Program Director, Crohn’s Disease Program

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust


Program Director, Crohn’s Disease Program


The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust


New York, NY


The Program Director reports to the Chief Executive Officer


The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust (“Helmsley”) aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Helmsley strives to make a meaningful impact in its focus areas, matching its significant financial assets with a rigorous and results-oriented approach. Helmsley is committed to close and productive partnerships with its grantees, as well as with other funders and impact players in government, academia, and the private sector who share its interests and goals. Above all, Helmsley endeavors to be forward-thinking in every aspect of its work and will take risks that others cannot or will not take when the risk/reward trade-off warrants.

Since 2008, when Helmsley began its active grantmaking, it has committed more than $2.5 billion. For more information on Helmsley, please visit


Helmsley’s Crohn’s Disease Program, which made its first grant in 2009, is committed to finding cures, and until then to improving quality of life and care, for Crohn’s patients and finding better treatments for Crohn’s disease. To date, the program, which has rapidly become the largest private foundation funder in Crohn’s disease, has awarded grants in excess of $375 million to non-profits, scientists and clinicians across the globe. Our strategy is focused on prevention, diagnostics, therapeutics, and disease management. For more information on the Crohn’s Disease Program, please visit


Helmsley seeks a full-time, experienced professional with medical research or healthcare expertise to lead a dynamic program and team presently composed of 10 direct reports committed to helping patients by focusing on Crohn’s disease care, research, treatment, and prevention. Helmsley’s Crohn’s disease program is the largest private foundation Crohn’s disease program in the world with an annual grants budget of over $40 million. 

The Crohn’s Disease Program Director will lead the Crohn’s team and will work closely with Helmsley staff and Trustees to execute Crohn’s program strategies, including grant and non-grant activities. Helmsley’s prominent position in the Crohn’s disease space creates the opportunity for the Program Director to lead initiatives that can significantly improve the lives of individuals affected by Crohn’s disease both in the US and around the world. The Program Director reports to the CEO and will interact daily with an on-site Trustee. Travel is required.

Primary Responsibilities                           

Primary responsibilities of the Crohn’s Disease Program Director include providing intellectual and organizational leadership in:

  • Program Strategy and Execution:
    • Execute dynamic, multi-year strategic plan, including assessment of critical gaps/needs, potential key partners, alternative available resources, and any other relevant issues.
    • Lead and work closely with Crohn’s team to design and implement grant and non-grant initiatives aligned with the Crohn’s strategic plan.
      • Work collaboratively with Crohn’s team and Helmsley staff (including Grants Management, Communications, Legal and Finance teams) to develop, manage and execute grants and related activity.
      • Supervise Program Officers and assist in developing and assessing prospective projects, including providing expertise or identifying consultants to review prospective grants, as needed; working collaboratively with applicants to refine plans and project budgets in preparation for potential funding; conducting site visits; attending conferences worldwide; completing grant reviews; and preparing written and oral summaries of grants for Trustee review and approval.
  • Team Leadership and Management
    • Lead a team with science and public health backgrounds, focused on the development, execution, maintenance and evaluation of grants as well as supporting non-grant activities.
    • Develop individual focus areas/work plans, development and annual performance assessments.
    • Manage current year and projected grant portfolio and related grant budgets (over $40 million per year) as well as annual operating budget (approx. $2.5 million).
  • Thought Leadership and Community Building
    • Represent Helmsley and its Crohn’s Disease Program at a variety of external events and activities, including grantee/partner meetings, convenings, and presentations.
    • Lead and work closely with the Crohn’s team to design and implement non-grant initiatives supporting the Crohn’s strategic plan, where appropriate (e.g., convenings, white papers and other communications).
    • Exhibit strong thought leadership and support of the broader Crohn’s disease community
  •  Collaboration and Partnership
    • Work collaboratively with colleagues across Helmsley, both in connection with the work of the Crohn’s team, as well as with the development and support of trust-wide initiatives to advance the overall impact of Helmsley’s work.
    • Be a senior role model for Helmsley’s staff and external partners.


The ideal candidate will have strong scientific knowledge and a background in Crohn’s disease or a relevant field. The Program Director will possess exceptional communication skills and have experience convening multiple stakeholders as well as facilitating collaborative projects among a variety of partners, possibly including funders, public charities, government agencies, and/or industry/scientific/academic partners. The candidate must be sufficiently experienced to lead and manage a team and work collaboratively with colleagues and partners.

Key Professional and Personal Experiences Include:

  • Completion of a PhD or MD and at least eight years of substantial experience in medical or healthcare sector or its equivalent required.
  • Team-oriented leader with highly developed interpersonal skills with commitment to developing team members and partnering with grantees.
  • Experience with project management and budgeting or the ability to learn these skills.
  • Experience handling multiple priorities effectively, organizing time efficiently, and functioning well in a fast-paced environment.
  • Demonstrated ability to transform vision and ideas into concrete, sustainable, and productive projects.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills with the ability to translate concepts appropriately to diverse stakeholders.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Commitment to Helmsley and Crohn’s Disease Program missions.
  • Ability to work closely with colleagues and Trustees in a collaborative environment, which requires flexibility, efficiency and diplomacy, both individually and as part of a team.
  • Experience with data and data-sharing initiatives preferred.


Please email cover letter and resume in confidence to: Only those selected for an interview will be contacted. In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the U.S. and to complete the required employment eligibility verification document form upon hire. Helmsley does not provide visa sponsorship for employment.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the incumbent(s) of this job. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and activities required for the position. Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time.