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Program Manager, New Ventures

Robin Hood Foundation

Robin Hood Foundation

Brooklyn, NY, USA
Posted on Saturday, May 25, 2024

Program Manager, New Ventures, Blue Ridge Labs

About Robin Hood

For more than 35 years Robin Hood has been funding, supporting, and connecting New York’s most impactful community organizations at the forefront in the battle against poverty. We’re NYC’s largest local poverty-fighting philanthropy and since 1988, we have invested more than $3 billion to elevate and fuel the permanent escape of New Yorkers from poverty. Last year, through grantmaking with 300+ community partners, we met critical needs and created pathways to opportunities out of poverty for more than 325,000 New Yorkers, and through our strategic partnerships on childcare, child poverty, jobs, and living wages, we are scaling impact at a population level for the more than 1.4 million New Yorkers living in poverty. At Robin Hood, we believe your starting point in life should not define where you end up.

About Blue Ridge Labs

Blue Ridge Labs (BRL) is a venture studio, accelerator, and funder that launches and invests new technology ventures focused on fighting poverty in NYC. Currently, BRL runs three programs aligned with each of these areas: the Fellowship, Catalyst, and the Follow-On-Fund. The Fellowship is our flagship venture studio program that takes designers, product managers, engineers, and experts through a four-month co-creation process with low-income New Yorkers to launch new start-ups tackling issues of poverty. Catalyst is a six-month accelerator providing funding, connections, and insight for early-stage tech innovators to move from initial product to scale. The Follow-On-Fund provides the initial capital (up to $250,000 per venture), the network, and the guidance critical for new tech ventures to scale. At the heart of our programs is the Design Insight Group (DIG), a community of over 2,000 low-income New Yorkers. They’ve personally faced poverty and now work alongside program participants to develop solutions to the systemic issues they’ve experienced firsthand.

Position Overview

We are looking for a program manager with startup experience who is passionate about supporting the design and development of new high-impact tech ventures to join our team. The Program Manager for New Ventures will lead the delivery of programs in our venture studio aimed at building and launching startups that support and accelerate economic mobility for low-income communities. The primary program is our Fellowship Program, where product developers, designers, engineers, and experts come together to design and launch new technology solutions fighting poverty. In addition to leading the Fellowship, the Program Manager for New Ventures will serve as BRL’s resident expert on prototyping, product testing, or growth marketing. In this capacity the Program Manager will support participants in other BRL programs, and staff at Robin Hood more broadly. Support will focus on topics such as concept development, prototyping, or the venture building process. This position reports to the Managing Director for Blue Ridge Labs and works closely with the rest of the BRL team. Our team works out of Robin Hood’s Brooklyn office, at 150 Court Street, which also serves as a lab for a community of entrepreneurs who are passionate about systemic change and fighting poverty.

Responsibilities include in collaboration with the Managing Director:

Lead the delivery of the Fellowship program and venture studio operations

  • In close collaboration with the Managing Director explore, select, and design the Fellowship focus areas.
  • Lead and oversee the Fellowship’s recruitment and selection process, including evaluating potential applicants in partnership with other Labs’s staff and alumni; facilitate the finalist selection process.
  • Manage the Fellowship program’s schedule and calendar, contracts, activities, and coordinate support for participants. Recruit subject matter experts to deliver programming and training for entrepreneurs-in-residence (EIRs) in areas such as user research, customer discovery, user testing, prototyping, product management, and/or product development.
  • Advise on the design and development of programming and deliver programming where relevant.
  • Support team building amongst program participants to ensure effective communication, inclusivity, and equity.
  • Coach EIRs through the process of developing new and impactful tech-enabled products and services that are aligned with the mission of Blue Ridge Labs; guide EIRs from ideation to validation (i.e., discovery, test, prototype, target users, potential customers, etc.)
  • Identify and develop new high-impact and mutually valuable ways to engage and involve Robin Hood’s community partners, mentors, and staff in supporting the EIRs and their projects.

Develop and deliver new initiatives to increase the impact of Blue Ridge Labs and Robin Hood

  • Collaborate with the Managing Director and team members to create and deliver new initiatives and/or program enhancements that aim to scale the impact of Blue Ridge Labs.
  • Create additional resources for early-stage tech founders such as digital tools, virtual reference guides, events, and new programs to accelerate and foster tech ventures aimed at fighting poverty for low-income communities.
  • In collaboration with the Managing Director, support fundraising efforts for existing and proposed initiatives.

Support other Blue Ridge Labs programming as needed

  • Coaches participants of other BRL initiatives supporting venture acceleration and development as it relates to their background and areas of expertise.
  • Conducts sessions as needed to support other BRL initiatives.
  • Develop resources to support Labs's teams and other partners in making common user research and product design and development decisions.

