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The Law Foundation of BC

Program Director

Program Team · Vancouver, British Columbia
Department Program Team
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Experienced

About the Law Foundation:
The Law Foundation of British Columbia (the Foundation) has a mission to advance and promote a just society governed by the rule of law, through leadership, innovation and collaboration. It has been doing this since 1969, using funds arising from interest paid on lawyers’ pooled trust accounts and other sources to make the law and justice system accessible, particularly to those segments of the public who face the greatest barriers to access.

Through its funding, the Foundation supports:

  • a network of 50 poverty law advocacy programs assisting people with their poverty law problems in communities around the province;
  • a network of 25 family law advocacy programs;
  • clinical legal education programs at all three law schools;
  • a variety of public interest law programs;
  • public legal education programs;
  • support for the provision of legal aid and public law libraries;
  • important work in law reform; and
  • a number of other programs and projects that contribute to enhancing the rule of law and access to justice in British Columbia.

The Law Foundation is committed to ensuring equity, diversity, and inclusion in our work.

We strongly encourage applications from members of communities that are marginalized or that experience structural discrimination including those identifying as Indigenous, people of colour, members of non-dominant ethnic, religious, linguistic, and/or cultural groups, women, (im)migrants/newcomers, people with (dis)abilities, and LGBTQ2S+ people, and we strongly encourage applicants to self-identify in their application if they feel comfortable in doing so. In order to achieve a representative team, preference may be given to applicants self-declaring as being a member of one or more of the groups identified above. The Foundation believes that a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve strengthens our ability to achieve our mission.

About the position:

The new Program Director will join a dynamic team that is working with others to build innovative approaches to difficult access to justice challenges that affect the well-being of diverse communities in British Columbia.

The Program Director will advance the Foundation’s objectives by developing strategic and operational relationships with key stakeholders in multiple sectors; by managing a portfolio of grants and Foundation initiatives; by advising on grantmaking and other investments to achieve impact and build capacity; by generating, gathering and disseminating knowledge that will help create positive impact; by supporting the Foundation’s Board of Governors in their decision-making processes; and by participating in the life of the Foundation through workshops, convenings and other activities.

The Foundation’s six Program Directors have responsibility for different areas of the Foundation’s grant portfolio and work together with the Executive Director and the rest of our team. All share responsibility to ensure that equity and inclusion are integral considerations in the Team’s grantmaking work and internal work as a Foundation. We also share responsibility and work to ensure that our grantmaking work, in a sensitive and appropriate way, assists to advance the process of meaningful reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples as it relates to the justice system. The Foundation seeks to ensure that our commitments in this regard are informed by and resonate with Indigenous communities and reflect changing legal and social circumstances.

The Foundation knows that no one organization can make progress in isolation – the Program Director will work in an environment of complexity, and engage with people of diverse perspectives, skills, worldviews and socioeconomic backgrounds. Program Directors represent the Foundation in external engagements from community meetings to multi-stakeholder tables.

The Program Director has a unique role to play that must be approached with a great deal of sensitivity to the power imbalances that unavoidably form the backdrop of a foundation/grantee relationship. The Program Director can be a source of help, and support to the organizations and people who are doing the funded work, while at the same time being a careful steward of resources. Foundation staff need to have a great deal of humility in navigating these relationships.

Position Description and Purpose:

