Program Officer / Senior Program Officer, Leadership for Better Health



The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is the largest philanthropy in America dedicated solely to health. Since 1972, we have worked to help people, their families, and their communities be as healthy as possible—no matter what their physical, economic, or demographic challenges may be. We do this by providing funding, assistance, and research for projects and programs targeting some of the most pressing health issues in our nation. RWJF has committed itself to a vision of working alongside others to build a Culture of Health where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to live as healthy as possible. Our goal is to help families and communities find ways to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and keep well-being front and center for generations to come. Building a Culture of Health that benefits everyone requires unprecedented leadership and collaboration. No individual, organization, or government program can alter the course of America’s health alone. We must all work together.

Building a Culture of Health is a bold shift that relies on increasing equity and combating the effects of racism and poverty. It requires engagement among leaders who represent every sector and discipline, and communities with limited resources and opportunities. It demands recognition that health is greatly influenced by complex social factors—education, neighborhoods, transportation, income, and faith—in addition to health care. Today’s health
challenges are influenced by factors well beyond the clinic walls, from our access to economic opportunity to the safety of our surroundings. To address these factors, we need forward-thinking leaders with a shared vision of what shapes health—and a desire to work together. At RWJF, we are developing a wide network of diverse leaders dedicated to making positive change together.

Reporting to the Managing Director, Leadership for Better Health (LBH), the Program Officer OR Senior Program Officer (PO/SPO) will focus on the Foundation’s efforts to develop and support leaders who will take committed, coordinated, and collaborative action toward increasing individual and collective health and well-being. To achieve its mission, LBH will develop strategies and a culture that supports high performance teamwork. Core to the Foundation’s mission, LBH programs and initiatives focus on how individuals and organizations can shift mindsets, tackle systemic barriers to health and well-being, and organize individuals into teams, collaboratives, and partnerships to advance social change.

The PO/SPO will play a critical role in advancing Leadership for Better Health’s priorities by designing, managing, and monitoring programs which develop the capabilities and the capacity of individuals to bring together and align the efforts of multi‐sector stakeholders engaged in community transformation to improve health. These leaders will range from community organizers to change agents in planning, transportation and community development to health care, the arts, the environment and education. Drawing upon experience in leadership development initiatives, with an on‐the‐ground as well as systems‐level perspective of the successes and challenges associated with these endeavors, the new PO/SPO will provide intellectual and organizational leadership in designing and implementing new and on‐going projects, evaluating nominations, applications, and proposals; monitoring programs and grants; learning from our investments and activities in close collaboration with RWJF’s Research, Evaluation, and Learning Unit; and creating impact through dissemination of knowledge.

The PO/SPO will also be expected to be an external ambassador for the Foundation and the Foundation’s leadership on health equity and should have experience forging and maintaining dynamic partnerships at the local and national level to achieve change. We are especially interested in candidates with demonstrated experience leading others and who are comfortable working in networks and communities of practice.

A successful PO candidate will be results‐driven, have 3 to 5 years of relevant experience, hold an advanced degree (e.g., MA, MPH, MJ, MBA, MPP), 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 to 10 years of proven leadership and is recognized in a field for a specific area of knowledge related to leadership development. 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. Excellent 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, external partners, high‐level stakeholders and people from the communities we are working to impact, on a range of complex issues. The PO/SPO must demonstrate that she/he is capable of working beyond the level of an individual contributor. The SPO must be able to demonstrate an excellent leadership and executive skills; that is, the ability to facilitate the efforts of others (individual contributors) as well as to productively oversee, manage, coordinate, and lead them in producing meaningful results.


PO/SPO Program Development and Monitoring

  • Initiates and contributes to the design and implementation of new and on‐going Foundation and Leadership for Better Health 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.

PO/SPO Field Contributions, Learning and Dissemination

  • Represents the Foundation publicly regarding program direction, program funding and grant-making 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.
  • 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 Managing 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.

PO/SPO Team Functioning

  • Responsible for actively participating in Leadership for Better Health team activities and improving team functioning, including commitment with team norms and providing support and back‐up for other team members.
  • Utilizes managing director and team members to provide insight and guidance on programmatic strategies, grant-making and grant management.
  • Leads and or engages in emergent learning activities and periodic strategy reviews

Additional SPO Responsibilities

The SPO plays a key role in the leadership and culture of the LBH; s/he will function as a competent leader among peers to ensure that the above functions occur and are well coordinated. The SPO facilitates strategy conversations for the theme and actively helps build a team culture that supports a high performance team. The SPO provides guidance, feedback and coaching support to peer officers to ensure excellence in implementing strategy and building the team culture.


  • PO: Completion of an advanced degree (e.g., MA, MPH, MJ, MBA, MPP, JD) and 3 to 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., MA, MPH, MJ, MBA, MPP, JD) and 6+ years of relevant experience. A total of 7 to 10 years of proven leadership and recognized in the field for specific area of knowledge related to community change. (A combination of education and experience may be substituted for the education requirements.)
  • 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, external high‐level stakeholders and people from the communities we are working to reach 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.

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Post Date

October 2, 2017

Due Date


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 outlining your interest, as well as the reasons why you are best suited for the position and would be a valuable addition to the LBH team.

Applications, along with how you learned of the position, should be submitted to:

RWJF is an Equal Opportunity Employer.