Program Officer

The Ford Foundation
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Posted
    Apr 29

Position description

The Ford Foundation’s Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice (GREJ) thematic area seeks a dynamic, curious and collaborative Program Officer (PO) to help shape and implement the Foundation’s work to advance social justice with a focus on Advancing Gender and Reproductive Justice.

Based in New York, the Program Officer will promote efforts to ensure that women, particularly women of color, low-income women, and rural women, are able to realize reproductive and gender justice through support for their leadership and through increased, consistent and diverse support by their communities, advocates and policymakers in the United States. The portfolio aims to protect and enhance the fundamental right to bodily autonomy and integrity for all people including access to abortion, maternal health, economic equity and freedom from criminalization for one’s choices while pregnant. Efforts around advancing gender justice also include some support to women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and HIV work.

Working under the direction of the Director of the GREJ unit, the Program Officer will continue to develop existing grantmaking strategies; identify prospective grantees; solicit, review and respond to grant proposals; and prepare recommendations for Foundation funding. The Program Officer will also be expected to collaborate internally with other Program Officers throughout the Foundation and externally provide intellectual leadership in the field of gender and reproductive justice. In addition, they will serve as a ‘connector’ of grantees, and work with practitioners, NGOs, government officials, scholars, corporate sector leaders and other donors to leverage positive impact toward common goals.

The ideal candidate will be deeply knowledgeable about reproductive rights and gender justice and understand the roles that policy advocacy, organizing, litigation and philanthropy play in advancing social change. They will be expected to bring a strong understanding of the politics of gender and racial dynamics in the field and a familiarity with organizations in the United States working in the field, particularly those led by and for communities of color and low-income women. The ideal PO will also have excellent communication skills, deal well with change, enjoy developing junior staff, and demonstrate leadership inside and outside of the organization.

BACKGROUND

Addressing inequality is the core focus of the Ford Foundation. The overall goal of the GREJ thematic area is to make concrete gains toward full equality for all people, with a focus on reducing mass incarceration and advancing reproductive and gender justice and immigrant rights.

Ford’s approach places gender and reproductive justice in a broad framework of social justice and uses an intersectional lens of racial, gender and economic equality. Supported work includes efforts to strengthen advocacy led by and for women of color

and on behalf of low-income women, as well as work that builds alliances with constituencies that have not typically embraced reproductive health and rights issues. We do not fund direct services.

The portfolio focuses on grantmaking inside the United States. Nevertheless, the position involves consultation with colleagues in Ford’s overseas offices that do grantmaking on violence against women and girls and other issues of gender inequality globally.

 

RESPONSIBILITIES

The Program Officer will:

  • Contribute to the ongoing definition and development of the foundation’s gender and reproductive justice line of work and strategy, and scale impact
  • Engage with grantees to review opportunities, challenges and advances and encourage collaboration, learning, exchange and strategic partnerships
  • Manage, monitor and coordinate a grants portfolio, including: long-term grant planning; identifying and working with prospective grantees to develop proposals for grant recommendations (including helping determine the goals for a grant, its activities, expected results, indicators of success and budget); conducting organizational assessments; undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantees; and reviewing financial and narrative reports
  • Liaise with other funders and with donor collaboratives to increase philanthropic contributions and/or aligned giving to gender and reproductive fields
  • Support learning efforts that tap the expertise of colleagues across the Foundation; be a connector of grantees; and collaborate broadly across GREJ and other thematic areas, particularly providing insights on how to embed a gender analysis into other areas of the Foundation’s work
  • Promote and participate in fostering open-mindedness and a culture of learning – including learning and evaluation activities to guide the evolution of programmatic work – seeking to continually ask hard questions, gather independent and rigorous data and evidence about effectiveness of the foundation and grantees’ strategies, and help adapt practice as needed
  • Represent the Foundation and its work in key venues through participation in relevant meetings, public speaking, writing, speeches, briefings, blogposts, and interviews, with guidance from the GREJ Director and Ford Office of Communications
  • Develop and implement grant-making approaches that support the use of strategic communications as part of the program strategy
  • Serve as mentor and coach to a Program Associate and direct manager to a Program Assistant; direct their daily activities to ensure effective support to grant making process, and to grantees
  • Contribute to the thinking and work of colleagues in the GREJ team and foundation overall

Qualifications

  • BA/BS plus at least 8 years of reproductive and gender justice experience in the United States or equivalent combination of education and experience; MS or JD preferred but not required
  • Deep understanding of issues of reproductive and gender justice systems, institutions, movements, politics, and programs in the United States
  • A strong understanding of how to apply racial and gender analyses to strategy
  • Proven track record of working closely with communities that have been historically marginalized in systems that affect their lives
  • Exceptional leadership – internally and externally — and ability to lead high level engagement with donors and engage in strategic conversations throughout the field
  • Exceptional communications skills – strong active listening skills, excellent verbal and written skills, strong public presentation skills
  • Superb analytical skills and ability to strategize, plan, prioritize and identify/assess opportunities, challenges and institutions with which to engage
  • Proven ability to engage with a broad variety of stakeholders and in coalition with others; openness and curiosity about new approaches and different points of view
  • Close knowledge of the various mechanisms and venues (organizing, legislative, legal, regulatory, applied research, strategic communications) for public policy change on reproductive and gender justice matters
  • Direct experience engaging in systemic change initiatives or campaigns, from the purview of government, a non-profit advocacy organization, philanthropy or the academy
  • Openness to an integrated approach to grantmaking that mixes different approaches to social change, and a willingness to try new things
  • Ability to navigate a large and complex institution; willingness to participate constructively on organizational priorities beyond the immediate focus of this portfolio; comfort with institutional change and periods of ambiguity
  • Written and oral fluency in English
  • Familiarity with international and/or global feminist organizations is a plus

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

  • This position is primarily a sedentary role. However, the person in this position may need to occasionally move about inside the office to liaise with internal staff, access files, office machinery and a copy machine/printer. Additionally, domestic/international travel will be expected, approximately 20%. Some travel is directly related to grantmaking, but also required to attend team conferences, retreats and meetings.

Alignment to Culture and Values

  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, openness, collaboration, trust, accountability and urgency
  • Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor
  • Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues
  • Action-orientated and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams

Benefits

  • Medical and dental benefits for employee and immediate family on first day of work
  • Retirement savings account with matching company contributions of up to 13%
  • Three weeks’ paid vacation in first year of work; four weeks in subsequent years 
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Office closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day
  • Professional development initiatives for growth
  • Generous parental leave (maternal and paternal) during new child’s first year (born into family or adopted)

Application instructions

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