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To Apply:

Chief Program Officer (Charles River Center)

Company: The Charles River Center
Location: Needham, MA

Chief Program Officer, Needham, MA

Organization Overview

The Charles River Center empowers and supports people with developmental disabilities by offering high-quality, individualized opportunities that foster independence and community inclusion. We were founded 60 years ago by a group of parents who wanted to provide their children with alternatives to state-funded institutions. Since then, our programs have grown to include residential, employment, community-based day, day habilitation, and family support services, and we currently provide services for more than 950 adults and children with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, and other developmental disabilities. Our staff is committed to providing person-centered services and care, and our work is guided by our core values, including community, caring, collaboration, respect, independence, advocacy, volunteerism, and health and wellness. To learn more about our work, please visit www.charlesrivercenter.org.

Position Summary

The Chief Program Officer oversees all of the Charles River Center’s services, providing leadership and supervision to ensure that the organization is providing the highest quality support to the individuals and families served. Reporting to the President and CEO and participating in the Senior Management Team, the Chief Program Officer is a key participant in planning for the agency’s continued growth and expansion in response to new and evolving opportunities. S/he will supervise 4 Program Vice Presidents, partnering with each individual to develop and manage departmental budgets, ensure compliance with all regulatory, licensing, and accreditation standards, and foster accountability and a supportive work environment among program staff.  The Chief Program Officer will also act as an external-facing representative for the Charles River Center, building relationships with individuals, families, and funders. This is a fantastic opportunity for a strategic human services leader to help grow the Charles River Center’s impact on the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and to work with a caring, dedicated team. 

Key Responsibilities

  • Provide leadership across all program areas, maintaining the Charles River Center’s caring and supportive culture while driving accountability and consistency in services
  • Supervise the Vice President for each program and ensure that all staff receive effective orientation, training, and performance management and that all managers are equipped to provide the same
  • Design and implement strategies, plans, and procedures for program-level effectiveness and growth, working in collaboration with the Vice President for each program
  • Oversee budget development and monitoring in partnership with program and finance leaders
  • Partner with the Compliance Officer to oversee regulatory, licensing, and accreditation compliance, systematize compliance activities across the organization, and evaluate program performance
  • Develop strong working relationships with funding agencies, negotiating funding and addressing any issues in service provision
  • Support fund development activities, including attending fundraising events and participating in grantwriting
  • Foster positive relationships with families and guardians, meeting to address specific program issues as needed
  • Participate in organization-wide, long-range strategic planning 
  • Collaborate effectively with staff in business functions such as finance, HR, and marketing as needed
  • Oversee the physical environment, including cleanliness inspections, repair of facilities, and health and safety management
  • Oversee clinical services for the agency, including positive behavior supports and development of behavior plans, trainings, and implementation practices
  • Chair various committees for the agency, including but not limited to the Health and Safety Committee, Human Rights Committee, Board of Admissions, HealthCare Oversight Committee, and the Fun Committee (staff appreciation)
  • Ensure policies and procedures are current and updated as needed



  • At least 10 years of experience in human services leadership roles, including experience in residential programs and, ideally, multi-site programs
  • Experience in programs that serve individuals with intensive medical or behavioral needs required; experience in programs that serve individuals with developmental disabilities strongly preferred
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, with the ability to build trusting relationships with internal and external stakeholders and a commitment to honesty
  • Seasoned staff manager, with a collaborative, respectful management style and the ability to support teams in a multi-site structure
  • Experience in guiding change and/or growth, demonstrating strong strategic thinking skills and sound professional judgment
  • Prior success in budget management, with the ability to collaboratively create and manage multi-million dollar budgets
  • Experience working with government funding agencies and familiarity with managing compliance related to funding, regulatory, licensing, and accreditation standards
  • Alignment with the Charles River Center’s values and person-centered culture
  • Master’s degree required

To Apply 

Please upload a resume and thoughtful cover letter, outlining how your skills and experience meet the qualifications of the position and stating how you heard about this opportunity, both in Word format, addressed to Anne-Marie Bajwa at http://commongoodcareers.force.com/careers/ts2__Register?jobId=a0K1600000kPTdW&tSource

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. 

The Charles River Center offers a competitive salary and benefits, 
commensurate with experience and skills. 

The Charles River Center is an equal opportunity employer.


About Commongood Careers

The Charles River Center has partnered with Commongood Careers to conduct the search for a Chief Program Officer. Commongood Careers is a mission-driven search firm that supports the hiring needs of high-impact nonprofits. With an approach that leverages robust talent networks, recruitment and search management expertise, and a deep understanding of our clients’ missions and cultures, we help organizations secure the talent they need to create greater social impact. Since our founding in 2005, Commongood Careers has led more than 800 searches at 275 organizations in 33 states, making us one of the most experienced and dedicated nonprofit search firms in the country. Learn more about nonprofit job opportunities at Commongood Careers.