Jun 02, 2021

Program Manager (U.S. Initiative)

  • Room to Read
  • Remote (San Francisco, CA, USA)
Full-Time Education

Job Description

Position Overview:

Room to Read is launching a new program to support underserved and underrepresented children in the United States and to build tolerance, empathy and understanding for diversity through books. The Program Manager (U.S. Initiative) (“Program Manager”) is responsible for coordinating Room to Read’s overall strategy and implementation in the United States and strengthening the organization’s value proposition in targeted areas. The Program Manager works across departments to steer the Room to Read US program strategy, oversee a portfolio of projects, events or activities, forge strategic partnerships to implement the strategy and position Room to Read as a thought leader on addressing book deserts in the United States.  

The Program Manager reports to the Vice President, Program Operations, and is part of the Room to Read’s Global Office (GO) Program Operations Team.  This is a two-year contract, renewable bi-annually contingent on funding.  Room to Read will prioritize candidates that are  based in the San Francisco Bay Area or California, and will also consider candidates in Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Virginia, and Washington. This position involves approximately 20%-25% domestic travel annually, as required.

Duties & Responsibilities:

Strategy and Planning (40%)

Serve as Room to Read’s lead for Program interventions in the US.  The Program Manager will:

  • Lead the strategic design and development of Room to Read’s reading strategy for the United States, focused on a long-term vision with clear program activities/projects that can be pitched to investors.
  • Network with potential partners, including state and local government entities, local and national NGOs, academic institutions, and foundations and corporations – to position Room to Read to have meaningful impact in the United States.
  • Seek out partners, forge and manage relationships with partners in the United States.
  • Work with partners to understand Room to Read’s value proposition for children in underserved and underrepresented communities to inform the Room to Read US reading strategy, including strategies for scale vs. depth, programmatic implementation vs. book distribution, book distribution to schools vs. families, and working through government agencies vs. NGO partners.
  • Represent Room to Read in meetings and negotiations with state and local governments, donors, partners, community leaders and other interested parties.

Program Coordination and Monitoring (30%)

  • Maintain alignment between US program activities and Room to Read’s overall vision and strategic plan. Guide projects toward outcomes that position the program, and Room to Read, as providing strategic value to stakeholders, partners and investors. 
  • Launch projects, negotiate project-related agreements, hire and on-board/orient key contractors, and identify, select and engage potential partner organizations.
  • Develop project work plans (with inputs from other departments and partners) and/ modify them as needed to ensure that projects are executed on time and on budget.
  • Coordinate with the Room to Read Program Design & Technical Assistance (PDTA) Team on technical/programmatic matters related to planning, budgeting, implementation and evaluation of program activities.
  • Liaise with the Finance, Accounting and Legal Team on project agreements, budgets, procurement, and other matters related to expense management.
  • Work with the People Operations department to recruit project staff and consultants, including developing and reviewing job descriptions, determining the qualifications necessary for a position, coordinating and interviewing candidates, and facilitating onboarding for new contractors and staff.
  • Maintain a comprehensive overview of all project activities – among both staff and contractors - working on US projects.
  • Serve as the operational liaison for project staff and consultants. Where project staff may report day-to-day actions to the Program’s team technical lead, provide operational support to the project staff, consultants and their supervisor.

Compliance, Budget, and Risk Management (20%)

  • Ensure compliance with Room to Read and investors’ contractual policies and procedures.
  • Develop and manage project budgets: track and monitor spending against the budget, ensure the timely and appropriate use of funds, manage forecasts, and recommend steps to mitigate overspending or underspending, as necessary.
  • Create and review project documents such as agreements and contracts, working in partnership with Legal, Development, and other departments as needed.
  • Ensure that the compliance requirements of investors and internal Room to Read policies are met. Communicate rules and policies to project staff and consultants, and ensure they are being adhered to, addressing gaps or escalating concern as necessary.
  • Develop and manage the annual plan and budget for US Projects within the overall Room to Read’s annual operating budget.

Communications and Donor Engagement(10%)

  • Work in collaboration with the Room to Read Development and Communications (DevCom) team to develop and implement a communications and engagement strategy for the Room to Read programming in the United States.
  • Partner with the Global Office Development and Communications Team to support foundation, corporate and individual fundraising efforts, including:
    • Provide support to the Global Office DevCom Team in the development of concept notes, proposals and marketing materials to support fundraising for key elements of the strategy;
    • Actively participate in fundraising events and at the request of DevCom, meet with donors to support fundraising efforts;
    • Establish and build relationships with representatives from other NGOs, academic institutions, corporations and investors in the United States as it relates to fundraising and distribution of in- kind donations, as relevant.



  • A master’s degree in a related field of study, such as Education, Business Development or Nonprofit Management, or equivalent experience
  • A minimum of 7-10 years of professional experience in project management that includes significant hands-on work in multi-faceted planning, involving extensive communications with diverse individuals and groups in the United States. 
  • Prior experience working within the public education system in the United States at the elementary school level, either through the public sector and/or through non-profit work.
  • Prior success working closely and building relationships with diverse groups of people, including stakeholders, staff, partners and investors.
  • Prior experience developing and managing budgets.
  • Proven ability to problem-solve, prioritize, and multi-task, with an acknowledged track record of achieving results.
  • Demonstrated ability to work calmly and effectively under pressure.
  • Ability and willingness to travel domestically on an as-needed basis. 
  • Experience working across departments to build and manage effective teams.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English, including public speaking and the ability to persuade others.
  • Legally eligible to work in the United States; no sponsorship provided.


  • Bilingual and able to read, write and speak Spanish proficiently.
  • Prior experience in a fast-paced, growth-oriented global or regional organization.
  • Ability to toggle between working on a broad strategic level and a detailed programmatic level;


Room to Read offers a competitive pay with excellent benefits. Benefits include health, dental, vision, long-term disability insurance, life insurance, commuter benefits and a 401K match. The non-monetary compensation includes a unique opportunity to be part of an innovative, meaningful, fun, and rapidly growing organization that is changing transforming the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education.


Global Office - Main - San Francisco

Global Office - Remote - United States

To be successful at Room to Read, you will also: 

  • Have passion for our mission and a strong desire to impact a dynamic nonprofit organization 
  • Be a proactive and innovative thinker who achieves results and creates positive change
  • Have a very high level of personal and professional integrity and trustworthiness  
  • Embrace diversity and a commitment to collaboration 
  • Thrive in a fast-paced and fun environment 

Room to Read is proud to be an equal opportunity employer committed to identifying and developing the skills and leadership of people from diverse backgrounds. EOE/M/F/Vet/Disabled

To apply for this position please visit our job board. Select the Program Manager (U.S. Initiative role, click apply and complete the online application which will ask you to provide your resume, cover letter and some personal information. You will receive an email confirmation when your application has been received. Due to high applicant volume, we regret that we are not able to send personalized responses to all applicants. However, if you need technical assistance, please email [email protected]. Applications are accepted until the position is filled. 



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