Grant Making Policy Officer

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career / Advanced
  • Apply by
    Jun-22-2018
  • Posted
    Jun 02

Position description



The Grant Making Policy Officer has responsibility, as part of the Grant Making Support Group (GMSG) team, to advance the unit’s mission of building a shared culture of effective and efficient grant making practice in line with OSF’s mission, across the Open Society network. The Officer works specifically (a) to provide material programmatic support for GMSG’s work on the design, implementation, and assessment of grant making policies, processes, and systems; and (b) to strengthen grant makers’ understanding of how they can best deploy grant making as a tool to advance their strategies.

The Officer serves as a connector, linking individuals across the network to collaborate to advance grant making practice, particularly to solve problems and to share innovations.

The role requires extensive knowledge and experience of organizational grant making practice across the OSF network, demonstrating specialized knowledge of how best to develop new policies and processes, support grant makers in adopting and adapting policies, and assess the impact of policies after adoption. Knowledge of individual grant making would be desirable.

The Officer is responsible for contributing to advancement of GMSG’s overall strategy. The Officer is responsible for day-to-day execution of multiple complex portfolio strategies in a manner that makes effective use of resources relative to the changes sought, and with limited supervision. The Officer, while not a direct supervisor of other employees, manages complex projects and portfolios of work. Competing interests, complex political and cultural factors, and tensions between long- and short-term goals must all be managed effectively.

These projects may be network-wide or involve similarly complex coordination, requiring strategic thinking, effective communication and collaborative troubleshooting. The Officer is expected to exercise independent judgment in their work, while consulting and collaborating with other GMSG team members as needed to maximize quality and value.

Building and maintaining strong, trust-based relationships internally and externally, across cultures and geographies, is an important function of the Officer role.

This position will be based in New York.

Position will start as soon as possible, ideally July 2018.

Typical Duties and Responsibilities: The following illustrate duties that are typical of the role, but the range of activities that can appropriately fall within this job description is wide. This list does not include all possibilities. Specific requirements for this Officer position will be articulated in any posting for candidates, and will subsequently be modified on a continuing basis in response to changing program needs.
  • Manages and develops portfolios of work related to GMSG’s goal of (a) supporting grant makers to understand and maximize the impact of grant making as a tool within their strategies; and (b) enabling them to adapt to change in contexts in the field, as well as to new forms of activism and collaboration.
  • Engages in ongoing research, design, and assessment activities, independently or in support of Director of Policy & Practice, in complex and/or sensitive projects, such as monitoring and improvement of organizational assessment policy and practice and development of written guidance on grantee reporting.
  • Supports GMSG Director, in role as Chair of the Committee on Grant Making (COG), through development and management of strategic elements of the Chair’s and Committee’s work, providing advice to the Committee Chair.
  • Develops, coordinates, and facilitates informational and training modules and events related to grant making
  • Serves as team lead on provision of substantive support to grant makers through the GMSG help desk and other communications channels. This includes troubleshooting grant making-related problems by working across teams and units to resolve disputes.
  • Serves as a connector, promoting collaboration between individuals across the network to advance grant making practice, particularly to share innovations and to address challenges.
  • Works with staff in grant making programs and operational units to develop and maintain strong and open lines of communication to ensure GMSG is aware of existing and emerging problems, while also communicating out about important grant making issues.
  • Works collaboratively with support units to develop solutions or improvements to grant making processes and policies, leading GMSG’s efforts on some efforts.
  • Builds collaborative relationships within and outside OSF (e.g., with existing grantees, prospective grantees, experts in the community, etc.) that advance a shared culture of good grant-making across the OSF network.
  • Follows key challenges and opportunities facing philanthropy and shares acquired knowledge with GMSG and the broader OSF network.

PROFILE – Policy Officer

Experience, skills and Abilities
  • Extensive knowledge and experience of grant making across the OSF network. Knowledge of individual grant making would also be desirable. Can articulate a deep understanding of and vision for good grant-making practice and understanding of how grant making connects to program and portfolio strategies. Is able to use that understanding to develop and implement a strategy for achieving OSF’s vision for grant making. This includes understanding of common and atypical challenges, varied approaches, and strategic use of grant making tools.
  • Demonstrates specialized knowledge of grant making policy, including ability to design reasonable policy, anticipate ways in which policies may succeed or fail, and effectively develop and carry out strategy to align grant making practices with OSF’s approach to grant making and goals of a given policy.
  • Possesses basic understanding of approaches to adult learning and facilitation. Experience in design and testing of teaching/training materials, and experience as an effective teacher/trainer/facilitator desirable.
  • Is able to take responsibility for projects and areas of work, able to determine an appropriate course of action with minimal supervision and guidance. Can problem solve proactively and collaboratively. Must be able to balance competing interests, complex political and cultural factors, and tensions between long- and short-term goals without close oversight.
  • Demonstrates project management skills, including effective deployment of time, money, and human resources, network-wide or similarly complex coordination, effective communication, and collaborative problem solving.
  • Consistent ability to build and maintain strong, trusting relationships – across the OSF network (particularly with other support units), and with others – to further programmatic goals. Ability to handle sensitive issues with high level of discretion and diplomacy.
  • Ability to use data and information to undertake assessment and inform decision-making.
  • Ability to exercise effective and inclusive leadership in cross-cultural settings.
  • Excellent communication, analytical, interpersonal, and organizational skills are essential.
  • Ability to make verbal presentations in group settings essential.
  • Ability to draft policies, guidance and other documents in English to support grant makers essential.
  • Ability to function effectively in a virtual team based in multiple locations.

Qualifications: Experience/Education
  • Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience/education.
  • 7-10 years of progressively responsible experience in professional situations relevant to the duties of this role is typically necessary to develop the skills required for this role.

Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise. Some international travel required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable adjustments so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job

follow us on Twitter