Program Officer, Family Economic Security
W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Battle Creek, Michigan


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a leading philanthropic force helping communities create the conditions children need to thrive and the nation’s fifth largest foundation, is seeking nominations and applications for Program Officer in the area of Family Economic Security. In recent years the foundation has sharpened its focus on improving conditions for vulnerable children, concentrating on three key factors of success and their intersections: education and learning; food, health and well-being; and family economic security. Across these three areas, they have committed to seek opportunities to promote racial equity and healing, build a critical mass of engaged volunteers, and expand the reach and influence of the philanthropic community.

The Program Officer will provide leadership and oversight for on-the-ground execution of program efforts that build economic security for vulnerable children and their families through sustained income and asset accumulation. S/he will screen and recommend grants for funding; conduct site visits; and manage and monitor a portfolio of grant programs aligned with the Strategic Framework, and collaborate with the other Foundation program staff to develop a more interdisciplinary approach to grant-making. The Program Officer will maintain strong, authentic relationships with grant seekers and grantees, and act as a spokesperson for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, effectively communicating the Foundation’s goal of working with communities to improve the lives of their children.

The ideal candidate will have a master’s degree and substantial work experience in fields related to the Family Economic Security area as well as a national network of contacts and a deep and comprehensive understanding of program design and development. S/he will have expertise in asset development and building, including financial literacy, community assets, workforce development, and economic mobility policy. S/he will have the capacity, skill and hunger to assume leadership and management of a large body of work.

Successful program officers at the Foundation are holistic and interdisciplinary thinkers with a current understanding of broad social and economic forces affecting communities and families, demonstrated ability to develop and implement impactful programs, and the skill to facilitate authentic, productive dialogue within diverse communities and settings. The new Program Officer will demonstrate the ability to translate concept into action and stimulate direction for the program that capitalizes upon emerging opportunities. S/he will possess a strong team orientation, a high tolerance for ambiguity, the ability to adapt quickly to change, and success working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds.

The search committee is being assisted by Managing Partner Katherine Jacobs and Associate Vice President Allison Kupfer of the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group. Please see application instructions at the end of this document.

HISTORY AND MISSION

In 1930, breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg donated $66 million in Kellogg Company stock and other investments “to help people help themselves” launching the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Foundation began its work in Michigan, but by the 1940s had expanded its work internationally and was breaking ground in areas such as rural children’s health, “mainstreaming” children with disabilities, and the development of the healthcare profession. By its 50th anniversary, the Foundation was among the world’s largest private philanthropic organizations and, now in its 80th year, the Foundation celebrates over $3 billion spent toward helping people to help themselves.

In 2007, the Foundation reviewed its work and revised and refocused program goals toward helping vulnerable children and realigning with W.K. Kellogg’s original intent. The new mission statement reads: “The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society.”
To bring the vision of this refreshed mission into action, the Foundation unveiled a new strategic framework for its programming. Previously, both the organization and its grantmaking were structured around individual programming areas. The new framework, built on 80 years of grantmaking experience, recognizes that success for vulnerable children depends on an intricate weave of elements. The three program areas (Education and Learning; Food, Health, and Well-Being; and Family Economic Security) all play interconnected roles in creating an environment in which vulnerable children are protected, nurtured, equipped and stimulated to succeed. Moreover, the attention to racial equity, the eradication of structural racism, and the rigorous encouragement of civic and philanthropic engagement across each of these program areas is essential to the creation of a social context in which all children can thrive, particularly the most vulnerable.

This sharpened focus on the nearly 30 million vulnerable children in the United States reaffirms the Foundation’s commitment to W.K. Kellogg’s goal “…to help children face the future with confidence, with health, and with a strong-rooted security in the trust of this country and its institutions.”

FAMILY ECONOMIC SECURITY PROGRAM

The aspiration of the Family Economic Security program is to build sustainable, multi-generational financial independence for vulnerable and low-wealth families through sustained income generation and asset accumulation that increases economic opportunities, options and choices for current and future generations. The Foundation’s approach is to invest in policy efforts that work from the ground up with strong demonstration projects and/or research and analysis of programs happening on the ground in vulnerable communities that will effectively inform needed advocacy/policy efforts moving forward.

