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 focused on developing and promoting innovations in health and healthcare to improve the lives of millions. In partnership with others, we are working toward a nation that is rooted in equity, compassion, and respect; a nation that provides everyone in America a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. This requires addressing many harmful obstacles to wellbeing, including poverty, powerlessness, and discrimination.
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 (EDI), 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. Our efforts to build a Culture of Health and achieve health equity require us to dismantle structural racism and other barriers to health. Part of this work includes actively shaping a multicultural, inclusive, antiracist organization where all staff thrive as we build and use our capabilities, voice, and power to advance health equity. The Foundation offers a collaborative, collegial, and creative work environment. With a career at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, you will make a difference.
About This Opportunity
Reporting directly to the managing director for the Healthy Communities strategic portfolio, the senior program officer (SPO) will help advance the Foundation’s priorities through programmatic development and implementation (e.g., strategic partnership development, collaboration, equitable grantmaking), including ensuring Healthy Communities’ strategies are aligned with the Foundation’s broader strategic framework to deepen a focus on intersectional racial equity. This role will focus on creating the conditions in communities that allow all residents to reach their best possible health and wellbeing. 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. The portfolio does this by initiating our own programming, as well as working collaboratively with the other portfolios, teams, and departments across the Foundation, and with external partners.
As with staff at all levels of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, senior program officers are expected to demonstrate a passionate commitment to equity and to RWJF’s mission and Guiding Principles.
Essential Job Responsibilities
The primary responsibilities for this role 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.
Program Development and Monitoring:
Center equity, structural racism, and intersectional forms of oppression in learning, program development and program management, and strategy development, including adoption/adaptation of equitable grantmaking processes.
Design and implement new initiatives and bodies of work that advance portfolio and organizational goals and objectives.
Lead and/or participate on subteam committees and workgroups to design and manage program areas in achieving key team objectives. Serve as a partner with the director and other staff in identifying strategic objectives and direction.
Assess new proposals for alignment with strategic objectives.
Cultivate, nurture, and sustain trusting relationships with grantees and field leaders to inform program development, implementation, and management of programs as well as to learn and stay informed of field advancements and context.
Learning and Dissemination:
Track progress of programmatic portfolio and grants toward team goals and objectives, synthesizing and integrating the learnings to inform and evolve strategic directions.
Actively learn about field advancements and the external environment and apply those learnings to program and strategy development.
Document and disseminate learnings from program investments and activities.
Contribute to influencing change through sharing knowledge and connecting leaders and organizations, applying expertise and strategic advice.
Work with key units across the Foundation involved with communications, particularly in dissemination through websites, social media, research, evaluations, and learnings.
Partner/collaborate with director and deputy director to provide insight and guidance on programmatic strategies, grantmaking, and grant management.
Provide coaching/mentorship to team members and in the development of team members; may oversee the work of program associates and interns as assigned by the managing director.
Serve as a partner to managing director, deputy director and other staff in identifying strategic objectives and direction.
Collaborate in a highly matrixed environment by highlighting the connections across work/teams and connecting people internally and externally to better align and more effectively and efficiently support the work of the team(s).
Model and cultivate team norms, particularly focused on equity and racial sensitivity.
Cultivate, nurture, and sustain trusting relationships with colleagues to inform program development, implementation, and management of programs, as well as to learn and stay informed of field advancements and context.
Foundation and Field Contributions:
Represent the Foundation publicly regarding strategy, program direction, program funding, and grantmaking results. Convene and facilitate grantee and other partner meetings for shared learning and networking. Respond to public inquiries about the application processes.
Provide external thought leadership to the field in support of the Foundation’s Generational Goals.
Contribute to and participate in internal Foundation groups and teams and carry out other responsibilities assigned by managing director and/or executive staff.
Contribute to and participate in Foundation-wide projects related to strategy and operation initiatives.
Perform other projects and responsibilities, as assigned.
Commitment to racial and health equity and the Foundation’s vision, values, and Guiding Principles.
Successful experience fostering an inclusive environment, working effectively as part of a multidisciplinary team with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds.
Education and experience equivalent to an advanced degree and six (6) or more years of extensive experience, proven leadership, and recognized in the field for specific content knowledge in healthcare policy. Content knowledge in public health and/or reproductive justice is also desired.
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.
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.
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 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 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 equitable 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 foster an inclusive environment, working effectively as part of a multidisciplinary team with persons from diverse cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds.
Physical Requirements/Working Conditions
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. Will be required to attend meetings, both in person and off-site via phone or videoconference. Reasonable accommodation may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.
This position is assigned to our Princeton, N.J. headquarters offices.
As of January 1, 2023, the Foundation has implemented a Hybrid: Flexible Purposeoperating model. All RWJF employees are required to come into Foundation offices during the year for purposes related to their position such as critical tasks (e.g., building operations, grantee meetings), organizational events (e.g., training and development), and internally focused team activities. All RWJF offices remain open for all Foundation employees for focused work, optional organizational activities, and connecting with colleagues informally as needed for individual purposes.
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.