Chief Knowledge Officer: United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey

Organization Overview: United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey’s mission is to end intergenerational poverty in our region by harnessing, leveraging and strategically investing the collective power of donors, advocates, and volunteers, to help individuals and families break the cycle of poverty.

Role Summary: United Way is seeking an experienced Chief Knowledge Officer to lead the Knowledge Center, the evidence and learning hub for the United Way’s regional collaborations, including the Poverty Action Fund, a city-wide public/private partnership in Philadelphia. The Knowledge Center will provide continuous measurement, accountability, and learning to influence policy and grantmaking and maximize the value of poverty reduction investments.

Reports to: The CEO of United Way of Greater Philadelphia & Southern New Jersey

Position Description: 

The Chief Knowledge Officer will be responsible for developing, designing, implementing, and leading the programs and activities of the Knowledge Center. The Chief Knowledge Officer’s primary role is to work with the United Way, the Knowledge Center Advisory Committee, and a set of contracted research partners to design and develop strategies that assess regional assets and challenges and use data and research to inform policy and investment decisions in the public and private sectors. The Chief Knowledge Officer will manage grantee and citywide data to advance the Knowledge Center’s efforts related to program evaluation, communications, and grantee management. The position requires a blend of executive leadership, program management, program design and evaluation, and responsiveness to data and impact assessment needs in the areas of poverty reduction and nonprofit service delivery.

Successful candidates will have leadership experience, and technical capability or experience in data management, information science, program evaluation, or other related fields in the context of using data for program management and impact. Successful candidates will have experience in high quality research settings and demonstrated abilities in translating data into useful information for program impact, program evaluation, and communications for broader audiences.

The Chief Knowledge Officer will play a key role in helping streamline evidence-focused grantmaking processes and support high-performing community organizations and partnerships. In the first major initiative of the Knowledge Center, the Chief Knowledge Officer will drive the measurement and accountability efforts related to the Philadelphia Poverty Action Fund, a joint effort between United Way, the City of Philadelphia and private philanthropy to reduce Philadelphia’s poverty rate and create opportunities for an equitable recovery from the economic collapse. The Philadelphia Poverty Action Fund will be grounded in measurement, accountability, and learning. The Knowledge Center will provide a hub for data collection, assessment, transparent reporting, and continuous learning and adaptation. The Knowledge Center will serve four primary functions:

  1. Set the overarching goals and measurement strategy
  2. Provide technical assistance for data collection and reporting to selected grantees to ensure high quality data and evidence
  3. Evaluate implementation and short-and long-term program outcomes
  4. Conduct primary research on poverty trends in Philadelphia and comparison cities to inform strategy

The Chief Knowledge Officer will manage and help raise a budget of $1.5-3M annually, to be invested primarily in high quality partnerships to advance data collection, technical assistance, evaluation, and regional trends research.

Overview of Essential Functions and Responsibilities:

Strategic Management: (60%)

●       Develop and execute Knowledge Center strategy, based on roadmap developed by Project Evident

●       Forge and formalize collaborations with research and/or university partners to lead technical assistance, evaluation, and broad-based citywide research efforts

●       Build future-looking financial models, budgets, and plans for the Knowledge Center

●       Collaborate with the CEO of the United Way to raise awareness and funding for the Knowledge Center, and build new partnerships in Greater Philadelphia

●       Establish a culture of accountability, responsiveness, flexibility and results

●       Lead measurement and knowledge management strategy for the Philadelphia Poverty Action Fund, including

o   Lead Knowledge Center efforts to define project roadmaps, short- and long-term goals, and key metrics and milestones for measurement

o   Advise Poverty Action Fund leadership team on codifying strategic goals so that they are measurable, impactful, and compelling; develop system for effectively tracking progress toward goals

o   Help the team share powerful stories about investment results with stakeholders (e.g. potential funders, community members, elected officials and other supporters) by producing relevant quantitative and qualitative data and reports as needed

Data Management: (20%)

●       Ensure collection and quality assurance of data and work with partners to analyze and produce actionable insights to help team identify potential opportunities and red flags related to outcomes

●       Oversee the development and management of a central database for reporting and analysis

●       Conduct exploratory analysis of internal data and make recommendations about the types of questions leadership should be asking and the types of narratives to develop for external audiences

●       Coordinate research and technical assistance partners

●       Collaborate with learning and evaluation partners to analyze external quantitative data and distill key takeaways for external communications

Program Management: (20%)

●       Manage Knowledge Center budget, timelines, resources and deliverables

●       Track project costs in order to meet budget based on scope of work and resource requirements

●       Provide project updates to partners and United Way Leadership on a consistent basis to various stakeholders about strategy, adjustments, and progress; maintain excellent client and consultant relationships

●       Facilitate the development of data transfer agreements with external data vendors

●       Manage contracts with vendors and suppliers by assigning tasks and communicating expected deliverables

Job qualifications, knowledge, skills, and abilities: 

●       10+ years practical experience with organizational leadership, especially related to the areas of research and evaluation or data collection and analysis

●       Demonstrated track record of building programs from the ground up

●       Experience leading complex data collection, measurement, and learning projects

●       Strong familiarity with research, data visualization, evidence communication, and project management software tools, methodologies, and best practices

●       Experience managing complex projects and seeing through the full life cycle

●       Experience managing teams and partners

●       Experience with process improvement to help the team run more efficiently

●       Excellent analytical skills

●       Proven ability to solve problems creatively

●       Strong interpersonal and relationship management skills and extremely resourceful

●       Ability to maintain a professional demeanor and adapt to rapidly changing priorities

●       Demonstrated ability to prioritize multiple projects simultaneously to meet deadlines within planned scope, budget, and timeline

●       4-year degree; advanced degree in policy, data science, program evaluation or related fields strongly preferred


UWGPSNJ promotes a culture of inclusion and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected factor.


Paid vacation, sick time, personal, and volunteer time

Medical, dental, vision, life and Long Term Disability insurance