Vice President for Learning, The Heinz Endowments

The Heinz Endowments, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is seeking to recruit a new Vice President for Learning, to lead a team seeking to address child-centered approaches to preparing children, especially those in greatest need, to lead, vital, productive and engaged lives.

About the Heinz Endowments:

Founded in 1941, the mission of the Heinz Endowments is grounded in the legacy established by the two endowments from which it was formed - the Howard Heinz Endowment and the Vira I. Heinz Endowment.

 “…to help our region thrive as a whole community, economically, ecologically, educationally and culturally, while advancing the state of knowledge and practice in the fields in which we work.”

The Heinz Endowments invest in the region and its people to help usher solutions to challenges that impact residents, particularly those with less economic means or who have been marginalized and discriminated by social, economic and educational institutions.  Although the majority of the Heinz Endowments giving is concentrated within southwestern Pennsylvania, they work wherever necessary, including statewide and nationally, to fulfill its mission.

The Heinz Endowments seeks to:

  • Help ignite and sustain a new era of regional transformation by facilitating demonstrable and exemplary progress in areas critical to the community's future.
  • Have a material and systemic impact on the priorities identified by its program areas and special initiatives.
  • Be a leading national benchmark for foundation effectiveness, ethics, regional focus and general excellence in philanthropy.
  • Promote the advancement of a sustainable, diverse and inclusive society.
  • Preserve an ability to sustain its philanthropic impact over time by continuing the prudent and longstanding practice of managing its assets for the long term.

For more information on The Heinz Endowments, please review their website at

About the Position:

The Vice President for Learning represents a new strategic alignment of programmatic activities within the Heinz Endowments. 

Historically, the Heinz Endowments focused its grant making in five programs – Arts & Culture; Children, Youth & Families; Community and Economic Development; Education; and the Environment.  Grant Oliphant, President, Heinz Endowments working with his team of professional staff and Board of Trustees have realigned programmatic resources to adapt to the changing economic, social, demographic, cultural and educational issues facing the region and city –helping to usher a period of urban excellence for the future. The critical question, which the Heinz Endowments seeks to address, is will they respond to the new demands facing the residents in the region with resilience and an innovative spirit?

The Vice President of Learning represents one of three overarching new strategic priority areas of work – Sustainability (Environment and Community & Economic Development); Creativity (Arts & Culture); and Learning (Children, Youth & Families and Education).  Each area will have a Vice President who will report to the President. The Vice President of Learning will manage a team of professional staff, fostering a team and solutions oriented approach to philanthropic investment. The Vice President for Learning will drive the Endowments work encompassing a strategic set of issues – health and human services, effective teaching and learning, young and parent engagement, etc.  The focus will be to build on the most effective aspects of the Children, Youth & Families and Education Programs and leverage the philanthropic capital to support children’s development and learning from birth to career readiness and beyond.

Overall, the Vice President of Learning will manage a professional team of approximately six professionals and a combined philanthropic budget of $20 million.  The Vice President of Learning will help drive a programmatic area which has served as a leadership voice and resource on making substantial investments in programs, capacity building, and initiatives to strengthen the systems and infrastructure dedicated to improving opportunities and outcomes for young children and their families. At the local level, the team works in close partnership with the communities being served. More broadly, the staff coordinate with networks of funders, public agencies, and nonprofits to address local, regional, state and national level systems issues.

The ideal candidate has a demonstrated commitment to community-based efforts to address the well-being of children and families. S/he has a strong base of knowledge and experience in one or more of the following areas: early childhood development (prenatal to age eight), early learning, public health, or health care. A working knowledge of systems for early learning, health, or child welfare would be an asset.


