Senior Program Officer, Coordinating Center (RWJF)

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), located in Princeton, N.J., is the largest philanthropy in America dedicated solely to health. Since 1972 we have been providing funding, assistance, and research for projects and programs to help people, their families, and their communities be as healthy as possible. RWJF is committed to working alongside others to build a Culture of Health where everyone has a fair and just opportunity for health and well-being.

Senior program officers are professional staff responsible for developing, implementing, and managing RWJF’s initiatives to improve health and health care. Their primary responsibilities include partnering with directors to provide intellectual and organizational leadership in designing and implementing new initiatives with a focus on equity, evaluating proposals, monitoring programs and grants, learning from program investments and activities, providing mentorship and development for junior staff, and creating impact through dissemination of knowledge.

As with staff at all levels of RWJF, senior program officers are expected to demonstrate a passionate commitment to equity, to the Foundation’s mission and Guiding Principles.

This senior program officer position is a two-year term position within the Coordinating Center, Leadership for Better Health. The Coordinating Center supports collaboration among four RWJF leadership programs

1)     Health Policy Research Scholars,

2)     Interdisciplinary Research Leaders,

3)     Culture of Health Leaders, and

4)     Clinical Scholars

—to strengthen their ability to produce high-impact, networked leaders from diverse sectors and backgrounds who are equipped to build a Culture of Health. The Coordinating Center also supports RWJF’s efforts to strengthen the capacities, visibility, and influence of diverse leaders. The Coordinating Center aims to create greater impact across the four programs through planning and coordination, managing operational support, building meaningful connections between programs and participants, and highlighting participants’ efforts.


This senior program officer position will report to the director, Network Leadership for Better Health (director, Coordinating Center).


This senior program officer will be responsible for the following:

  • Works with the Coordinating Center director, supports planning, facilitation and coordination between the four programs and Leadership for Better Health (LBH), including development and monitoring of shared goals and milestones;
  • Works with program and evaluation staff, develops a learning agenda and supports integration of formative, rapid-cycle, other evaluation findings, and feedback/input from partners and staff to improve collaborative efforts between the four Change Leadership Programs and LBH;
  • Develops and implements a plan for capturing learning, sharing knowledge and uplifting stories about program leaders'/participants' projects, research and impact within RWJF, across programs, and to broader audiences;
  • Supports Coordinating Center team to implement cross-programmatic connections and activities, including alumni engagement activities, participant-organized programs, and in-person and online network-building.

Program Development and Monitoring:

  • Initiates and contributes to the planning, facilitation, design and implementation of cross-programmatic initiatives in a way that advances health equity. May lead sub-team committees and work groups to design and manage implementation key team objectives. Serves as a partner with the Coordinating Center director and other staff in planning and identifying strategic objectives and direction.
  • Works with internal staff, consultants, national program centers, leadership program participants, external organizations and other funders (if applicable) to plan, develop and respond to requests (for cross-programmatic efforts and/or for funding) as needed. Screens and assesses prospective project proposals, and works with partners to refine plans and project budgets.
  • Drafts preliminary summaries of projects and develops recommendations for teams, program staff, Foundation management and Board approval. Assures the quality of documents for projects being recommended for approval.
  • Participates in meetings, conducts site visits, and reviews grantee submissions as part of overall responsibility for developing and managing existing grants and programs.
  • Prepares oral and written summaries of grant activities.
  • May oversee the work of consultants, program associates and interns related to program development and/or grant monitoring activities, as assigned by the director.
  • Monitors the programmatic aspects of funded projects and programs. Works with program finance staff in assessing financial status of programs over time.
  • Supports the development and monitoring of team’s performance indicators.

Learning and Dissemination:

  • Works with program and evaluation staff to support development of measures of impact for major programs and activities and of learning agenda, supporting integration of learnings to improve cross-programmatic efforts.
  • Works with staff and consultants to harvest “learnings” from previous and current leadership program participants, and to actively disseminate and share stories, results and “learnings” to other Foundation staff, partners, grantees and the field. Works with program and evaluation staff and consultants to disseminate results of leadership program participants’ research, projects and other grant-funded activities.
  • Collaborates with all team members, including Communications, Research-Evaluation-Learning, Creative and Information Services staff, and other staff, to develop and disseminate web content.

