Program Director

Chinook Fund
January 30, 2024
1031 33rd Street, Denver, Colorado
Job Type



The Program Director is responsible for ensuring we achieve our Giving Project and grantmaking goals; supervising program staff; and providing input for organizational initiatives. In this role, you will directly impact social change efforts — developing new leaders to resource social justice movements and moving hundreds of thousands of dollars to grassroots groups across Colorado.

Reports to: Executive Director

Location: Denver, CO, in office weekly on Wednesdays, remote other days

Salary range: $85,000 - $100,000 depending on experience

Start date: April/May 2024


Chinook Fund & Giving Project Overview

Chinook Fund seeds community-led, systemic change by mobilizing resources for and trusting in grassroots social justice organizations across Colorado. Since our founding in 1987, Chinook Fund has awarded over $4.5 million in grants to more than 550 grassroots groups in Colorado.


Chinook Fund is both a fundraising and grantmaking organization. Funds for grants are primarily raised through the Giving Project, an innovative model for funding social change and fostering leadership. The Giving Project brings together a diverse group of people from various income levels who are passionate about social change and committed to building their skills in fundraising, grantmaking, and community building. It offers participants the opportunity to have transformational conversations about race and class, to experience the impact of collective giving, and the tensions and joys of grantmaking.


We use a "donor organizing" approach to fundraising, rooted in the belief that everyone has the ability to give and the ability to ask for money. Donor organizing is a key strategy of the Giving Project and includes organizing people around their giving through values-based conversations, political education, and supporting donors to see their giving as a vehicle for systemic change. By developing the fundraising leadership of Giving Project members, Chinook Fund reaches many donors new to social justice. Chinook Fund hosts two Giving Projects a year. Since 2016, we have completed 14 Giving Projects and 2 alumni Grantmaking Committees supporting 252 members to collectively raise $1.5M+ from 4,000+ donors.


To learn about the Giving Project model, please read the following:


In response to COVID-19, we partnered with Transformative Leadership for Change to launch the Another World is Possible Fund, a vehicle to invest in social justice organizations who are fighting for both a just pandemic response AND a visionary future. From 2020-2022, we raised and redistributed $1M to 95 groups, accounting for 22 percent of Chinook Fund’s lifetime grantmaking dollars. We are currently assessing the capacity and resources to continue this collaboration.

Areas of Responsibility

  1. Program Management: Direct, facilitate, and evaluate Giving Projects and Grantmaking processes. 55% of role allocation

Giving Projects:

  • Lead Giving Projects (GP) as a political education effort to move people to action. Ideally, this includes lasting involvement with the GP community and Chinook Fund more broadly.
  • Support the Program Manager in achieving their annual goals, including key GP responsibilities.
  • Direct, facilitate, and evaluate GP sessions, outreach, fundraising, and coaching; innovate and design curriculum and materials reflecting best practices in line with organizational and program goals. Prepare Final Report for each completed cohort.
  • Lead recruitment strategy, successfully recruiting and onboarding participants to meet participant and retention goals.
  • Facilitate collective donor organizing and meaningful gift goals to raise and distribute the grantmaking goal for each cohort.
  • Organize and analyze GP data to make informed programmatic decisions related to facilitation, grantmaking outcomes, recruitment, fundraising strategies, budget, etc. Share data with key stakeholders.
  • Serve on the National Giving Project Network Steering Committee, participate in meetings, gatherings, and an annual in person convening to actively contribute to the collective learning of the network space, and share learnings from the national context with staff.
  • Build and begin to implement an engagement strategy for GP alumni that supports program and organizational goals and is in alignment with staff capacity and resources.

Grantmaking Processes:

  • Support the Grants Manager in achieving their annual goals, including work related to the Giving Project and Community-led grantmaking processes, and rapid response funds (i.e. Another World is Possible Fund).
  • Oversee Grants Manager in ensuring grant applicants and funded pools meet core criteria (constituent-led, community-wide, lasting effect) and funding priorities (community organizing, rural, Black-led & Indigenous-led).
  • Lead Giving Project and grantmaking strategies, in alignment with Chinook Fund’s strategic priorities, including outreach to applicants, implementation of core criteria and priorities, etc.


