Program Officer

Hiring Organization: 
Ford Foundation
City and State: 
New York, NY


The Ford Foundation is seeking a Program Officer to join the Technology and Society program team. The Technology and Society program invests in ideas, individuals, and institutions that ensure that the internet and digital technologies are increasingly equitable and are designed and governed to advance social and economic justice, particularly for people who experience persistent discrimination. The program supports efforts to build public understanding of the economic, social, political, and cultural impacts of technology; to advance norms, standards, policies, regulations, and laws that protect civil and human rights in the technology governance;  and to develop an affirmative vision for the role of technology as a force to advance equity and justice globally. Learn more about the Ford Foundation’s Technology and Society program strategy here

Reporting to the Director, the Program Officer will largely manage a grantmaking portfolio that supports organizations working globally to counter surveillance, strengthen civil society cybersecurity capacity, support a secure and open internet, advance fair and representative strategies for internet governance, and build a diverse field of public interest leaders with socio-technical expertise in government and civil society. 

The ideal candidate will have substantial technical expertise and experience in and knowledge of the emerging technology landscape and the political, economic, and social impact of the internet and communications technologies globally. They will understand broadly the roles that technical expertise, policy advocacy, litigation, organizing, research, narrative shifts, and philanthropy play in advancing equity and justice. They will understand the way in which technical expertise and leadership is important to technology policy making and governance–but often used by industry to avoid meaningful governance and safeguards. They will also participate in the scoping and implementation of program and Foundation-wide technical strategies.


  • Work independently and collaboratively across the program to further develop existing grantmaking strategies and to manage, monitor and coordinate a grants portfolio of approximately $7-10 million annually, which includes: long-term grant planning; identifying prospective grantees; soliciting, reviewing and responding to grant proposals; conducting organizational assessments; undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantees.

  • Contribute to the ongoing development of the Foundation’s Technology and Society strategy, with a particular focus on cybersecurity, internet governance, the implementation of technology within civil society, and the building field of public interest socio-technical expertise in government and civil society. 

  • Continually scan the fields related to technology and society in the US and globally, follow key developments and debates, particularly within the technical community

  • Keep abreast of the academic and popular literature; share key findings and lessons among colleagues and the field; and help make connections between academic research, emergent technology development, and evidence-based policy development.

  • Support convening, collaboration, and networking among grantees and other relevant peer organizations, including collective learning, joint campaigns and initiatives, coalition building, and networking across different fields of the social justice movements. 

  • Develop and implement grant-making approaches that support the use of strategic communications and narrative change as part of the program strategy.

  • Build relationships with other donors to increase philanthropic coordination and contributions to the field.

  • Promote and participate in fostering open-mindedness and a culture of learning – including learning and evaluation activities to guide the evolution of programmatic work

  • Represent the Foundation and its work in key venues through participation in relevant meetings, public speaking, writing, speeches, briefings, blog posts, and interviews.

  • Help to manage all aspects of grants processing and compliance. Work collaboratively with the Technology and Society Program Associate and Program Assistants to ensure effective support to grantees.

  • Serves as co-manager, mentor, and coach to a Program Assistant.


  • A college degree plus a minimum of 8 years as a technologist, policy professional, or practitioner in a relevant field, or equivalent or combination of education/experience.

  • A background in computer science, data science, or related fields; fluency in existing and emerging digital technologies and their regulatory environments as well as familiarity with strategies to influence private-sector technology investment and development.

  • An interest in or understanding of coalition building within the social justice sector and how to apply economic, racial, class, gender, and disability analyses to strategy.

  • Ability to lead internally and externally, and to work collaboratively within the donor community.

  • Strong active listening skills, constructive verbal and written skills, strong public presentation skills.

  • Strategic thinker with an understanding of the various mechanisms and venues through which philanthropy and our grantees can affect change.

  • Public interest or social justice experience; experience working closely with communities that have been historically marginalized in systems that affect their lives.

  • Demonstrated experience as a connector and convener across the public and private sectors, such as grantees, practitioners, government officials, academics, private sector representatives, and civil society representatives.

  • Strong analytical skills and ability to strategize, plan, prioritize and identify/assess opportunities, challenges and institutions with which to engage.

  • Ability to navigate a large and complex institution; willingness to participate constructively on organizational priorities beyond the immediate focus of this portfolio; comfort with institutional change and periods of ambiguity.

  • Demonstrated ability to work with people across different cultural backgrounds, geographic locations, legal and technical systems, stakeholder groups, and political contexts.

  • Demonstrated ability to be a flexible, collaborative, team-oriented, productive member of a community of people at work, respecting differences while working toward shared goals, constructive participation in on-going organizational growth and development.

  • Written and oral fluency in English is required. 

  •  Previous grantmaking experience is desirable.


This position is primarily a sedentary role. However, the person in this position may need to occasionally move about inside the office to liaise with internal staff, access files, office machinery and a copy machine/printer. Additionally, domestic/international travel will be expected, approximately 20% of working time. Some travel is directly related to grantmaking, but also required to attend team conferences, retreats and meetings.

The Ford Foundation is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its programs, and operations. As part of this commitment, the Foundation will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If a reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application process, please contact,

SALARY: The Ford Foundation is committed to practicing salary transparency. The minimum salary for this position is $165,000 and the maximum is $185,000.

LOCATION: This position is based in the foundation’s New York office. We operate in a hybrid model and require staff to be in the office three days per week.

How to Apply: 
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