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Director of Innovation and Program Development - NYC

Who we are

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, envisions a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for everyone. Vera is committed to securing equal justice, ending mass incarceration, and strengthening families and communities.

We drive change by:

  • Studying problems that impede human dignity and justice.
  • Piloting solutions that are at once transformative and achievable.
  • Engaging diverse communities in informed debate.
  • Harnessing the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice.


We work with others who share our vision to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day—from mass incarceration, racial disparities, and the loss of public trust in law enforcement to the unmet needs of the vulnerable, the marginalized, and those harmed by crime and violence. Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace—specifically, we value diverse experiences regarding educational background and justice system contact. We hire employees that reflect our values: respect, independence, collaboration, and commitment. 

You can expect to work with a team of amazing people who have tenacity, are creative, scrappy, and are committed to getting the work done. Why? Because our work is urgent, impactful, and more important than ever.

You will have great benefits, and work-life balance. Driving meaningful change is hard work. But we also know that you have a life, places to go, and people to see. If you want to learn more about life at Vera, click here


What you’ll do:

Vera generates ideas to transform justice systems and takes them to national scale. Following the completion of our strategic plan, we are expanding and formalizing our infrastructure for this multistage ideation and scaling process—which we call the Impact Pipeline. This staged process helps Vera staff generate ideas with potential for national impact, pilot those ideas, adapt and improve them, and evaluate their effectiveness. The Director and their team manage this process and collaborate with other teams at Vera to provide support and rigor to the teams, leading the idea or project development. The Director of Innovation and Program Development will play a leadership role in co-designing, implementing, and managing the Impact Pipeline.


The Director will help with the continued build-out of the pipeline, pilot its processes, and refine them with the benefit of experience. The Director will support and promote idea creation, development, iteration, piloting, and refinement. They will also support the responsible discontinuation of projects that are not working and the memorialization and sharing of any learnings. The Director will ensure the clarity, consistency, transparency, and equity of these systems.


The Director will work under the supervision of the Vice President of Innovation and New Initiatives and in close collaboration with the Vice President of Research, Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning (MEL), the Vice Presidents of Initiatives, as well as Vera’s MEL team. The Director will supervise a team including an Associate and Coordinator, as well as work as part of a pipeline management team.


Specific responsibilities include: 

  1. Design: For the Impact Pipeline’s pilot year, the Director will play a lead role in building out processes that are not yet complete, as well as adapting systems and processes based on learnings thereafter. The Director will therefore need to discern at a level of detail what is working well and not; what stakeholders need to collaborate and how; and whether the substance of ideas, projects, and initiatives are being properly supported and assessed.
  2. Project Management: Reliable, transparent functioning of the system is key to its success. The Director will therefore need to manage processes on a clear, regular schedule, as well as communicate to Vera staff and stakeholders in an organized, dependable way. The Director will ensure successful coordination between relevant staff and stakeholders.
  3. Culture Promotion: In addition to the mechanics of the system, the Director will creatively and passionately support a culture of idea generation and development that results in continued engagement by Vera staff and stakeholders and values individual initiative, as well as iteration and collaboration (more than ownership), including when ideas or projects are discontinued. The Director will also build a supportive, collaborative culture among their team.
  4. Equity Promotion: The Director will design and support systems and processes to engage external stakeholders promote community power-building in ideas moving through the pipeline and ensure equity within the idea development system internally at Vera.
  5. Other Administration: The Director will competently and conscientiously hire, manage, and support staff, develop and manage budgets, and attend to other administrative needs of the pipeline and their role.

Skills and Qualifications

  • Experience designing and developing strategies or initiatives that address social justice issues and bring about social change.
  • Experience with different methods for cultivating, promoting, and supporting innovation.
  • Experience growing ideas into pilot projects and initiatives, as well as running programs or organizations.
  • Experience working in a multi-disciplinary setting, with multiple internal stakeholders, in a fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrated commitment to addressing issues of race equity and working in meaningful collaboration with communities and grassroots organizations.
  • Experience building diverse teams, promoting teamwork, and coaching team members to success.
  • Knowledge of or lived experience with criminal and immigration legal systems preferable
  • Minimum seven years relevant experience.


Compensation and Benefits

Salary will be commensurate with experience and includes excellent benefits. Vera believes in compensating its staff members at or above market.


How to apply

Please submit a resume and cover letter. Online submission in PDF format is preferred.


However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to

ATTN: Human Resources / Director of Innovation, and Program Development

Vera Institute of Justice

34 35th St, Suite 4-2A

Brooklyn, NY 11232

Fax: (212) 941-9407


Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.

No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.


Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.  All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status or current employment status. 


Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally

connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.


For more information about Vera and our work, please visit



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