  • Create and manage a program budget.
  • Oversee outreach and communication activities for programs.
  • Strive to foster a culture of grassroots fundraising and donor organizing in the program team.
  • Maintain working knowledge of trends, best practices, and issues related to donor organizing, social justice, participatory grantmaking, and philanthropy.
  • Identify GP alumni who might be prospects for major donors, BOD, committee service, etc.
  • Lead efforts, with support from the National Giving Project Network and ED, on enhancing Program-related quality, strategy, and design.


  1. Program Team Supervision and Management: Manage program staff, contractors, and volunteers to ensure we achieve our program and grantmaking goals. 30% of role allocation
  • Recruit, hire, train, and retain a strong program team of two managers that deliver on goals.
  • Ensure that each member of the program team has clear annual goals and knows what success looks like for their role.
  • Use strong and equitable day-to-day management practices to ensure that expectations are clear, and staff deliver great results.
  • Serve as a coach and champion for your staff and support them to do their best work through frequent feedback. Support staff in setting and achieving professional development goals and conference participation.
  • Track progress towards goals; support and troubleshoot when a project is off-track.
  • Manage personnel challenges directly, kindly, and firmly using the organization’s problem-solving procedures as outlined in the personnel policies.
  • Build a collaborative and inclusive team culture where all staff feel a sense of belonging, purpose, and ownership for their core work.
  • Complete administrative tasks related to supervision (i.e., manage and track time off requests).
  • Recruit, manage, and support non-program staff for program related tasks, GP facilitator contractors, and GP alumni leader engagement.
  • Prepare and finalize GP facilitator contracts and scopes of work.


  1. Organizational Strategy 15% of role allocation
  • Contribute insights as a leader and practitioner in the philanthropic sector, act as the public leader of the program team.
  • Participate in annual goal setting, strategic planning, and staff-wide team building efforts, in addition to providing guidance to program team staff for their participation.
  • Participate in and facilitate a rotation of bi-weekly staff meetings and weekly team check ins.
  • Participate in monthly Managing Director Team meetings and serve as a thought partner to the Executive Director on enhancing Program-related income and outcomes, and organization wide efforts to support and build team cohesion, such as providing input for organizational policies and practices, staff retreats, and program revenue strategies.

The Approach

Attentive, empathetic leadership: As a primary point of contact for many of Chinook Fund’s Giving Project volunteers, you ensure each person feels welcome and has a sense of purpose for their role within the cohort. You empathize with the communities we serve and put people at ease, especially when there are lines of difference or power. You listen to understand people’s needs and take steps based on that input.

Ownership and resilience: You care deeply about getting results. You gather information, seek input, and drive work forward to the finish line. You think 3 (or 30) steps ahead to develop solutions, anticipate problems, and course-correct when needed. You hold a high bar even when things are hectic and bounce back from setbacks by turning each hurdle into a learning opportunity.

Effective and equitable people manager: Demonstrated experience leading multiracial, cross-class teams to accomplish results. Ability to cultivate staff development through growth oriented, direct feedback and strong inclusive and equitable management practices. Able to work through conflict directly and in ways that build trust and relationships. Contributes to building and sustaining our organizational culture.

Facilitation skills: Can facilitate racially diverse, cross-class adult learners through political education workshops and consensus building processes that move people to action. Ability to support people through emotional experiences across race and class and effectively manage conflicts and disagreements, especially as part of the decision-making.

Commitment to social justice & racial justice: Recognizes the role of race, class, and other identities intersecting in the work, especially with communities we serve. Ability to position oneself in relationship to our mission and can name one’s personal stake in the work. Demonstrated leadership as an advocate for justice.

Self-awareness and emotional intelligence: Able to reflect on and describe the impact of one’s own identities—and those of others—in a given situation, decision, or process. Demonstrates awareness of areas for growth and development Able to hear, reflect, act on, and learn from feedback, including feedback re: identity and equity.

