Associate Program Officer – American Cities Practice (TKF)

About the Foundation

The Kresge Foundation is one of the top 20 private foundations in the United States and the only one focused exclusively on expanding opportunities for people with low income in American Cities. With a $3.8 billion endowment and a staff of over 100 employees, the foundation deploys grants and social investments across arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development. The foundation’s state-of-the-art headquarters maintains an array of energy-efficient, water-conserving and health-promoting systems. The foundation also operates an office in Detroit’s Midtown district.


About the American Cities Practice

More than 80 percent of Americans – and more than 80 percent of Americans with low incomes – live in metropolitan areas. At the same time, there is a continuing trend towards urbanization. This puts American cities on the frontline of our nation’s most pressing challenges: whether we can drive lasting prosperity, close the widening gap between rich and poor, promote equality and expand opportunity. Kresge’s American Cities Practice draws on the depth of the foundation’s experience from working in Detroit and the breadth of the foundation’s national expertise to help find solutions to these challenges—specifically by promoting the use of effective and inclusive community development practice in American cities.


About the position

The Associate Program Officer will work with the American Cities Practice’s team to evaluate grant applications, to manage a portion of the practice’s portfolio of grants, and to lead select bodies of work associated with the practice’s strategic priorities:

  • Fostering cross-city exchange of knowledge between community development practitioners through research, publications, and convening;
  • Seeding and scaling innovative approaches to community development by funding and supporting national multi-city initiatives; and
  • Stewarding the foundation’s place-based grantmaking in Memphis and New Orleans, including community development grantmaking and cross-team coordination.

All of this work has the goal of decreasing poverty and increasing social and economic mobility in American cities.


Primary responsibilities

Project & Program Management

  • Coordinates critical modules of the foundation’s convening, research, and knowledge exchange agenda. Maintains positive working relationships with key partners -- advising, managing and supporting their work.
  • Manages portions of the Practice’s place-based work including:
    • Internal cross-team collaboration through quarterly meetings, site visits and ongoing information exchange. Develops strategic objectives, associated workplans and agendas, facilitates meetings and maintains internal relationships.
    • External relationships with key partners in focus cities.
  • Acts as American Cities Practice's liaison to other Kresge departments, including Learning & Evaluation. Participates in internal working groups.
  • Manages external requests for proposals and open calls for grant applications including RFP development, publication, review and communication process.


  • Contributes to the practice’s overall strategy development to address team and program priorities, including strategies related to place-based work.
  • Manages creation of strategy documents such as board materials, board advisory committee materials, and working group materials
  • Obtains, maintains, and shares knowledge of the current thinking in field - acting as a subject matter advisor internally at Kresge.

Grant Reviews

  • Manages a portfolio of select grants across national initiatives and place-based work in cities.
  • Performs grant review responsibilities for a combination of sourced and unsolicited applications including the initial screen and review of applicant "ideas," "inquiries," and “Letters of Intent” submitted to the program team.
  • Submits grant recommendations for consideration and approval, drafts and manages transmission of decline letters.
  • Develops knowledge and supports the team’s use of PRI and innovative capital tools to achieve program objectives.
  • With other team members, shares collective responsibility for achieving strategic objectives in cities.

Research, Evaluation and Learning

  • Works with the Program Officer and Managing Director to develop grant outcomes and evaluation criteria for one's own grants; reviews reports and interprets results for the broader team.
  • Within the team calendar, conducts site visits and partakes of professional development opportunities.
  • Conducts research and contributes to program development within the team.

Contributions to the Field and other Duties

  • Represents the foundation publicly, sharing program approaches and grant making outcomes.
  • May participate in funder and cross-sector collaboratives to achieve program objectives as needed.
  • Develops and maintains other external involvement as needed by the team.
  • Works collaboratively, actively supporting and encouraging all members within the team and across teams.
  • Demonstrates a strong commitment to the foundation’s mission and values, and an ability to demonstrate that commitment in daily interactions.
  • Demonstrates a strong commitment to pragmatically championing issues of inclusion and equity in American Cities.
  • Conducts other duties and special projects as requested.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in relevant or related fields is required; Completion of a Master’s degree is preferred.
  • Minimum of two to five years of work experience; must have leadership potential.
  • Excellent analytical, writing, and verbal skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and experience working across teams, functions or sectors.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively develop and manage strong and productive working relationships with internal and external partners.
  • Previous experience synthesizing large amounts of information and the ability to execute on strategies.
  • Demonstrated interest in the public, nonprofit, civic or social sectors.
  • Demonstrated maturity and sound judgment. Ability to make decisions and craft support for recommendations.
  • Skill in working effectively as a member of a team.
  • Ability to master a diverse and often demanding workload.
  • Must be willing to travel extensively. Local, regional and national travel requirements vary by quarter.
  • Previous experience in consulting/analysis, project management, strategy or (for-profit, non-profit or public sector) operations is preferred.


The Kresge Foundation, an Equal Opportunity Employer, seeks to reach a broad and diverse candidate pool when filling vacant positions. We strongly encourage applications from people with diverse backgrounds because we believe that the foundation and its work benefit from the various perspectives and talents of a diverse staff. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability or other applicable legally protected characteristics.


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