Program Officer


Are you looking for an opportunity to develop funding strategies to advance the health and human rights of undocumented migrants and sex workers? Are you passionate about taking on complex challenges and thinking outside the box? Do you have experience and profound understanding of how criminalization impacts the health of marginalized populations?  If so, this is your opportunity to apply to join the grant-making team of the Open Society Foundation’s Public Health Program (PHP). Our program advances a human rights approach to health, with an emphasis on social inclusion and reclaiming the public good in health. We work to make justice systems more responsive to health, to shift power dynamics in health-related decision-making, to challenge the health establishment to advance human rights, and to influence the funding environment for health and rights. More information about the Public Health Program can be found here.

Job Profile

The PHP seeks a full-time Program Officer based in New York to develop and implement grant-making strategies that advance the health and human rights of sex workers and undocumented migrants. The Program Officer collaborates with other colleagues in the PHP and across the Open Society Foundations to support organizations that challenge laws and law enforcement practices that effectively criminalize sex workers and undocumented migrants, that advocate for accessible and adequate health services, and that elevate voices and leadership of marginalized communities. The position works with two teams in the PHP, one that focuses on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and one that works on issues related to ethnicity and health equality. The work is global in scope, with significant current emphasis on Europe.

With respect to sex workers’ health and rights, the Program Officer will manage an existing body of grants with scope for further development. The funding priorities includes organizations and initiatives that:

  • contribute to the development and implementation of law and policy that are conducive to realizing the highest attainable standard of health for sex workers;
  • contribute to improving practices in policing, immigration control, and anti-trafficking efforts, with a view to reduce harms to sex workers;
  • contribute to improving health outcomes of sex workers, including by improving access and adequacy in health care and reducing violence;
  • strengthen the organizations and leaders in the sex worker rights movement;
  • challenge dominant, harmful narratives about sex work and present alternate narratives that incorporate health and human rights perspectives and seek to broaden the base of supportive allies.

In relation to undocumented migrants’ health and rights, the Program Officer will develop a new portfolio of grants to implement a strategy that seeks to:

  • create enabling environments for undocumented migrants’ access to health care and essential medications;
  • challenge xenophobia and discriminatory attitudes and practices in migration control and health care that negatively impact the health and rights of migrants;
  • ensure that organizations run by migrants, and focused directly or indirectly on migrants’ health, become more resilient, agile, and effective.

Typical duties and responsibilities include the following:

Portfolio Design and Grants Management

  • Construct, and regularly review, portfolios that combine grant making, advocacy, convening, communications, and other tactics, to advance the health and human rights of sex workers and undocumented migrants
  • Responsible for grant-making activities including soliciting and reviewing grant proposals, assessing the health, capacity and effectiveness of potential grantees, conducting grantee site visits and other monitoring activities, and evaluating grants


  • Develop, plan and organize program-related workshops, trainings and events
  • Supervise consultants and manage special projects as necessary
  • Stay abreast of developments in the field through research and attendance at conferences and/or meetings
  • Write strategy/position papers that provide direction on policy and capacity-building issues impacting the fields and/or offer suggestions about strategic project development
  • Participate in OSF task forces and working groups as requested
  • Build and establish strategic relationships with other philanthropic partners and NGOs


  • Forecast and plan annual budgets
  • Execute budgets and manage financial reports to track spending and ensure compliance with internal accounting protocol


  • Administrative responsibilities
  • Extensive travel is required

Candidate Profile

  • Bachelor’s degree in human rights, public health, political science, or related fields; or equivalent combination of education and experience
  • Seven to ten years of relevant experience working on issues related to the health and/or human rights of sex workers and/or undocumented migrants
  • Demonstrated experience and understanding of the health impacts on marginalized groups of criminalization, stigma and discrimination
  • Knowledge of key organizations and networks active in the sex worker movement and/or working on the human rights of undocumented migrants
  • Experience working with or in non-governmental organizations
  • Project management experience required, with grant making experience preferred
  • Familiarity with issues in philanthropy and principles of good grant-making, including an understanding of the power dynamics in the grantee/grant-maker relationship
  • Excellent written and oral English skills required, with fluency in one additional language strongly preferred.  Fluency in Russian, Spanish or French
  • Experience working in at least one of the following regions: Europe, the former Soviet Union (fSU) and/or Southern Africa
  • High level of emotional intelligence including the ability to grasp and work within a complex organizational environment, to show sensitivity and respect for people working in different roles, and to empathize with different points of view
  • Exceptional collaboration skills including the ability to identify opportunities from working with others and to innovate and increase impact based on synthesis of different topics and portfolios
  • Excellent strategic and analytical skills including the ability to combine external and internal inputs into a compelling strategy and theory of change
  • Superior adaptability with the ability to work in conditions of change and ambiguity, and to stretch oneself to adopt new skills for changing circumstances and challenges
  • Willingness to undertake extensive travel

* To apply, please submit a cover letter and CV as one document.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable accommodations so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.