Vice President of Research, Feeding America (Full-time) 2019-05-28T01:25:45+00:00

Job description:

Work. Serve. Thrive.

Imagine a place where your talent can make a meaningful difference in peoples’ lives. Working at Feeding America is a uniquely rewarding experience in which our employees work together as vital parts of a much larger mission. We are innovative, mission-focused, diverse, collaborative, values-driven and focused on results.

We are a national, nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, our mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger.

The Opportunity

The Vice President of Research provides strategic direction to build Feeding America’s research and evaluation agenda, share knowledge internally and externally, and apply evidence to deepen the impact of Feeding America’s work. The Vice President works closely with our Communications, Government Relations, and Fundraising teams to translate our research and evaluation for the public, policymakers, funders and partner food banks and to foster awareness of food insecurity as an issue of national relevance across domains (poverty, education, public health, behavioral economics, housing, employment, etc.). The Vice President leads efforts to ensure that knowledge in the field and evidence from program and related evaluations inform and strengthen Feeding America’s efforts. As such, the Vice President works closely with the Chief Programs Officer and VP of Innovation to inform program design to achieve intended outcomes. The Vice President reports to the President and works closely with other leaders in the organization to help Feeding America to achieve its mission and serves as a resource to member Food Banks and the broader public.

Feeding America has a long tradition of conducting rigorous, innovative, and timely research and analysis about food insecurity and charitable food in the United States. Our staff, Technical Advisory Group, and partnerships with universities, think tanks, and government agencies position us as a leader in the field of hunger and food insecurity. As we look to the future, we know that Feeding America’s work will continue to evolve (1) to reflect advances in our knowledge of the dimensions and causes of food insecurity across the United States and (2) to appreciate the growing evidence that food insecurity, health outcomes and financial well-being are interlinked.


  • Leads the design, development and implementation of the organization’s strategic research agenda related to food insecurity, health, nutrition, and related social and economic issues and policies.
  • Advises the President, Executive Team, Board of Directors, and network members as needed, on issues related to research, evaluation and measuring impact and outcomes.
  • Provides leadership that enhances alignment of data needs across the organization. Supports the organization in collecting data to inform success toward meeting organizational outcomes and targets.
  • Develops and oversees multi-million dollar projects to enhance the collection and application of data to rigorously inform our organizational impact.
  • Supports resource development for research and evaluation and meets as needed with funders.
  • Ensures that member Food Banks have access to reliable research and analysis to inform their efforts and develops strong partnerships across the network to collect and assess best practices.
  • In partnership with senior technical advisors, Feeding America leadership and the research team, supports the translation and dissemination of research and evaluation insights to inform and shape organizational strategies and initiatives and develop new partnerships.
  • Establishes and nurtures a network of relationships with key academic researchers/institutions, donors, government agencies and relevant nonprofit partners to further Feeding America’s mission and research agenda and to promote visibility of food insecurity and related hunger and nutrition issues in the public dialogue.
  • Develops and oversees department budget; creates, implements and oversees departmental processes in consultation with departmental leadership, and supervises the execution of multiple large, grant-funded research projects.
  • Establishes a high standard for data integrity and transparency of data methods used in research and evaluation projects and in external communications. Ensures the organization’s program evaluation activities reflect the highest standards. Identifies barriers to effective research and evaluation and advises the Chief Programs Officer and others on strategies for mitigating those challenges.
  • Leads and mentors a team of experts and ensures a supportive environment that promotes employee professional and personal growth. Oversees project staff including external consultants and cross functional project contributors as needed.
  • Represents Feeding America on hunger, health, and related issues among internal and external audiences including national forums, government briefings and media appearances.
  • Integrates with internal Feeding America teams (e.g. public policy, member services, programs, fundraising, communications, etc.) to coordinate resources and research on issues of food insecurity, nutrition, health, public policy and related topics for various initiatives, publications and public education activity.
  • Contributes to the design and maintenance of an effective knowledge management system that supports knowledge sharing across our network and national office staff. Primary accountability for which with Network Learning.
  • Completes special projects as required and assigned, including serving on internal task forces.


  • 8+ years of experience leading applied research teams and collaborative efforts and 12+ years of experience in research and evaluation
  • PhD or relevant experience in the social sciences, public health, public policy, or other related fields preferred

Required Leadership Competencies

  • Establishes Vision and Crafts Strategy – Ability to create a clear strategic vision for the research function and a strategically aligned research agenda that engages key internal and external stakeholders.
  • Leverages Functional Expertise – Leverages technical background and deep experience in research and evaluation to take a strong legacy of research leadership in the hunger community to the next level.
  • Communicates Effectively – Ability to successfully communicate technical information to non-technical audiences and use facts, data and analysis to engage a broad range of audiences to support Feeding America’s Mission.
  • Fosters Innovation – Committed to challenging the organization with new ideas and thinking based on evolving research, data and insights and builds culture and process that drive a spirit of continuous learning and evaluation focused on eliminating hunger in America.
  • Collaborates Internally & Externally – Strong track record of building consensus and working collaboratively in a complex, multi-stakeholder environment. Demonstrated ability to build and align a network of partners and thought leaders to inform research strategy and execution and to support resource development.
  • Coaches and Develops Talent & Teams – Demonstrated experience building strong teams, including the coaching and development of IT professionals and future IT leaders.

Other Critical Competencies

  • Committed to organizational mission of ending hunger. Consistently considers the needs of individuals and families facing hunger when making decisions.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Committed to a workplace that values different backgrounds and life experiences and allows everyone to bring their authentic self to work. Builds equity into structures, systems and processes for our employees and the communities we serve.

Required Technical Competencies And Expertise

  • Experience with multiple research designs (quantitative and qualitative, primary and secondary analysis, program evaluation and quality improvement, quasi-experimental, policy evaluation, etc.
  • Ability to balance rigor with pragmatism to promote the application of credible research.
  • Strong demonstrated understanding of hunger, nutrition, food insecurity, the social determinants of health, and related economic and policy issues in the United States.
  • Demonstrated experience in applying program evaluations and assessments to program design, implementation, and dissemination.
  • Demonstrated experience conducting and supervising complex and large-scale research projects and engaging diverse stakeholders.
  • Experience competing for and securing external grant funding, re-granting to research/academic institutions.
  • Experience collaborating with academia, nonprofit organizations, donors and government agencies.
  • Travel required up to 30%.

Feeding America embraces a philosophy that recognizes and values diversity. Our goal is to attract, develop, retain and promote a talented diverse workforce in a culture where all employees will contribute to their fullest potential.