Grow and maintain our network of mentors and advisors

  • Recruit experienced founders, entrepreneurs, designers, product managers, engineers, and data scientists to support BRL’s social impact projects and bring them into the Labs ecosystem.
  • Design engagement opportunities that benefit both mentors and program participants.
  • Create and share targeted content and events (e.g. newsletters, networking events, etc.) to strengthen the relationships between mentors and the broader Labs community.


  • Minimum of a bachelor’s degree or equivalent and 5+ years of relevant experience required. (Equivalents to a degree could include completion of a high-quality certification and/or bootcamp program in addition to relevant professional experience.)
  • Proven track record of designing, building, and launching new products and services, ideally including tech-enabled platforms. Experience recruiting technical staff and/or contractors with third party agencies is a plus.
  • Prior experience working with very early-stage organizations, ideally in the capacity of program manager, founder, or co-founder.
  • Ability to thrive in fast-paced, action-oriented environment and comfortable juggling multiple work streams simultaneously.
  • Strong interpersonal and coaching skills, ideally with managing or mentoring both individuals and small groups.
  • Demonstrated high level of creativity, adaptiveness, and proactive problem solving.
  • Knowledge of rapid prototyping and early product testing required.
  • Background in human-centered design, UI/UX design, or digital/technical product management preferred.
  • Experience leading design sprints and familiarity with software engineering and/or mobile app development preferred.
  • Knowledge of and a high degree of comfort with a range of prototyping and user testing tools as well as a familiarity with the growing ecosystem of “no code” platforms (e.g. Airtable, Notion, Softr, Zapier, Webflow, etc.) preferred.
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to build trust quickly with a diverse range of stakeholders.
  • A history of commitment to social impact and an understanding of challenges faced by underserved populations in New York City, through prior formal or informal work and / or direct personal experience preferred.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Robin Hood is committed to promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and representation in all aspects of its work. As New York City's largest poverty-fighting organization, Robin Hood believes that building a diverse team is a fundamental to its ability to effectively serve and strengthen organizations serving the most vulnerable communities in the city, and to influence the policies that affect them.

Robin Hood believes in the potential that diversity creates deep and responsive relationships with its community partners; the ability to solve complex problems efficiently and effectively; and, most importantly, the ability of its diverse staff to work to its full capacity.

Robin Hood builds diversity, inclusion and equity practice into all aspects of its work. Its practices, values, traditions, and beliefs are embedded in the inclusive culture that it creates. Operationally, its formal and informal structures support a work environment that advances the professional development of staff at all levels, allow for innovation, and grounds its work as poverty fighters.

In its workplace, diversity equals representation. Robin Hood seeks to attract and retain a staff that reflects the communities that it serves. Racial and ethnic diversity matter to it, as does diversity among other cultural identifiers (ability, educational background, generation, gender, gender expression religion, immigration status, military status, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status).

Diversity within Robin Hood's staff is enhanced by its efforts at meaningful inclusion. It ensures that team members are empowered to make decisions, offer actionable feedback, and share credit for team success. Further, Robin Hood seeks to develop its talent professionally and has created an intentional focus on mentorship and sponsorship, particularly of junior staff. its goal is to encourage long term talent retention and engagement, while fostering a culture of innovation.

Robin Hood Guiding Principles

As an organization committed to economic mobility, our work is grounded in the following Guiding Principles:

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Proximity and humanity
  • Risk-taking and innovation

Our professional community reflects myriad demographic characteristics, perspectives, and backgrounds, which includes various identities that reflect diversity in gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, ability, and socioeconomic status. Our colleagues have access to opportunity and advancement, as we promote fair and equitable treatment and have encouraged participation by underrepresented groups. As a team, we promote a sense of belonging, high levels of engagement, and shared respect.

  • Robin Hood puts people first. Always.
  • Robin Hood is unafraid to take action and create solutions.
  • Robin Hood is data driven and heart led.
  • Robin Hood works the coat check.

Salary and Benefits

Robin Hood offers a highly competitive and comprehensive salary and package of employee benefits and encourages strong work-life balance. This position is located in New York City.

The salary range for this role is $92,947 - $115,000.

To Apply

Please visit our website to complete our online application.

Robin Hood is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants from diverse backgrounds and identities are encouraged to apply.

Please note that Robin Hood Foundation has adopted a COVID-19 vaccination policy to safeguard the health and well-being of our employees. As a condition of employment, Robin Hood employees are required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, unless a reasonable accommodation is approved or as otherwise required by law.