Chicago, IL (hybrid)

Program Officer, Woods Fund Chicago

The Organization


Woods Fund Chicago (WFC) is a bold grantmaking foundation that finds and funds organizations  that draw on the power of communities to fight the brutality of structural racism and economic injustice. It promotes social, economic, and racial justice through the support of community organizing and public policy advocacy that engages people that are most impacted. Woods Fund Chicago has been on a years-long, intentional journey to center equity and justice in its work, build community through its grantmaking, and support partners more holistically across Chicago. Visit for more information on how these ideals are put into practice.


Woods Fund Chicago is looking for a dynamic individual excited about joining a new team during a period of organizational, programmatic, and culture change to manage the Foundation’s grantmaking portfolio.

The Program Officer reports directly to the Vice President of Programs and will work closely with them on defining conceptual and strategic directions for grantmaking that ensures alignment with Foundation goals and values. An eye to “disrupt” current, traditional philanthropic practices is desired.

The Program Officer has responsibility for grant-making, grantee solicitation to apply for funding,  providing technical support to new applicants and grantees, reviewing grant requests for new applicants, monitoring grants to support the Foundation’s mission, implementing grantee convening,  coordinating external evaluation processes, and understanding of current organizing practices/trends and developing deep relationships with the community organizing sector.

The Program Officer will work with the Vice President of Program to align Woods Fund’s grantmaking to adhere to the principles of racial justice and trust-based philanthropy. This position would also manage one of two capacity building programs that the Foundation implements. The Program Officer will assist the Vice President with any identified special projects and policy and research initiatives.

The Foundation is looking for an individual who aligns with community practice, understands the movement building and organizing landscape in Chicago, is knowledgeable of current organizing and advocacy strategies, has excellent relationship building skills and can help shape the Foundation’s grantmaking strategy to be even more responsive and supportive to the organizing/advocacy sector in Chicago.

The strongest candidates for the Program Officer role will be able to demonstrate their ability to thrive in the organization’s emerging work norms:

  • Purpose-driven: ​Grounded in the work, aware of the impact that is possible, and able to purposely engage and collaborate with others internally and externally to move the work forward
  • Innovation​: Able and eager to identify new opportunities, strategies, and approaches to philanthropy within and outside of traditional systems and structures
  • Entrepreneurialism​: Ability to present ideas to reimagine supporting community based organizing groups in Chicago
  • Ideas and inquiry​: Generate ideas, then test those ideas internally and externally to establish original methods and points of view
  • Comfort with ambiguity: ​Possess the confidence and flexibility to successfully work in an environment where experimentation is encouraged
  • Growth mindset:  An individual who is always learning, growing, improving, open to feedback is one that would fit into the culture of the foundation.


Grantmaking and Program (approximately 70% of the position)

  • Lead all aspects of WFC’s  grantmaking and programmatic work with a racial justice lens
  • Effectively manage grants programs with high quality report generation, grant review and evaluation (and helping us to reimagine these elements of grantmaking)
  • Work closely with the Vice President of Programs on overarching grantmaking documents, processes, strategies, and evaluation procedures
  • Establish, cultivate, and invest in relationships with key people and organizations that help the Foundation achieve its mission and serve as a positive and trustworthy steward of the Foundations’ relationships, resources, and priorities
  • Support the role and activities of the President and Vice President in directing and managing the Foundation’s relationships in the wider philanthropic and nonprofit community
  • Identify service gaps, define areas appropriate for the Foundation to address
  • Provide a critical analysis to grant portfolio
  • Maintain timely knowledge of community and policy issues encompassed in the Foundation’s mission and the work of grantee partners
  • Research best practices and program models in the field of capacity building, and supporting BIPOC leadership, that could be implemented in the Foundation’s target communities
  • Create and facilitate a community of learning among grantee partners and provide feedback to grantees to foster optimal achievement of goals
  • Manage one of two programs in addition to grantmaking: Capacity Building Initiative or Cultivate Women of Color leadership program
  • Participate in the design and ongoing review of the Foundation’s strategic plan, program priorities, and policy initiatives
  • Develop and support workgroups or other appropriate governance structures to guide and support the Foundation’s programmatic efforts

Administration and Special Projects (approximately 30% of the position)

  • Attend and present at board or committee meetings and provide support with the preparation of materials and documents
  • Assist the President and Vice President in representing the Foundation at community and philanthropic events and activities
  • Assist with the development of Foundation documents and materials, such as press releases and annual reports, and contribute to the Foundation’s social media presence
  • Protect the organization by keeping information confidential


  • This is a full-time position. Evening and weekend work are occasionally required.
  • The Foundation’s staff are currently working a hybrid in-office and remote schedule and taking all necessary precautions due to COVID-19. This position will likely remain hybrid for the foreseeable future.
  • To center the safety and well-being of its employees, as an employer we require that any employee who is required to conduct in-person activities for their job must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Accommodations may be sought and approved in accordance with the law.
  • Ordinarily, this position operates primarily in an accessible office environment. Some travel to grantees and other off-site locations in the Chicago area is required. Some may not be accessible.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear and use hands to operate office equipment such as computers, phones, copiers, scanners, filing cabinets.
  • Workplace is a smoke- and drug-free environment.
  • Woods Fund Chicago is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Decisions and criteria governing the employment relationship with all employees are made in a non-discriminatory manner, without regard to race, ethnicity, creed, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, citizenship status, military service and/or marital status, order of protection status, handicap, disability, or any other factor determined to be unlawful by federal, state, or local statutes.


  • Minimum of five years of experience in community organizing and/or public policy advocacy
  • Direct experience working with community-based organizations
  • Ability to plan and evaluate programs and initiatives
  • Understanding of how systems work, intersect, and influence one another, along with knowledge of how to create impact in community organizing and advocacy outside of traditional systems and structures
  • Ability to utilize data to inform decision-making and narrative change
  • Ability to manage up and across the Foundation to effectively engage colleagues and to keep important initiatives and programs moving forward
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong research skills
  • Strategic, analytical problem solver, who identifies and leverages resources to advance grantmaking
  • Knowledge of, and high comfort level with, computer software systems: Google GSuite, Asana, PowerPoint, Excel, and video conferencing

We know that BIPOC and women or female identifying candidates are less likely to apply to jobs unless they meet every requirement. Please do not be deterred. You may be exactly who we are looking for! 


  • Salary is in the $100,000-$115,000 range, commensurate with experience
  • Comprehensive benefits package includes employer-paid medical insurance, employer-matched contribution to a retirement plan, and generous paid leave


  • Submit resume, salary requirements, and, instead of a cover letter, answers to a few short questions here: WFC Program Officer Opening
  • Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Due to the high volume of applications, only those selected for further discussion will be contacted. Please, no phone calls.
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