Program Specialist, Knowledge

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career / Mid Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Mar 14

Position description

Purpose of Position: The Program Specialist is a professional program role at the Open Society Foundations, reporting to the Director of Knowledge of the Grant Making Support Group (GMSG) and performing a wide range of responsibilities that advance GMSG’s strategies. The role requires specialization in two areas: knowledge development (create knowledge resources to be used for information and training purposes), and communications (conceptualize creative strategies and mechanisms to communicate and share these resources with diverse audiences).

The contributions of the Program Specialist include the design and management of research projects, the analysis and synthesis of grant-making information (from internal and external sources), the development of a wide array of knowledge resources (in written, visual and digital form), and the design and implementation of creative communication strategies and mechanisms to effectively share these resources with various audiences across the Open Society Foundations network.

Responsibilities are carried out with a degree of independence, although collegial problem-solving is a hallmark of Open Society work, and close collaboration with colleagues from the GMSG and the broader OSF is essential.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following:

Programmatic and Administrative responsibilities:
  • Work, with Director of Knowledge, to design and conduct research on grant-making best practices, challenges and innovations inside and outside of the Open Society Foundations
  • Develop knowledge resources (videos, guidance, discussion guides, case studies, infographics and other visuals, etc.) to share insights and lessons from research, and promote and support good grant-making practice at the Open Society Foundations. Knowledge resources will be used by the GMSG for informational and training purposes.
  • Review and test knowledge resources, and adjust for accuracy, completeness and readability.
  • Develop creative communication strategies and mechanisms to share knowledge resources with diverse audiences inside the Open Society Foundations.
  • Identify grant-making resources, draft and maintain content, and stimulate conversations among grant makers on Open Society’s intranet’s grant-making site.
  • Stay abreast of grant-making policies, practices and guidelines at the Open Society Foundations, and assist grant makers as needed with understanding and adhering to these.
  • Build and maintain relationships with grant makers and operational units across OSF, helping to identify knowledge and experience within the network that would be valuable to systematize and share broadly.
  • Provide advanced administrative support for projects in which (s)he is involved, including scheduling and arranging the logistics for in-person or virtual meetings, contributing to the development of agendas and facilitating work meetings when necessary, managing projects’ timeline, identifying projects’ operational needs and developing solutions, and managing administrative issues related to the work of retained consultants.
  • Assist with the preparation of annual budgets and work plans as needed, and monitor spending;
  • Perform other duties as assigned;
  • Occasional travel may be required.

Education/Experience: Bachelor’s degree from a four-year college or university, and three to five years of progressively responsible experience in a situation relevant to the duties described above. Experience working in a grant-making foundation or grant seeking organization is an advantage.

Skills Required:
  • Proven experience on the creation of diverse knowledge products;
  • Proven experience on the development of communication strategies and mechanisms (written, digital, audio-visual) to share knowledge and information, and reach diverse audiences;
  • Excellent research skills, with ability to provide a sophisticated analysis of qualitative and quantitative information;
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English;
  • Knowledge of grant making, either from a grant making or a grant seeking organization is an advantage;
  • Strong project management, organizational and time management skills;
  • Strong attention to detail, and ability to handle complex projects involving multiple activities and actors;
  • Flexibility and willingness to work simultaneously on a wide range of tasks and projects and ability to prioritize tasks, all while under time pressure;
  • Proven computer skills, with ability to make full use of Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) tools, knowledge of Adobe products (InDesign, Illustrator) or other data visualization tools a plus;
  • Proven ability to listen well, demonstrate respect for other people’s opinions and respond to colleagues with awareness and sensitivity to cultural communications differences;
  • Professional demeanor and maturity, including the ability to work with people of varied backgrounds and work styles;
  • Well-developed emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management, and empathy;
  • Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues;
  • Highly comfortable with collaboration;
  • High level of self-motivation and at ease working independently when necessary;
  • Strong commitment to inclusion and respect for all colleagues regardless of identity or seniority;
  • Sense of humor;
  • Team player.

Work Environment and Physical Demands:

Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations, and we welcome and actively seek applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.

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