Program Officer

Open Society Foundations
  • Location
    New York, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Mid Career
  • Apply by
    Jun-22-2018
  • Posted
    Jun 08

Position description



The Open Society Fellowship Program builds individual and institutional capacity in fields that are central to the Open Society Foundations’ (OSF) core mission.

Through the identification of emerging leaders and investment in individuals who think without fear or constraint about the global issues in which we engage, the Program pushes the Open Society network and the broader rights community to be critical of unexamined assumptions and received wisdom. The Open Society Fellowship encompasses several different initiatives, each of which seeks to contribute to the intellectual life and rigor of the network. They include:

Open Society Fellowship- supports individuals pursuing innovative and unconventional approaches to fundamental open society challenges. The fellowship funds work that will enrich public understanding of those challenges and stimulate far-reaching and probing conversations within the Open Society Foundations and in the world.

New Executives Fund- supports newly appointed executive directors and chief executive officers who show promise to grow as leaders in their respective fields. Selected candidates receive funds that can be used flexibly to support projects undertaken early in their organizational leadership tenures.

Open Society Internship for Rights and Governance- dedicated to supporting students from select public policy and related graduate programs and introducing them to the world of open society organizations and values.

Contested Spaces: A site based learning initiative- an intellectual enrichment and professional development program for Open Society staff to broaden their horizons through an intensive learning trip to an unfamiliar country or region, where they are exposed to a diverse range of ideas and realities.

Job Profile:

The Fellowship Program seeks a fixed-term Program Officer until January 31, 2019 to work primarily with the New Executives Fund (NEF). The ideal candidate is a dynamic, collaborative and mature person who is able to effectively assess organizational health and new leadership and can help shape the NEF’s future evolution.

The Program Officer’s overall mandate will be to work with NEF’s programmatic side, focusing on the global portfolio of organizational grants, overseeing the competitive selection cycles, monitoring grantees, and building peer-learning communities. They will be responsible for deepening NEF’s understanding of the non-profit leadership space through participation in donor affinity groups and facilitating an internal OSF community of practice on leadership transitions. They will also contribute to overall program development strategy of both the Fund and the overarching Fellowship program.

This position requires experience assessing organizational health per OSF practices. It also requires some experience with good practices in nonprofit management and some knowledge of current controversies, issues and thinking in the field. This position, while not a supervisor, manages projects and grantees, and is responsible for effective deployment of time, money, and resources. Building and maintaining strong, trust-based relationships internally and with grantees across cultures and geographies is an important function of this role. Competing interests, complex political and cultural factors, and tensions between long- and short-term goals must all be managed effectively.

The Program Officer role may include any or all of the following and/or similar activities:
  • Managing the NEF selection cycle from beginning to end, including reviewing nomination materials, conducting due diligence internally and externally, leading interviews with ED candidates, and helping make final selection decisions;
  • Being responsible for grant-making activities including assessing the organizational health of prospective grantees and writing grant recommendations as part of the grant approval process;
  • Analyzing applicants’ and grantees’ financial and budget information;
  • Working with applicants to develop and finalize grant budgets and project plans, when necessary;
  • Conducting active outreach across the OSF network to increase diversity of nominations received;
  • Monitoring the progress of current grantees through regular check-ins with EDs, board members, and other donors, as well as review of narrative and financial reports;
  • Conducting site visits to grantee organizations;
  • Building collaborative relationships within and outside OSF (e.g., with existing grantees, prospective grantees, experts in the community, etc.) to advance NEF’s peer-learning communities of grantees as well as OSF staff;
  • Contributing to a culture of internal learning and reflection, including facilitating the Community of Practice on Leadership Transitions & Support and organizing brown bag discussions.
  • Supporting the ongoing development of NEF’s strategy and conducting research to support program design;
  • Helping develop and implement grant-making strategies, priorities, and guidelines;
  • Writing and editing program materials and guidelines;
  • Preparing and participating in assessments and evaluation of the effectiveness of program strategies and policies;
  • Staying abreast of key issues, developments and events in the non-profit leadership space, and participating in donor affinity groups, in order to identify trends and connect them to programmatic efforts;
  • Performing special assignments, including participation in other Fellowship and OSF program activities, as requested.

Candidate Profile
  • 5 to 8 years of progressively responsible experience in relevant civil society, multilateral, humanitarian or development organizations.
  • Bachelor's degree from a four-year college or university.
  • Familiarity with issues surrounding good grant-making, particularly around building up organizational capacity and sustainability in the field and knowledge of non-profit management and capacity building in the field of human rights;
  • Ability to assess organizational health and write eligibility assessments as per OSF requirements;
  • Ability to conduct site visits of grantees
  • Knowledge of actors and stakeholders in the field of non-profit leadership a plus;
  • Excellent writing, analytical, interpersonal, organizational, and communication skills required. Sensitivity to cultural differences is essential.
  • Ability to work efficiently and effectively in a fast-paced, continuously changing environment; troubleshoot and follow projects through to completion on time and without loss of attention to detail;
  • Demonstrated flexibility and openness in responding to changing work priorities.
  • Capacity for critical and creative thinking and complex problem solving;
  • Show discretion and ability to handle confidential issues;
  • Pleasant, diplomatic manner and disposition in interacting with colleagues and the general public;
  • Excellent computer skills, proficient in Microsoft Office and experience with internet research and database management;
  • Willingness to travel internationally;

Application instructions: Please include a cover letter and resume (both required), and upload as one document when submitting an application.

We are strengthened by the diversity of our colleagues across the Open Society Foundations. We welcome applications from people of all cultures, backgrounds, and experiences, and are committed to providing reasonable accommodations so that colleagues with disabilities are able to fulfill the essential functions of the job.

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