The Pittsburgh Foundation

Senior Policy Officer Reports to: Senior Vice President of Program and Policy

Position Status: Regular, Full-Time, Exempt

The Pittsburgh Foundation is seeking a highly-qualified, credentialed, creative, intellectually rigorous and astute individual with a high degree of integrity to join our professional Program and Policy team to research, design and implement initiatives to support the Foundation’s policy agenda.

The Foundation’s Organizing Principle: 100% Pittsburgh

Today, the Pittsburgh region is changing, and we are experiencing a time of great growth and possibility—many are calling it a vision for the “New Pittsburgh.” At the same time, in many communities across the region, we are seeing evidence of persistent barriers including racial disproportionality relating to the incidence and impact of poverty. Our research reveals that these barriers affect 30 or 40% of the population, many of whom are children. We at The Pittsburgh Foundation want to be part of sustaining the New Pittsburgh by building bridges that connect all our families, friends and neighbors to these new opportunities. The Pittsburgh Foundation has defined an organizing principle—called 100% Pittsburgh—comprised of a set of values, principles and activities that are foundational to our grantmaking and that have become the core of our convening, research, public policy and advocacy, all of which are operationalized through a racial equity lens. We focus on working with nonprofit organizations that seek to meet the basic needs of individuals and families who often face what may seem like insurmountable economic and social challenges. We invest in large anchor institutions as well as smaller, grassroots organizations working in the fields of education, human services, the arts, economic and community development and public policy and advocacy. We use a racial equity lens in all aspects of our work and we collaborate with our grantees to incorporate the lived experiences of those who are most impacted by economic and racial inequity as we create new initiatives and programs.

Examples of current 100% Pittsburgh initiatives for which the Foundation has formally adopted policies include:

  • Criminal Justice Reform: Working with public sector and nonprofit and foundation allies, the Foundation’s goals for this initiative are to address racial disproportionality, to advance diversion efforts, and be part of the efforts to end the era of mass incarceration, to root out racial discrimination in the system, and to ensure humane, constitutional standards for prisoners. A key component of this effort is the Juvenile Justice Initiative that was designed to generate data together with youth who have first-hand knowledge of and/or who are at risk of experiencing the juvenile justice system in Allegheny County.
  • Eviction Research Initiative: This Initiative involves leading a working group of more than 40 policy, direct-practice, legal and advocacy stakeholders to conduct a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the prevalence and burden of eviction in Allegheny County. This work was inspired by the nationally recognized work of Matthew Desmond, author or of "Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City" (2016) as an effort to examine, understand and inform reforms in system procedures and strategies with diverse stakeholders to intervene early and prevent evictions and the devastating cascade of consequences that often follow impacting families, single women and their children.
  • Single Women Raising Children Initiative: Single Women Raising Children represent the population most significantly affected by poverty in Allegheny County. This project was designed to utilize quantitative and qualitative data to better understand the context in which single women live and to ascertain what they need in terms of support systems to improve their quality of life.

The 100% Pittsburgh initiatives, findings and recommendations from this research will serve as the foundation to our grantmaking and the core of our convening, research and public policy related strategies to support single women raising children and youth ages 12 – 24 to thrive in Allegheny County.

