Program Officer, Education

The Opportunity

The Meyer Memorial Trust (MMT) – originally called the Fred G. Meyer Charitable Trust – was founded in 1982 by Fred Meyer, who started the chain of Pacific Northwest-based retail stores that bears his name. Having left instructions in his will to establish the charitable trust, he bequeathed it nearly two million shares of stock in Fred Meyer Inc., and gave the Trust no prescriptive constraints. Instead, he allowed the Trustees to establish broad frameworks that would be responsive to the region he so loved. Today, his values – to innovate, take risks, embrace diversity, adapt to changing circumstances, contribute to economic development/parity and to develop the power of the mind – continue to create and inform the culture of the Trust, influencing its activities and the role that it plays in the region. Currently, with assets of approximately $785 million, it is still among the largest private foundations in the nation. The Trust’s mission is to work with and invest in organizations, communities, ideas and efforts that contribute to a flourishing and equitable Oregon. 

With a staff of 29 and a board of five Trustees, the work of the Trust is focused on strengthening the region, using a mix of strategic, proactive and responsive investments, including grantmaking, loans and initiatives, commissioning research, supporting policy advocacy and championing a range of community and nonprofit engagement strategies. Since 1982, the Trust has awarded funds to more than 3,100 separate organizations that address a wide variety of needs in many different focus areas: arts and culture, conservation and environment, education, health care, human services, public affairs, and social benefit. In fiscal year 2014, the Trust awarded the largest number and total amount of awards in its history: 515 new grants and program related investments to local nonprofit organizations totaling $46.3 million. 

It is an exciting time at the Trust. After an intensive self-discovery process that has served to reinforce its commitment to equity and diversity, staff and Trustees have refined the role of the Trust and its future in the region. The Trust is shifting its programmatic approach and seeks to add new members to the team who can help shape its future work. These new people will add richness to this evolving, forwardthinking organization that plays such a critical role in the social improvement sphere in Oregon and beyond.

Learn more about Meyer Memorial Trust at http://www.mmt.org!

Position Responsibilities

The Program Officer, Education will be a dynamic, engaged contributor to the overall efforts of the Trust, working to develop and implement new approaches to promote equity in the education sector. MMT’s Strong and Equitable Education Portfolio will focus on disparities in the education system in Oregon, working within the context of early childhood, public K-12, higher education, and workforce training, and will identify and advocate for policy approaches and solutions to promote equity in both opportunities and outcomes. The Education portfolio will also engage the nonprofit voice in education, especially around advocacy for communities in which disparities are most pronounced, particularly around programmatic initiatives. 

The Program Officer will report to the Portfolio Director, Education. This position’s core responsibilities include developing and implementing strategies and managing the on-the-ground execution of the Trust’s education equity work through a variety of programmatic approaches. This is an ambassadorial role, building and leveraging an extensive network and working across organizations to further collaboration among them. The Program Officer will also help build metrics and mechanisms for continuous improvement within the program, analyzing and evaluating information and situations to strengthen program strategy and increase impact.

In all facets of responsibility, the Program Officer ensures that the Trust’s key values of equity, collaboration, innovation, responsiveness, humbleness, and transparency are upheld. 

Specifically, the Program Officer, Education will:

• Work with the Portfolio Director and other Trust leaders to continue to develop, evaluate, and refine an education program strategy that leverages the realities and possibilities of education and the social sector and applies an equity lens

• Engage and develop relationships with a broad range of public, private, nonprofit, and workforce education partners; work collaboratively to identify strategic approaches for equity in educational opportunities and outcomes, becoming a trusted presence in the sector and region

• Continually survey the local, regional, and national landscape to identify emerging innovations, policy opportunities, and trends, furthering partnerships in the portfolio’s area of focus and in philanthropy

• Work with Trust applicants and grantees on all aspects of outreach and the grantmaking process in conjunction with communications and grants administration teams

• Participate in developing methods and systems to assess the impact of grants and programs, review and respond to grantee reports

• Provide thoughtful and relevant support and assistance to prospective and current grantees and partners; assess needs, directly provide technical assistance and leverage external technical assistance providers as appropriate to the Portfolio strategy

• Identify ways to build capacity among grantees by developing and supporting shared learning and field building among grantees and other stakeholders; convene grantees and partners around priority issues and develop infrastructure for peer support activities

