Senior Program Officer, Healthy Children and Families

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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 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. This requires removing obstacles to health, such as poverty, powerlessness, and discrimination, and their harmful consequences.

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.

Job Scope

Senior program officers are professional staff responsible for co-designing, managing, and monitoring theme-level strategies and programming in support of RWJF’s initiatives to improve health and health care. Their primary responsibilities include providing intellectual and organizational leadership in designing and implementing new initiatives; evaluating proposals; monitoring programs and grants; learning from program investments and activities; providing mentorship in the development of junior staff; and creating impact through dissemination of knowledge.

As with staff at all levels of the Foundation, senior program officers are expected to demonstrate a passionate commitment to equity and to RWJF’s mission and Guiding Principles.

The Opportunity

Reporting directly to the managing director for the Healthy Children and Families (HCF) theme, the senior program officer (SPO) will help advance the Foundation’s priorities by co-designing, managing, and monitoring strategies and initiatives that advance our goal to ensure that all families, no matter their background, have the resources they need to raise healthy, thriving children starting from the earliest years.

The SPO will draw from experience in areas such as developing, advancing, and changing programming to support policy and environmental shifts. Recognizing the link between economic well-being and long-term health, the SPO will apply these skills to drive progress, moving from an established theory to action. They will help make decisions on investments to support organizations seeking to advance change across policy, practice, and systems. The SPO will draw upon expertise working in collaborative environments; leading strategy development and monitoring; and designing systems-change initiatives for social change. The selected SPO will lead the design and implementation of new and ongoing initiatives and programs; assess progress at the strategy and initiative levels; and evaluate and learn from our investments and activities in close collaboration with RWJF’s Research-Evaluation-Learning unit. They will also facilitate dissemination of learning, data, and resources alongside our Communications department.

Specific Qualifications

  • Extensive understanding of multiple approaches to narrative and mindset change that include familiarity with concepts and principal networks related to:

o   Understanding the factors and drivers that enable and hinder family income in connection to health and well-being.

o   Advancing or improving the systems with which families engage to obtain supportive resources.

o   Networking with external partners and collaborators to center families and co-design, grounded in change theory or experience.

o   Advancing the fair and just opportunity all for children and families to live the healthiest life possible, applying an explicit focus on structural racism and intersectional forms of oppression.

  • Written, verbal and analytical skills; demonstrated persuasive and respectful presentation skills for communications to be used with internal leadership, external partners, and people from the communities we are working to reach on a range of complex issues.
  • Comfort with using social networking tools to further RWJF’s work.
  • Familiarity with, but not necessarily a professional background in, philanthropy and philanthropic processes.
  • Ability to travel, including site visits and representing RWJF at outside meetings.
  • Ability to provide mentorship/guidance to encourage the development of staff.
  • Six (6) or more years of extensive experience and proven leadership and recognized in the field for specific content knowledge in one or more of RWJF’s focus areas.
  • All senior program officers at RWJF are expected to have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

Commitment to Equity: You have a history of fostering inclusive environments, engaging diverse voices, and are able to consider underlying inequities, structural drivers, privilege, and power dynamics in your work.

Connective Thinking: You excel at creatively exploring problems, issues, and opportunities. You are a lateral thinker who is able to translate ideas from different spaces, make connections between seemingly disparate ideas, and see how they fit within a broader whole.

Curiosity and a Rapid Learning Curve: You are intellectually curious and able to dive into and understand new spaces and new networks. You like to explore different, disparate ideas and can swiftly make sense of complex issues.

Systems Thinking: You are able to identify leverage points and assess how new ideas have the potential to influence or change a system. You are comfortable with experimentation and risk-taking and are able to find and refine the truly transformative “nugget” in an idea—even if others don’t see it yet.

Excellent Networking Skills: You are a relational person and are able to build robust networks that allow you to cast a wide net, make connections, and see opportunities and challenges from diverse perspectives.

Open-Mindedness, Additive Thinking, and Humility: You are open-minded and willing to explore ideas, whether they are yours or not. You are an additive and generative thinker who builds on the ideas of others. And you are self-aware and recognize a grantmaker’s role in supporting the work of their grantees.

Well-Honed Research and Analytical Skills: You can apply rigor and an objective lens when researching and evaluating. You make sound decisions and are responsive, clear, and persuasive in your recommendations.

Able to Drive and Communicate: You are able to work both independently and collaboratively and to manage multiple priorities effectively. You spend your time generously and judiciously. You consistently deliver on project goals and outcomes.

Collaborative Approach: People enjoy working with you and you enjoy working with others. You are able to work effectively with others and work with efficiency, enthusiasm, and diplomacy—both individually and as part of a team. You build productive and reciprocal relationships with a diverse group of colleagues, grantees, consultants, and others.

Physical Requirements/Working Conditions

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

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

How to Apply

Submit your resume and letter of interest.

Application Deadline: September 26, 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: September 26, 2021

(Post Date: August 9, 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.

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