Kansas City, MO

Program Officer, Ewing Marion 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) will support Real World Learning and other education-focused initiatives through managing a diverse grant portfolio focused on the Kansas City region. The PO will work collaboratively with other education and Foundation staff, while supporting departmental initiatives through program and grant development, project management, and relationship building.

Specific responsibilities include: 


Grantmaking Responsibilities

·       Identify and rigorously evaluate potential grantees and proposals based on strategic fit and financial and organizational capacity.

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

·       Establish goals, metrics, and payment and reporting schedules for grants in collaboration with prospective grantees.

·       Work collaboratively with internal support teams (i.e., grants administration, evaluation, legal, public affairs) in all stages of a grant request from intake to commitment letter.

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

o   Regular conversations, meetings, and/or site visits,

o   Formal reporting on metrics, spending and learnings, and

o   Identifying grantee challenges and developing recommendations for interventions or necessary revisions to ensure advancement of strategic goals.

·       Prepare requested data and updates for board reports.

·       Upon grant closure, provide clear and insightful written analysis on strategic and operational learnings to inform future grant making.

General Position Responsibilities

·       Stay abreast of issues that are of interest to the department. May be asked to provide leadership on a specific subject, while developing expertise on a broad range of issues.

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

·       Perform or assist with research or landscape analysis to determine potential funding opportunities that are in alignment with the strategic goals of the department.

  • Create opportunities to embed learning into the education team’s culture.

·       Identify and support work regarding emerging trends and improvement initiatives in education.

  • Represent the Foundation and the education team at local, regional, and national meetings, conferences, and events.
  • Work in a manner that is consistent with the values of the Foundation.


Education:  Bachelor’s degree in education, business, liberal arts, or a related area of study preferred or equivalent years of experience.

Work Experience: Minimum two years of work experience in a related field. Grantmaking experience preferred.

Travel: This position may require occasional 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.

  • Understanding of (or enthusiasm to learn) the history of the Foundation, its founder, vision, and mission.
  • Passion for ensuring students of all ages have excellent educational opportunities and are prepared for learning, work, and life after graduation.

·       Solid interpersonal, consensus-building, persuasion, and leadership skills with the ability to quickly establish credibility with diverse external and internal audiences at all levels of organizations.

·       Proven organizational skills and the ability to successfully manage multiple projects simultaneously while meeting or exceeding deadlines.

  • Direct project management experience with the ability to manage projects to completion, including keeping key stakeholders informed throughout the project.

·       Excellent communications skills, including well-developed verbal skills, writing and listening skills, and strong presentation skills.

·       Strong analytical skills with an ability to process complex concepts and strategies and assimilate new information and processes quickly.

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

·       General knowledge of budgets and financial reporting.

·       Solid judgment and decision-making abilities.

·       Strong computer literacy skills, including word processing, spreadsheets, and related business solutions tools.

·       Strong 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.

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