Kansas City, MO

Program Officer, Heartland Capital, 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 Entrepreneur Support Organizations (ESO) team works to strengthen entrepreneurs by supporting the ESOs that provide them with the resources and education they need to start and grow businesses. This strategy is focused in the Heartland Region (MO, IA, NE, and KS) where we work with ESOs to provide entrepreneurs with more equitable access to resources, especially those from underrepresented populations and geographies. One of those critical resources is capital. Kauffman’s grantmaking and convenings include a focus on highlighting new models of thinking and distribution that will lead to more equitable access to capital for entrepreneurs in the region.

Kauffman is seeking a Program Officer (PO) to join our ESO grantmaking team. This PO will manage a broad grant portfolio that addresses systemic inequities that impact entrepreneurs’ access to capital. Like every member of the team, the PO will agree to live our team values of integrity, curiosity, humor, and community, in addition to the Foundation’s associate credo.

Specific Responsibilities include: 


·       Rigorously evaluate potential grantees, both remotely and in person, based on financial and organizational capacity, as well as strategic fit.

·       Review grant proposals submitted and present grant write up for approval.  Ensure grants are aligned with program strategies and provide clear, concise and insightful written analysis and recommendations for funding including drafting and editing proposal summaries and progress reports for existing grants for review. Report clearly defined outcomes/metrics.

·       Coordinate with internal grantmaking partners across the department and Foundation, seeking consensus and alignment during the planning and evaluation of potential grants.

·       Manage and oversee assigned grant portfolio, including monitoring grantee spending and performance:

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

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

o   Identify grantee challenges, develop recommendations for interventions.  Track effectiveness of interventions.

o   Manage forecast spending and budget planning on all grants; determine reporting requirements and payment schedule.

·       Report grant status updates; prepare reports and information for team and board meetings.

·       Facilitate all communication to grantees, especially in regard to expectations and requirements of the grantee.

·       Collaborate with ESO and Entrepreneurship Department teammates to improve our shared understanding of the landscape and entrepreneur needs related to capital access.

·       Collaborate with ESO teammates to develop and maintain a logic model relevant to capital access work.

Departmental Collaboration:

·       Grow and maintain a range of content knowledge on all issues that are of interest to the department, with a special focus on strategies that advance equitable capital access, alternative capital models, alternative underwriting standards, and relevant public policy and regulatory measures.

·       Collaborate with others within the Entrepreneurship Department, and within the Foundation if/as necessary to learn, share in a variety of ways, including making relevant introductions, making recommendations to inform topical content development, and explaining market dynamics to enrich understanding of grantees’ work.

·       Maintain a good knowledge of the landscape of thought leaders and key operators with an interest in equitable capital access and alternative capital models in the region. Manage high-profile relationships with integrity and care.

·       Participate in foundation and community events as needed to support the department’s strategic goals.

Local/Regional Relationship Development:

·       Develop and maintain relationships with key contributors to the local (Kansas City) and regional capital community, including regulators, traditional lenders, CDFI and alternative lending leaders, and social impact investors.

·       Identify potential partnerships, acting as a catalyst, colleague and advocate who is dedicated to educating groups on Kauffman initiatives and engagement.

·       Cultivate and persuade C-suite stakeholders in the capital markets to collaborate in order to develop solutions that make access to capital more equitable.

·       Continuously refine and refresh understanding of the local capital community, including maintaining knowledge of the lending and investment priorities of individual institutions across the region. Manage the implementation of projects that improve our understanding of capital challenges that entrepreneurs in the region face.

·       Connect and encourage relationship development between top thought leaders in alternative capital and organizations, including banks and ESOs in the region.


Education: Bachelor’s or advanced degree is preferred, but not required. Consideration will be given to candidates that demonstrate a dedication to lifelong learning, work experience, and qualifications as described below.

Work Experience: Professional experience or demonstrated expertise in the distribution of debt or social impact capital, including an advanced understanding of underwriting processes and standards, as well as an understanding of key regulatory structures. A minimum of five years of relevant, progressive experience in public sector, private sector (esp. banking or lending), non-profit, philanthropy, politics, economic development, or academic/research/think tank setting is required. Experience managing and/or seeking grants, working as a banker and/or investor is preferred.

Travel: This position may require up to 20% business travel.



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.

·       Ability to build and manage strategic relationships internally and externally, while motivating and persuading stakeholders to act.

·       Ability to persuade and motivate C-suite stakeholders in the private sector to take action in the interest of the public good.

·       Has the capacity and willingness to invest time and intellect in keeping up with an evolving landscape.

·       Ability to analyze and understand academic and other literature.

·       Ability to communicate effectively in both verbal and written form.

·       Ability to actively and critically listen.

·       Ability to both internalize feedback and share feedback that is candid and kind.

·       Ability to analyze and understand financial information such as budgets, forecasts, cash flow statements and income statements.

·       Has the capacity to understand the goals and desired outcomes of the department.

·       Ability to construct logical arguments that connect grant outcomes to overall departmental goals.

·       Adequate understanding of organizational and leadership dynamics in order to identify grantee capacity for success as well as potential risks.

·       Background must demonstrate exceptional organizational skills including the ability to meet or exceed expectations regarding deadlines and successfully manage multiple projects simultaneously.

·       Strong computer literacy skills, including word processing, spreadsheets, data base applications, and social media.

All of the 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.

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