Senior Program Officer, Healthy Communities

We are no longer accepting applications for this position.


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 strengthen our ability to address our nation’s most pressing health issues. With a career at RWJF, you will make a difference.

The Opportunity

Senior program officers are professional staff responsible for developing, implementing, and managing 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.

This senior program officer will have an assignment with the Healthy Communities focus area, or theme. The goal of the Healthy Communities focus area is to create the conditions in communities that allow all residents to reach their best possible health and well-being. The theme takes a policy-systems approach to acknowledge and address the structural barriers that have created unequal conditions across communities and regions. These inequities include segregation, concentrated poverty, and structural racism in the sectors that plan, build, and finance communities.

Candidate Profile

All senior program officers at the Foundation are expected to have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and vision and alignment with our values, including commitment to racial equity and health equity.
  • Demonstrated personal and professional commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Personal and professional integrity; an independent, confident, and creative thinker; a sense of humor; and able to work effectively with ambiguity at times.
  • Six (6) or more years of extensive experience, proven leadership, and recognized in the field for leadership in the areas of community development, economic development, and/or policy change. Understanding of social and/or structural determinants of health and a belief and commitment to working across sectors, disciplines, and perspectives.
  • Demonstrated experience using tools such as knowledge building and curation; narrative change; policy change; learning communities; and/or impact investing.
  • 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 interpersonal skills and a collaborative, energetic approach; able to develop productive relationships with a diverse group of colleagues, grantees, consultants, external funders, and others who contribute to RWJF work.
  • Demonstrated self-awareness and sound judgment; able to make decisions, justify recommendations, and be responsive and clear.
  • Experience handling multiple priorities effectively; must be adept at organizing time efficiently; able to understand and work effectively with others in a matrixed reporting structure.
  • Strong project and people management skills, as well as a proven ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, enthusiasm, and diplomacy—both individually and as part of a team effort.
  • Able to provide mentorship/guidance to encourage the development of staff.
  • Able to think creatively about opportunities to create and respond to novel and innovative approaches and to inspire others to work toward achieving Foundation goals.
  • Able to synthesize material, focus quickly, and identify opportunities while continuing to see the big picture.
  • Strong written and verbal skills; demonstrated persuasive and respectful presentation skills for communications with internal leadership, external high-level stakeholders, and people from the communities we are working to reach on a range of complex issues. This also includes a sense of how and when to employ communications tactics strategically.
  • Comfort with using social networking tools to further RWJF’s work.
  • Able to travel, including grantee or applicant site visits, and representing the Foundation at outside meetings.
  • Education and experience equivalent to an advanced degree (master’s) and six (6) or more years of relevant experience.

Job Responsibilities

Program Development and Monitoring

  • Initiates and contributes to the design and implementation of new initiatives in a way that advances theme goals and objectives—in service to advancing racial equity as a means to improving health and well-being. May lead and/or participate on sub-team committees and workgroups to design and manage program areas to achieve key team objectives. Serves as a partner with the director and other staff in identifying strategic objectives and direction.
  • Works with internal staff, consultants, other funders, and external organizations to plan, develop and respond to requests for funding. Screens and assesses prospective project proposals; works with applicants to refine plans and project budgets.
  • Drafts preliminary summaries of the project and develops recommendations for teams, program staff, Foundation management, and Board of Trustees approval. 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 initiatives and programs. Prepares oral and written summaries of program 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 program finance staff in assessing financial status of programs over time.
  • Leads the development and monitoring of team’s performance indicators.

Learning and Dissemination

  • Works with staff and consultants to assess, evaluate, and disseminate results of programs and projects. Works with staff to develop measures of impact for major programs and activities.
  • Works with staff and consultants to harvest “learnings” from previous and current grantmaking, and to actively disseminate results and “learnings” to other staff, grantees, and the field.
  • Works with other key units across the Foundation involved with communications, particularly in dissemination through the websites, social media, research, evaluations, and learning.

Team Functioning

  • Actively participates in team activities and improving team functioning, including compliance with team norms and providing support and backup for team members.
  • Partners/collaborates with director and team to provide insight and guidance on programmatic strategies, grantmaking, and grant management.
  • Acts as a coach/mentor to other team members and as a role model to staff.

Grantmaking Processes

  • Understands, implements and follows RWJF’s grantmaking processes and policies.
  • Analyzes and evaluates all aspects of team-wide and project-specific proposals including strength of the activity, value for dollars requested, and the organization's health and stability. Works in collaboration with Program Finance staff in supporting recommendations and in monitoring financial status.
  • 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 director and team apprised of grant developments and occurrences in the field that are likely to affect team decision-making, group strategies, or grants decision-making.

Foundation and Field Contributions

  • Represents the Foundation publicly regarding strategy, program direction, program funding, and grantmaking results. Responds to public inquiries about the application process.
  • Participates in conferences, seminars, and other professional development activities to maintain and enhance expertise and professional status.
  • Collaborates with administrative management to supervise and manage the support staff with whom senior program manager works.
  • Contributes to and participates in internal Foundation groups and teams and carries out other responsibilities assigned by executive staff.
  • Participates in Foundation-wide projects related to focus and program areas.
  • Performs other projects and responsibilities, as assigned.



RWJF is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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

RWJF has engaged Koya Partners to help with this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume.

Download job posting PDF

Application Deadline: Open

(Post Date: Jan. 25, 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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