New York, NY

Program Officer, Surdna Foundation

The Organization

Founded by John E. Andrus in 1917, the Surdna Foundation, a New York City-based family foundation, has endowment assets of over $1 billion and an overall annual grantmaking/operations budget of $46 million. Surdna focuses in three grantmaking areas: Sustainable Environments, Strong Local Economies, and Thriving Cultures. The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States – communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies and thriving cultures.

Position Overview

The Surdna Foundation, a New York City-based family foundation, seeks a Program Officer for its Strong Local Economies Program. The Program Officer will report directly to the Program Director for Strong Local Economies.

The Program Officer is part of a four-person team led by a Program Director and staffed by two Program Officers and a Program Associate.  The Program Officer works closely with the team on all aspects of the program, including day-to-day operations, broader program strategy development, and the implementation of a learning agenda.

Program Officers contribute to programmatic ideas and participate actively in grantmaking by seeking, developing, and recommending grants and administering projects in the program area. In addition, Surdna expects Program Officers to have expertise and knowledge in one or more of the substantive elements of the grantmaking program to help build networks among funders, as well as grantees, around issues that need attention, communicate and advocate for social change and develop partnerships to multiply the impact of the Foundation’s grantmaking investments.

A successful candidate will demonstrate an eagerness to engage in ongoing assessment of the Strong Local Economies Program’s priorities under the leadership of the Program Director, and to work across issue areas with our Sustainable Environments and Thriving Cultures programs to develop cross-programmatic opportunities that ultimately help advance the goal of creating just and sustainable communities.

The Program Officer for Strong Local Economies should have the following experience and qualifications:

  • Strong record of achievement and relevant experience in the nonprofit, public, or private sector.  A minimum of 8 years in the field and interdisciplinary experience are preferred.
  • Advanced degree in a related field is preferred.
  • Substantive knowledge of the fields and issues (finance, economics, economic and community development, planning, business development and acceleration,  job quality concerns, and public policy/administration) related to at least one of the Strong Local Economies Program’s lines of work.
  • Experience in job quality issues and strategies to improve low wage work preferred.
  • An outstanding relationship builder with the interpersonal skill necessary to gain the trust and confidence of the Foundation’s staff, grantees, and Board.
  • A strong track record as a strategic, systems-oriented thinker.
  • A demonstrated grasp of core principles of social justice, sustainability and equity, with a proven track record in these arenas.
  • Outstanding written and oral communication skills, with the presence and credibility to develop and sustain a broad range of relationships; highly developed listening skills. Experience with social media and new communications technology is desirable.
  • Willingness to work across programs to develop complementary strategies, grant making priorities and learning opportunities.
  • A track record as an energetic, flexible, self-starting team player.  A direct, honest, and respectful approach to problem solving, with the ability to foster collaboration and contribute to a strong sense of community among staff and board.
  • Ability to thrive when working under deadlines; strong project, time, and budget management skills; and the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously without sacrificing attention to detail.
  • Familiarity with a fast-paced, entrepreneurial environment and a willingness to share in both “big picture” thinking and administrative tasks.
  • Experience working with diverse communities across race, class, ethnic, political and geographic boundaries.
  • Willingness and ability to travel up to 35% of the time.

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