Trickle Up

Trickle Up partners with women living in extreme poverty to build economic opportunity and drive inclusion. Working toward a vision of a world free from extreme poverty, Trickle Up drives large-scale change by partnering with governments, global institutions, and local organizations.


Trickle Up was founded in 1979 at a time when “trickle down” economics was the conventional wisdom.  Glen and Mildred Robbins Leet saw firsthand the inefficiencies of this approach, and so founded an NGO called “Trickle Up”. Glen and Millie knew from their experience that nothing empowers an individual to achieve their dreams more than the trust and encouragement of another human being. They put into practice what their experience had taught them: investing in individuals at the grassroots level is the most powerful antidote to extreme poverty.


Over 45 years later, Trickle Up continues to play an important role in the social and financial empowerment of women living in extreme poverty. They use an evidence-based approach that is both cost-effective and sustainable. They partner with women to interrupt the cycle of poverty by investing in their families and communities using the following steps:

  • Focus on small groups of women in rural areas.
  • Provide business training and a support community, via a savings group.
  • Match skills and local demand with a livelihood activity,
  • Connect clients with government (health, education) and other (finance) services.
  • Build self-esteem via success and leadership.
  • Support the next generation – women invest in their children.
  • Break the cycle


Built on the values of respect, collaboration and commitment, Trickle Up invests in people, bolsters communities, and champions power over poverty. The work centers around four main pillars: economic empowerment, financial resilience, social inclusion & agency, underpinned by coaching. Together, these elements provide the holistic support households need to forge pathways out of poverty.


With an annual budget of $6+ million and a global staff of ~70, Trickle Up has generated outsized results – as measured by the impact on people’s lives, the number of participants reached, the number and quality of partners (NGOs, local government, funders) and leadership position in the Graduation community. Since its foundation, Trickle Up and its partners have impacted the lives of 2.3 million people by serving 465,000 participants.


Facts about Trickle Up

Mission: Trickle Up partners with women in extreme poverty to build economic opportunity and drive inclusion.


Founded: 1979


Population Focus: Serving the poorest and most vulnerable people (women, refugees and displaced people, people with disabilities, indigenous peoples).


Program Focus: Livelihoods and financial inclusion (especially with the Graduation Approach), women’s empowerment, addressing vulnerability and marginalization. Strong monitoring and evaluation processes.


Global scope: India (Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh), Central America (Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia).


Partnerships: Strong program partnerships with UNHCR, Indian National Rural Livelihoods. Mission, and municipalities in Guatemala. Funding partnerships with MetLife Foundation, Tata Communications, and private and family foundations.


Impact: 42,000 FY24, looking to scale via government and INGO partnerships.


Funding: Annual budget of $6+ million, 4-star rating on Charity Navigator.


President Position: Currently based in NYC headquarters, with 5 direct reports (VP Finance, VP Programs, VP India, VP LatAm, VP Development) and US staff of 15, plus regional staff of ~50 in regional offices in India and Mexico.


For more info, visit https://trickleup.org/


Role purpose

The President will need to be an exceptional leader – inspirational, collaborative, disciplined, courageous, humble, empathetic, and open-minded so that Trickle Up, at the individual and organizational levels, can realize its potential.


Through the President’s leadership, Trickle Up will increase its funding, strategic partnerships, and engagement to scale its impact. The ideal candidates will have deep expertise and experience in the development/humanitarian sector and be able to bring new funding and partner relations to Trickle Up. They will have demonstrated experience in strategy and change management, able to help Trickle Up adapt and thrive amid constant change in the sector – driven by trends in funding, technology and regional dynamics. Most importantly, they will be passionate about Trickle Up’s mission, and committed to utilizing their skills and experience to drive Trickle Up even further.


Trickle Up is well-positioned for greater impact and scale. The opportunity for the next President will be to leverage existing partnerships and establish new ones; pursue innovation in program impact and technology; further decentralize Trickle Up’s organization; and build upon Trickle Up’s position as a leader in its field and as a robust contributor to the collective impact of organizations that share the mission of ending extreme poverty.



The President currently has 5 direct reports (VP Finance, VP Programs, VP India, VP LatAm, VP Development) and US Staff of 15 plus regional staff of ~50 in the India and Mexico regional offices.

The President reports to the Trickle Up Board, working closely with the Board Chair.


Principal Responsibilities

  • Leadership:  Lead management team to promote an open and transparent working environment. Build relationships of trust, responsibility and accountability with staff, both at headquarters and in the regions. Ensure alignment of personnel and organizational structure; promote disciplined and inclusive decision-making; delegate day-to-day operations appropriately to the management team. Ensure pragmatic budgeting and responsible stewardship of resources.
  • Strategic direction: Provide strategic direction and leadership for the organization, primarily through annual operating plans (including budget and departmental action plans) and long term strategic planning.
  • Fundraising: Lead fundraising and communications functions, by working closely with Individual Giving, Business Development, and Communications officers on the direction and implementation of annual plans. Active engagement in the fundraising and communications processes.
  • Representation and communications: Serve as the chief spokesperson for Trickle Up with funders, partners, media, and networks and associations in the international development and nonprofit sectors.
  • Compliance: Ensure that the organization (i) operates with an approved budget, making adjustments as needed throughout the fiscal year; (ii) develops and implements HR and finance policies for both headquarters and regions; (iii) safeguards the safety and security of its staff and assets; and (iv) fulfills its legal, regulatory and ethical responsibilities.
  • Board: Ensure that the Board receives the information it needs to fulfill its governance and oversight responsibilities, collaborate with Board Chair to plan board meeting agendas; participate in board committee meetings; collaborate with Chair and Nominating Committee on recruitment of new board members, and facilitate the Board’s monitoring and implementation of its annual action plan.


