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Temporary Programme Officer, Special Interest Programme

Special Interest Programme / Career

Location: London, UK (this position is 60% office-based, with Mondays and Fridays working from home)
Reporting to: Director of Special Interest Programme (who is based in Oak Foundation’s Geneva office)
Type of contract: Full-time, temporary maternity-cover position (1 year, with potential to extend)
Starting date: October 2024
Application deadline: 23 June 2024

About Oak Foundation:
Oak Foundation ( commits its resources to addressing issues of global, social, and environmental concern, particularly those that have a major impact on the lives of the disadvantaged. With offices in Europe, India, and North America, Oak Foundation makes grants to organisations located in approximately 40 countries worldwide.

About the Special Interest Programme
Driven by the interests and passions of Oak’s Trustees, the Special Interest Programme (SIP) provides the space and flexibility to make grants outside of Oak’s other programme strategies. Special Interest grants are diverse, supporting grantee partners in a wide range of fields, including medical research, education, environment, humanitarian relief, mental health, access to the arts, and much more. Trustees support inspiring leaders, organisations, and projects from the local to global levels, helping them to thrive and succeed in their missions.

Purpose of the role
The Foundation is currently recruiting a programme officer for the Special Interest Programme based in its London office. Programme officers manage relationships with Oak partners, and make grants, as directed by our Trustees.

Main responsibilities include:

  • managing a large grants portfolio, including: research and rigorous due diligence to prepare grant recommendations and progress reports for Trustees. This includes reviewing partner budgets and financial statements.
  • supporting impactful partners by: providing ongoing contact, communications, and site visits; and monitoring progress and supporting adaptations to achieve desired impact;
  • establishing and maintaining good relationships with applicants/partners and Oak Foundation’s other partners
  • supporting partners with organisational strengthening and the development of child safeguarding policies as needed
  • assisting partners to overcome challenges and draw out lessons learned in ‘end of grant’ reports when grants close
  • working collaboratively on cross-foundation initiatives as required

Position requirements:

  • An advanced university degree or equivalent experience
  • Five to seven years’ experience of working in the not-for-profit sector and/or in philanthropy, including experience in grant-making and project and budget management
  • Proven work experience and expertise in two or more of the following areas – social justice, child welfare, educational reform, access to the arts, humanitarian aid, development or environmental issues
  • Excellent writing and editing skills, and ability to work quickly to meet deadlines
  • An understanding of intersectionality and inclusive approaches to grant-making
  • Proven experience in building and maintaining partnerships
  • Ability to work independently but also flexibly and collaboratively, as part of a small team based in three different locations
  • Fluent in English;  additional languages would also be an advantage
  • Strong analytical, negotiation and communication skills
  • Discretion, humility, flexibility and a good sense of humour
  • A commitment to Oak’s organisational values

How to apply
To apply, please send your curriculum vitae and a covering letter by e-mail only to

NOTE: the cover letter should be succinct and include answers to the following questions:

  • What attracts you to work in philanthropy? 
  • Why is this position right for you at this point in your career?
  • And what could you bring to this role? 

Please state “Temporary Programme Officer, Special Interest Programme” in the subject line of your email. Please note that we will only be contacting shortlisted candidates.

Applicants must have the right to legally live and work in the UK.

By submitting your application, you confirm that you have read and understood our job applicant’s data privacy notice.

Oak Foundation is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, as detailed in our child safeguarding policy. We expect all staff to share this commitment. Please note that the successful candidate will undergo reference checks and be required to provide a police record prior to starting employment.