Program Officer – Fellowship Alumni (WKKF)


The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), a leading philanthropic force helping communities create the conditions children need to thrive, is seeking nominations and applications for Program Officer, working with alumni of their fellowship programs.  WKKF’s work focuses on improving conditions for vulnerable children, concentrating on three key factors of success and their intersections: education and learning; food, health and well-being; and family economic security. Across these three areas, WKKF has committed to approaches that undergird racial equity and healing, community and civic engagement, and leadership capacity building.  Key to the leadership capacity building approach, fellowships have been one of the foundation’s most effective tools for realizing the belief that community-grounded leadership is a critical tool for both individual development and broad societal change.  In 2014, the foundation launched a new Community Leadership Fellowship program, targeting individuals who can be transformative change agents in their communities so that vulnerable children and their families can achieve optimal health and well-being, academic achievement, and financial security.

As a member of the foundation’s Racial Equity, Community Engagement, and Leadership Programs team, and serving as a peer to the program officers on the grantmaking teams, the new program officer will co-design and support programming for alumni of WKKF fellowship programs that realizes a vision where fellowship alumni are engaged with the work of the foundation and connected to each other in meaningful ways. The program officer will assume responsibility for fellowship alumni engagement and programming; cultivating a rich network of former fellows in the foundation’s priority places of Michigan, Mississippi, New Orleans, and New Mexico, and worldwide. Together with this distinguished group, the program officer will engage in thought partnership with foundation leaders to envision, articulate, and operationalize a community leadership and talent network that nurtures ongoing individual growth opportunities for fellows, builds continued connections to human capital in communities, and helps to  inform leadership development programming throughout the foundation.


The ideal candidate will be a seasoned connector and network builder. S/he/they must be firmly committed to the foundation’s mission and will have an understanding of the broad social and economic forces affecting communities and families, demonstrated knowledge of best practices in leadership development and network building strategy, and success facilitating authentic, productive dialogue within diverse communities and settings. The successful candidate will have experience directing meaningful engagement with alumni groups or fellowship networks, ideally in a community-based context, and will have strong understanding of trends and networks within the leadership development field, both domestically and internationally. S/he/they will bring a significant set of skills in strategic communication, translating concept into action, and building meaningful relationships with persons from diverse cultural, social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds.  S/he/they will be an outstanding writer and communicator and will possess a strong team orientation, a high tolerance for ambiguity, the ability to adapt quickly to change, and the maturity and humility to learn from a variety of stakeholders and partners.



In 1930, breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg donated $66 million in Kellogg Company stock and other investments “to help people help themselves,” launching the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The foundation began its work in Michigan, but by the 1940s had expanded its work internationally and was breaking ground in areas such as rural children’s health, “mainstreaming” children with disabilities, and the development of the healthcare profession. By its 50th anniversary, the foundation was among the world’s largest private philanthropic organizations. Its mission reflects the foundation’s core priorities of thriving children, working families, and equitable communities, and the dynamic connection between the three.

“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society.”

To advance this mission, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation created a framework supported by an innovative matrixed organizational design to prioritize investment decisions and maximize effectiveness toward achieving the desired ends and improvements for children and their families. This new framework supports disciplined choices toward targeted outcomes and stronger alignment across programs. It is a focused and networked approach to strategic programming that relies on close cross-foundation collaboration and agile teams to leverage human capital and knowledge resources to positively impact vulnerable children, families, and communities. Across bodies of work, the foundation implements an array of change-making tools – grantmaking, impact investing, contracting, networking, and convenings – to ensure progress.  A commitment to racial equity, community engagement, and leadership development are woven into each endeavor as essential to the creation of a social context in which all children can thrive, particularly the most vulnerable.



Development of human capital and leadership is an ongoing and critical component which supports all of the foundation’s work.  The foundation not only is committed internally to the leadership development of its professional staff, but also has committed resources and strategy to a body of work to develop leadership and networks among its grantees and other formal and informal leaders in vulnerable communities across the country and internationally.  The most prominent of these programs is the Community Leadership Network Fellowship Program.

Fellowships have, over the years, been a highly effective approach to advancing the belief that leadership is a critical tool for individual development, community-grounded leadership, and broader societal change.  To support the belief that human capital is a key component of systems change and equity, WKKF developed a signature leadership fellowship in 1980 with a vision of cultivating leadership in previously underrepresented communities by fostering talent and leadership development within those communities. From 1980 to 2002, 16 groups of Fellows, drawn from throughout the US and around the world, were given the opportunity to engage in a three-year quest to broaden their intellectual horizons and bolster their capacities for leadership through self-directed experiential learning and group participation. Since that time, these groups have grown to encompass individuals from around the world who are engaged in professions that range from health policy to food systems. Alumni have gone on to prominent leadership positions as senior-level members of the President’s cabinet, heads of non-governmental organizations and as college and university presidents. Building upon this prestigious network of strong and active alumni, the Community Leadership Fellowship was relaunched in 2014 as a program designed to support cohesive networks of emerging and established leaders by bringing together cohorts of community-based established and emerging leaders working in one of the foundation’s six priority places: Michigan, New Mexico, Mississippi, New Orleans, Mexico and Haiti, as well as a national cohort.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Fellowship constitutes a continued commitment to the importance of leadership development within local communities. The Fellowship targets individuals who can be transformative change agents in their communities so vulnerable children and their families can achieve optimal health and well-being, academic achievement and financial security.  The program includes the Fellows and community members and seeds intentional networking through focused gatherings, meetings and fellow involvement. This networked movement, ultimately involving thousands of leaders at all levels, can play a critical role in significantly improving the lives of children, particularly those areas where the WWKF is working most intensively.



