Troy, MI

Program Officer – Education, The Kresge Foundation

The Organization

The Kresge Foundation is one of the top 20 private philanthropic foundations in the United States and the only one focused exclusively on expanding opportunities for people with low income in American cities. With a $4.2 billion endowment and a staff of over 100 employees, the foundation deploys grants and social investments across arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development. The foundation’s state-of-the-art headquarters maintains an array of energy-efficient, water-conserving and health-promoting systems. The foundation also operates an office in Detroit’s Midtown district.

About the Education Program

Kresge’s Education team supports both college access and success through collaborative, practical, and flexible investments that emphasize investee relationships. The team is committed to racial equity and racial justice and has three main strategies:

  • Urban Pathways to College, which focuses on postsecondary access for traditionally aged African American, Latinx, Native American, Asian American/Pacific Islander students, and adults returning to postsecondary education.
  • Capacity Building for Student Success, which supports institutions focused on low-income and under-represented students, such as community colleges, Minority Serving Institutions, public institutions and special mission institutions, to systemically improve student success through approaches such as better advising, improved data analytics, enhanced business models, more clear transfer pathways, and stronger leadership.
  • Urban Higher Education Ecosystems, which seeks to strengthen an entire city or metropolitan area’s ability to enhance cross-sector and systemic approaches to increasing postsecondary attainment while eliminating race-based equity gaps.

The team works across the nation, but has four focus states (California, Florida, Michigan and Texas) and oversees Kresge’s only international work in South Africa. The team also works in the Foundation’s focus cities of Detroit, Fresno, Memphis, and New Orleans.

This is an exciting time for postsecondary philanthropy. A large group of regional and national foundations has worked collaboratively with nonprofit and governmental partners to increase postsecondary access and success. Prior to the pandemic, college enrollment and attainment rates were increasing steadily, and a number of successful innovations had emerged and begun to scale. Nonetheless, race-based and other equity gaps remained. The pandemic highlighted these systemic inequities and further exacerbated how students of color and students with low incomes access and persist in college. Additionally, many promising reforms and innovations have yet to scale significantly. 

About the position 

The Program Officer for Education will assist in the design and implementation of a grantmaking program that seeks to increase national postsecondary attainment in cities while eliminating equity achievement gaps for low-income students and students of color, especially African Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, and other under-represented groups.

The team seeks Program Officer candidates with strong experience and a demonstrated commitment to low-income people, social justice, and the eradication of race-based and other equity gaps in education. Our grantmaking areas have included:

  • Advising
  • City-based efforts to improve local college access and success
  • College access programs
  • College affordability (including financial aid, free community college, and predatory student loans)
  • Community colleges
  • Data analytics
  • Developmental education reform
  • Higher education technology
  • Minority Serving Institutions
  • Non-academic barriers to student success (including housing and food insecurity, and limited transit and childcare options)
  • South African higher education policy and practice
  • State higher education systems
  • Student-focused public higher education
  • Transfer and articulation
  • U.S. federal, state, and local higher education policy

The individual filling this position will report to the Managing Director and work in close partnership with other members of the Education team, as well as with the Foundation’s Grants Management team, Communications team and Social Investment Practice, a team that uses loans, loan guarantees and deposits in support of Kresge program goals.

Primary Responsibilities

  • With the Education team and the Managing Director, contribute to the team’s grantmaking strategy and initiative development.
  • Contribute to the team’s development of criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of the portfolio.
  • In partnership with other team members, take individual and collective responsibility for reaching annual investment and grant targets.
  • Obtain, maintain, and share a high level of knowledge of the most effective strategies and current thinking in the field: What works? What are the most effective and/or innovative ways to support postsecondary access and success with equity? What are effective strategies to implement with partners?
  • Participate in funder and cross-sector collaboratives to achieve team objectives.
  • Participate in national networks, affinity groups, and other external efforts to advance the team’s strategies and the team’s standing within the higher education field.
  • Interact with other grant makers, nonprofit leaders, and public and private sector stakeholders active in postsecondary education to assess developments and identify strategic points for philanthropic engagement.
  • Work with other Kresge program teams on mutually planned and developed collaborative efforts and represent the team on internal working groups and committees.
  • Prepare, individually and with other team members, strategy papers and other written materials for the Foundation’s management and Board of Trustees.
  • Develop grant outcomes and evaluation criteria for one’s own grants; review reports and interpret results; reach annual grant targets; and identify potential grant opportunities through letters of inquiry and grant proposals.
  • With the Social Investment Practice, evaluate the feasibility of alternative forms of capital support for organizations aligned with the Education team strategy.
  • Conduct site visits and partake in professional development opportunities.
  • Demonstrate effective problem solving, decision-making and timely delivery of work products and deadlines.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in relevant or related fields is required. MA or PhD in relevant field is strongly preferred.
  • Minimum of five years of experience and demonstrated leadership in relevant postsecondary education or related fields.
  • A demonstrated commitment to low-income people, social justice, and the eradication of race-based and other equity gaps in education.
  • Experience in higher education reform, including any related background in urban education, planning or community or youth development.
  • Strong commitment to Kresge’s vision, values, and equity goals with the ability to demonstrate that commitment in daily interactions.
  • Previous grantmaking or lending experience is preferred, but not required.
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of strategies to effect change.
  • Demonstrated financial analysis skills, including the ability to analyze audited financials, balance sheets, and business plans of nonprofit organizations.
  • Effective time-management and problem-solving skills, with demonstrated ability to manage a diverse and demanding workload on deadline.
  • Experience in project development and management, budgets and work plans, and negotiation of contracts.
  • Strong communications skills and interpersonal skills, including the ability to speak publicly to a wide variety of audiences and to work effectively as a member of a team.
  • Experience working collaboratively across the nonprofit, private and/or public sectors.
  • Ability to undertake extensive (~25%) national and, on occasion, international (typically, South Africa), travel.

The application deadline for this position is Midnight EST on May 14, 2023.

The Kresge Foundation COVID -19 Vaccination Policy requires all employees to be “up to date” on the COVID-19 vaccination. The Foundation defines “up to date” as having received two primary doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna vaccine or one primary dose of the J&J vaccine and any booster dose(s) when eligible. Proof of vaccination must be provided prior to the first day of employment. If you believe you need a disability or religious accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act regarding the vaccination policy, you are responsible for requesting an accommodation prior to your first day of employment by notifying Human Resources. Employment will be contingent upon the outcome of the accommodation review process.

This position is located in Troy, Michigan and currently has a hybrid schedule with remote work from home up to 3 days per week.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Relocation services
  • 401k and 401k matching
  • Health, dental, vision and life insurance
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Paid time off
  • Life, accident and disability insurance

Kresge is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability or other applicable legally protected characteristics.

How To Apply

Please click the link below to apply:

Sign up