The Foundation’s focus for developing secure kids and families places an emphasis on a “dual generation approach” that looks to create conditions that promote success of both the parent and the child. By contrast, a Welfare-to-Work program might focus solely on parental employment, and not consider how the education and health of their children could be positively or negatively impacted. The Kellogg Foundation seeks to influence and support changes in multiple conditions, and to integrate its three core programmatic elements.

The Foundation will be investing in projects that creatively enable low-income parents to access benefits and work supports, impactful workforce development training, quality jobs, and career advancement pathways. These resources and developmental opportunities, in turn, create conditions that allow and equip parents to engage more frequently in positive activities that contribute to their child’s overall development, (e.g., reading consistently to young children, active parental involvement in their child’s school and school work, community engagement with other parents, healthy eating and active living, and more time for interactive play and social bonding.

It has been known for many years that child poverty and economic insecurity negatively impact a child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development, and more recent research shows that very young children are the most vulnerable to the long-term effects of poverty. Therefore, improving the conditions for vulnerable children requires improving the circumstances of their parents, and by strategically connecting positive changes in parents’ lives (economic, educational, health) to positive changes in children’s lives, is the premise of our dual generation strategy.

The core strategies for the FES plan remain consistent with the Foundation’s strategic framework address today’s tenuous economic reality. Importantly, the FES plan responds to the critical issues confronting vulnerable children in their communities. The Program Officer will assist in leading the FES team’s work toward achieving the following three immediate objectives:

  • Ensure family stability by enabling low-income families access to bundled benefits, services, and work supports, asset building tools, and financial coaching and saving instruments tailored toward wealth building;

  • Increase workforce mobility of low-income families by providing greater access to high quality workforce development skills training programs, postsecondary education, and credentials that enable families to acquire marketable skills that lead to quality jobs and career pathways.

  • Support strategies that utilize a dual generation approach and integrate quality education, workforce development, and parent engagement activities with their young children to ensure the success of both parent and child.

As the Foundation moves forward, the FES team will work with evaluators and learning partners to refine its outcomes, identify success indicators, provide “on the ground” lessons and models, define how its work connects to Education & Learning and Food, Health and Well-Being and determine how outcomes will be tracked in the Foundation’s key geographic locations.

In strategizing to integrate these elements into building partnerships and creating more thriving communities for children, the Foundation focuses on two approaches: Racial Equity and Community/Civic Engagement, which cut across and infuse the three key elements. Teams of Foundation staff members also focus on the objectives of both of these dimensions.

  • Racial Equity: The focus of this program approach is to undermine the root causes of the disparities that work to the disadvantage of people of color and achieve racial equity by removing present day barriers to equal opportunities.

  • Community/Civic Engagement: This program approach seeks to catalyze and scale civic and philanthropic engagement across and within diverse communities to strengthen vulnerable children, families and communities.

Understanding the limitations of the Foundation’s resources, the drive to make a clear impact, partnered with experience and history in working in communities, leads the Foundation to focus its work in three priority locations within the United States: Michigan, Mississippi and New Mexico. Naturally, there is potential for tremendous opportunity and innovation, and the Foundation will fund other promising ventures across the United States. However, the objective is to bring the focus back to the places where the organization has a history of improving the lives of vulnerable children.

OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FACING THE PROGRAM OFFICER

Work at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is both a great privilege and a great responsibility. The new Program Officer will join an extraordinary team of individuals in the Family Economic Security program area who are passionate about improving health and well-being for all children. Reporting to the Vice President for Program Strategy, the new Program Officer will identify and nurture opportunities for affecting positive systemic change within communities and lead on-the-ground execution of program efforts.

Specifically, the Program Officer will:

  • Execute across a well-developed, clearly articulated and unified vision and direction for programming across the Foundation that is aligned with the Foundation’s mission, vision and core values and addresses broad social and policy issues.
    Communicate strategic direction and particular funding interests to various audiences, internal and external to the Foundation, so that the Foundation honors and communicates the nation’s shared fate, ensures success for children of color living in poverty and affirms the power of communities to lead and make changes in the lives of their children.

