Program Officer, Helping Hands College Program

Gerstner Philanthropies


Foundations / Philanthropy


Program Management


NY - New York metropolitan area

About the Organization

Gerstner Philanthropies was founded in 1989 by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. and has four program areas: Biomedical Research, Education, Environment and Emergency Assistance (what we call Helping Hands). Most grants are made to organizations in communities where the Gerstner family live and work which include New York, Boston, and Palm Beach County. With an annual program budget of $20M, Helping Hands provides assistance to people experiencing a short-term, unforeseen emergency through one-time cash grants, with the goal being that they will regain and retain stability following the resolution of the emergency.

For over 15 years, the Helping Hands portfolio has supported partners working in social and direct services. Last year, the foundation launched a pilot in New York City to support student emergency aid programs at colleges that focus on advancing social mobility. Many students at these colleges are experiencing significant basic needs insecurities, and studies have shown that college students face higher rates of food and housing insecurity than the general population. The goal of Helping Hands portfolio is to provide students with financial support when they need assistance with emergency expenses to ensure that students stay enrolled and complete their education.

About the Position

Gerstner Philanthropies is a small and growing family foundation in search of a strategic and collaborative Program Officer (PO) to help build out and implement its Helping Hands College grants. This role focuses on expanding its student emergency aid work at higher education institutions. The PO will collaborate with the Program Director to source, cultivate and assess potential investment opportunities. Additionally, the PO will be responsible for tracking grantee progress and learnings as well as preparing and delivering updates to our Board. The PO holds a variety of responsibilities related to the coordination of grantmaking activities and is expected to bring and further develop their field knowledge and experience in order to add to the strategic discussions that shape our work. This is an ideal opportunity for a collaborative, entrepreneurial leader with higher education experience to grow a portfolio supporting economic mobility for college students. The impact of this portfolio is Helping Hands enables and empowers college students to complete their education. The Program Officer will report to the Program Director and partner with a peer PO to continue to grow and further establish the Helping Hand portfolio.

Grants Management

  • Build-out, manage and monitor a grants portfolio of higher education institutions providing emergency aid to students
  • Conduct long-term grant planning; research and identify new potential grantee organizations; identify and work with prospective grantees to develop proposals for grant recommendations and conduct due diligence
  • Review and assess grant proposals and prepare written funding recommendations
  • Monitor grants through site visits, check-in calls to review progress with grantees, review narrative and financial reports, and manage financial and budget reports to track grantee and program spending
  • Engage with grantees to review opportunities, challenges and advances, and encourage learning and sharing of best practices
  • Collaborate with the Helping Hands Social Services Program Officer and work closely with the Grants Manager to prepare grant agreements, maintain grant records, and set up payment and reporting schedules

Program Development

  • Work closely with the Program Director and Program Officer to develop and implement the strategic and operational objectives of the Helping Hands Program
  • Contribute to the ongoing strategy development, refinement and implementation of the Helping Hands College line of work to scale impact
  • Integrate strategies internally across grantmaking portfolios and the program collectively, share learnings internally and with trustees all contributing towards effective systems change

External Relationship Management

  • Build trusted, collaborative relationships with peers at grantee organizations and other funders
  • Prepare and present written program updates and impact reports to the Board
  • Represent the foundation and its work in key venues with guidance from the Program Director
  • Identify and build strategic partnerships within community, philanthropic, business, government and other stakeholders and coalitions to advance Gerstner Philanthropies and Helping Hands Program objectives

Candidate Requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree required. Advanced degree preferred
  • 6+ years of combined work experience in higher education or philanthropy, other educational organizations or consulting firms
  • Experience with post-secondary success and/or improving student outcomes, particularly for first-generation, low-income students is preferred
  • Ability to write and communicate clearly and concisely to summarize key points and recommendations regarding complex issues and decisions
  • Excellent analytical skills and ability to strategize, plan, prioritize and identify/assess opportunities, challenges, and institutions with which to engage
  • Excellent organizational and project management skills and attention to detail while managing multiple priorities
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and Google Suite, as well as a thorough knowledge and comfort of basic web skills required
  • Experience with foundations and grant making is preferred

Location and Work Expectations: Armonk, NY

Gerstner Philanthropies believes in the importance of collaboration and work in-person Monday-Friday (5 days a week) in its Armonk offices.

Compensation and benefits:

The salary range for this role is $125K-$150K, commensurate with experience. In addition to compensation, Gerstner Philanthropies provides a suite of competitive benefits that include health, dental, and vision insurance, retirement contributions, paid holidays, vacation, sick, and personal time, and a flexible work environment.

Gerstner Family Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, or current employment status.

On-Ramps is deeply committed to equity. We believe social change happens when people with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and identities come together with a common purpose. We're partnering with the team at Gerstner Family Foundation to build a diverse team that represents the communities they serve through Helping Hands. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.

On-Ramps is committed to the inclusion of all qualified individuals in the hiring process, including but not limited to those with disabilities. If you require reasonable accommodation(s) to participate in the application or interview process, please contact