  • Building strong relationships with our grantees and prospective grantees, and supporting them through the development stage and the life-cycle of their grants to help promote the success of projects and programs that the Foundation supports;
  • Providing leadership and expertise in relation to a specific issue area (different Program Directors have issue leadership responsibility in relation to children, poverty, family, education and other issue areas);
  • Working with our team to develop Foundation granting programs including objectives, areas of focus, processes, assessment criteria, communications and evaluation
    approaches;
  • Exploring opportunities and builds relationships and partnerships with justice, community and philanthropic organizations on both a provincial and national level to
    promote achievement of the Foundation’s access to justice goals;
  • Participating in strategic thinking about the evolution of the access to justice and the Foundation, both in terms of what we support and how we work in the world;
  • Participating in the process of internal change underway at the Foundation, and staying current on philanthropic trends and literature in order to advise on changes to our practices and policies;
  • Assessing grant applications and other program initiatives and making recommendations to the Foundation’s Executive Director and Board of Governors. This work may include:
    • Consulting with prospective grantees on applications, workplans, budgets and desired outcomes;
    • Reviewing and assessing grant applications;
    • Meeting with applicants and others to understand and assess the potential value of the proposal;
    • Seeking input from community members and other experts on proposals;
  • Managing a portfolio of grants and projects, including:
    • Ensuring the integrity of grants records and databases;
    • Working with grantees through their ongoing reporting processes, including their financial reporting, helping grantees with the challenges they face and supporting them in their successes;
    • Working with grantees to achieve sensitive and meaningful program evaluation with the aim of assisting them to achieve their aims and ensuring the Foundation meets its requirements for diligence in its program funding;
  • Representing the Foundation externally, including at issue-based and philanthropic conferences, and grantee and philanthropic events, and in speaking engagements as required;
  • Participating in or take the lead on special projects (for example, Program Directors have played critical roles recently in establishing the new network of poverty and
    specialized legal clinics around BC, and in the creation of the Child and Youth Legal Centre);
  • Providing timely and relevant information and advice to the Board of Governors to support their grant-making and policy decisions, and staying current on relevant issues facing communities that form the context for that advice;
  • Assisting the Foundation in its communications plans to ensure that the legal community and the public are aware of the work that the Foundation supports.

Skills, attributes and experience - the following will be beneficial in this position:

Please don't be discouraged from applying if you do not possess the precise combination of all of the skills, attributes, qualifications and experience listed below.

Furthermore, if your lived experience provides you with a foundation that is equivalent to the work/volunteer experience listed, you are encouraged to describe that in your application.

  • Understanding of the justice system, and the barriers to accessing justice;
  • Understanding of the legal, policy and socioeconomic realities that impact our work;
  • Understanding of Indigenous justice issues;
  • Demonstrated commitment to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion, including an intersectional understanding of disadvantage;
  • Indigenous relations cultural competencies, including:
    • Showing courage and conviction in advocating for change within institutions for the betterment of Indigenous peoples, including stepping forward, from a place of humility, respect and knowledge, to name needed change and to advocate for it.
    • Cultural agility - the ability to work respectfully, knowledgeably and effectively with Indigenous people. It is noticing and readily adapting to cultural uniqueness to create a sense of safety for all. It is openness to unfamiliar experiences, transforming feelings of nervousness or anxiety into curiosity and appreciation. It is examining one's one culture and worldview and the culture of the legal and justice sector, and to notice the commonalities and the distinctions with Indigenous cultures and worldviews. It is recognition of the ways that personal and professional values, the justice sector and the philanthropic sector's values and practices may conflict or align with those of Indigenous people. It is the capacity to relate to or allow for differing cultural perspectives and being willing to experience a personal shift in perspective.
    • Empathy is the ability to recognize, understand and directly experience the emotion of another. It involves listening with heart, accepting their message, and staying focused on their experience rather than reacting. It means understanding that the behaviour may be connected to something outside of the immediate situation.
    • Sustained learning and development means continually increasing your ability to build and maintain respectful and effective relationships with Indigenous people. Central to this competency is appreciating that there are many cultural understandings of knowledge and ways of working that have legitimacy and deserve respect – and therefore require our continual learning and development, including direct exposure to cultural and community ways.
  • Being a lawyer, or legally-trained, is a strong asset but it is not a requirement. The successful candidate will have a good knowledge of the justice sector and meaningful
    experience in one or more of the following areas:
    • Access to justice, including frontline experience serving those with legal needs, relevant policy or program develop experience, and / or academic work in the area;
    • Nonprofit sector, including working in nonprofits on systems change, participating in the governance of nonprofits, and / or volunteering in nonprofits;
    • Foundation/grantmaking sector, including working at a Foundation, supporting and / or making grant and funding decisions, monitoring and evaluating grants and grant programs.
  • Solid understanding of pressing issues facing communities in BC;
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills;
  • Effective at building trusting relationships internally and externally;
  • Ability to be a productive member of and leader of a community of people at work, respecting differences while working toward shared goals, comfort with periods of
    ambiguity, constructive participation in on-going organizational development;
  • Excellent and sensitive interpersonal skills, including an ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas, share best practices and experiences, and contribute to a learning environment;
  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mandate and the core values of equity, trust, collaboration and accountability;
  • Facilitation skills;
  • Sharp analytical and problem-solving skills, and creativity in identifying solutions;
  • Superior interpersonal skills and experience fostering positive relationships with many different individuals, audiences, communities, and stakeholders from a range of sectors and cultures;
  • Commitment to creating and reinforcing a transparent, accountable, mutually respectful, collaborative work environment;
  • Fluency and comfort with software used in our work, including Microsoft Office suite; strong aptitude to master grant database software and other communications and workplace software;
  • Flexibility, intellectual curiosity and openness to change are essential;
  • Ability to work independently and as part of cross-disciplinary teams, and to effectively manage competing demands on time;
  • Financial understanding in order to assess and review grantee budgets and financial statements, and to understand the financial aspects of our grant-making;
  • Familiarity with boards, advisory committees and volunteer settings;
  • Excellent organizational skills;
  • Ability to lead projects to successful outcomes;
  • Experience in policy and program development is an asset;
  • Working knowledge in another language than English is an asset, though not a requirement;
  • Program Directors travel to meet with grantees all over BC. The ability to travel independently is required.
  • Strong work ethic, integrity, initiative, follow-through, and good judgment.

