Program Officer / Senior Program Officer (002)

Healthy Communities

Area of Focus: Data for Action  

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is the nation’s largest philanthropy dedicated to addressing the nation’s most complex health and health care issues. For more than 40 years RWJF has worked to address the problems that affect the health and health care of everyone in America. RWJF has taken bold steps to launch a vision to build a national Culture of Health with the goal to raise the health of everyone in our diverse society to the level that our great nation deserves, by placing well-being at the center of every aspect of life. This effort will take unprecedented collaboration and it is only through meaningful partnerships that a movement for better health will be realized to bring about the important change we all seek today and for generations to come.

Creating a society that gives every person an equal opportunity to live the healthiest life they can—whatever their ethnic, geographic, racial, socioeconomic, or physical circumstance happens to be—is at the core of RWJF’s vision to build a Culture of Health. RWJF is partnering with communities, policymakers, businesses, and others willing to find ways to identify, test and refine innovative solutions to one of the most pressing issues of our time. This requires calls for action within and across sectors—because progress in one area will advance progress in another. RWJF believes that America is at a transformational moment in health. If all the distinct issues across society that impact health can be connected through collaboration, the collective power can be harnessed to truly build a Culture of Health.

Reporting to the managing director of Healthy Communities, the program officer OR senior program officer (PO/SPO) will be focused on the Foundation’s efforts to create the conditions that allow communities and their residents to reach their greatest health potential. These initiatives focus on how local data, financing and policy and practice changes, coupled with multi-sector community leadership and capacity building, can change community environments in ways that make it easier for people to be healthier.

The PO/SPO will play a critical role in Healthy Communities’ work to bring together and align the efforts of multi-sector stakeholders engaged in community transformation to improve health ranging from change agents in planning, transportation and community development to healthcare, the arts, the environment and education. Drawing upon experience in community change initiatives, with an on-the-ground as well as systems-level perspective of the successes and challenges associated these endeavors, the new PO/SPO will provide intellectual and organizational leadership in designing and implementing new and on-going initiatives, evaluating proposals, monitoring programs and grants, learning from program investments and activities, and creating impact through dissemination of knowledge.

The PO/SPO will also be expected to lead and advise on the Foundation’s Healthy Communities work specific to developing, disseminating and using local-area data in order to identify and address disparities and gaps in opportunity to ensure that all Americans have the same opportunities for better health. The PO/SPO will have a strong understanding of how data can be used to drive local action, policy change and community transformation.
With a passion for engaging program staff through coaching, mentoring, and targeted learning opportunities, the successful PO candidate will be results-driven, have 3-5 years of relevant experience, hold an advanced degree (e.g., MBA, MA, MPH, MJ, MPP, JD), and have proven leadership potential. A combination of education and experience may be substituted for the education requirements.

A successful SPO candidate will have a commitment to mentorship, have an advanced degree and 6+ years of relevant experience, have a total of 7–10 years of proven leadership and is recognized in a field for a specific area of knowledge related to community change. A combination of education and experience may be substituted for the education requirements.

A strategic thinker, s/he will have excellent organizational and interpersonal skills and will take a thoughtful approach to collaboration and community and partner engagement. Impeccable verbal and written communication skills are required with the interest and competence to interact with a constituency of individuals from broad and diverse backgrounds, including internal leadership, and external partners and high-level stakeholders, on a range of complex issues.


Program Development and Monitoring

  • Initiates and contributes to the design and implementation of new and on-going Foundation and Healthy Community initiatives. May lead sub-area committees and cross-theme work groups to design and manage program areas to achieve key theme objectives. Serves as a partner with the director, other staff and the group director in identifying strategic objectives and direction.
  • Works with program staff, consultants, other funders and external organizations to plan and develop requests for funding. Screens and assesses prospective project proposals, works with applicants to refine plans and project budgets. Assures the quality of documents for projects being recommended for approval.
  • Participates in meetings, conducts site visits, and reviews grantee submissions as part of overall responsibility for developing and managing existing grants and programs. Prepares oral and written summaries of grant activities.
  • May oversee the work of program associates and interns related to grant monitoring activities, as assigned by the director.
  • Monitors the programmatic aspects of funded projects and programs. Works with grants administrators in assessing financial status of programs over time.

