Program Officer - 3 Openings (CWF)


This is an exciting time to join The California Wellness Foundation as we create new pathways for growth within our programs department. We are currently seeking three creative, innovative and visionary thought partners to accelerate the equitable distribution of the foundation’s resources by adding depth to our extraordinary programs team. Generalists with program management experience in the nonprofit, philanthropic, government and/or private sectors; a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); and experience across one or more of the strategic priorities within our Advancing Wellness grantmaking strategy are preferred. Of the three new program officer positions, one will be based in the Humboldt or Redding areas of Northern California, and will be filled by a candidate with deep connections to issues impacting the lives of rural Californians (although the role will not focus solely on rural issues). The other two positions will be based in Los Angeles or Oakland. 



The California Wellness Foundation is a private, independent foundation established in 1992 with a mission to protect and improve the health and wellness of the people of California. As one of the largest health-focused foundations in California, with approximately $1 billion in assets, Cal Wellness is a nationally recognized leader for its strategic core operating support for grantees; public policy grantmaking; and a focus on violence as a public health issue. It is Cal Wellness’ desire to promote equity and level the playing field so that everyone has access to good-paying jobs, healthy and safe neighborhoods, and quality health care services. The Foundation’s current Advancing Wellness grantmaking strategy includes three interrelated portfolios: Bridging the Gaps in Access and Quality Care; Promoting Healthy and Safe Neighborhoods; and Expanding Education and Employment Pathways. In addition, the foundation is proud of its $15 million initiative focused on women of color and its recent investments in the area of immigration.  Since its founding, Cal Wellness has awarded nearly 9,000 grants totaling more than $1 billion. Its annual operating budget is approximately $13M, and its annual grantmaking is approximately $37M. In addition, Cal Wellness awards approximately $2 million in Program Related Investments (PRIs) each year.

As the foundation looks to the future, it is pursuing new and innovative strategies beyond its core grantmaking to advance its mission, including using the foundation’s voice to speak out on critical issues that affect health and wellness, and investing $50 million in mission related investments (MRIs).

Cal Wellness has a diverse staff of approximately 40 located in our Los Angeles and Oakland offices and a diverse 11-member Board located throughout the state of California. The Foundation’s work underscores a belief that wellness requires social justice, a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and sustained efforts to eliminate systemic barriers that prevent access to health care, education, employment and safety.


The Program Officers will be part of a 14-member department headed by the Vice President of Programs who reports to the CEO. Each program officer will report to a seasoned Program Director and will have an opportunity to rotate portfolio assignments every few years. The programs team is supported by a cohort of program coordinators and the director of program operations. Program officers will interact with the CEO, the executive management team and the board of directors.

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The ideal candidates will be aligned with our mission and values; possess strong program management, strategic and analytical skills; demonstrate exceptional communications and relationship-building aptitude to respectfully develop genuine connections with grantees and peer funders; and embody, through lived experience, applying a DEI lens to our work. 

CORE competencies

  • Live our Core Values: Respect, Integrity, Accountability, Equity, Stewardship, Excellence, Learning, and Trust.
  • Drive Towards Innovation: Be bold. Experiment and learn from both successes and failures.
  • Make a Difference: Yes, we can. Own our responsibilities and our ability to make positive change.
  • Contribute to One Team: We’re in this together. Our success is a collective effort.
  • Show Courage: Be thoughtful but act on your convictions. Be open to feedback.




  • Review solicited and unsolicited letters of interest to determine fit with the foundation’s guidelines and priorities
  • Review and analyze grant proposals and financial documents to determine strategy alignment, organizational capacity and effectiveness
  • Conduct site visits with prospective and current grantees
  • Perform programmatic and financial due diligence for all grant proposals
  • Prepare and present cogent analytical grant recommendations to the Program Director and Vice President of Programs
  • Present recommendations and analyses to CEO and the board as needed

Grant Monitoring and Learning

  • Monitor the performance of active grants within assigned portfolios
  • Monitor progress of grantees in achieving key objectives through the life of the grant and participate in discussions with grantees to help resolve issues
  • Contribute to reports that communicate the alignment of grantee activities with portfolio goals and strategies, including grant recommendations, analyses and other documents
  • Review and assess grantee reports and coach grantees, as needed, to support success
  • Maintain and build content expertise by staying abreast of current research, data and trends in the health care, public health and social justice fields; and by attending and participating in relevant convenings and conferences
  • Perform research and other assignments

Community Engagement

  • Explain foundation priorities and procedures to grantseekers and respond to goal- and priority-related inquiries from grantseekers and the general public
  • Represent the foundation at relevant conferences, meetings, briefings
  • Participate in conferences, workshops, briefings and other professional development opportunities to remain current on issues and philanthropic best practices



  • Develop and maintain teamwork with all staff members in a trustful, respectful, and cooperative work environment
  • Participate as an active member in cross-departmental and foundation-wide activities



  • 5-7 years of experience in project development, nonprofit management, community organizing, fundraising, strategy development, and/or financial analysis
  • Exceptional project management skills, including organization and attention to detail
  • Solid understanding of the social determinants of health and the philanthropic, public and nonprofit sectors including knowledge in one or more of the foundation’s grantmaking areas
  • Ability to work independently and prioritize duties: must work well under pressure, balance multiple and competing demands, complete work accurately under deadlines, and follow tasks through to completion
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences while maintaining high professional and ethical conduct including maintaining confidentiality and exercising discretion
  • Ability to maintain objectivity in proposal evaluations
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, a strong customer service orientation, and desire to work in a collegial, team-oriented environment
  • Excellent analytical, research, reasoning, problem‐solving and decision‐making abilities
  • Superb written and oral communication skills, including solid presentation abilities
  • Capacity to see how details fit into a bigger picture
  • Comfort with receiving feedback and assisting others
  • Flexibility in assuming additional responsibilities, as required
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office software and general computer literacy
  • Strong alignment with the foundation’s values
  • Willingness to travel up to 40% 


  • Desirable areas of expertise include (but are not limited to): health administration, health policy, public policy, health care, mental health, social work, communications, nonprofit business management, or a related field
  • Experience with community-based organizations, community organizing, fundraising, corporate philanthropy, government, health professions, higher education, public affairs, or private foundations
  • Understanding of program related investments 


The starting salary range for this position is $86,600 - $108,200, commensurate with skills and experience. The full salary range for the role is $86,600 to $129,900. Highlights from our benefit package include: a variety of health plans, a generous 401(k) retirement savings plan, paid time off, professional development and educational opportunities, matching gifts, and the opportunity to work at a mission and values driven organization.


The California Wellness Foundation is partnering with Walker and Associates Consulting - a national strategic management consulting and search firm located in Oakland - for this search. To apply, email a cover letter, resume and list of three references (candidates will be notified in advance of any outreach to references) to [email protected] on or before 5:00 p.m. PST on Monday, March 16, 2020. Use the subject line: Program Officer Search. Submission via one combined PDF or Microsoft Word file is preferred. Resume review begins immediately. Questions or Nominations? Email us at [email protected] or call (510) 834-2341.

The California Wellness Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse candidate pool.

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