Team Functioning:

  • Actively participates in team activities designed to improve team functioning, including compliance with team norms and providing support and back-up for team members.
  • Collaborates with director and team to provide insight and guidance on programmatic strategies, grantmaking and grant management.
  • Acts as a coach/mentor to other team members and as a role model to staff.

Grantmaking Processes (as needed):

  • Understands, implements and follows the grant making processes and policies of RWJF.
  • Analyzes and evaluates all aspects of team-wide and project-specific proposals including strength of the activity, value for dollars requested and the organization's health and stability. 
  • Works in collaboration with program finance staff in supporting recommendations and in monitoring financial status.
  • Attends meetings, conducts site visits, and reviews grantee submissions as part of overall responsibility for developing and managing existing grants and programs. Prepares oral and written summaries of grant activities.
  • Keeps director and team appraised of grant developments and occurrences in the field that are likely to affect team decision making, group strategies or grants decision making.

Foundation and Field Contributions:

  • Represents the Foundation publicly regarding program direction, program funding, and grantmaking results. Responds to Foundation and public inquiries about the Coordinating Center, the leadership programs, and the application process.
  • Participates in conferences, seminars, and other professional development activities to maintain and enhance expertise and professional status.
  • Oversees and manages the support staff with whom they work.
  • Contributes to and participates in internal Foundation groups and teams and carries out other responsibilities assigned by executive staff.
  • Participates in Foundation-wide projects related to interest and program areas.
  • Performs other projects and responsibilities, as assigned.


  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and vision and alignment with our values.
  • Demonstrated personal and professional commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Six (6) or more years of experience, proven leadership and recognized in the field for specific knowledge in one or more of Foundation’s interest areas.
  • Successful experience fostering an inclusive environment working as part of a multidisciplinary team and working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Experience leading people through multi-stakeholder strategic planning.
  • Experience handling multiple priorities effectively; must be adept at organizing time efficiently; able to understand and work effectively with others in a matrixed reporting structure.
  • Demonstrated strong interpersonal skills and a collaborative, energetic approach; able to develop productive relationships with a diverse group of colleagues, grantees, consultants, external funders, and others who contribute to RWJF work.
  • Demonstrated self-awareness and sound judgment; ability to make decisions, justify recommendations, and be responsive and clear.
  • Strong project and people management skills as well as a proven ability to work with flexibility, efficiency, enthusiasm, and diplomacy both individually as part of a team effort.
  • Able to provide mentorship/guidance to encourage the development of staff.
  • Personal and professional integrity, an independent and confident thinker, a sense of humor and an able to work effectively with ambiguity.
  • Able to think creatively about opportunities to create and respond to novel and innovative approaches and to inspire others to work towards achieving Foundation goals.
  • Able to synthesize material, focus quickly, identify opportunities while continuing to see the big picture.
  • Strong written and verbal skills; demonstrated persuasive and respectful presentation skills for communications with internal leadership, external high-level stakeholders, and people from the communities we are working to reach on a range of complex issues.
  • Comfort with using social networking tools to further RWJF’s work.
  • Ability to travel; including site visits and representing the Foundation at outside meetings.
  • Education and experience equivalent to an advanced degree (MA/MS) and six (6) or more years of relevant experience.   


The incumbent performs job duties in a traditional business office environment. Tasks are generally carried out with no specific or unusual physical or environmental demands. While performing the duties of this job the incumbent is regularly required to work at a desk with a computer for extended periods of time. Specific physical abilities required by this job include operating basic office equipment such as personal computers, duplicating machines, fax machines and standard office telephones. The incumbent may be required to attend meetings, both on-site and off-site, via phone or videoconference.


Submit your resume and letter of interest.

RWJF is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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