St Paul MN

Program Operations Director, Bush Foundation

The Organization

About the Bush Foundation

Archibald G. Bush believed that “wealth should be used for the benefit of all humanity.” This belief led Archie, a 3M executive, and his wife Edyth to establish the Bush Foundation in 1953. Since then, the Bush Foundation has granted more than $1.2 billion to individuals and organizations working to do good.


The Bush Foundation Approach

We inspire and support creative problem solving – within and across sectors – to make our region better for everyone. Everything we do is to advance this purpose. It is what ties all our work together.

We invest in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native nations that share this geography. This is both our tagline and our strategy to advance our purpose.

We work through open grantmaking programs to support organizations and people who think bigger and think differently about solutions to problems in their communities to:

·       Develop, test and spread great ideas that will make the region better for everyone

·       Inspire, equip and connect people to more effectively lead change

Position Overview

The Program Operations Director Role

The Program Operations Director provides Foundation-wide leadership, coordination and expertise in grantmaking processes, grants administration and technology. They are responsible for ensuring that our grantmaking processes and practices are aligned with the Foundation’s operating values and are simple, supportive, strategic and advance equity. Leading a six-person team, they provide strategic and day-to-day leadership of grants management and administration, program operations and technology.

Core Responsibilities & Key Relationships

Grants Administration

Promotes Foundation-wide understanding and adoption of effective grantmaking practices, including staying on top of and contributing to best practices and innovations in the field.

Oversees grants administration at the Foundation through all stages of the grantmaking process in close collaboration with the Grants Administrator and other Program Operations team members.

Reviews and approves all Foundation grants and program-related investments (PRIs), as well as all grant and program-related investment payments to ensure compliance with legal requirements and best practices.

Consults with and supports staff across the organization in identifying and working through technical questions on grant design and implementation. The Program Operations Director plays a key role in problem-solving and working through technical issues on investments that are particularly complex or unique or have implications beyond a single investment.

Consults with outside legal counsel as needed to accomplish this work effectively.

Program Operations

Provides leadership and support to staff across the Foundation on a wide range of program design and implementation questions. This work is done in close collaboration with Program Operations Officers as well as Grantmaking, Learning & Evaluation and Communications team members.

Supports Program Operations team members in resolving a wide range of technical, strategic and process issues.

Works with Program Operations staff on tools and processes – such as dashboards, program calendars, etc. – that illustrate, anticipate and address operational and capacity tension points.

Key consultant and collaborative decision-maker on Foundation membership and funder collaborative grants.

Takes a big picture view in seeing the range of issues, questions and concerns that the Program Operations staff manage in their work with individual programs and activities. Proposes changes to process, training and workflow that would support effective org-wide partnerships, productive internal practices and great grantmaking.

Technology & Data Leadership

In partnership with the IT Administrator, leads the information technology strategy (including hardware, software, online tools) to ensure effective operations and to create culture and practice that optimizes the functionality and utility of the Foundation’s tools.

Serves as a key leader and resource on strategy and practice related to data protocols, data collection, data analysis and data extraction.

Provides strategic leadership to the Foundation’s team of data experts (made up of the Grants Administrator and two Learning & Evaluation Managers) so that the Foundation’s data collection and data reporting meet our goals for transparency, high quality analysis and equity. This includes providing guidance and direction to ensure that reports prepared for the public, staff and board illustrate and analyze key trends and issues accurately and effectively.

Team and Organization-wide Leadership

Supervises the six-member Program Operations team to ensure a positive and collaborative environment resulting in a high performance and continuous improvement culture that helps to support and develop team members to succeed individually and as a team.

Oversees and manages the budgets for program operations, IT, staff and board donor advised funds and all individual grant recommendations for our donor advised funds.

Plays a key role in organization-wide work to prioritize and manage key projects and work cycles, including our program prioritization process, program calendar and planning for the weekly org-wide meetings.

Serves as part of Management Team and in other cross-organization roles and groups to ensure organization-wide alignment on strategic direction and operations.

Represents the Foundation in relevant convenings and professional organizations, adding to knowledge and expertise in the sector.

Key Qualifications and Experience


Experienced leader. We’re looking for someone with significant experience – likely at least seven years – successfully leading and managing complex projects, working across teams, divisions, departments in fluid and dynamic settings. The issues that bubble up to this role usually have a mix of strategic, technical, operational and people elements and so the next Program Operations Director needs to be comfortable and effective in managing multi-dimensional issues.

Grants professional. We need significant experience with and comprehensive understanding of grants administration processes and tools and current issues and trends in the grants management field. The Foundation strives to be creative and expansive in how and what we fund and the Program Operations Director is a critical partner in making that work. Commitment and interest to developing and spreading best practices in grantmaking, both internally and externally.

Great supervisor. The Program Operations team is highly capable and self-directed. We’re looking for someone who is a terrific supervisor, with experience supporting and developing talented colleagues to succeed individually and as a team.

Equity champion. The Program Operations Director must have a strong commitment to equity and anti-racism work, with experience leading inclusively and equitably, and applying that experience and expertise to all decisions both directly related to program operations and not.

Creative problem-solver. Demonstrated aptitude for designing and supporting innovative process and technical solutions to address the Foundation’s grantmaking, date and operational goals. Is responsive and able to manage multiple projects with tight deadlines.

Values-driven leader. Demonstrates integrity, sound judgement, positivity in their daily work with effective and adaptable communication and interpersonal skills. Strong problem-solving abilities and comfortable working at both strategic and operational levels.

Collaborative partner: Is good at building trusting relationships and able to work well with people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds.

 Other desirable experiences and skills

Experience with foundation Connect, Salesforce or similar complex databases as an end user or administrator would be a significant plus.

Knowledge of the funding region or focus for the Foundation’s work or programmatic investments.

Understanding of IRS rules and regulations governing private foundations, grantmaking and related activity.

How To Apply

Program Operations Director

We’re looking for an experienced, strategic, mission-focused and process-minded person to join the
Bush Foundation as our next Program Operations Director. The right person is both technically inclined
and big picture focused, who jumps at the chance to collaborate and discuss options while also being
ready to move forward with a decision when the time is right.

Read the position description to learn more.

Please send a cover letter and resume to and include Program Operations Director: [your name] in the subject line. Applications will be accepted through Wednesday, December 28. We encourage and appreciate early applications!

The Bush Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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