Field Contributions, Learning and Dissemination

  • Represents the Foundation publicly regarding program direction, program funding and grantmaking results. Responds to public inquiries about the application process.
  • Stays abreast of new developments through networking and attendance at events.
  • Participates in conferences, seminars, and other professional development activities to maintain and enhance expertise and professional status.
  • Builds relationships with foundations and other key partners.
  • Works with colleagues and consultants to develop measures of impact for major programs and activities, including assessment, evaluation, and dissemination of results of programs and projects.
  • Works with other key units across the foundation involved with communications, particularly dissemination through the websites, social media, research, evaluations and learning.
  • Participates in the development and monitoring of theme’s performance indicators and learning questions.
  • Participates in Foundation-wide projects related to interest and program areas.

Grantmaking Processes

  • Is responsible for understanding, implementing and following the grant making processes and policies of RWJF.
  • Analyzes and evaluates all aspects of theme-wide and project-specific proposals including strength of the activity, value for dollars requested and the organization's health and stability. In supporting recommendations and in monitoring financial status, PO/SPO works in collaboration with program and financial personnel in the Foundation.
  • Attends meetings, conducts site visits, and reviews grantee submissions as part of overall responsibility for developing and managing existing grants and programs. Prepares oral and written summaries of grant activities.
  • Keeps director and colleagues apprised of grant developments and occurrences in the field that are likely to affect theme decision making, group strategies or grants decision making.

Team Functioning

  • Responsible for actively participating in Healthy Community team activities and improving team functioning, including compliance with team norms and providing support and back-up for other team members.
  • Uses managing director and team members to provide insight and guidance on programmatic strategies, grantmaking and grant management.
  • Leads and or engages in emergent learning activities and periodic strategy reviews


  • PO: Completion of an advanced degree (e.g., MBA, MA, MPH, MJ, MPP, JD) and 3-5 years of relevant experience. (A combination of education and experience may be substituted for the education requirements.)
  • SPO: Completion of an advanced degree (e.g., MBA, MA, MPH, MJ, MPP, JD) ) and 6+ years of relevant experience. A total of 7–10 years of proven leadership and recognized in the field for specific area of knowledge related to community change, including experience in developing and disseminating; data for community action; policies and practices that promote health equity; and financing for healthier communities. (A combination of education and experience may be substituted for the education requirements for either position.)
  • Experience handling multiple priorities effectively; must be adept at organizing time efficiently; high tolerance for ambiguity; ability to understand and work collaboratively effectively with theme members in the Foundation’s organizational structure.
  • Demonstrated strong analytical, writing and oral presentation skills for communicating with a broad and diverse audience, including internal leadership and external high-level stakeholders, on a range of complex issues.
  • Ability to synthesize material and focus quickly on the essence of an issue while maintaining clarity around the big picture.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and build relationships to gain the respect and trust of others.
  • Proven ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, enthusiasm, and diplomacy both individually and as part of a team effort.
  • Demonstrated passion for the Foundation’s values with commitment to deliver results measured against the Foundation’s mission.
  • Demonstrated qualities of the highest personal and professional integrity, along with a sense of humor.
  • Strong presentation skills.
  • Strong project and management skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and a collaborative, energetic approach; able to develop productive relationships with colleagues, grantees, consultants, external funders, and others who contribute to program development and management.
  • Creativity to think imaginatively about opportunities to create and respond to novel and innovative approaches to addressing an issue, and to inspire others to work toward achieving Foundation goals.
  • Ability to travel—including site visits and representation of the Foundation at outside meetings

Salary is commensurate with experience. RWJF provides its staff with a generous benefits package that is designed to attract, reward and retain talented and capable people, as well as to reflect the organization's core values.

Post Date

March 20, 2017

How To Apply

RWJF has retained Talent Citizen to assist in this recruitment. President Tracy D. Welsh, Senior Associate Maeve Clifford and Associate Connor Daley are leading this search.

Please submit your resume and a cover letter (indicating 002 in the position title) outlining your interest, as well as the reasons why you are best suited for the position and would be a valuable addition to the Healthy Communities team. Applications, along with how you learned of the position, should be sent to:

Due Date