Mercy Corps

Director of Programs

Mercy Corps

Job Description

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible. In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within. Now, and for the future.

About Our Team

As the U.S. field office of Mercy Corps, Mercy Corps Northwest (MCNW) works to build more just, productive and resilient communities in the Pacific Northwest. Our programs support over 2,000 small business owners each year; reduce prison re-entry rates for participants by 50%; improve services at more than 30 local nonprofits; and support under resourced communities with disaster preparedness knowledge.

At MCNW, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to improve their life regardless of their background. By investing in those without ready access to resources, existing economic disparities will become more equitable, and motivated, hard-working individuals and families will have opportunities to break intergenerational cycles of poverty for good. For more information about Mercy Corps Northwest, visit

About Your Role

The Director of Programs (DoP) is a critical member of Mercy Corps Northwest’s Senior Management Team (SMT). Tasked with managing and developing programming that is accountable to government, beneficiaries and donors, the DoP will pursue funding opportunities that strategically connect programs into a cohesive country portfolio, guided by the country strategy and annual plan. The DoP provides support and leadership in program development and management, monitoring overall program performance by tracking progress toward specific objectives. All programming requires effective program Coordination with operations and finance from inception to close out. The DoP will ensure the existence of a fully functioning and adaptive accountability framework providing real-time qualitative and quantitative measurements of Mercy Corps’ programs; and maintain the scale of portfolio through a forward-looking Business Development strategy informed by regular engagements with donors, partners, and peer organizations. Right now, MCNW’s scope is limited to the Pacific Northwest but we expect this to broaden over time, likely outside of the Pacific Northwest. The DoP represents Mercy Corps at the highest level and is able to develop, articulate and deliver a strategic vision in line with the evolution of the context and scope and MCNW’s strategy.

Your Key Responsibilities

  • Communicate a clear vision of present and future program goals of Mercy Corps Northwest to team members and stakeholders that translates into concrete programs and work plans; Identify ways that the team members and programs will coordinate with one another to optimize the client’s experience.
  • Set direction by prioritizing and organizing actions & resources to achieve objectives and contribute to countrywide strategy.
  • Track small business, resilience and asset building trends and policy changes, ensuring that this Analysis is recognized and incorporated in program planning and execution.
  • Ensure that teams are collaborating internally and with external stakeholders effectively, adding value to the program and maintaining strategic focus.
  • Take action to advance innovative action and programming, and create an environment where alternative viewpoints are welcomed.
  • Ensure we are modeling and advancing our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion across all our programming.
  • Participate in overall country level strategic planning and assist the Executive Director with preparation and implementation of the Country Fiscal Year Annual Planning process.
Program Leadership
  • Work closely with the Executive Director and Program Managers to ensure that MCNW’s strategy is understood and guides decision-making.
  • Ensure that program implementation is responsive to communities, authorities, and partners and is consistent with Mercy Corps program guidelines, principles, values, quality standards and vision.
  • Provide overall leadership and direction to program staff and support the Executive Director to evaluate opportunities, strengthen program strategies, program quality, partnerships, and accountability in accordance with Mercy Corps and donor policies.
  • Effectively manage program growth and oversee the implementation of assigned Mercy Corps’ programs with a continual eye to new program development that meets the strategic interests of MCNW, taking into special consideration of quality, efficiency, and sustainability.
  • Ensure program implementation is on time, on target and on budget, using effective MERL systems to demonstrate the desired impact.
  • Oversee program implementation strategies, including partnership frameworks, beneficiary targeting, distribution processes and Capacity Building of partners as needed.
  • Facilitate sharing and learning across different teams to incorporate learning in project Design and management.
  • Create and maintain systems to ensure efficient and transparent capture of program data for management decision-making and timely and informative internal and external reporting; ensure quality donor reporting.
  • Create and maintain systems to ensure technical coherence and promote creative and equitable programming across the program portfolio.
  • Look for continuous support and participation of TSU for quality programming and implementation;
  • Liaise regularly with designated Mercy Corps Global Program Officer, as well as the Director of Corporate and Foundation Partnership Services, to ensure successful grant management with donor headquarters.
  • Act as CARM Focal Point for Mercy Corps Northwest programs.
  • Build a cohesive team spirit and culture among staff and delegate functions and responsibilities to them while ensuring achievement of program objectives.
  • Supervise, provide leadership, mentor and build the capacity of senior program staff in program/project design, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and management that creates a working atmosphere conducive to professional growth and development of excellence at all levels.
  • Communicate effectively to ensure overall project targets and donor obligations are met.
  • Contribute to team-building efforts, help team members identify problem-solving options and ensure the integration of all team members into relevant decision-making processes.
  • Provide team members with information, tools and other resources to improve performance, reach objectives and achieve their professional objectives as per their performance management plan.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Ensure compliance and transparent use of resources in compliance with donor and Mercy Corps regulations.
  • Effectively stay abreast of Mercy Corps and donor policies, procedures, rules and regulations; compile and update applicable local policies; and in tandem with Deputy Director, train Mercy Corps program and partner staff in these processes and policies.
  • Work with program managers to review expenses vs. budget on a monthly basis;
  • Provide adequate technical, analytical and administrative support for programs.
  • Review scope of work to hire consultants for program deliverables.
  • Oversee grant and sub-grant tracking, ensuring forward planning and preparation for donor report writing and timely submission of sub-grantee reports. Maintain and update program files and grant tracking information on a routine basis.
  • Work with the Senior Management Team to help represent MCNW at meetings, workshops and other fora.
  • Identify, build, and manage collaborative partnerships with consortium partners, sub-grantees, donors, local governments and other stakeholders.
  • Respect and understand differing cultural differences and nuances and have the ability to navigate between them, recognizing the complexities involved.
Supervisory Responsibility: MCNW Program Managers


