Detroit, MI

Senior Program Officer, The Skillman Foundation
The Organization

The Skillman Foundation believes children are our greatest asset and that the future of Detroit and its young people are inextricably linked. When Detroit children thrive, our city thrives.

We work to ensure that Detroit youth have access to high-quality educational and economic opportunities and a strong, broad network of champions that work on behalf of their interests by forming deep partnerships with individuals and organizations from a spectrum of backgrounds and ideologies and investing in efforts that help Detroit kids succeed in school and beyond. Our grant and changemaking strategy, the ​Opportunity Agenda for Detroit Children, targets three priority deliverables: high-quality education, a robust afterschool system, and an effective college and career pipeline. Our top-level benchmark measurements against these priorities are third-grade reading proficiency, perceptions of hope and opportunity, and meaningful high school graduation.

Position Overview

Senior Program Officer, Education

The Foundation is seeking a Senior Program Officer to lead our Education strategy. This position will provide leadership to a team of Program Officers who work collaboratively to support the Foundation’s strategies. In collaboration with the Vice President of Program & Strategy, this position has responsibility for designing and executing strategies, stewarding the resources of the Foundation, and building relationships.

Candidate Profile: 

The Senior Program Officer (SPO) will oversee the Foundation’s Education work, which is complex and involves many partners and moving pieces. The ideal candidate possesses nuanced understanding and deep experience with youth-serving systems and systems change, as well as the ability to apply this knowledge to the Foundation’s work in K-12 public education and youth development (afterschool and summer programming) in Detroit. While content knowledge is important for this role, it is equally important that candidates are able to hold a strategic high-level vision and organize a team against it. This position demands building authentic and supportive relationships with grant partners and fellow team members. The SPO will leverage internal and external relationships, resources, data, and insights to determine how the Foundation can best deploy its grantmaking and civic leadership to drive positive outcomes for Detroit youth.

Principal Responsibilities:  

  • Manage a significant grant portfolio. Review, summarize, evaluate, and prepare grant partner reports and recommendations. Provide technical assistance as necessary and appropriate to applicants and grant partners. Monitor and evaluate approved grants; manage compliance. Assist in the preparation of the reports and materials for Trustees. Support and maintain quality in systems operations, grantmaking procedures and process, and assume responsibility for data integrity. Periodically assess the Foundation’s grantmaking process, procedures, and guidelines and make recommendations for improvements. Assist in the development and management of the Foundation’s annual grantmaking budget.
  • Develop strategy and cultivate squad planning for results and impact. Conduct critical landscape scan and analysis to identify high-leverage opportunities for impact driven by data and analytic rigor. Develop clear logic models that define scope.
  • Lead and manage team of program officers. Establish squad practices and behaviors that yield results and enable individual program officer development.
  • Demonstrate public leadership and advocacy on behalf of children. Provide public presentations on behalf of the Foundation. Serve on civic and community-based boards to guide issues related to the Foundation’s core strategies. Convene key leaders and stakeholders on issues that advance the Foundation’s strategies and community investments, and to develop learning communities around issues that impact the lives of children.
  • Write compelling and clear analysis. Develop compelling and clear written analysis on strategy or strategy components and/or issue briefs that can be leveraged by others. Design respective board materials and external communication planning for squad projects.
  • Cultivate relationships to enable change. Lead and/or guide relationships with key stakeholders in the community to advance the Foundation’s core strategies. Strategically strengthen networks and build effective relationships with leaders in the field. Build and maintain relationships with other local and national funders for the purpose of generating additional support for Foundation strategies.
  • Use data to learn and improve. Participate in data collection and assessment to drive Foundation strategy development and priorities. Utilize data to assess organizational and program quality and effectiveness. Assess and secure leverage opportunities for growth.
  • Provide Trustee support. Upon request, prepare written materials and participate in quarterly Board of Trustee meetings.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Experience, Education, and Skill Set: 

  • Master’s degree in Social Science or related field plus a minimum of seven (7) years of relevant program-related experience
  • In-depth knowledge and experience in the formal k-12 schooling system for student learning and/or the out-of-school system
  • Previous philanthropic and grantmaking experience highly preferred
  • Knowledge and exposure to system building, collective impact, data and analytics, nonprofit capacity building, and policy
  • Data-driven, results-focused, proactive
  • Experience forging and maintaining strategic partnerships, co-designing high-leverage investments, and building systems
  • Strong understanding of the systems and policies that impact the Foundation’s work and objectives
  • Research capabilities that have guided successful decision making
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and outstanding written and verbal communication skills including the ability to listen effectively, respond appropriately, and maintain solid relationships with a variety of personality types and diverse workforce
  • Strong project management and organizational skills; ability to manage multiple priorities while maintaining flexibility
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively in a team-based environment, focusing on collaboration and inclusion
  • Success in accessing, developing, and sharing knowledge internally and externally
  • Ability to manage ambiguity comfortably
  • Demonstrated ability for critical thinking, independent judgment, and creative problem solving
  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of stewardship, integrity, excellence, inclusiveness and equal opportunity, adaptability, and collaboration.

How To Apply

This position is a full-time salaried position. The Skillman Foundation offers competitive salary offerings and excellent benefits that include medical, dental, vision, flexible spending accounts, 401k (with a match), life insurance, and disability coverage.

If you are interested, please send a cover letter and resume to no later than Friday, April 5, 2019. No phone calls please.

The Skillman Foundation is an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.


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