Work at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is both a great privilege and a tremendous responsibility. The new program officer will join an extraordinary team of individuals who are passionate about leadership and communities at a time of reimagining the way the foundation can leverage all its assets toward greater impact and ends achievement.  The program officer will direct and create alumni engagement and programming offerings that recognize the importance of human capital development in the achievement of systems change in education, health, and economic security across the foundation’s priority locations and in support of racial equity, healing, and transformation in our country.

Specifically, the new program officer will:

  • Guide ongoing fellowship alumni engagement efforts and alumni professional development. Through strengthening linkages with the alumni community and various leadership networks, the program officer will build a program of robust alumni engagement and ongoing professional development and learning opportunities for fellows and emerging leaders engaged in the work of community change.
  • Support capacity building and the connectivity of community leadership nationally and internationally. The program officer will leverage the foundation’s ongoing alumni engagement efforts and follow-on guidance and learning opportunities to ensure the cadre of entrepreneurial and innovative WKKF fellows will continue to serve as catalysts for systems change in communities and provide continued support for each other. The program officer will work closely with other relevant foundation staff and partners to support the development of social change leaders, build collaboration within and for the benefit of fellowship projects, and guide ongoing implementation of fellows’ social change efforts in their communities, nationally and internationally.
  • Manage and promote the fellowship alumni community. The program officer will be a community builder with a clear view of how to inspire and maintain a deeply engaged alumni community, utilizing multiple communication channels to engage with alumni and amplify their voices. The program officer will develop feedback mechanisms to understand alumni and community leadership needs to inform and improve program offerings. The program officer will collaborate with internal, place-based and systems change teams to share and source alumni stories and ideas.
  • Promote opportunities for the alumni network to inform and engage WKKF programmatic and talent strategy in support of the foundation’s mission. The program officer will work to ensure that alumni community talents and expertise are brought into close partnership and collaboration with the foundation, working together to achieve community and programmatic goals in the priority areas.
  • Serve as a resource to other leaders in the foundation. As the program officer nurtures the growth of the alumni network, s/he/they will also be a thought partner to grantmaking colleagues within the foundation on best practices and innovations in community leadership development. This includes providing insight to departments across the foundation into the impetus and goals of local community movements, how to strengthen networks, the benefits of strategic communication, and how to keep national leaders aware of and embedded in community-level social change.



The ideal candidate will be first and foremost committed to the foundation’s mission and will have an understanding of the broad social-economic, systemic forces affecting the health and well-being of children, their families, and their communities.  S/he/they will be versed in leadership development,  racial equity, and community engagement practices and will possess a strong team orientation, a high tolerance for ambiguity, the ability to adapt quickly to change, and a track record of success working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds.

While no one person will embody all of the qualities enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes and experiences:

  • Significant work experience (five years minimum, eight plus preferred) in fields relevant to the responsibilities outlined above, with strong national and regional networks and contacts, and a deep and comprehensive understanding of program design and development, systems, network development, and community change; experience managing a best-in-class alumni outreach program or network is a plus;
  • Current knowledge of best practices in fellowship alumni engagement and communication to stimulate appropriate programming directions and capitalize on emerging opportunities; an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to translate concept to action;
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement programs that have impact; the ability to think globally while working locally, representing WKKF to a variety of stakeholders in a respectful, credible, and selfless manner focusing on the foundation’s core values and the greater good;
  • Ability to work effectively within vulnerable communities, including appreciating historical contexts, discerning nuances of relationships and power dynamics, understanding racial/ethnic realities, and respecting community needs and desires. Experience working in community-based contexts with a particular focus on racial equity and healing and community and civic engagement; and familiarity with one or more of WKKF’s priority areas of: educated kids, healthy kids, and secure families;
  • Successful experience working as part of a multidisciplinary team and working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds; willingness to set aside a personal agenda in favor of organizational and community goals and objectives;
  • Strong relationship building and communication skills; highly developed emotional intelligence and active listening skills, and the ability to use interpersonal skills and political acumen in collaborative, diplomatic ways;
  • Excellent writing, editing, analytical, facilitation, and oral communication skills;
  • Ability to multitask and meet deadlines within designated timeframes, and demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities; strong organizational skills and exceptional attention to detail with the ability to work both independently without close oversight, take initiative, and contribute ideas for enhancing performance;
  • An optimistic outlook and the humor, integrity, and patience necessary to work within a transformative environment;
  • The ability and willingness to travel up to 60%; and
  • Fluency in another language in addition to English is preferred.



More information about the W.K. Kellogg Foundation may be found at

This search is being conducted with the assistance of Callie Carroll and Vanita Bhargava of the national search firm NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word format), and where you learned of the position should be sent to: [email protected]. In order to expedite the internal sorting and reviewing process, please type your name (Last, First) as the only contents in the subject line of your e-mail.


The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity.

Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.