Program Officer (NMEF)

About the Nellie Mae Education Foundation

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF) champions efforts that prioritize community goals that challenge racial inequities and advance excellent, student-centered public education for all New England youth.

As the largest philanthropy in New England dedicated exclusively to education, we work to ensure that all youth have access to excellent and equitable public education that prepares them to succeed and thrive in community. Our new grantmaking strategy, announced in early 2020, centers on racial equity in public education and includes grant funds for:

  • Supporting Organizations Led by People of Color;
  • Advancing Community-School Partnerships;
  • Amplifying Youth Voice;
  • Building Movements and Networks;
  • Strengthening State and National Coalitions; and
  • Championing Student-Centered Learning.


In addition to our grantmaking, we are committed to using our voice, privilege, and power to advance and advocate for racial equity in our education system and to identify, call out, and dismantle the systems and policies that have led to a disproportionate number of negative outcomes for people of color. In all of our work, we have committed to a race-equity-focused and community-centered approach. We commit to actively engaging with the communities we serve, and those most impacted, regarding solutions, investments, and resources for their community.


Headquartered in Quincy, MA, our team is comprised of mission-driven professionals who share a commitment to putting youth and communities at the forefront, operating with a racial equity lens, building collaborative relationships, supporting community-driven change, and continuing to learn, adapt, and improve.

For more information on NMEF, please visit


The Opportunity

The Program Officer will be an important part of a dynamic grantmaking team charged with the design and implementation of new and existing grant funds. Additionally, they will be responsible for a diverse portfolio of grantees whose work and goals they will support. The Program Officer will serve as an internal leader, bringing perspectives and knowledge of current trends around education and racial equity from the field, and as an external representative of NMEF's mission, vision, and values. Demonstrating our commitment to a collaborative and community-driven approach to working with grantees and stakeholders, they will build relationships rooted in trust, humility, and empathy. They will inform the creation of concept papers; recommend grant programs; manage project timelines, processes, and budgets; and assist in providing technical assistance and evaluation. The Program Officer will work collaboratively across the broader NMEF team to ensure best practices in grantmaking, with a community-centered and racial-equity-focused lens.

Key Responsibilities

Specifically, the Program Officer will:

  • Cultivate, manage, and maintain grantee relationships through responsive communication and active listening and serve as the Foundation’s primary contact for external partners within their assigned portfolios
  • Maintain a pulse on the implementation of youth voice and educator work across the New England region, staying current on relevant educational and racial equity topics and trends
  • Provide technical assistance, problem solve, and evaluate outcomes in partnership with grantees, with a focus on empathy, understanding, and creativity
  • Collaborate with colleagues on the grantmaking team and the learning, research, and evaluation team to monitor progress towards articulated outcomes at the grantee, portfolio, and organizational level; prepare reports; track metrics; and help maintain budgets related to assigned grant funds
  • Support the implementation of NMEF's learning agenda, informed by practice in communities with grantees and other partners
  • Contribute thoughtful perspectives, advice, and support to colleagues across NMEF to improve and amplify our efforts in service to the mission, vision, and values
  • Participate in the creation and facilitation of Board materials, agendas, and activities, alongside other grantmaking team members; serve as a liaison to Board Committees as needed

Candidate Profile

As the incoming Program Officer, you will possess many, though perhaps not all, of the following characteristics and qualifications:

  • You bring at least 7 years of experience in the fields of teaching, education administration, non-profit program development, or grants management. You possess a deep understanding of K-12 education and education trends, along with the ability to communicate effectively and partner with a variety of stakeholders who will lead a change agenda for racial equity in public education.
  • Familiarity with public policy or public interest issues in education reform, issues of equity and diversity, and/or social and political dynamics in local, regional, or national governments will be considered a strong plus.
  • You demonstrate a deep commitment to our mission of advancing racial equity in public education in New England and a desire to be part of a team that is committed to growth and learning related to racial equity.
  • You are aligned with our core organizational competencies: race-equity-focused and community-centered; building and nurturing collaborative relationships; adaptable and adaptive leadership; and growth and impact-focused accountability.
  • You have excellent oral and written communications skills, strong organizational skills, and exceptional attention to detail.
  • You bring dynamic interpersonal skills, strong analytical thinking abilities, creativity in problem solving, and comfort with change and ambiguity.
  • You have the ability and self-confidence to work collaboratively or independently as needed; the ability to effectively delegate to, consult with, and advise staff at all levels of the organization, as well as external partners; and flexibility and willingness to contribute as a member of a team in a small, mission-driven organization.
  • You are proficient in Microsoft Office Suite and other software packages, communications protocols, and internet and social media technologies.
  • You are able travel to visit grantees in communities across New England and have a valid driver's license. This role may require some evening and weekend coverage.
  • You hold a Bachelor's degree or equivalent professional experience.


Compensation & Benefits

The salary range for this position is $70,000 - $80,000, commensurate with experience, and NMEF provides a comprehensive benefits package.


To Apply

Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Cassie Scarano, Kirstin Griffiths, and Ariella Pasackow are leading this search.

To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Nellie Mae Education Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented applicants.


About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.


For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit

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