Desired Experiences and Behaviors

Portfolio of Experiences

  • Established credibility within development and humanitarian sectors (does not need to be within graduation/microenterprise development).
  • Track record of strong fundraising experience in either institutional or individual domains.
  • Demonstrated capacity to think boldly and craft a strategic vision.
  • Experience managing reports across a range of functions and/or geographies and leading teams newly formed to collaboration consensus and high team performance.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead through change effectively.
  • Some fluency in Spanish (nice to have).
  • Demonstrated ability to lead an organization of Trickle Up’s size.
  • Direct experience working closely with and/or managing a non-profit board.

Critical Behaviors

  • Mission-Driven: Motivated to further the mission and get fulfillment from TU’s impact.
  • Inspirational: Inspires, energizes, and motivates others (employees, partners, funders of all types) to commit to TU’s mission and give of their time, talents, and funds.
  • Collaborative: Actively solicits inputs from a full range of stakeholders, listens and incorporates into best path forward; engages staff globally and communicates well.


Organizational Outcomes to Lead

IMPACT: Generate significant impact on half a dozen major government anti-poverty policies and programs to better women living in conditions of extreme poverty and vulnerability. Continue to be recognized as a thought leader and innovator in the Graduation Approach.


STRATEGY: Building on Trickle Up’s strategic direction, leading the creation of a vision for the near-term and longer-term, lay out a roadmap, and mobilize the organization to deliver. Have a clear understanding of external environments and TU’s position, and be able to craft a strategy that clarifies where and how TU should operate, prioritizes efforts, and adjusts as conditions change.


FUNDRAISING/FINANCING: Replace critical funds over next 12 months with either existing partners or new funders. Grow the organization to a $10-15M budget by 2029. Consistently secure and grow funding levels to deliver on strategic and programmatic goals. Increase institutional funding levels by proactively engaging with current and potential partners. Minimize variability and maximize predictability of fundraising over time.


PARTNERSHIPS: Amplify Trickle Up’s impact by partnering with governments, multilateral agencies, large NGOs, local NGOs, and major funders. Establish complementary partnerships that bring unique skills, expertise and resources in related areas such as climate change resilience, technology, health and nutrition, and rights.


TALENT, ORGANIZATION AND CULTURE: Design the organization to deliver the strategy, infusing the team with talent to close specific capability gaps, increasing leadership diversity, developing talent at the local level, and establishing a culture of passion, collaboration and accountability.


PROGRAM OPERATIONS: Based on Trickle Up’s Program Framework, ensure measurable impact, accountability, and continuous improvement. Adapt programs as needed based on experience, learning and evidence. Draw on TU’s delivery modes (implementing or advisory partner) and optimize programs and geographies in line with strategy and policy environment.


LEARNING AND MEASUREMENT: Measure program impact on a consistent basis with “best practice” monitoring and evaluation techniques. Share evidence in the poverty alleviation arena and to influence funders.


TECHNOLOGY: Leverage technology to drive enhanced program effectiveness (e.g. training, mobile tools for participants) and greater organizational efficiency. Proactively engage and establish relationship with institutional partners to harness technology to deliver improved outcomes.


MARKETING: Bring more consistent visibility to TU’s impact with a diverse range of stakeholders to support fundraising growth goals and Trickle Up’s advocacy/influence strategy.


BOARD: Be seen as credible with Board members. Work with Board leadership to expand and diversify the Board. Engage frequently with the Board as partners, focusing on key issues where the senior management team needs support.


Terms of Appointment

This is a full-time position. The salary range is in the low $200,000 USD and will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. A pension plan, life and medical insurances are included in the benefits package that will be shared with candidates later in the interview process.


Role Location

The ideal candidate will be based within commuting distance of Trickle’s Up headquarters in New York City, including Washington DC and Boston. The Board will also consider exceptional candidates in areas where Trickle Up operates including Mexico and India.


The President will be expected to travel 30% of the time, including international travel.


How to Apply

To apply for this position, please ensure you complete the Application Form provided below by 22 May 2024 (23:59 hrs, GMT -4). It is essential that you submit your CV in English, specifically in Microsoft Word format (.doc/.docx).


Applications in other languages or formats will not be considered.


Rest assured, all information will be handled with the utmost confidentiality.


SRI Executive is exclusively retained by Trickle Up to undertake this assignment.

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