• Identify and support opportunities for the Trust to use tools beyond grantmaking, such as communications, relationships, research, and convening, to further the Trust’s goals for strengthening the sector

• Share findings about the impact of partner and Trust approaches with social sector peers, and working with the Communications team, share stories broadly

• Support other portfolio teams at the Trust in leading, staffing, and participating in Trust-wide strategies, particularly as that work pertains to the building of the social sector and the capacities of individual organizations

• Prepare written materials for senior Trust leadership and trustee review

• Participate in relevant affinity groups, as appropriate and value-added to the Trust, grantee organizations, and Oregon’s social sector

Profile of the Successful Candidate

MMT seeks a Program Officer, Education who is curious in nature, analytical in approach, and committed to and knowledgeable about education policy and equity, with a deep understanding of the application of policy solutions to disparities, in both opportunities and outcomes, throughout the education system. The successful candidate will be creative and entrepreneurial, combining a collaborative sensibility and work style with the ability to deliver and execute on innovative ideas and solutions that serve the goals of the portfolio and the entire organization. 

The successful Program Officer, Education will demonstrate a broad interest in and knowledge of the education sector, particularly in the context of applied policy solutions. As this role is focused on promoting equity in the field of education, particularly in underrepresented communities, this professional will require excellent interpersonal, collaboration, and leadership skills along with a solid understanding of organizational development and management in the context of assessment and technical assistance. Fundamentally, the new Program Officer will have a set of experiences that helps her or him to understand the disparities in educational opportunities and outcomes, and the resources one needs to address them. Additionally, the Program Officer, Education will have a strong work ethic with high personal and professional standards of transparency and accountability.

The successful candidate will offer a personal interest in and commitment to working in an inclusive environment that places a high value on equity. MMT promotes a positive workplace culture of collaboration, innovation and respect in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic environment. By virtue of its commitment to equity and inclusion, MMT knows well that professional strength can be derived from many experiences, and accordingly encourages candidates from a variety of backgrounds. 

More specifically, MMT seeks a professional who reflects the following:

• Significant work experience in the education sector, including experience specifically working in the field of education policy

• Demonstrated knowledge and experience in implementing effective strategies for promoting equity, particularly in the broader context of different levels of education (early childhood, K-12, higher education and workforce development)

• Understanding of the role of educational opportunity in social change, and of the relationship between equity and education outcomes; experience with developing and applying strategies to operationalize equity and inclusion is desired

• A genuine desire to partner with and support others, and a diplomatic style that is constructive, especially in providing feedback

• Demonstrated experience working effectively with a broad and diverse range of stakeholders, including marginalized/under-represented communities – especially those related to equity, community change, and vibrant, inclusive communities

• Outstanding relational, interpersonal, and collaboration skills, both internally and externally; a communication style that reflects clarity, authenticity, transparency, and approachability

• Excellent written and oral communication skills; effective, engaging facilitation and presentation skills

• Excellent organizational and project management skills

• A strong work ethic, with high standards of accountability and a bias toward getting things done

• Working knowledge of best, promising, and emerging practices and innovations in the philanthropic field regionally and nationally

• Demonstrated ability to handle sensitive information effectively and confidentially

• A demonstrated willingness to reiterate a strategy and approach, with the ability to course correct as necessary

• A willingness to challenge conventional thinking coupled with the ability to collaborate effectively and encourage dialogue

• Ability to travel on an as-needed basis; an appreciation of and enthusiasm for community presence as an integral part of this role

Additionally, the successful candidate may well have:

• Fluency in a language other than English

Start Timeframe

We seek to have the successful candidate in place by Fall 2015.

Compensation

This position offers competitive compensation and excellent benefits.

To Apply

All applications are held in strict confidence. Please submit your credentials and a letter of interest via email to The 360 Group at: MMTPOE@the360group.us

Applications should be directed to the attention of Vincent Robinson, Managing Partner. No calls, please. To be considered, The 360 Group must receive applications no later than 5:00pm Pacific time on Monday, September 14th , 2015.

At The 360 Group, we know that a richly diverse mix of professionals makes organizations more effective. As such, we make demographic and experiential diversity a hallmark of all our work, including search engagements.