Senior Program Officer - Arts and Culture (Kresge)

About The Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation is metro Detroit's largest private, national foundation, with more than $3.5 billion in its endowment, a growing staff of nearly 100 employees and a mission to expand opportunities in America's cities for low-income people. We do this through grant making and social investing nationally in arts & culture, education, environment, health, human services, as well as community development in Detroit. Kresge’s Detroit Program is one of the foundation's signature efforts, reflecting our commitment to work in one of America's most challenging and dynamic cities and our belief in strategic, interdisciplinary, collective, and innovative approaches to urban revitalization. 

The foundation’s state-of-the-art headquarters is located in Metro Detroit.  The modern LEED Platinum facility is anchored by a 19th century farmhouse and a new expansion that houses both a cafeteria and a convening center. Kresge also operates an office in Detroit’s Midtown district.

The Kresge Foundation offers a competitive total compensation package including health, employer-paid dental and vision, basic life insurance, short- and long-term disability, generous paid time off, and an attractive 401k plan with employer match and a 10% employer contribution.  We also provide breakfast, lunch, and snacks daily for a nominal charge, robust professional development opportunities and tuition reimbursement.  Kresge promotes and supports a healthy and green work environment and encourages intellectual curiosity as we embrace and live out our values of creativity, respect, opportunity, partnership, and stewardship.

Available Position: Senior Program Officer

The Senior Program Officer will report to the Managing Director of Arts and Culture and will work in close partnership with other members of the Arts and Culture Team as well as with other staff across the Kresge Foundation. A spirit of, and commitment to, collegiality and collaboration is an essential core value in the Kresge Foundation and within the Arts and Culture Program.

The Senior Program Officer will work as part of creative team charged with building and implementing a bold, entrepreneurial and innovative program aimed to integrate arts, culture and design into community development practices.  The Senior Program Officer will work with national, state, municipal and county leaders to support the creation of tools and strategies that inform, equip, and empower decision makers. Moreover, the Senior Program Officer will strengthen the capacity of place-based entities, community leaders, and anchor organizations working to improve life circumstances of low income residents and develop field-bending tools for full adoption of creative placemaking across sectors. In addition, the Senior Program Officer will capture and share learning distilled from grantees and others to inform the field of practice nationally.

The Senior Program Officer will create and provide intellectual support to networks of individuals and organizations working to embed creative placemaking theory and practices. This position is based in Troy, Michigan and is required to travel primarily within the U.S. approximately 25%-35% of work days.

Primary Responsibilities Include:

  • Shaping grantmaking and investment strategies within the Arts and Culture Program, particularly with respect to community-engaged design, systems integration and comprehensive community development solutions.
  • Preparing, individually and with other team members, strategy papers, grant recommendations, other written materials, and verbal presentations for the Foundation’s management and Board of Trustees.
  • Identifying, conducting due diligence on, and recommending for support, those grants and social investments that advance the Program’s strategies.
  • Assessing the merit of potential grant and investment opportunities and monitoring active grants and investments through review of written materials, conversations by phone, and in-person site visits.
  • Analyzing grantee reports and updates to determine progress toward expressed outcomes, and contributing to the team’s learning and evaluation efforts.
  • Representing the Foundation professionally to external entities.


  • Demonstrated thought leadership and understanding of comprehensive community development solutions.  Experience in community-engaged design, systems integration and comprehensive community development as relevant to the urban context is preferred.
  • Demonstrated experience working with city, municipal, state, and national public policy leaders; the private sector; nonprofit advocates; and other community stakeholders.
  • Experience working with racially and ethnically diverse and low-income communities. Experience working on community development activities – affordable housing, transit oriented development, and social change - in urban areas is preferred.
  • Experience in the development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to effect change and in promoting and contributing to a strong learning culture.
  • Experience in project development, development of budgets and work plans, project management, and negotiation of contracts.
  • Experience using non-grant forms of capital (e.g., debt, equity, and program related investments) in the nonprofit sector and/or knowledge of capital barriers in the climate-resilience field where philanthropic investment may be relevant is preferred.
  • Strong verbal and interpersonal communication skills, including the ability to listen well, convey thoughts clearly, speak in public, and work effectively as a member of a team.
  • Experience working in, or in close partnership with, the philanthropic sector is preferred.
  • Minimum of seven years’ work experience, ten years’ preferred.
  • Master’s degree in a relevant field of study is preferred. Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study is required.
  • Personal creativity and strategic vision, coupled with an ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas – a sense of inquisitiveness and intellectual curiosity.
  • Strong commitment to the Foundation’s vision and its five values (i.e., stewardship, respect, creativity, partnership, and opportunity) with the ability to demonstrate those values in daily interactions.
  • An entrepreneurial, creative spirit.
  • A willingness to challenge conventional wisdom.
  • An eagerness to embrace new ideas and perspectives.
  • An interest in working as a member of a dynamic team.
  • A demeanor that demonstrates both confidence and humility.
  • A sense of optimism and humor.

Please submit a cover letter and updated resume by July 10, 2016 to  

The Kresge Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women and LGBT applicants.