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Associate Director, Center for Strategic Philanthropy

Location: Washington, D.C.


About the Center for Strategic Philanthropy

Charitable giving in America has consistently been on the rise, exceeding more than $370 billion per year. Furthermore, high net worth philanthropists are increasingly moving away from passive giving approaches towards more active approaches, with the intent of enhancing the impact of their investments. Such approaches include evaluation of the landscape to set a giving strategy that addresses key unmet needs, monitoring their investments, and consulting with advisors to help structure and deploy their gifts.

The Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy (CSP), houses a number of programs, including a philanthropy advisory service that uniquely positions the center to improve the ROI of philanthropic capital by facilitating more strategic, informed, and creative philanthropic investment. To execute this work across key issue areas, we recruit domain experts in a number of fields including education, biomedical research, public health, etc.

As a result of the development of deep technical expertise among our team, CSP programs are grounded in robust analysis and expert input, creates a marketplace of innovative giving practices, forges greater awareness of high-impact investment opportunities, and connects ideas with action and capital in order to tackle some of the world’s most pressing social challenges.

Associate Director Overview

The Milken Institute is looking for a talented professional to help CSP expand into new domains of higher education and workforce development with the goal of promoting more strategic philanthropic investment to close the 21st Century skills gap. The ideal candidate will serve as both a domain lead in education innovation and a functional lead in the application of design thinking and human-centered innovation to the broader CSP approach.

As a domain lead, the Associate Director will manage a multi-faceted project to guide philanthropic investment into education with a specific focus on higher education on the short term. In this role, the Associate Director should successfully be able to:

  • Conduct landscape assessments and benchmarking analyses to understand best practices and models for innovating education, especially higher education, including the integration of design thinking principles and practices;
  • Define and evaluate opportunity sets for philanthropic investment;
  • Manage relationships with, and solicit expert input from, key opinion leaders;
  • Represent the Milken Institute within the broader education and design communities;
  • Create executive-level resources for philanthropists to understand the ecosystem, challenges, key stakeholders, and investment opportunities for innovating  education;
  • Create strategic visions and operating models for de novo endeavors and conceptualize new models for achieving philanthropic goals related to education and workforce development;
  • Support and oversee implementation of funded programs, as needed;
  • Facilitate stakeholder engagement and donor decision-making; and,
  • Construct program implementation timelines, work plans, and project management structures.

As a functional lead proficient in human centered design, the Associate Director should successfully be able to guide the CSP team and help it integrate design principles into its overall program design. Through this function, the Associate Director will help CSP to:

  • Innovate its approach for developing philanthropic solutions to address unmet needs and social challenges for specific advisory projects,
  • Build new engagement models for the broader philanthropic community to increase awareness and adoption of best practices,
  • Position itself as a thought leader in design thinking in philanthropy, and
  • Create tool kits and user guides on how to integrate design thinking into social impact enterprises.


  • Education to graduate level;
  • At least 5 years of relevant work experience (experience in design functions, management consulting, or corporate strategy is a plus);
  • Familiarity with education models, workforce development innovations, and design thinking;
  • High intellectual capacity that can be, and has been, applied to learning new fields;
  • Acute business acumen that has been applied to analyzing market trends, sectors, and organizations, and/or building new programs or businesses;
  • Personal attitude that includes being outgoing, team-oriented, entrepreneurial, action-oriented, flexible, with a willingness to adapt to changing situations and have a good sense of humor;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, and
  • Solid program planning and project management skills.

About the Milken Institute

The Milken Institute is a globally engaged, publicly supported, non-partisan, nonprofit think tank with offices in Santa Monica, California, Washington, D.C. and Singapore. Its mission is to improve lives around the world by advancing innovative economic and policy solutions that create jobs, widen access to capital and enhance health. The Milken Institute offers an excellent benefit package including medical/dental, LTD, Life, Flex Spending Program, 403(b) tax-deferred retirement savings plan, and company gym. E.O.E.

To apply, please click here.