Job Posting

Connelly Foundation, Program Officer for Education

June 07, 2021
Location: Conshohocken, PA

Inspired by its Catholic heritage, Connelly Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life in the Philadelphia region by supporting charitable organizations in the areas of education, human services, culture, and civic life that strengthen resilience and help people to flourish. Since its founding in 1955, the Connelly Foundation (Foundation) has been a responsive and proactive grantmaking organization awarding grants to nonprofits in the Philadelphia region that demonstrate outstanding performance in meeting community needs. The work of the Foundation is principally driven by its founders’ John and Josephine Connelly’s personal charitable principles, with an emphasis on strengthening Catholic education, and providing help and opportunity to the needy.

Connelly Foundation helps nurture resiliency, self-improvement, and personal independence, partnering with schools, community and faith organizations, job-training programs, and other organizations that provide vital educational, economic, cultural, civic, religious, and social support services. The Foundation also maintains an enduring role in providing charitable support to leaders and organizations who serve the acute and chronic needs of the region’s most vulnerable. Creative new ideas are continuously generated toward programs that would bolster and complement the quality of Catholic education throughout the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as well as supporting new organizations that respect human dignity and provide opportunity. In 2021, the Foundation anticipates awarding more than $12 million in grants across its education, human services, culture, and civic life portfolios.

Education Program

The Foundation views education as a primary pathway to opportunity and devotes the majority of its funding each year to education-related causes, particularly PreK–12 Catholic education. The Philadelphia region maintains the third largest Catholic school population in the United States, with more than 150 schools serving approximately 60,000 students from every socioeconomic background. The Foundation is committed to increasing access to high quality Catholic education and supporting schools in their pursuit of excellence in principal leadership, teacher development, curriculum advancement, and financial sustainability.

 Position Overview

The Connelly Foundation is seeking a dynamic and entrepreneurial professional to serve as a Program Officer within its Education portfolio, which maintains an annual budget of more than $6 million devoted to scholarships, grants and Foundation initiatives. Reporting to the Vice President for Grantmaking, the Program Officer will work collaboratively with colleagues and partners to advance strategies that promote positive trends for PreK–12 Catholic schools in the Philadelphia area, including enrollment growth; improved academic standards and achievement; strong leadership; better financial health and business practices; and solid student outcomes.

The Program Officer will build strong relationships with a wide range of schools, individuals, and educational organizations in order to inform and strengthen the Foundation’s education grantmaking. This individual will have enthusiasm for Catholic education in the Philadelphia region and commitment to the mission critical work of the Foundation.  The ideal candidate will bring knowledge and understanding of Catholic education, strong written and verbal skills, ability to engage and create with executives, and the ability to function in a highly collaborative culture at an institution that aspires to the highest of standards.


Position Responsibilities

  • Guided by the Foundation’s new strategic plan, identify and pursue grantmaking initiatives to invigorate Catholic education in the Philadelphia region. Participate in ongoing research and learning with colleagues to create new opportunities and develop ideas into compelling projects. Help shape the Foundation’s goals in Catholic education and cultivate leaders and organizations that have the capacity to advance them.
  • Maintain, advance, renew, and refresh signature foundation education initiatives/programs.
  • Review incoming Education grant proposals from schools and nonprofit organizations, carry out due diligence, and prepare written grant recommendations and oral presentations for management and Trustees as required.
  • Develop systems to monitor progress on education grants to inform and improve grantmaking effectiveness. Help develop and contribute to the Foundation’s knowledge management practices in order to document, catalogue and preserve knowledge related to its human services grantmaking.
  • Provide technical assistance and advice to Catholic schools and grantees as appropriate.
  • Develop and maintain subject matter expertise on key issues and trends across a variety of subject areas related to Education. Identify and cultivate promising partners and existing efforts to strengthen Catholic education in other cities that could be piloted or adopted in the Philadelphia region.
  • Represent the Foundation’s Education grantmaking in relevant local forums and meetings; establish strong working relationships with peers at other foundations, nonprofits, and institutions; proactively identify opportunities to share information about the Foundation’s grantmaking and to learn from others.

 Professional Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree required. Advanced degree preferred.
  • Five years minimum of professional experience, with experience in education or education philanthropy.
  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission is essential.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office including Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Project and Grants databases.
  • Ability to analyze budgetary information and assess organizational capacity.
  • Solution-oriented; eager to identify ways to improve projects and programs; able to synthesize material and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue and how best to address it.
  • Ability to recognize opportunities, develop ideas and suggest structures or models that transform these ideas into concrete initiatives.
  • Strong time management skills; highly organized and detail oriented. Ability to meet deadlines and move project forward with a high degree of independence and initiative.
  • Strong interpersonal skills; able to develop and manage productive relationships with colleagues, grantees, and external stakeholders.
  • Ability to work within a creative and highly professional team which emphasizes quality, collegiality, teamwork, and humility.
  • Persuasive written and oral communication skills. Comfortable presenting to a Board of Trustees.


Personal Traits

  • Intellectual curiosity: ability to ask thoughtful and probing questions.
  • Balance, perspective, a good sense of humor and a healthy skepticism of flattery.