Communications Officer



The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), located in Princeton, N.J., is the largest philanthropy in America dedicated solely to health. Since 1972 we have been providing funding, assistance, and research for projects and programs to help people, their families, and their communities be as healthy as possible. RWJF is committed to working alongside others to build a Culture of Health where everyone has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.

Diversity, inclusion, and collaboration are fundamental principles at RWJF. Our staff’s wide range of experiences, passions, and perspectives enriches our work and strengthens our ability to address our nation’s most pressing health issues. With a career at RWJF, you will make a difference.

The communications officer is a professional staff member who is responsible for working to further the Foundation’s vision and objectives through the use of strategic communications. Core responsibilities include: (1) working collaboratively with others to develop, implement and manage communications for and about the Foundation’s initiatives that advance progress toward 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, programs and outcomes to key stakeholders.


Communications Program Development and Monitoring

  • Develops, manages and implements communications strategies for the Foundation and its grantees.
  • Works in partnership with RWJF communications colleagues in executing on theme-specific and Foundation-wide strategic communications objectives.
  • Manages the work of firms/consultants under contract with the Foundation on specific elements of strategic initiatives.
  • Coordinates and collaborates with colleagues throughout the communications department to develop and implement communications strategies.
  • Uses all available media platforms and media relations to promote the work and expand the reach and impact of the Foundation.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the changing landscape of public interest communications and a willingness to experiment with new ways to reach, engage, and activate new audiences.
  • Leverages his/her networks to advance the work of the Foundation.
  • Has and/or develops strong content knowledge and understanding of how assigned area of work (Theme/Team) contributes to the building of a Culture of Health, and how communicating about those efforts can help support the change necessary to make it possible for all in our diverse society to lead healthier lives.
  • Coordinates with other communications colleagues to break down silos and leverage opportunities across the Foundation.
  • Provides strategic communications counsel to Theme/Team directors, other colleagues, and grantees.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of the fields related to the Theme to which s/he is assigned.

Learning, Dissemination, Audience Identification and Development

  • Commits to measuring impact and sharing lessons learned—including failure, within the Foundation and with grantees, partners and other communications practitioners.
  • Collaborates with Theme/Team directors, Research, Evaluation and Learning staff, and Communications colleagues to develop plans to disseminate research products that demonstrate Foundation-wide impact, on Foundation and external platforms.
  • Developes strategic communications plans that include measureable outcomes.

Grantmaking and Contracting Processes

  • Recruits and manages communications consultants and firms to help amplify the work of the team and its signature grantees.
  • Screens and assesses prospective communications proposals, works with communications firms to refine plans and project budgets.
  • Analyzes and evaluates all aspects of communications proposals including strength of the activity, value for dollars requested and the organization's stability.

Foundation and Field Contributions

  • Represents the Foundation at events as needed and serves as an ambassador for the Foundation’s Culture of Health vision.
  • Provides communications support and coaching to members of senior management in preparation for internal presentations and public appearances; oversees the preparation of support materials for meetings and media outreach opportunities.
  • Dedicates time to professional development and life-long learning. Participates in conferences, seminars and other professional development activities to stay informed about innovation, ideas, and practices in communications.


  • Completion of an advanced degree in relevant fields of study. A combination of education and experience may be substituted for the education requirement.
  • Five (5) years of demonstrated experience in communications, preferably with an organization with various departments and a multidisciplinary staff.
  • 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 with and working successfully with communications firms, consultants and external partners to develop strategy and execute on tactics.
  • Experience handling multiple priorities; good time management skills.
  • Experience assessing the audience, the strategic objective, and desired outcome; developing and executing a strategy to drive toward that outcome; 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.
  • Demonstrated maturity, good judgment and analytic skills; ability to make decisions, justify recommendations, and be responsive and clear.
  • Strong project and people management skills, including demonstrated ability to think independently and with limited supervision, flexibility, ability to juggle multiple priorities and work jointly with others.
  • Strong creative thinker who is willing to take novel and innovative approaches to addressing an issue.
  • Impeccable written and oral communication skills, as well as an ability to synthesize and present complicated material in a clear and compelling manner.
  • Ability to use and learn about emerging communications trends.
  • Energetic and passionate, with the ability to inspire others to work toward achieving goals.
  • High tolerance for ambiguity.
  • Ability to travel—including for site visits and representing the Foundation at outside meetings.
  • Demonstrated enthusiasm and strong commitment to fulfill the Foundation’s mission.


The incumbent performs job duties in a normal business office environment. Tasks are generally carried out with no specific or unusual physical or environmental demands. While performing the duties of this job the incumbent is regularly required to work at a desk and work with a computer for extended periods of time. Specific physical abilities required by this job include operating basic office equipment such as personal computers, duplicating machines, fax machines, and standard office telephones.  The incumbent may be required to attend meetings, both on-site and off-site, via phone or videoconference.

Putting Our Principles to Work

2018 Annual Message

RWJF President and CEO Richard Besser reflects on the guiding principles that drive our work to improve health and health care for everyone in America.

Read more

Learn More About Our Work

Areas of Focus

Post Date

April 23, 2018

Due Date

June 3, 2018 (10 a.m.)

RWJF is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

How to Apply

Click Here to submit your resume and letter of interest.