Position Summary

The McKnight Foundation seeks an experienced Senior Program Officer for its International program. This role will focus on linking strategic program vision, particularly in collaborative and transdisciplinary biophysical research, to the design and implementation of effective systems and procedures. The Senior Program Officer will help assess grantee capacity for success and fit with funding criteria, including in the concept note, proposal review, and reporting processes. Key to this role will be managing and maintaining effective working relationships with consultants, grantees, key stakeholders, and other Foundation staff members.

Reporting Relationships

The International Senior Program Officer will report to the CCRP Program Director.

Key Responsibilities

Provide expertise in grantmaking in the International program area

  • Manage a significant portfolio of grants related to ecological biophysical research and innovation, collaborating with the global support team to advance program-wide priorities.
  • Work with the Program Director and International team to ensure alignment of grant projects with the mission and program priorities established by the McKnight Foundation board.
  • Collaborate in reviewing concept notes, grant requests, final recommendations, and grant reports and ensuring due diligence on regional and cross-cutting portfolios. Act as lead on cross-cutting grants that fall under subject matter expertise.
  • Review and approve grant payments.
  • Participate in grants administration by composing and processing grant-related documents and correspondence in a timely fashion.
  • Prepare grant-related and program strategy documents for quarterly board meetings.
  • Contribute to program evaluation/learning cycles. Guide learning strategy development related to subject matter expertise.
  • Model behavior that ensures grantmaking principles and program practices align with the Foundation’s values and operating principles.

Operations and communications

  • Through close collaboration with Program Director and consultant teams, manage the various data collection and storage systems and help coordinate the use of data and information for learning and credible influence (shared platforms and subscriptions, website, document management, organization, sharing, and user access).
  • Manage and lead development and execution of strategic and tactical program communications, including planning; working with communications consultants, vendors, and McKnight’s communications team; coordinating communications channels; and vetting and updating web content.
  • In consultation with Program Director, contract and manage consultants to accomplish program goals related to grantmaking, research, publications, reviews, and evaluations.

Foster and nurture relationships with global consultant team and key internal and external stakeholders

  • Develop and maintain relationships with the global consultant team, existing grantees, and new prospects to learn from current work, explore emerging opportunities, and troubleshoot and build new concepts.
  • Foster working relationships with nonprofits, policymakers, funders, networks, and other groups that work on similar issues.
  • Nurture and maintain positive relationships with grantees.
  • Manage and co-organize meetings, convenings, and community of practice activities on areas of regional and program interest and importance.
  • Participate in and attend program-related meetings, field visits, and convenings, including international travel as applicable.

Participate in Foundation-wide integrated learning, meetings, and events

  • Attend and actively participate in all programs’ team learnings and all staff meetings, as well as retreats.
  • Participate in cross-program workgroups as appropriate.
  • Support the Foundation’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Core Competencies

All leaders at McKnight are expected to display the following attributes:

  • Strategic mindset
  • Communicates effectively
  • Instills trust
  • Drives results
  • Manages complexity
  • Builds networks
  • Collaborates effectively
  • Models resiliency
  • Key Requirements

Position-specific competencies include:

  • Global perspective
  • Financial acumen
  • Ensures accountability
  • Plans and aligns
  • Situational adaptability
  • Builds effective teams

Key Requirements

Minimum Education and Experience

Individuals with a PhD or an equivalent combination of experience/education. Minimum of 5–7 years of research in a biophysical field with a transdisciplinary and ecological focus. Experience working in the international context and/or on community development. Previous experience with agroecological principles and approaches.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Ability to work effectively with cross-organization, cross-sectoral, and cross-cultural collaborations.
  • Ability to work collaboratively and respectfully with a variety of people and groups, particularly nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations, private sector organizations, research institutions and universities, and rural communities.
  • An understanding of the privilege and power held as a funder and the ability to mitigate those dynamics and co-create trusting relationships across lines of difference.
  • Ability to develop and manage processes and practices for complex organizational systems.
  • Ability to analyze, question, and identify key issues and use data to support conclusions.
  • Ability to view issues and challenges from multiple dimensions and apply intellectual energy and creativity.
  • Strong communication, presentation, and project management skills.
  • Ability to engage others and influence outcomes.
  • Ability to work with detailed systems and processes.
  • Skilled in developing and managing budgets and financial reporting.
  • Knowledge of governance and operations of nonprofit organizations.
  • Knowledge of international grantmaking practices and requirements.
  • Ability to handle a substantial workload and meet deadlines.
  • Knowledge of issues of concern to the International program and willingness to learn.
  • Ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing in English and either French or Spanish is preferred.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

  • Work is performed in a variety of settings, including national and international travel up to 20 percent of the time. International travel can last two weeks per trip and generally to countries with limited infrastructure and amenities.
  • Regular operation of standard office machines (computer, copier, and fax) is required.
  • Occasional evening meetings and events are required.
  • Individuals must be able to demonstrate that they are legally eligible to work in the United States.

Compensation and Benefits

The McKnight Foundation provides a competitive compensation package. Benefits include health, dental, life, and disability insurance; generous paid time off; contribution to a retirement plan; matching charitable gifts program; and a flexible work environment. This opportunity is a full-time, exempt position based in Minneapolis. The salary range is $138,600–$146,700.

The above statements are intended to provide a general framework of what this position requires. There may be other functions and qualifications that emerge in time, and the chosen candidate may be asked to perform other duties that are not listed here.

The McKnight Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity. We encourage candidates of all backgrounds to apply.

To Apply

Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role via GoodCitizen’s Candidate Portal. Letters may be addressed to Sarah Meyer.

This search is being conducted with assistance from a team from GoodCitizen.

The position will close to applicants on Friday, April 9 at 5 p.m. central daylight time.

Sarah Meyer, Vice President
Direct: 206-792-4221

Mollie Smith, Search Associate
Direct: 206-462-6190