Communications Officer/Senior Communications Officer, Program

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF; the Foundation), located in Princeton, N.J., is the largest philanthropy in America dedicated solely to health. Since 1972, we have focused on developing and promoting innovations in health and healthcare to improve the lives of millions. In partnership with others, we are working toward a nation that is rooted in equity, compassion, and respect. A nation that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. This requires addressing many harmful obstacles to well-being, including poverty, powerlessness, and discrimination.

We take seriously our responsibilities, and we pledge to work in ways that reflect our Guiding Principles. These are rooted in equity and influence everything we do at RWJF. Equity, diversity, inclusion, and collaboration allow our staff’s wide range of experiences, passions, and perspectives to enrich our work and strengthen our ability to address our nation’s most pressing health issues. The Foundation offers a collaborative, collegial, and creative work environment. With a career at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, you will make a difference.

The Opportunity

Reporting to the senior director, program Communications, the communications officer/senior communications officer, is responsible for working to further the Foundation’s vision and objectives through the use of strategic communications providing support to our programmatic areas of investment and action. Core responsibilities include: (1) working collaboratively with others to develop, implement, and manage communications for and about the Foundation’s initiatives that advance health equity and help build a Culture of Health; (2) initiating, interpreting, and synthesizing communications research to help the Foundation develop messaging that engages and activates audiences across political, ideological, and cultural perspectives; and (3) leading teams of communications professionals, including external firms and contractors, who will help amplify the voice of the Foundation and our grantees by communicating about research, program, and policy outcomes to key partners. Officers are based in the Foundation’s Princeton, N.J., office.

All staff are expected to demonstrate a passionate commitment to equity and the Foundation’s vision, values, and Guiding Principles.

Essential Job Responsibilities

Communications Program Development and Monitoring

  • Develop, manage and implement communications strategies for the Foundation and its grantees.
  • Work in partnership with RWJF communications colleagues in executing on theme-specific and Foundation-wide strategic communications objectives.
  • Manage the work of firms/consultants under contract with the Foundation on specific elements of strategic initiatives.
  • Work with colleagues throughout the communications department to develop and implement communications strategies.
  • Use all available media platforms and media relations to promote the work and expand the reach and impact of the Foundation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the changing landscape and science of public interest communications and a willingness to experiment with new ways to reach, engage, and activate new audiences.
  • Leverage networks to advance the work of the Foundation.
  • Has and/or develops content knowledge and understanding of how assigned area of work (Theme/Team) contributes to the Foundation’s health equity goals.
  • Coordinate with other communications colleagues to spark creativity, break down silos, and leverage the full power of the Foundation’s Communications Department to achieve impact.
  • Provide strategic communications counsel to Theme/Team directors, other colleagues, and grantees.

Learning, Dissemination, Audience Identification and Development

  • Commit to measuring impact and sharing lessons learned—including failure—within the Foundation and with grantees, partners, and other communications practitioners.
  • Collaborate with Theme/Team directors; Research-Evaluation-Learning; Policy; and Communications colleagues to disseminate Foundation research products on RWJF and external platforms.
  • Use cutting-edge communications research techniques to understand, reach, and motivate target audiences to influence and act on Foundation priorities.
  • Develope strategic communications plans that include measurable outcomes.

Grantmaking and Contracting Processes

  • Recruit and manage communications consultants and firms to help amplify the work of the Foundation, its partners, and its grantees.
  • Commit to diversity and inclusion in contracting and collaborating with outside firms and consultants.
  • Screen and assess prospective communications proposals;  work with communications firms to refine plans and project budgets.
  • Assess proposed communications strategies and tactics in major grant proposals, including appropriateness and strength of the proposed activity, value for dollars requested, and the organization's communications capacity.

Foundation and Field Contributions

  • Represent RWJF at events, conferences and other public forums and serve as an ambassador for the Foundation.
  • Provide communications support and coaching to members of senior management in preparation for internal presentations and public appearances; oversee or coordinate the preparation of support materials for meetings, conferences,  media, and other public opportunities.
  • Dedicate time to professional development and life-long learning. Participate in conferences, seminars, and other professional development activities to stay informed about innovation, ideas, and practices in communications.

Minimum Requirements

  • Commitment to racial and health equity and the Foundation’s vision, values, and Guiding Principles.
  • Experience in communications, preferably with an organization with various departments and a multidisciplinary staff. Five (5) years of demonstrated experience (CO), seven (7) to ten (10) years of experience plus proven leadership and recognized in the field (SCO) required.
  • Five (5) years of demonstrated experience in communications, preferably with an organization with various departments and a multidisciplinary staff.
  • Written and oral communication skills in Spanish and English, and an ability to synthesize and present complicated material in a clear and compelling manner.
  • Successful experience fostering an inclusive environment working as part of a multidisciplinary team and working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Experience managing contracts and working with communications firms, consultants, and external partners to develop strategy and execute on tactics.
  • Experience handling multiple priorities; good time management skills.
  • Experience assessing intended audiences, strategic objectives, and desired outcomes; develop and execute a strategy to drive toward those outcomes; and evaluating and measuring the success of communications efforts.
  • Ability to think critically and strategically.
  • Highly developed interpersonal skills, including demonstrated ability to work in a complex team matrix environment; must be collegial and engender trust among colleagues.
  • Maturity, good judgment, and analytic skills; ability to make decisions, justify recommendations, and be responsive and clear.
  • Project and people management skills, including an ability to think independently, be flexible, juggle multiple priorities, and work jointly with others.
  • Strong creative thinker who is willing to take risks and develop novel and innovative approaches to challenges.
  • Able to use and learn about emerging communications trends.
  • Passionate, with the ability to inspire others to work toward achieving goals.
  • High tolerance for ambiguity.
  • Able to travel—including for site visits and representing the Foundation at outside meetings.
  • Completion of an advanced degree in relevant fields of study. A combination of education and experience may be substituted for the education requirement.

Physical Requirements/Working Conditions

Officers will perform job duties in a typical business office environment. Specific physical abilities required by this job include operating basic office equipment. Will be required to attend meetings, potentially both in person and off-site via phone or videoconference.

How to Apply

Submit your resume and letter of interest.

Application Deadline: October 31, 2021


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented applicants.

How to Apply

Submit your resume and letter of interest.

Application deadline: October 31, 2021

(Post Date: September 27, 2021)

This position is located in Princeton, N.J. If hired, you would be required to work from our Princeton office when our facilities re-open.