Compensation:

Salary range is $80,000-$100,000, and will depend on experience.

Benefits include:

  • generous, extended health and dental plan for the employee, spouse and dependents;
  • a life insurance plan;
  • 3 weeks’ annual vacation to start and late-December office closure;
  • generous sick leave policy;
  • RRSP contribution of 6% of salary without matching requirement, accruing after first year of employment;
  • relevant professional fees and memberships covered, including Law Society fees if the candidate is a lawyer;
  • training and professional development funding;
  • Parental leave benefits.

Our workplace environment also includes the possibility for flexible work arrangements. The Foundation is committed to the professional development of its staff an provides a range of training opportunities.

Application and selection process:

Please submit the following through this application portal:

  1. Resume or CV (upload as PDF).
  2. Cover letter (upload as PDF), which should address how your experience, approach and qualifications relate to your success in this role.
  3. You must include contact information for three references who can speak to your skills, attributes and experience as they relate to this position (whether paid or unpaid) (enter these directly into the provided fields in this portal). The Law Foundation may request that a candidate provide supplemental references if required. The Foundation will not contact references without letting you know, once you have been interviewed.

When submitting your application please name and save your attachments with your first and last name in the title, such as: “FirstnameLastname Resume.pdf” and “FirstnameLastname Cover Letter.pdf”. 

Please note that the content and/or format of your cover letter, resume/CV and other materials may be evaluated as part of the assessment process.

Closing date: We will begin our formal review of applications after March 2. We will accept applications on a rolling basis until we have found the successful candidate.

Interviews will be conducted by Foundation staff at our office in Vancouver or by video for candidates who live outside of the south coast of BC and southern Vancouver Island. The Foundation will make appropriate accommodations if needed for candidates that we interview. There may be a requirement for a second interview, and a request for writing samples to be provided. Please note, the successful applicant requires a police record check.

Strong candidates who are not selected for this position may be included on an eligibility list for future positions.

By submitting your application, you certify that all information submitted is true, complete and correct. Any information provided in your application, any assessment documents or processes and/or an interview that is found to be false or misrepresented in any respect, may eliminate you from further consideration for employment or may result in dismissal.

We acknowledge that the Foundation’s main office is located in Vancouver on the shared lands of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, and conducts its work throughout the homelands of Indigenous Peoples across the place we now call British Columbia. The Law Foundation is committed to supporting a just and meaningful reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and others in these lands.

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  • Location
    Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Department
    Program Team
  • Employment Type
    Full-Time
  • Minimum Experience
    Experienced