Director of Programs Job Posting

New Haven, Connecticut

The Organization

Based in New Haven, CT, NewAlliance Foundation is a $30 million private foundation that supports 41 Connecticut communities through grants to organizations in the arts, community development, health and human services, and youth and education. Since its inception in 2004, NewAlliance Foundation has approved approximately

$30 million in grants, with a significant segment of our grant making targeted to READy for the Grade, an initiative we developed and continue to operate, that provides community-based literacy support to young, underserved children with the goal of helping them achieve academic and life success.

History of the Foundation

NewAlliance Foundation was established in 2004 through a contribution of $40 million in stock from NewAlliance Bancshares, Inc. at the time of the Bank’s initial public offering. Committed to the same long history of philanthropy of its predecessor, The New Haven Savings Bank, NewAlliance formed the Foundation to enhance economic vitality and improve the quality of life for residents in the communities it served. In April 2011, upon closing the merger of NewAlliance Bancshares, Inc. with First Niagara Financial Group, NewAlliance became a private, independent foundation.

Foundation Leadership

NewAlliance Foundation is governed by an engaged Board of Directors who are dedicated to carrying out the philanthropic legacy and values of the community banks responsible for the Foundation’s existence. Recently, the long-term Executive Director, Kim Healey, announced her plans to retire at the end of 2022.  The Board is delighted that the Foundation’s deeply experienced Managing Director, Maryann Ott, has agreed to serve as Executive Director beginning January 1, 2023.

Looking Toward the Future

NewAlliance Foundation is dedicated to the needs of children and families in a manner that builds pathways to racial/sexual/gender equity, diversity, and inclusion. Because the Board of Directors is aware of the troubling state of racism and equity, we have reviewed our philanthropic commitments to ensure that we have a true roadmap to equity, inclusion, and diversity for those most in need.

In the fall of 2021, the Board and Staff engaged in a comprehensive strategic planning effort resulting in updated vision, mission, and values statements as well as a strategic framework to guide our aspirations and strengthen their impact:

  • Vision: A community where all people can reach their fullest potential.
  • Mission: To support organizations that advance literacy, build communities, and dismantle systems that perpetuate poverty and racism.
  • Values: Inclusive, accessible, fair, responsive and committed to racial equity.
  • Goals:
  • Build a strong connection to a diverse community of stakeholders, where we provide funding;
  • Commit to funding that promotes literacy and community building, and that reduces poverty and racism;
  • Build an organizational structure that will be responsive to the diverse communities the Foundation serves.

Critical to the success of our new strategic vision is having the right team in place as we forge forward with the completion of our plan and its successful implementation.

The Opportunity

Therefore, NewAlliance Foundation is seeking a Director of Programs to work directly with the Executive Director to execute and fulfill its grantmaking mission. Currently, NAF makes approximately 120 grants per year, ranging in size from $25,000 to $1,000 (most in the $5,000-$10,000 range) from an annual grantmaking budget of approximately $1 million, though the number and size of grants will likely change as the new strategy is implemented. The staff of 3 is small so the Foundation prizes versatility, flexibility, and teamwork to accomplish its important work. This is a great opportunity for an individual who is familiar with Connecticut, particularly New Haven; who wants to work closely with and make a difference in the community; who may have expertise in the issue areas of childhood literacy and K-12 education; and who is passionate about equity and access for all.

Role Summary

Working collaboratively with the Executive Director and the Administrative Assistant, the Director of Programs is responsible for implementing all grantmaking activities, managing specific programs, and advancing the strategic initiatives of the Foundation.

Essential Functions

Grantmaking and Grants Administration

  • Manages incoming inquiries including support to grantees in application process, response to telephone and email inquiries related to eligibility, Foundation guidelines, status of application, etc.;
  • Reviews all grant applications and makes preliminary grant recommendations and with ED, determines final status of application and/or grant award;
  • Meets with prospective grantees (with/without ED), makes site visits to observe funded programs, monitors progress, and evaluates success of funded programs;
  • With ED, develops docket for presentation at quarterly Board meetings;
  • Completes bi-annual analysis of grant applications, tracking regional- and focus-area goals;
  • Tracks all grantmaking touchpoints in database system and performs annual analysis and narrative assessment of Foundation’s grantmaking data points, trends, impact, and advancement of strategic goals;
  • With ED, reviews all grantmaking processes, practices, and implementations, modifies/changes/updates/digitizes for greatest efficiency, effectiveness, and accessibility to ensure alignment with and advancement of the Foundation’s anti-racist and IDEA commitment.

Programs and Strategy Development

  • Supports goals and initiatives of the Foundation’s strategic plan including Advancing Literacy, Building Communities, and Dismantling Systems;
  • Supports and advances READy for the Grade (RfG) literacy program including: regular communications with libraries; arrangement of bi-annual convenings; annual site visits; updates to RfG website; assists consultant doing annual evaluation of the program; and with ED, develops and launches strategic plan for RfG;
  • Researches ideas for special literacy events and staffs these convenings;
  • Supports development of Literacy Equity Plan with ED and consultant;
  • Manages all other special Foundation programs (Hi-5, William Bouton III Award, etc.) and designs/develops/implements other programs;
  • Researches contemporary best practices in philanthropy, studies new/alternative donor models to suggest and implement novel/non-traditional approaches to Foundation’s grantmaking.

External Relations

  • To supplement ED outreach, attends community events and grantee functions with or without the ED, often during evenings and weekends;
  • Represents the Foundation to peer philanthropic organizations and attends professional conferences and meetings.


Understands and is dedicated to focus areas of the Foundation’s mission, with special interest (and possibly expertise) in area of K-6 literacy and K-12 education;

  • Grasp of and authentic commitment to anti-racism and IDEA principles;
  • Familiarity with communities within the State of Connecticut;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Adept organizational and creative skills;
  • Ability to both remain objective and to intervene in order to serve the Foundation’s objectives;
  • Ability to connect with and build trust with a variety of stakeholders including directors, staff, grantees, community leaders, and foundation peers;
  • Highly computer literate with ability to use several Microsoft programs (Word, Excel) and learn Foundation’s customized grants database (Access);
  • Ability to be a self-starter, work independently, and be an organized thinker;
  • Ability to be able to prioritize effectively;
  • Collegial and collaborative, willing to be flexible and accommodating in a small-team environment;
  • Approachable, relatable, sincere, and professional;
  • Effective listener and relationship builder;
  • Ability to be curious, learn constantly, educating self and Foundation in best grantmaking practices and evolving knowledge of Foundation’s mission areas;
  • Versatile skillset and flexible; willingness to pitch in as necessary in a small-team environment.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent work experience;
  • Prior experience in nonprofit program development and/or grantmaking.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Grantmaking administration experience, with focus on literacy and K-12 educational programs.

Other Requirements of the Position

  • Ability to attend meetings in the evening and on weekends, as necessary (navigating own vehicle or using public transport)
  • Ability to work in a standard office environment.


This position will pay in the range of $90,000 to $100,000.

How to apply

Interested candidates should submit a resume and a cover letter to by October 14.

NAF is an equal opportunity employer. We value and celebrate diversity, equity, inclusion, and access; and we encourage applications from persons of color and individuals who represent historically marginalized groups and populations.