Monday, 15 May 2017 10:53

Program Officer

Sponsoring Organization

Ford Foundation



New York, NY


Until Filled




Program Officers are the primary staff members responsible the development of grant portfolios and all related activities, based on the strategies and approaches defined in the Foundation’s Thematic areas and regional context.   

This Program Officer role will work to support the areas of arts funding under the strategy of the Creativity and Free Expression portfolio of the foundation’s work. He/she will have strong relationship management skills and organizational processing skills to manage a large volume of grants and constituents correspondence and advocacy, the ability to prioritize, write and communicate clearly and project manage are crucial. 

He/she will play a leading role in shaping the specific grant activities, ensuring all activities are designed to deliver the goals of the Creativity and Free Expression (CFE) thematic strategy.  Our work explores how cultural narratives affect and shape contemporary reality, and how the arts, journalism, and film can contribute to fairer and more just societies. Our team seeks to elevate voices of the highest level of artistic excellence that have been marginalized, distorted, or ignored. In addition, we support the organizations and networks that best sustain a just and equitable arts, film, and journalism sector; that ensure the safety and security of artists, filmmakers, and storytellers; and that enable these fields to thrive. The Program Officer should be dedicated to social justice and have a clear ability to articulate how and why their work is connected to this mission. He/she must also be able to thrive within a large institution with internal demands and address organizational responsibilities with the same amount of care as those in the external field.

The Program Officer will work as a member of the CFE team, under the management guidance of the Director in New York and join another arts and culture Program Officer on the team, to develop the Foundation’s grant recommendations, establish and implement a monitoring and evaluation framework, and ensure shared learning across programmatic teams. Strong knowledge of and expertise with Latin arts and culture is preferred along with international experience.

The Program Officer assesses and analyzes the field of the arts to identify its key ecosystems and work with various actors to shape and influence agendas to address diagnosed problems and opportunities. Program Officer is expected to share substantive knowledge with Foundation colleagues, and collaborate broadly across the Program Division.  He/she will also serve as a ‘connector’ of grantees, and work with practitioners, government officials, scholars, NGO and corporate sector leaders, and other donors on issues of common concern to leverage positive impact toward common goals.



  • Contribute in the ongoing definition and development of team strategies, working toward team goals; continuously review for relevancy and contribute ongoing analysis of strategies for achieving significant impact.
  • Develop grant making activities in a team-oriented context that are aligned to the strategic goals of CFE.
  • Manage a grants portfolio, including annual grant planning, undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantees, performing grantee site visits, reviewing financial and narrative reporting from grantees, and reviewing and approving grant status reports.
  • Work with the Foundation’s grantees to develop proposals for grant recommendations, determine the goals for a grant, its activities, expected results, indicators of success and budget. Conduct grantee site visits as part of the grantee due diligence process and prepare an organizational assessment on the health of potential grantees.
  • Manage, monitor, and coordinate grant making activities through the grant life cycle, providing clarity and direction to Program Assistants and Grant Managers as needed, to advance the goals of CFE.
  • Work collaboratively with other team members to develop and implement program strategies to achieve significant and scalable impact.
  • Communicate with grantees and others interested in or inquiring about the Foundation’s work.
  • Develop and implement grantee convenings relevant to review opportunities, challenges and advances.
  • Recommend and participate in learning and evaluation activities to guide the evolution of programmatic work.
  • Work with assigned Grants Manager(s) and Program Assistant(s) and Program Associate(s) to ensure timely grant approval, payment and processing of grantee reports.
  • Report regularly on the progress of the strategies including planned activities and emerging impacts. Recommend strategy adjustments to deepen the impact of the Foundation’s social justice change effort.

Program Leadership

  • With guidance from the Director, represent the Foundation and its work to the government, media, academic, business, philanthropic, and civic leaders through meetings, updates, speeches, briefings and interviews.
  • Support his/her Director in making and communicating timely decisions to guide strategy and grant-making.  
  • Demonstrate outstanding professional relations with colleagues across the organization and with external constituents, serving as a substantive and reputational ambassador for the Foundation.
  • Collaborate with peers, Directors and Officers of the Foundation to promote learning, exchange and strategic partnership. Learn from and collaborate with key stakeholders inside and outside the Foundation.


  • Develop and implement grant-making approaches that support the use of strategic communications as part of the program strategy.
  • Communicate actively with team members and promote communication across the program areas of the Foundation and field offices.
  • Actively engage grantees and key partners to advance social change and help individuals and organizations achieve lasting, scalable impact.
  • Support communications based on guidance from the CFE Director.

People Management & Development

Play a leadership role on team, working toward and influencing team collaboration, team building and team effectiveness, modeling these skills for the team. Serve as a mentor and coach to the CFE team’s Program Associate.

Serve as direct manager, mentor and coach to Program Assistant.  Program Assistants are shared by two to three Program Officers.

  • Manage the performance of an assigned Program Assistant.  Direct the daily activities to ensure effective support to grant making process, and to grantees.
  • Establish annual performance delivery goals in January of each year for Program Assistant. Goals will reflect direct links to job responsibilities as well as professional development needs.
  • Coordinate all aspects of performance management with other assigned Program Officers, to ensure the Program Assistant can effectively balance priorities and has clear communications and support from managers.  
  • In collaboration with other assigned PO-managers, conduct performance appraisals for Program Assistant.  Demonstrate regular and ongoing conversation about goals and progress, providing clear and constructive feedback and coaching for success.  Conduct mid-year ‘check-ins’ to discuss progress against annual goals and adjust goals as needed.



·        A minimum of 8 years in the arts in a role that manages high volume people interactions and administrative processing, preferably in a  global context

·        Preferably experience working in the written or theatre arts

·        Experience and understanding of either or both the Arab diaspora or Latino/Latina culture

·        A master’s degree in relevant field of study or a baccalaureate degree and equivalent experience

·        Deep understanding of social justice and geopolitical landscape in the United States and in developing countries

·        Fluency in English. Fluency in Spanish a plus.

·        Exceptional leadership presence – internally and externally

·        Exceptional communications skills – strong active listening skills, constructive verbal and written skills, strong public presentation skills

·        Demonstrated ability to be a productive member of a community of people at work, respecting differences while working toward shared goals, comfort with periods of ambiguity, constructive participation in ongoing organizational development      

Travel: Some travel may be required.

Salary: is based on experience and on the Foundation’s commitment to internal equity.  A generous benefits package is provided.


Equal employment opportunity and having a diverse staff are fundamental principles at The Ford Foundation, where employment and promotional opportunities are based upon individual capabilities and qualifications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, pregnancy, sexual orientation preference, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status or any other protected characteristic as established under law.



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