The broad goals and objective facing the new Vice President of Learning are the following:

  • Working with the President and professional staff, provide an overall vision and direction for “Learning” cluster of grant making. 
  • Engage staff as collaborators and foster a culture of innovation and inclusion within the “Learning” cluster and the overall Endowments.
  • Represent the Foundation externally to grantees, community constituents, funding partners, and public sector partners
  • Develop strong and trusting relationships with community leaders, partners, and grantees to achieve shared goals.
  • Engage with Foundation peers to develop collaborative approaches to child and family well-being.
  • Serve as a thought partner to the team leaders to develop program strategies, work plans, and budgets
  • Build and maintain a high level of knowledge in child and family well-being with a focus on early childhood development, abuse prevention, and access to health.
  • Working with the Endowments’ Impact Officer and Communications team, employ community engagement and evaluation techniques to advance the Endowment’s “Learning” agenda and to better understand its impact.
  • Remain current on best practices in the relevant fields, analyzing policies, trends, innovation in philanthropic practices and seeking partnerships to leverage resources to enhance the sustainability of the Endowments’ investments in the region.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Attributes  

The Heinz Endowments is committed to using the Predictive Index (PI) to create a deeper understanding of the leadership attributes of its senior executives.  PI is a widely adopted skill and behavior assessment test used by many organizations to aid in the understanding of how individuals will likely deal with employment situations and managerial styles.

A consensus view of the leadership attributes gained from using the PI with the Heinz Endowments senior leadership and Trustees is captured in the following narrative:

“The focus of this role is on achieving results which are aligned with the larger picture of The Heinz Endowments and its strategic goals. Initiative, coupled with a sense of competitive drive, and the ability to stay focused on results despite changing conditions, is the key to achieving the performance objectives of this role. Because environmental and organizational conditions change rapidly, the work involves innovation and creativity in generating ideas for quick response. Decision-making is focused on implementing practical, timely solutions.  The role requires getting things done quickly and handling a variety of activities. Self-assurance, and the confidence to purposely drive toward results while constantly problem-solving and engaging the commitment of others is essential. A leadership style that is firm and goal oriented, and yet motivates, trains, and engages others in an enthusiastic way is important. The emphasis on building rapport and relationships with individuals and groups requires an outgoing, poised and persuasive communication style.  Because the pace of the work is faster than average, the ability to learn quickly and thoroughly while continually recognizing and adapting to changing conditions is critical. The scope of the role may require effective delegation to proven people with responsibility for follow up and accountability for timely results.  While the role requires the ability to act independently, a sense of urgency and the confidence to handle a variety of challenges, a full commitment to the success of The Heinz Endowments and high standards of achievement are expected in this position. The emphasis is on results, and effective systems that achieve results through and with people, rather than on the details of implementation. The role environment is flexible, constantly changing and provides growth opportunity, recognition and reward for the achievement of business results.”

The Vice President for Learning should ideally possess the following professional qualifications:

Professional Qualifications:

  • A capacity to lead, inspire and mobilize people -- particularly Board, staff, partners, grantees, policy leaders, community-based practioners, and others -- in advancing the vision of a vibrant, inclusive region for children and families.
  • A management style that is goal oriented, but flexible; that respects the capabilities and independence of staff alike, but provides them with a clear sense of direction.
  • Demonstrated experience on the frontline or supporting those who work directly with children, youth and families, you will play a part in helping to strengthen families and meeting the needs of children to help them become successful adults.
  • Familiarity with the philanthropic community and its role in children, youth and family issues preferred; understanding of the service systems and public policy affecting the well-being of children, youth and families.
  • Demonstrated experience in developing and administering a comprehensive program.
  • Experience building effective networks, partnerships, and/or coalitions.
  • Ability to inspire trust, lead and facilitate with strong interpersonal skills and move from ideas to action.
  • Bachelor’s degree required with an advanced degree or equivalent experience preferred.
  • The highest level of personal and professional integrity and quality standards.


Compensation for the Vice President for Learning includes a competitive base salary and an excellent package of employee benefits.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should email a cover letter explaining how their skills and background fit this position and a resume to: Daniel Sherman, President, Explore Company at  Refer to HE/VPL in the subject line.  No phone inquiries please.


The Heinz Endowments is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

All correspondence will remain confidential.