Position Summary

The Pittsburgh Foundation recognizes that in order to have impact over time, our investments in organizations that meet basic needs for those living in poverty must always be accompanied by a commitment to system transformation so that poverty becomes rare and short-term. This goal can be best met by engaging the public sector to assure that policies enacted on behalf of the people advance the common good and create a just and equitable society for all. To meet these goals, the individual hired for this role must have a clear understanding of state and local policymaking processes and agency infrastructure to support the Foundation’s policy agenda. S/he must evidence a strong commitment to work at the grassroots level to listen and understand the strengths, needs and priorities of the people served by the Foundation, and work with them to strengthen and advance existing advocacy efforts. S/he must evidence a track record of working in contexts that responsibly engage and amplify the voices of those who are most directly affected by poverty and racism. The Pittsburgh Foundation is seeking a highly-qualified, credentialed, creative, intellectually rigorous and astute individual with a high degree of integrity to design and implement public policy initiatives on its behalf as the Senior Policy Officer.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Work with Program Department staff, community members, the board of directors and the president & CEO and other internal and external stakeholders to establish The Pittsburgh Foundation's short- and long-term policy agenda, including issue identification, alignment with program initiatives and adopted policies and development of accountability measures.
  • Develop and implement project plans for each policy initiative to achieve local and state-level policy change, including coalition-building and working with state and local legislative officials and system leaders.
  • Work with individual activists, nonprofit partners, and advocacy organizations to assure that the policy agenda reflects the needs, values and perspectives of those most impacted by policies.
  • Serve as a resource to internal and external constituents of The Pittsburgh Foundation who are interested in learning more about the public policy and advocacy agenda, implications and strategies of the foundation.
  • Serve as a resource to committees and advisory boards comprised of grantees and other relevant stakeholders that are established to inform, monitor and evaluate the foundation’s policy and advocacy strategy.
Research and Evaluation
  • Assist in the process of conducting quantitative and qualitative research on critical issues to inform grantmaking, public policy and advocacy, convening and special initiatives.
  • Collaborate with subject matter experts and staff in the design and implementation of evidence-based advocacy agendas relating to 100 % Pittsburgh pilots (i.e., Juvenile Justice/Criminal Justice Reform, Single Women Raising Children and Eviction).
  • Measure and evaluate progress of policy efforts in collaboration with program department staff. • Produce written reports that condense and summarize the historical trends of policies and current and potential impact on target populations.
  • Participate in the development of grantee convenings to cultivate learning, connection, and a stronger network of supports and services for individuals served by the Foundation’s grantmaking. This should include grantees of special initiatives, 100% Pittsburgh and all other discretionary grantmaking.
  • Seek opportunities to collaborate with groups and individuals in the nonprofit, philanthropic, private, and public sectors committed to advancing the 100% Pittsburgh values and strategies and the public policy initiatives advanced by the Foundation.
  • Initiate and foster strategic partnerships with key constituencies to advance the Foundation’s special initiative priorities and activities.
President & CEO, Program & Policy Committee and Board of Directors
  • Work with the Senior Vice President of Program & Policy to recommend and formalize project plans and strategy implementation for approval by the CEO.
  • Serve as a resource to the Program and Policy Committee and the Board of Directors to assure that they are fully informed of and engaged in convening, research and policy activities of the Program Department.
Donor Engagement
  • Participate in Development and Donor Services programs in order to contribute to a culture of excellence in donor education, donor engagement, co-creation of giving opportunities and increased alignment between Foundation and donor giving in response to community needs.
  • Partner proactively and responsively with Development and Donor Services staff to serve donors in meeting their philanthropic needs.
External Communications
  • Respond to requests from the Communications Department to productively explain, guide and promote the foundation’s policy positions, advocacy efforts and strategy among diverse stakeholders with an emphasis on the nonprofit sector.
  • Serve as an ambassador of the work, internally and externally, representing the Foundation and its work to a wide array of constituencies
Professional Development
  • Participate in activities of the local and national philanthropic field to enhance the Foundation’s policy and advocacy work.
  • Attend regional and national conferences, workshops and meetings to obtain information useful to the development of policy and advocacy work.
  • Work to improve and enhance the professional skills and accomplishments necessary to carry out the responsibilities of the position.
Foundation and Program Department Values
  • Embody the Program Department values of 100% Pittsburgh – voice, racial equity and courage in all aspects of the work.
  • In all engagements with internal and external constituents, operate with integrity, honesty, transparency, cultural humility and respect.
  • Operate within the policies and procedures outlined within The Pittsburgh Foundation Employee Manual.
  • Foster an environment in which all constituents are treated equitably and fairly and have the opportunity to fully participate in the Foundation’s mission.
Other Accountabilities as Assigned

Qualifications and Experience

 The successful candidate will evidence the following: 

  • Minimum of 5-7 years of experience in public policy and/or government relations or a related field is required. A Master’s degree from an accredited institution in an area related to human services, education, environment, public health, public policy or a related field (or a related credential, for example a Juris Doctor) is strongly preferred but a combination of education and experience will be considered.
  • Previous experience in monitoring and analyzing public policy issues is strongly preferred. An ability to utilize this knowledge to anticipate policy conflicts, unintended consequences and future implications of a policy stance or change.
  • Demonstrated project management skills with the ability to plan, execute and assess a course of action and deliver of results in a high performance environment.
  • A demonstrated track record of professional and personal support of programs and initiatives consistent with the values and beliefs of the Pittsburgh Foundation.
  • Experience work to advance programs and policies related to housing insecurity, juvenile justice, criminal justice, human services, poverty-elimination and/or public education.
  • Political experience and demonstrated relationships with Pittsburgh/regional and Harrisburg decision makers.
  • Demonstrated self-starter, able to work independently, with experience working in the nonprofit sector.
  • A well-organized and self-directed individual who evidences the ability to share information and collaborate effectively across all functions, and with both internal and external partners.
  • Evidence of experience in building consensus among diverse constituents.
  • Outstanding interpersonal, oral and written communication, relationship-building and negotiation skills (i.e. ability to listen as well as persuade). The ability to synthesize large amounts of data and translate it for multiple audiences is imperative.
  • Ability to deal effectively, diplomatically, honestly, compassionately and with cultural humility among partners from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural environments.
  • Well-developed sense of humor, intellectual curiosity and a commitment to work-life balance.

Download Job Description

Interested candidates should submit resume and cover letter to jobs [at]

No phone calls please.


About the Foundation

The Pittsburgh Foundation works to improve the quality of life in the Pittsburgh region by evaluating and addressing community issues, promoting responsible philanthropy, and connecting donors to the critical needs of the community. As a community foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation’s resources are comprised of endowment funds established by individuals with a passion for charitable giving and a deep commitment to the Pittsburgh community. The Foundation currently has more than 2,100 individual donor funds and, together with its supporting organizations, assets of approximately $1 billion. The Foundation typically awards grants from discretionary funds of more than $14 million each year. Grantmaking from these funds seeks to create self-sufficient families and individuals, to create healthy, safe and creative communities and to foster a vibrant democracy. Discretionary funds are overseen by a staff of 11 individuals in the Program and Policy Department and are reviewed quarterly by the Foundation’s president and members of the Board of Directors.