Director of Programs

The Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions
  • Location
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Sep 07

Position description

The Parliament of the World’s Religions (PoWR) is looking for a Director of Programs to lead us in harnessing the power of interfaith collaboration to advance peace, justice, and sustainability throughout the world. We are looking for a professional who is skilled in non-profit program development and execution and can help us plan, develop, staff, coordinate, and measure the impact of our programs and initiatives. 

The Parliament of the World’s Religions (PoWR) brings persons of faith and conscience together to cultivate harmony and foster their engagement in the world and its guiding institutions to achieve a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. 

We are best known for hosting large convenings, called parliaments, the first of which, in Chicago in 1893, is considered the start of the interfaith movement. Our last parliament, in Salt Lake City in 2015, engaged over 10,000 participants. Participants look forward to getting know persons of other faith traditions and learning about social justice movements. For many, it is a life changing event. For some, it’s the start of a mission in life: to help the vulnerable, protect our planet, and collaborate with people of good will in ways they never dreamed possible.

In addition to advancing interreligious understanding, we have identified issues on which interfaith collaborations can work together to create global understanding, reconciliation, and change. These include solidarity with Indigenous persons, empowering women, children’s food and nutrition, global ethics, economic justice, and countering hate. We have several programs for member and stakeholder engagement, including an international Ambassador program, a UN task force, a partner cities program, and a Next Gen program. Our web presence allows us to reach out to persons of faith and conscience around the world. As a leader in the interfaith world, we value the commonalities as well as the differences of the many religious and ethical traditions and spiritualities and promote inclusiveness in all of our programs. 

Our task is to turn our vision into ongoing, sustainable programs with well-defined goals and measurable impact. We look forward to having programs that work synergistically with conference programming before, during, and after our international conferences. We seek the guidance of a professional who can help us think strategically about how to advance our goals and build the structures that make achieving them a reality. 

The Director of Programs will help articulate goals, develop theories of change, plan activities and outcomes, and integrate metrics right from the start. We seek someone skilled in project management who can move a project from inception to completion, determine budgets, make a staffing plan, manage program staff, set timelines, maintain momentum, measure impact, and report on our success and next steps.  

This new position reports directly to the Executive Director and works closely with the Director of Resource Development, Director of Communications, Director of IT & Operations, and Conference Manager. The candidate must be able to work closely with our trustees and volunteers, many of whom are subject matter experts and have played an active role in creating our programs. 

This is a full time, permanent, exempt position located in Chicago. We are an equal opportunity employer. The primary duties are as follows: 

Program Design

  • Work with staff, trustees, and volunteers to develop fundable, results oriented programs that foster interfaith harmony and advance peace, justice, and sustainability.
  • Work closely with the Executive Director to set program goals, propose project budgets, and develop strategies for engaging interfaith stakeholders. 
  • Work closely with the Conference Coordinator to integrate program goals into programming at the Parliament in Toronto in 2018. 
  • Work collaboratively with volunteers, including trustees, task forces, and subject matter experts, to ensure high quality and relevant program content. 
  • Develop logic models for programs, including defining objectives, activities, outputs, and planned outcomes and impact. Collaborate with the Director of Resource Development on content for case statements and grant requests.
  • Develop methods for tracking, measuring, and reporting on impact. 
  • Identify program risks and control, reduce and/or eliminate them. 
  • Participate in staff meetings, strategic planning, and board meetings as requested.

Project Management

  • Determine work plans, budgets, staffing plans, and timelines for programs.
  • Mentor, coach, train and supervise program staff and interns. Ensure that they have clear performance goals and regular feedback and coaching to ensure top-quality performance. 
  • Recruit, interview and select additional program staff, contractors, and/or consultants as funding becomes available.
  • Actively participate in program task forces and committees and provide leadership that encourages stakeholder participation. 
  • Work closely with Director of Communications to describe programs and results for web pages, social media, and outreach efforts. 
  • Participate with Director of Development and/or Executive Director in events and meetings with funders. 
  • Ensure that programs are carried out in a timely manner in accordance with grant obligations. 
  • Monitor program expenses. 
  • Collect and report data that indicates program activities, successful outcomes, areas for improvement, and issues for further exploration. 
  • Work closely with communications team to engage collaborators and disseminate results, contribute information for newsletters and social media posts


  • 4 year degree
  • Experience managing programs, teams, and multiple project required. 
  • Project management certification preferred.
  • A willingness to learn about and work with persons of diverse religious traditions and the capacity for dialogue, tolerance, and respect.
  • Ability to plan and prioritize workload and meet deadlines
  • Attention to detail and organizational skills 
  • Ability to occasionally travel and work evening and weekend hours
  • Excellent verbal, written, interpersonal, communication, and meeting skills.
  • Ability to leverage technology such as video conferencing, social media, data collection tools, and word processing software. Familiarity with G-Suite and Google platforms preferred. 

PoWR is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of any class protected by state or federal law, including race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age, disability or genetic information.

Application instructions

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