Kansas City, MO

Program Officer, Kauffman Foundation

The Organization


The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Based in Kansas City, Missouri, the Kauffman Foundation is among the largest foundations in the United States with an asset base of approximately $2 billion.

The Foundation’s vision is to foster “a society of economically independent individuals who are engaged citizens, contributing to the improvement of their communities.” In service of this vision, we focus our grant making and operations on two areas—education and entrepreneurship—which our founder, Ewing Kauffman, saw as two ends of a continuum. A quality education is the foundation for self-sufficiency, preparing young people for success in college and in life. Many young adults will work in businesses started by entrepreneurs. Some will become entrepreneurs themselves, providing jobs and wealth for society.

Our mission:

To help individuals attain economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success, consistent with the aspirations of our founder, Ewing Marion Kauffman.

Position Overview



The Program Officer (PO) manages a diverse grant portfolio that focuses on supporting our work within the Kansas City metropolitan area. The PO will work collaboratively with other entrepreneurship, education, and Foundation staff, while supporting departmental initiatives through program and grant development, project management, and relationship building. Relationship building and partnership includes collaborating with and convening diverse stakeholders who help position Kansas City as a leader in improving quality of life for all residents through cultural, social, and economic investments.

Specific Responsibilities include: 

  • Supports the vice president of KC Civic in exploring bold ideas that foster Kansas City’s economic development capacity and providing oversight for a cross Foundation initiative focused on building inclusive prosperity, workforce readiness and entrepreneurship focused economic development, including managing and tracking progress toward the logic model for this initiative.

·       Serves as the primary liaison to the We Grow KC Coalition. This Coalition is an outgrowth of the Foundation’s efforts to steer Opportunity Zone investments toward projects in underserved areas and to ensure that the residents have a voice in the decision making for their community.

·       Monitors the progress and implementation of local economic development research and planning initiatives related to cross Foundation work referenced above.

·       Works in collaboration with colleagues across the Foundation to share and receive information about KC Civic issues, initiatives and grants.

·       Stewards a wide range of content knowledge on all issues that are of interest to the department.

·       Builds key partnerships— acting as a catalyst, colleague, and advocate who is dedicated to educating groups on Kauffman Foundation initiatives and engagement.

·       Identifies and evaluates the most innovative and effective organizations, through a lens of racial, equity, diversity and inclusion, that support KC Civic’s strategic and departmental goals for funding strategic grant recommendations in support of large, multi-year level grants as appropriate.

·       Represents the Foundation by attending meetings and/or accepting speaking engagements both locally and regionally.

Grant Making Responsibilities:

·       Rigorously evaluates potential grantees based on strategic fit and grant guidelines and seeks new grants ensuring proposed investments are aligned with program strategies.

·       Provides clear, concise, and insightful written analysis and recommendations for funding.

·       Identifies program partners, reviews proposals, develops grants, and presents proposals to the vice president of KC Civic for consideration.

·       Prepares and manages project management plans, specifically relative to cross Foundation initiatives.

·       Manages and oversees assigned grant portfolio (strong emphasis on supporting cross foundation initiatives) including monitoring grantee spending and performance:

o   Establishes goals, outcomes, and metrics to be achieved with each grantee over the term of the grant, documented in grant agreement.

o   Monitors grantee performance through analysis of outcome data, grantee reports, and site visits.

o   Identifies grantee challenges and provides recommendations for interventions.

o   Tracks effectiveness of interventions.

·       Provides data and updates for board reports.

·       Works collaboratively with grants administration, evaluation, and legal in all stages of the proposal from intake to commitment letter.


Education: Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, political science, public administration, business, economics, or related area of study preferred or equivalent years of experience.

Work Experience: Minimum five years of progressive experience in public, private or non-profit sector; background in community and economic development and neighborhood and community engagement. Understanding of the Opportunity Zone Act and/or familiarity with city government and community development financial institutions, preferred.

Travel: This position may require occasional travel.


Qualified candidates for this position must be highly motivated, capable of self-directed work, detail-oriented and able to work collaboratively across teams and departments.  Incumbents must exhibit a keen sense of responsibility and enjoy working with multiple demands, shifting priorities and constant change.

Incumbents in this position must be highly motivated, capable of self-directed work, detail-oriented, and able to work collaboratively across teams and departments.  Incumbents must exhibit a keen sense of responsibility and enjoy working with multiple demands, shifting priorities, and constant change.

A successful candidate profile:

  • Understands the history of the Foundation, its founder, vision, and mission.
  • Passionately pursues an understanding of and has experience with the complex dynamics and relationships between people and organizations within the Kansas City community including knowledge of and experience with leaders in relevant sectors, e.g., nonprofit community, local funders, economic development institutions, civic institutions.
  • Has experience working in diverse communities—including low-and-moderate income communities and in racially diverse communities.
  • Is familiar with and has deep knowledge of the landscape of Kansas City relative to economic and community development
  • Demonstrates consensus-building skills with the capacity to forge strong working relationships, through influence and persuasion, with people at all levels inside and outside the organization.
  • Has at least one year of direct project management experience using project management skills, tools, and best practices with the ability to manage projects to completion; including informing key stakeholders, as needed, throughout the project.

·       Manages multiple projects simultaneously with exceptional organizational skills including the ability to work independently with minimal supervision and meet or exceed deadlines.

·       Possesses a general knowledge of budgets and financial reporting.

·       Has excellent communication skills including well-developed verbal skills, writing and research skills, and strong presentation skills.

  • Accesses strong analytical and problem-solving skills with an ability to assimilate new information and processes quickly.
  • Possesses strong computer literacy skills, including word processing, spreadsheets, and database applications. Previous experience working in Salesforce or other customer relationship management (CRM) system is preferred.
  • Has a personal values system that encompasses the highest standards of humility, humor, stewardship, respect, excellence, openness, inclusiveness and professional ethics reflective of the Kauffman Foundation.

All statements in this position description are intended to describe the general nature of the work being performed and are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required. This document describes the position currently available.  The organization reserves the right to modify job duties or job descriptions at any time.

How To Apply

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