Program Officer Promoting Local Living Economies(NoVo)


Established in 2006 by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, NoVo Foundation (NoVo) is a private foundation whose mission is to foster a transformation from a world of domination and exploitation to one of collaboration and partnership.  NoVo believes a new code of behavior is possible where we are all linked not ranked; envisions a balanced world that is governed by principles of mutual respect, collaboration, and civic participation; and works to help create the conditions for that new code to arise and support others to participate.  NoVo’s commitment to support thriving local communities emerges from these beliefs.

NoVo has a staff of 26 and made grants totaling more than $100 million in 2016.  Current programmatic interests including Advancing Adolescent Girls’ Rights, Ending Violence Against Women, Advancing Social and Emotional Learning, Supporting Indigenous Communities in North America, and Promoting Local Living Economies.

NoVo continues to grow in scale and complexity and is seeking a Program Officer, Promoting Local Living Economies.  This is a new position, as NoVo seeks to expand its work in the Hudson Valley of New York State, and will be based in NoVo’s office in Kingston, NY.

Position Overview

To help fulfill its commitment to creating a more just and sustainable world, NoVo supports the development of local communities that not only survive but thrive.

The Program Officer will contribute to the development and ongoing implementation of NoVo Foundation’s Promoting Local Living Economies Initiative, reporting to the Foundation’s Senior Director.  The primary focus of the Initiative is the Hudson Valley, with a smaller portfolio of work in the southern United States.  The position is based in Kingston, NY.

Historically, the Initiative has been focused primarily on identifying and providing the necessary resources to develop the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, as well as the Local Economies Project, and serves as a resource for education, demonstration, and research to build a resilient food system for the Hudson Valley. 

The Initiative will grow significantly, and the Program Officer will play a key role in shaping and guiding that growth—from its current focus primarily on agriculture and food justice to a broad-based effort focused on supporting community led, grassroots efforts to nurture a healthy, thriving community in Kingston, NY; the greater Hudson Valley; and strategic opportunities in other parts of the country.

The successful candidate will be committed to the Foundation’s mission and values and will have a current understanding of broad and systemic forces that affect the economic well-being of communities.  The successful candidate will have a strong strategic orientation; deep collaborative experience; appreciation for emergence; the ability to adapt quickly to change, and a demonstrated commitment to racial, gender and economic justice.

During the first six months in the position, a key priority of the Program Officer will be to serve as a thought partner with the Foundation’s senior leadership, including the Co-Presidents and other stakeholders, and to develop a comprehensive strategy to expand and implement the Initiative.

Key Responsibilities

The Program Officer will be expected to fulfill the following responsibilities:


  • Manage a portfolio of grants from solicitation through initial proposal assessment, formulation of recommendations that advance the implementation of defined strategic goals, and regular presentation of funding requests to the Grants Committee;
  • Monitor grants through site visits and report on grantee progress to NoVo’s team;
  • Advance the Initiative strategy and the Foundation’s interests by establishing, sustaining, and managing external relationships with peer funders, grantee partners, and other stakeholders;
  • Develop and sustain productive relationships with grantee partners and external consultants; ensure consistent, engaged communication that helps to advance shared commitments and goals;
  • Monitor programmatic and budgetary goals;

Knowledge Management and Leadership

  • Represent the Foundation in efforts that support the development of collaborative relationships across organizations, movements, and sectors; actively engage with the donor community in the Hudson Valley;
  • Collaborate with external stakeholders to gather and share knowledge; amplify the voices of diverse stakeholders; identify key learnings that can inform the Foundation’s work;
  • Identify and pursue external learning opportunities; Regularly engage in meetings, conferences and other activities with stakeholders; share information gained with Foundation colleagues to help inform and strengthen the Foundation’s work; and
  • Supervise one staff member at the Associate level;

Ideal Experience, Qualifications, and Attributes

Ideally, the Program Officer will be or have:

  • A demonstrated commitment to the mission and goals of NoVo Foundation; the ability to clearly articulate and demonstrate the Foundation’s values and beliefs and reflect its mission;
  • At least seven years of experience providing strategic leadership or similar work at a nonprofit or public sector organization, especially one focused on localism or community development;
  • Experience working on social change strategies from multiple perspectives e.g., policy reform, narrative change, community organizing;
  • Strategic thinker able to maintain long-term vision while helping to advance immediate goals and objectives;
  • Demonstrated coalition-building skills and experience within social justice movements; the ability to understand the needs of a variety of organizations and ability to develop their potential to fulfill strategy and goals; a strong teamwork orientation;
  • Significant experience in engaging and sustaining productive relationships with diverse stakeholders and helping NoVo strengthen and expand its relationships and networks; an aptitude for supporting the inherent power residing in communities;
  • Well-developed analytical ability and communication skills, including the ability to effectively engage in writing and verbally with various stakeholders, from grassroots to grass tops;
  • Entrepreneurial, resourceful, creative, flexible, and curious, with a sense of humor and humility;
  • Proficiency in Spanish is highly desirable;
  • An undergraduate degree or equivalent experience is required; a graduate level degree in a relevant field is preferred; and
  • Ability to travel on an occasional basis.

To learn more about the NoVo Foundation, please visit:

To apply for the position: please submit a substantive cover letter describing your interest in the position and your fit with the qualifications, as well as a current resume, to:

Lauren I. Gumbs

Senior Partner

Gumbs + Partners

[email protected]

NoVo Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and is firmly committed to complying with all federal, state, and local equal employment opportunity (“EEO”) laws.  NoVo Foundation strictly prohibits discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment because of the individual’s race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, height and/or weight, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, partnership status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, military status, arrest record and any other characteristic protected by law.

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