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Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
Senior Program Officer, Early Childhood Development - US

Explore Company PosterThe Conrad N. Hilton Foundation seeks to recruit a Senior Program Officer, Early Childhood Development - US to be based in Westlake Village, California.


The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation (“The Foundation”) works to improve the lives of individuals living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage throughout the world. Conrad N. Hilton, founder of Hilton Hotels, established the Hilton Foundation as a philanthropic trust in 1944. The Foundation continues to be guided by the founder’s mandate to “relieve the suffering, the distressed and destitute.

From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1.8 billion in grants, distributing approximately $200 million in 2020.Foundation assets increased from approximately $2.9 billion to over $6 billion following the 2019 passing of Barron Hilton who, like his father, pledged virtually his entire estate to the Foundation. The growth in financial resources presents the Foundation with an exciting opportunity to scale the impact of its work globally. The Foundation is a family foundation. Governed by an 11-person board of directors of which a majority are direct descendants of Conrad Hilton, the Foundation has thoughtfully adhered to the wishes of its founder. The Foundation invests in 7 Initiatives that include the areas of early child development (US and East and Southern Africa), older youth development (foster youth and opportunity youth), refugees, safe water, Catholic Sisters, and homelessness. 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. 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, which employs four key pillars: grantmaking, communication and advocacy, collaboration, and learning. Together, these global and interrelated channels work to achieve impact by supporting programmatic solutions to sustain and test recognized and exploratory approaches. Along with direct services, the Foundation realizes they must also support reducing the systemic barriers that create the need for such programs, strengthen and align the systems that can create pathways of opportunity, and share knowledge about the best ways to achieve lasting change.

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


The Senior Program Officer (SPO) is a strategic leader and portfolio manager for the Foundation’s Global Early Childhood Development – U.S. Sub-Initiative. This role will serve to advance the Conrad Hilton Foundation’s efforts aimed at improving the developmental outcomes of young children (from birth to age three) and the lives of their caregivers with a focus on young families. This is a new sub-initiative that will begin in 2021 in Los Angeles County with a second US location to begin in 2022. Grantmaking will seek to further goals at local, state, and national levels and will contribute to building an international movement.

Science tells us that early experiences affect brain architecture – particularly during the first 1,000 days of life which then influences future health, educational outcomes and behavior. At the same time, adverse early childhood experiences may negatively impact brain development, making the window of the first few years a critical period for parenting support. Taking a holistic, two generation approach, this program aims to strengthen the capacity of public systems (including health systems that serve pregnant women and the youngest children) and community actors to provide comprehensive family support. By ensuring that children aged 0-3 receive the nurturing care they need to be ready for school and resilient to meet challenges, our Global ECD Initiative aims to contribute to their healthy development, as well as improved education, economic and health outcomes over the longer term. This program aims to bring the early childhood sector together with programs addressing the needs of young parents to enable the delivery of holistic, two generation support, with a racial equity lens. The program also plans to ensure that parents’ perspectives are heard.

The SPO for the Global ECD-U.S. Sub-Initiative is the content expert and thought leader on early childhood development and two-generation approaches to serve young parents within Los Angeles County and the U.S., and s/he provides creative thinking in both strategy direction and in the day-to-day management of the sub-initiative portfolio. In addition to strategic leadership and portfolio management, the SPO is responsible for supporting the management of the eventual 3-person team while providing guidance on learning and evaluation and advocacy efforts that will inform strategy implementation, grant monitoring, management, integration across the portfolio, and future strategy development. The SPO will initiate and sustain external partnerships with grantees, stakeholders, policy decision makers, and other funders.

The Senior Program Officer will embrace a core belief that the Foundation has an important role to play in contributing to systemic change to create a more equitable world. The Foundation employs a strategic philanthropic approach, and in doing so, they plan, implement, evaluate, and adapt and ask the same of its partners. To do this effectively, the Foundation must share power and elevate the voices of partners and those with lived experience. The SPO will manage an annual grant portfolio of approximately $18 million. This position reports to the Director, Global ECD Initiative and is based in Westlake Village, California.


The broad goals and objectives facing the new SPO are the following:

  • Plan, develop, and implement a strategy to advance the strategic goals of the Foundation's Global ECD – U.S. Sub Initiative, including strategic partnerships and a strong initial grantee portfolio.Work with internal and external evaluators and research partners to track progress toward initiative goals.

  • Work collaboratively with a range of partners to share learnings and co-organize annual grantee convenings and periodic webinars.

  • Provide leadership in aligning research, policy initiatives, and other programmatic work related to early childhood development and racial equity to advance the goals of the ECD-US strategy.

  • Represent the Conrad Hilton Foundation to various constituencies through verbal and written communications (annual reports, brochures, correspondence) and through participating in outside conferences and meetings.

  • Recruit and mentor a strong sub-initiative staff team and build collaborative and positive working relationships and effective communication channels with team members and staff from other departments (to include other initiatives that are also working in Los Angeles).

  • Lead efforts to select a second geographic location for approval by the Board of Directors and to build new partnerships and investments.

  • Lead and/or participate 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.


The Senior Program Officer should ideally embody the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

Professional Qualifications:

  • A graduate degree in early childhood education, public health, public policy, social welfare or a related field.

  • Demonstrated expertise and work experience with approaches to improving early childhood development outcomes at program, research, and public policy levels.

  • Knowledgeable regarding the systems, influences and interventions that impact young children and their caregivers and approaches to support systems change and advances in equitable programs and policies which enhance early childhood development.

  • Demonstrated strategic, conceptual, and critical thinking abilities; capacity to navigate through ambiguity.

  • Exceptional ability to articulate and realize an inspired vision, to motivate and mentor others, and to work collaboratively with a high-caliber team of staff and external partners.

  • Works well independently and within a team and demonstrates a high degree of initiative, flexibility, collaboration, and cultural sensitivity.

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

Personal Attributes:

  • A passion for and a commitment to the Conrad Hilton Foundation's mission.

  • Committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion with a passion for social justice.

  • 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.

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

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


Compensation for the Senior Program Officer – ECD US 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/SPO ECD US in the subject line.
No phone inquiries please.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation is an equal opportunity employer with values grounded in promoting equality and inclusion and embracing diversity. We welcome qualified applicants of all races, colors, gender identities, sexual orientations, economic classes, ages, religions, national origins, and ability/disability statuses. Veterans and individuals with lived expertise are encouraged to apply. We respect and seek to empower every member of our Foundation community. We support and celebrate our collective array of cultures, backgrounds, perspectives, skills, and experiences; fully realizing that such diversity is what makes our organization flourish and better enables us to fulfill our mission in the world.

All correspondence will remain confidential.


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