  • Maintain a wide breadth and depth of knowledge about trends, practices and issues relevant to building and maintaining economic security.
    Investigate and deeply engage with sustained income and asset accumulation models. Use the full range of knowledge tools to inform decision-making in the development of a portfolio looking at establishing and maintaining economic stability for low income families, developing career mobility strategies and approaches that lead to quality jobs, and creating financial independence within communities.

  • Collaborate with and manage potential grantees to develop plans and projects for impact and funding strategies.
    An ability to be driven by immediate issues and opportunities found in communities, rather than being limited by the departmental organization of the Foundation’s programs. Proactively engage people in communities in the framing of emerging issues and find creative ways to respond to their needs.

  • Create learning communities/cohort bodies/collaborative networks and develop and manage monitoring and evaluation components for grants.
    Creatively attend to oversight and evaluation of grants that reach beyond individual measurements and build greater awareness of learning through collaboration, networking and cohort analysis.

  • Build public will and awareness of issues affecting vulnerable children and families.
    Serve as a credible, articulate representative and spokesperson for the Foundation. Communicate the program’s strategic direction and particular funding interests to various audiences, internal and external to the Foundation.

QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE

The ideal candidate will be first and foremost committed to the foundation’s mission and will have a current understanding of broad social-economic, systemic forces affecting the economic wellbeing of children, their families and their communities. S/he will be distinguished in a relevant field of practice, with a strong team orientation, a high tolerance for ambiguity, the ability to adapt quickly to change, and success working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds. An advanced degree in a relevant field is preferred.

While no one person will embody all of the qualities enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes and experiences:

  • Master’s degree and significant work experience (8-10 years) in fields relevant to the responsibilities outlined above, with strong networks and contacts, as well as a broad, generalist background with deep and comprehensive understanding of program design and development, systems, networking, and community change;

  • Accurate and current knowledge about trends, movements, and policy development to stimulate appropriate programming directions and capitalize on emerging opportunities; an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to translate concept to action;

  • Sound understanding of social justice and family economic security fields and theory, and the ability to develop program ideas and strategies and to communicate the conceptual framework for the programs effectively to grant-seekers and trustees;

  • Expertise in asset development and building, including financial education and community assets;

  • Knowledge of financial systems and economic mobility policy and experience in diverse models, global perspectives and strategies for economic security;

  • Ability to forge public and private partnerships with NGOs, government and foundations;

  • Expertise and sensitivity to family supports to low-income families and communities of color and experience working in diverse communities;

  • Expertise in workforce development and experience working within community colleges; program-related investments (PRIs); Expertise with child savings accounts, individual savings accounts, IDAs, etc. a plus;

  • Comfort with and the ability to work effectively within communities, including appreciating historical contexts, discerning nuances of relationships and power dynamics, understanding racial/ethnic realities, and respecting community needs and desires;

  • Strong relationship building and communication skills; the ability to have authentic dialogue around sensitive issues including funding priorities, WKKF expectations, and community concerns. Highly developed emotional intelligence and active listening skills, and the ability to use interpersonal and political skills in collaborative, diplomatic ways;

  • Thorough knowledge and grasp of systems change and the ability to identify and orchestrate the levers of change; sound judgment and the ability to make complex, multi-dimensional decisions based on both facts and experience;

  • Excellent writing, editing, analytical, and oral communication skills including the ability to collect, review, synthesize, and present information and findings;

  • Ability to multitask and meet deadlines within designated timeframes, and demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities. Strong organizational skills and exceptional attention to detail with the ability to work both independently without close oversight, take initiative, and contribute ideas for enhancing performance;

  • An optimistic outlook and the humor, integrity, and patience necessary to work within a transformative environment; and

  • The ability and willingness to travel.

APPLICATIONS AND NOMINATIONS

More information about The Kellogg Foundation may be found at http://www.wkkf.org.

Due to the pace of this search, candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word format), salary history and where you learned of the position should be sent to: KF-POFES@nonprofitprofessionals.com. In order to expedite the internal sorting and reviewing process, please type your name (Last, First) as the only contents in the subject line of your e-mail.

 

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is an equal opportunity employer
and proudly values diversity.
Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

(6/20/2012)

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