Program 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 that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.

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. Diversity, inclusion, and collaboration allow our staff’s wide range of experiences, passions, and perspectives to enrich 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 Foundation is seeking a program officer to focus on its efforts to ensure that all children and their families have an equitable opportunity to achieve their optimal health and well-being. RWJF’s aims to improve child and family well-being, particularly during the earliest years of a child’s life, through policy, systems, and environmental changes.

This PO will play a critical role in advancing the Foundation’s priorities by designing, managing, and monitoring strategies and initiatives that focus on promoting multigenerational policies that promote health outcomes for children and advancement of healthier school environments. Drawing upon experience working in highly collaborative environments, leading strategy development and monitoring, and designing systems-change initiatives, the new PO will lead the design and implementation of new and on-going initiatives and programs that propel policy change; evaluate progress at the strategy and initiative levels; learn from our investments and activities in close collaboration with RWJF’s Research, Evaluation, and Learning Unit; and create impact through dissemination of knowledge.

RWJF’s bold endeavor to build a Culture of Health requires that all staff are skilled at navigating changing environments, responsive to trends and shifts in the landscape. Candidates who will be most successful are highly adaptive; are practiced in critical thinking; have the ability to take in, synthesize, and apply complex information; know how to plan, develop and execute strategies; can rapidly learn the foundation’s management processes and systems; and demonstrate commitment to RWJF’s vision and guiding principles. In addition, the ideal candidate has expertise in child and human development policies and is adept at operationalizing initiatives with the understanding of the multiple factors that underpin healthy equity and the processes required to achieve it.


Program Development and Monitoring

  • Serves as a partner with the managing director and other staff in identifying and advancing strategic direction with an emphasis on policy change. Initiates and contributes to the design and implementation of new and on‐going Foundation and Healthy Children, Healthy Weight (HCHW) theme initiatives and programs. May lead sub‐area committees and cross‐theme work groups to design and manage strategy areas to achieve key theme objectives and outcomes. Works with program staff, consultants, other funders, and external organizations to plan and develop initiatives and programs. Screens and assesses prospective proposals, works with applicants to refine plans and budgets. Assures the quality of documents for programs being recommended for approval.
  • Participates in meetings, conducts site visits, and reviews grantee submissions as part of overall responsibility for developing and managing existing initiatives and programs. Prepares oral and written summaries of program activities.
  • May oversee the work of program associates and interns related to program monitoring activities, as assigned by the director.
  • Monitors the programmatic aspects of funded initiatives. Works with program administrators in assessing financial status of programs over time.
  • Engages diverse perspectives across the Foundation and applies that to team strategy development and initiatives.

Field Contributions, Learning, and Dissemination

  • Represents the Foundation publicly regarding strategy, program direction, funding, and progress. 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.
  • 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 HCHW theme performance indicators and learning questions.
  • Participates in Foundation‐wide programs 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 initiative‐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, the PO works in collaboration with program and financial personnel across the Foundation.
  • Attends meetings, conducts site visits, and reviews grantee submissions as part of overall responsibility for developing and managing existing programs and programs. Prepares oral and written summaries of program 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 program decision-making.

Team Functioning

  • Responsible for actively participating in HCHW theme activities and improving team functioning, including commitment to team norms and providing support and back‐up for other team members.
  • Collaborates with the 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.


  • A combination of education and experience equivalent to an advanced degree (e.g., MA, MPH, MJ, MBA, MPP, JD) and 3 to 5 years of relevant experience.
  • Experience handling multiple priorities effectively; must be adept at organizing time efficiently; high tolerance for ambiguity; ability to understand and work collaboratively and effectively with theme members in the Foundation’s organizational structure.
  • 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.
  • 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, trust, and buy-in 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 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.


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 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

July 2, 2018

Due Date

Sunday, August 12, 2018

RWJF is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

How to Apply

CLICK HERE to submit your resume and letter of interest.