Committed to Chinook Fund’s core values and aspirations to cultivate a healthy work culture: Core values of Liberation, Community, Integrity and Leadership. Programming environment is fast paced and complex, requiring ability to facilitate high stakes decisions with volunteer grantmakers, willing to work evenings (mostly Tuesdays) and weekends (mostly Saturdays), and adapts quickly to address tensions or challenges amongst Program Team and Giving Project cohorts.


In addition to qualifications and qualities outlined in the “Approach” section above:

  • 6+ years of experience working in the nonprofit and/or philanthropic sectors.
  • 3+ years of director level experience including project management, managing staff, and recruiting, managing, and training volunteers.
  • Excellent facilitation and curriculum development skills and experience with program evaluation.
  • Passion for and ability to quickly build strong relationships with Chinook Fund’s constituencies (Giving Project members, grantees, and donors) and community partners to further goals.
  • Fearless about asking for money and time; preferred grassroots fundraising experience, including one-on-one donor meetings, and soliciting major gifts ($1,000+).
  • Exceptional verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to evoke emotion and action through storytelling, community building, and crafting program content for outreach.
  • Strong analytical skills with the ability to learn and synthesize new information quickly while using instinct and intuition effectively.
  • Sophisticated social justice analysis, including knowledge of community organizing and awareness of lived experiences around race and class.
  • Strong capacity to self-manage, prioritize, collaborate, diagnose problems and find creative solutions, and learn from mistakes.
  • Preferred fluency in Spanish.
  • Knowledge of some (or all) of the following: Slack, Microsoft Office Suite, Google Suite, Canva, Zoom, HootSuite, Asana, and Foundant CRM.
  • Comfort working on a mostly remote team with both virtual and in-person programming.
  • Ability to work evenings and weekends, primarily for Giving Project sessions (Tuesday evenings & Saturdays), with occasional travel.


Employment Type

Full-time, exempt position with a 32-hour standard work week. This position is based at Chinook Fund’s office at the Posner Center in Denver, CO. Staff work in the office weekly on Wednesdays and work remotely other days. Chinook Fund encourages a healthy work-life balance for its entire team. The 32-hour work week was instituted in 2021. Hours vary depending on organizational or program needs.


Compensation and Benefits

Salary $85,000 to $100,000 depending on experience. Chinook Fund offers a competitive benefits package including 100% employer paid health, dental, vision, short- and long-term disability insurance; paid parental leave; SEP IRA tax-deferred individual retirement account with a 5% employer contribution; professional development, leadership coaching, and wellness funds; home office reimbursement; annual paid vacation (3 weeks); unlimited sick leave; and 2-month paid sabbatical leave after 5 years.


How to Apply

Please submit your cover letter and resume combined into one PDF with the subject “Program Director” to [email protected]. Instead of a traditional cover letter, please respond to the following prompts in no more than 3 pages:

  • Given where you are in your professional and personal life, why does the work of Chinook Fund -- and this specific role as Program Director -- interest you?
  • What sets you apart as an ideal candidate for this type of work at this moment in history?
  • What values guide your life, your approaches to leadership, and your involvement in social justice?

Priority will be given to applications received by March 3, 2024; however, applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Interviews will be scheduled in mid-March with the aim of making a hiring decision in mid-April 2024. The target start date is April/May 2024. Flexibility will be given to the right candidate. References and writing samples will be requested from finalists.


Chinook Fund is committed to equity and diversity and to the recruitment and retention of people from backgrounds traditionally excluded from philanthropy, including Black, Indigenous and people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with disabilities.


Covid Policy

Chinook Fund is committed to providing a safer environment for our staff and community. This policy is based on guidance and recommendations issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Accordingly, and to protect and support the health and safety of those working in the Posner Center office, traveling on behalf of Chinook Fund, or engaging in in person programming or meetings, Chinook Fund requires staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This policy is mandatory except for staff with a documented medical and/or religious reason for not receiving the vaccine. Chinook Fund will regularly monitor and modify our guidelines and protocols as needed.