Human Services Program Officer (KF)

The Kresge Foundation’s Human Services team has an immediate opening for a Program Officer. 

About the foundation

The Kresge Foundation is metro Detroit's largest private, national foundation, with more than $3.6 billion in its endowment, a growing staff of over 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 and culture, education, environment, health, human services, as well as community development in Detroit.

The foundation’s state-of-the-art headquarters is located in metro Detroit.  The modern 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 percent 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.

About the position

The Human Services Program has an immediate opening for a Program Officer to assist in the design and implementation of a grantmaking program that addresses the nation’s persistent and growing human services issues. We are interested in a candidate that has experience in human services including a strong emphasis in workforce development and a focus on social and economic mobility. We support the advancement of human services to accelerate social and economic mobility for people with low income in America’s cities. Our focus is developing the human services field to do more than even the odds for people who are experiencing low income. Our work aims to reset the odds so that people have an improved set of opportunities to live healthy, economically stable and self-determined lives.

When human services organizations think creatively and work in a bold manner, they have the power to significantly impact equality of opportunity. We invest through these focus areas:


  1. Advancing innovative, multi-sectoral policy solutions in human services, we look for opportunities to support efforts to change the way the human services sector operates through testing, disseminating and advocating for policy-driven approaches to improving social and economic mobility.
  2. Fostering the next generation of human services organizations, we support organizations that operate human services programs strategically and with a mind for the future. These programs are person-centered and performance-based.
  3. Building place-based opportunity ecosystems we focus efforts in select cities to create sustainable, integrated and person-centered networks of supports and services anchored by human services organizations.

The Program Officer will join Kresge at an exciting time, becoming a member of a team that is engaged in human services during a period of reform. Although the program’s broad themes and funding priorities are directed at improving opportunity (social and economic mobility) the position will require the ability to work across non-human services specific sectors. Also, the position involves the ability to work both in the realm of policy and in community-based environments.

The program aspires to position The Kresge Foundation as a recognized leader within human services philanthropy by partnering effectively with other foundations and with the public, private and nonprofit sectors, and by deploying our capital in innovative ways for the benefit of nonprofit organizations and the people they serve. We seek to hire an individual who is excited to help our Human Services team achieve that vision.

The individual filling this position will report to the deputy director and work in close partnership with the program managing director and program staff, as well as with the foundation’s Program Operations and Information Management team and Social Investment Practice, a team that uses loans, loan guarantees and deposits in support of Kresge program goals. 

Primary Responsibilities

  1. With the Human Services managing director, deputy director and team, contribute to grantmaking strategy development for the program. Contribute to the team’s program development.
  2. Participate in funder and cross-sector collaboratives to achieve program objectives.
  3. Contribute to the team’s development of criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of the portfolio and participate in the evaluation of the results.
  4. With other team members, have individual and collective responsibility for reaching annual investment and grant targets.
  5. Obtain, maintain, and share a high level of knowledge of the most effective strategies and current thinking in the field: What works? What are the most effective and /or innovative ways to support the work? How to implement strategies with partners?
  6. Participate in national networks, affinity groups, and other external efforts to advance the program’s strategies and the team’s standing within the human services field.
  7. Interact with other human services grant makers, nonprofit leaders, and public and private sector stakeholders active in the field of human services to assess developments in the field and strategic points for philanthropic engagement.
  8. Work with other Kresge program teams on mutually planned and developed collaborative efforts and represent the team on internal foundation working groups and committees.
  9. Leads special initiatives such as grantee cohorts, RFPs and competitions as needed.
  10. Prepare, individually and with other team members, strategy papers and other written materials for the foundation’s management and Board of Trustees.
  11. Develop grant outcomes and evaluation criteria for one’s own grants; review reports and interpret results; reach annual grants target; evaluate letters of inquiry and grant proposals.
  12. With the Social Investment Practice, evaluate the feasibility of alternative forms of capital support for human services organizations and contribute to the program’s embrace of social investment tools.
  13. Within the team calendar, conduct site visits and partake of professional development opportunities.
  14. Effective problem solving, decision-making and timely delivery on work products and deadlines.
  15. Perform other duties as assigned.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in relevant or related fields is required.
  • Minimum of five years of experience and leadership in relevant human services or related fields.
  • Strong commitment to the foundation’s vision, values, and equity with the ability to demonstrate that commitment in daily interactions.
  • Previous grantmaking or lending experience is preferred, but not required.
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of strategies to effect change.
  • Demonstrated financial analysis skills, including the ability to analyze audited financials, balance sheets, and business plans of nonprofit organizations; facility with complex financial instruments desirable.
  • Effective time-management skills, with demonstrated ability to manage a diverse and demanding workload.
  • Experience in project development and management, budgets and work plans, and negotiation of contracts.
  • Strong communications skills and interpersonal skills, including the ability to work effectively as a member of a team.
  • Experience working collaboratively across the nonprofit, private and public sectors.
  • Ability to undertake extensive (~30 percent) national travel.

Please submit a cover letter and updated resume by November 27, 2017 to [email protected]  

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

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