Reports Directly to: Executive Director, MCNW Works Directly With: All MCNW team members, HQ representatives, clients, and community partners

Minimum Qualification / Transferable Skills*

We will consider any combination of relevant work experience, volunteering, education, and transferable skills as qualifying unless an item or section is labeled required. Please submit a cover letter that clearly shows how your experience meets the minimum qualifications and prepares you to perform the key responsibilities of this role; be clear and specific about how your background is relevant.

  • BA/S or equivalent in a relevant field. (Professional work at or near the level of this position can substitute year for year for the educational requirement)
  • 5 years of senior-level leadership and management experience
  • 2 years of experience in Program Design and fundraising
  • Proven track record in successful proposal writing and program development
  • Experience in developing relationships with partner organizations and/or public speaking
*Transferable skills: Any skills you have gained through education, volunteer or work or life experience (including the military) that are relevant for this position will be considered. Be sure to describe any transferable skills and how they apply to this position in your cover letter.

The successful candidate will demonstrate:

  • Substantial knowledge of asset building, small business development and/or resilience
  • An outstanding ability to design, implement, and manage innovative programs that are in line with MCNW’s strategy.
  • Success working effectively and respectfully with governments, private sector, INGO, NGO partners and other stakeholders; Confident representation in public settings, ability to speak up when needed to defend Mercy Corps’ positions and influence key stakeholders internally and externally
  • Experience leveraging Information Management Systems to evaluate program outcomes
  • Solid project management skills related to diverse, cross-functional teams;
  • Experience of solving complex issues collegially, defining a clear way forward, and utilizing best practices in management to ensure shared success
  • Outstanding analytical and strategic thinking skills, with a focus on results and impact;
  • Commitment to cultivating the skills and experiences of team members and leaders
  • Excellent communications skills that can inspire broad and diverse teams towards achieving a shared goal
  • Ability to drive a fast-paced and evolving program
  • Ability to create a stimulating working environment that encourages innovation, accountability, diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Excellent information management skills
  • Excellent oral and written English skills required, proficiency in a second language is preferred.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Oregon or Washington and is expected to travel up to 15% of the time.

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our stakeholders and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

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