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Arnold Ventures is a philanthropy whose core objective is to maximize opportunity and minimize injustice. We are dedicated to tackling some of the most pressing problems in the United States. We invest in sustainable change, building it from the ground up based on research, deep thinking, and a strong foundation of evidence. We drive public conversation, craft policy, and inspire action through education and advocacy.

Location: Washington, D.C. or New York, NY

Salary: Competitive salary and benefits package based on qualifications

Department: Criminal Justice

Report to: Vice President of Criminal Justice

Travel: Occasional travel expected

Position Overview

Arnold Ventures’ Criminal Justice Initiative aims to advance community safety and the values of fairness, effectiveness, and racial justice. We fund innovative work in five domains: Policing, Pretrial Justice, Community Supervision, Prisons, and Reintegration. The Initiative works with teams of experts from inside and outside government and across disciplines to reform the U.S. criminal justice system through research, evidence, testing innovative pilot programs, and policy change.

We are seeking a Director of Criminal Justice Research to develop rigorous research agendas and research investments that advance corrections reform and to provide research expertise and thought leadership across the Criminal Justice team and to prospective and current grantees. This individual will be responsible for identifying, assessing, and pursuing new, high-leverage philanthropic opportunities, and managing current investments. They will report directly to the Vice President of Criminal Justice overseeing the Corrections portfolios and work closely with the Vice President of Criminal Justice Research. The Director of Criminal Justice Research will focus on four strategies within the Corrections portfolio: community supervision, prisons and sentencing reform, reintegration, and fines and fees.

Core Responsibilities

  • Identify trends in criminal justice policy and practice and assess the potential for research and evaluation projects that describe the scope of a problem, document the impact of a policy or practice on individuals and families, systems and society, and examine the outcomes associated with reforms or changes to justice policy and practice
  • Develop research agendas that can guide the Corrections team’s research investments; provide thought partnership on research grants as they are being developed and executed to ensure they are methodologically rigorous and have high potential for impact
  • Work with Arnold Ventures’ Board of Directors and Corrections team to develop and refine Arnold Ventures’ strategies and priorities; identify, develop and present charitable investment/grant recommendations to Arnold Ventures’ Board of Directors; develop and manage relationships with key stakeholders, experts, and new and existing grantees
  • Oversee research investments and partnerships and draw lessons from them to inform strategic priorities and the development of future investments
  • Collaborate with the Vice President of Criminal Justice Research to explore and develop cross-initiative investment opportunities, build the research capacity of the Criminal Justice team, and manage the Criminal Justice team’s approach to advance racial equity in research investments

Minimum Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in criminal justice or criminology, public policy, psychology, sociology, economics, or other social sciences (Candidates with a Master’s Degree and an established research track record may be considered.)
  • 7-10 years of relevant work experience conducting and/or overseeing significant policy-relevant criminal justice research projects, preferably projects related to community supervision, prisons, and reintegration
  • Deep understanding of the criminal justice system and criminal justice policy
  • Knowledge of advanced methods and statistics and research designs, and experience interfacing with senior-level criminal justice stakeholders about research findings related to justice programs and policies
  • Ability to translate complex research findings into key takeaways for diverse audiences
  • Proven commitment to and passion for racial justice and social justice
  • Successful track record of using research to drive change


  • Deep strategic thinker with demonstrated ability to make an impact quickly; rapidly gets up to speed on new issues and develops recommendations on a wide range of topics
  • Experience with racial equity frameworks and participatory research methods
  • Innovative and able to develop effective solutions that look beyond obvious answers
  • Adaptable and comfortable with ambiguity
  • Action-oriented with strong self-direction and self-motivation skills with the ability to work simultaneously on multiple projects
  • Intellectually curious, open-minded, objective, humble, and receptive to feedback
  • Ability to develop, engage, and collaborate with internal and external partners
  • High degree of integrity, ability to build trust and communicate effectively
  • Effective leadership and management skills, including an ability to provide professional development support for colleagues

Core Values

The successful candidate will also demonstrate the following core values that inspire the Arnold Ventures team to make a difference.

  • Respect for Ourselves & Others
  • Audacious Action
  • Collaborative Engagement
  • Depth of Thought
  • Clear Communication

We ask that you include a cover letter in addition to your resume when applying, and we invite you to address your reasons for engaging in this work in your cover letter.

Arnold Ventures is an equal opportunity employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, military/veteran status, or any basis prohibited by applicable law.

Acknowledging the importance of diverse perspectives, Arnold Ventures is committed to employing individuals from a variety of backgrounds and with a variety of experiences. Members of historically marginalized communities and candidates who have been impacted by the systems we are seeking to change are strongly encouraged to apply.



Arnold Ventures funds projects to understand problems and identify policy solutions.

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