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Join JRF to support and grow economic and social futures that work for everyone

We are looking for a team of talented, creative people passionate about building a more equitable and just world. If you want to nurture pathfinders, visionaries and changemakers forging new models of economic and social justice across the country, apply now!

Written by:
Sophia Parker
Date published:
Reading time:
4 minutes

Our Chief Executive, Paul Kissack, has written recently about JRF’s response to the moment we are in. We are firmly committed to tackling the urgent work around us as the cost of living crisis unfolds, at the same time as confronting the deeper set of issues that continue to drive rising inequality, poverty and the climate crisis.

As we enter 2023, we are bringing a renewed clarity of purpose to our work: we want to speed up and support the transition to a more equitable and just future, free from poverty, in which people and planet can flourish.

The Emerging Futures programme we’ve been developing at JRF over the last 12 months is a core part of our response to these deeper issues. Through this programme we want to nurture and support the emergence of a wider range of alternative futures, grounded in fairer and more sustainable economic and social models.

We plan to do that through resourcing the work that’s already happening to build alternative futures up and down the country. We also want to grow the field of what’s possible through backing efforts and initiatives to re-imagine the current economic paradigm that is failing people and planet.


If philanthropy is not actively working to dismantle the unjust conditions it operates in, then we are complicit in these conditions, and we are facilitating their continuance.

Amahra Spence, MAIA Group

I’m enormously excited that we are now launching a search for the team who will support this work. Initially we are searching for an Associate Director. Over the next couple of months, we also want to find two Fund Leads, a Learning Lead and a Design Researcher. Together this team will support the evolution of the Emerging Futures programme. The budget for our first two-year learning cycle is approximately £8 million. Over the next 5-10 years we are committed to investing £50-100 million of JRF’s endowment to support this deeper work.

What are we looking for?

Our view is that supporting the kind of transitional work we’re seeking to nurture through the Emerging Futures programme needs a distinctive set of leadership skills that are a little different from what JRF has historically valued. We want to build a diverse team, bringing together a wide range of talent, creativity and experience. We aren’t necessarily looking for people who have a background in philanthropy. But we do need people who bring the following:

  • An appetite for working with emergence and uncertainty. There isn’t a blueprint to the futures we need to move towards, where people and planet can thrive. Instead we need to experiment, test, learn our way forward. We need people who are comfortable in confronting these uncertainties head-on, and people who are energised by working in emergent and co-creative ways. We want people who are excited about finding new frontiers, and who bring plural and broad influences to the work.
  • A healthy risk appetite, whilst respecting the need for rigour. This is new and exciting work. We will be investing in ideas and organisations that do not necessarily have a ‘proven’ precedent or a clear evidence base. We need people who are skilled at making judgements, spotting patterns, and working with bets and probabilities.
  • An ability to think in terms of systems rather than projects and programmes. We do not see the Emerging Futures work as a grant-making programme. Rather, we view the work as an opportunity to significantly grow the numbers of people and organisations who are building alternatives, and to help that work deepen. That will involve moving money to other organisations via grants and investments, of course. But it will also involve skilled approaches to commissioning, convening, and curating – weaving together people and ideas to grow our collective sense of what’s possible.
  • A ‘building’ mindset. There is a lot of work to do to challenge and call out existing structures that continue to perpetuate inequality and poverty. But the Emerging Futures programme is rooted in a more propositional energy: we want people whose response to social challenges is to actively look at how we might build alternatives, to grow the new in the context of the old. That means being willing to learn, as well as unlearn, and to collaborate with others.
  • A clear commitment to equity and a deep awareness of position, privilege and power. We want to find people who bring this awareness not only personally, but also apply it to the wider history of philanthropic organisations, and the ways in which their wealth was originated and grown. We are looking for people who are passionate about reimagining the systems of philanthropy and investment as part of the transition to fairer futures.


We need to have a very strong bias of responsibility to transcend status quo logics. How do we hold ourselves accountable to, first and foremost, higher order accountabilities such as future generations?

Jayne Engle, Participatory Canada, and author of Sacred Civics