Professional Qualifications:

  • Record of entrepreneurial spirit and innovations that achieved important impacts and a commitment to a collaborative leadership style.

  • A record of success working collaboratively with a board of directors.

  • Demonstrated experience leading growth a dynamic workplace.

  • Experience with Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning, including research, measurement, program monitoring, and program evaluation with exposure to a broad range of evaluation tools, methodologies, and techniques.

  • An ability to work with a multi-disciplinary team environment, managing multiple projects and priorities, and working cooperatively to satisfy internal and external requests.

  • Ability to effectively synthesize and distill complex information in a clear and persuasive manner to multiple audiences.

  • Ability to inspire trust, to organize teams, and to sustain a positive, productive working environment.

  • Experience working on an international and domestic US context and a willingness to learn.

  • Possessing an advanced degree in a field related to the Foundation’s mission a plus.

Personal Attributes

  • A deep commitment to the donor intent, mission, and values of the Foundation.

  • Possess integrity and an ability to build dynamic teams and to motivate them to work well together.

  • Personal creativity and strategic vision coupled with an ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas – a sense of inquisitiveness and eagerness to improve.

  • Persuasive communicator with excellent listening, speaking, and writing skills.

  • Personable, articulate, and diplomatic, but also honest in identifying challenges, problems, and risks.

  • Intellectually humble, open to constructive feedback and personally grounded.,

  • Possessing a sense of humor.


Compensation for the Vice President for Strategy and Programs includes a competitive base salary, and an excellent package of health and employee benefits.

Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter responding specifically to the experience and qualifications required to:

Daniel Sherman President,
Explore Company
Refer to Hilton Foundation/VPSP in the subject line. No phone inquiries please.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and
invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply.

All correspondence will remain confidential.


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