Senior Program Officer - Human Services (KF)

About the Foundation

The Kresge Foundation is one of the top 20 private foundations in the United States and the only one focused exclusively on expanding opportunities for people with low income in American Cities. With a $3.8 billion endowment and a staff of over 100 employees, the foundation deploys grants and social investments across arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services and community development. The foundation’s state-of-the-art headquarters maintains an array of energy-efficient, water-conserving and health-promoting systems. The foundation also operates an office in Detroit’s Midtown district.

About the Position

The Human Services Program has an immediate opening for a Senior Program Officer to assist in the design and implementation of a grantmaking strategy that addresses the nation’s persistent and growing human services issues.

We seek to position The Kresge Foundation as a recognized leader within human services philanthropy by partnering effectively with other foundations, public, private and nonprofit sectors, and by deploying our capital in innovative ways for the benefit of nonprofit organizations and the people they serve.  With a racial equity lens, we are laser focused on achieving person-centered systems change that accelerates social and economic mobility for children and families. To accomplish this we work with local, state, and national partners who are reimagining support systems and co-creating solutions with children, families and community partners. The goal is to meet them where they are and provide the support they need to build well-being and to reach their full potential.

To learn more about our strategy to advance social and economic mobility and how we think about person-centered care, please watch our video at

Although the human services field is facing significant challenges, the sector is maintaining its momentum, realizing outcomes, and helping children, families and communities in cities around the nation achieve their dreams.  We accomplish this by investing in these focus areas:

  1. Cultivating the next generation of human services organizations. We support a cohort of high-performing nonprofit and public sector human services organizations in many ways, including creating organization and cohort-wide action plans that accelerate social and economic mobility and revolutionize the human services sector.
  2. Supporting place-based opportunity ecosystems. We focus our efforts in select cities to build sustainable, integrated and person-centered systems of supports and services.

You will join Kresge at an exciting time, becoming a member of a team that is engaged in human services during a period of transformation and impact. Although the program’s broad themes and funding priorities are directed at improving opportunity (social & economic mobility) this role will require you to work across non-human services sectors and in the realm of policy and community-based environments.  This position reports to the Managing Director of Human Services.

We are interested in someone who brings a combination of experience and deployment of best practices in two or more of these areas:

  • Brain-science informed, two-generation, whole family approach; the important role of fathers; and/or trauma informed situations.
  • Health and human services integration, person-centered systems changes, and outcomes.

Primary Responsibilities

  1. Contribute to grantmaking strategy development for the program, and to the team’s program development.
  2. Participate in funder and cross-sector collaboration to achieve program objectives.
  3. Utilize social investments tools, such as program-related investments, to achieve objectives.
  4. Contribute to the development of criteria to evaluate the effectiveness of the portfolio and participate in the evaluation of the results.
  5. Maintain individual and collective responsibility for reaching annual investment and grant targets.
  6. Obtain, maintain, and share knowledge of effective strategies and current thinking in field – what works, what are the most effective and /or innovative ways to support the work, and how to implement strategies with partners.
  7. Participate in national networks, affinity groups, and other external efforts to advance the program’s strategies and the team’s standing within the human services field.
  8. Interact with other human services grant makers, nonprofit leaders, and public and private sector stakeholders to assess developments in the field and strategic points for philanthropic engagement.
  9. Work with other Kresge program teams on mutually planned and developed collaborative efforts.
  10. Prepare, individually and with other team members, strategy papers and other written materials for the foundation’s management and Board of Trustees.
  11. Identify possible grant and social investment opportunities that advance the program’s strategies.
  12. Develop grant outcomes and evaluation criteria for one’s own grants; review reports and interpret results; reaching annual grants target.
  13. Evaluate letters of inquiry and grant proposals.
  14. With the Social Investment Practice, evaluate the feasibility of alternative forms of capital support for human services organizations and contribute to the program’s embrace of social investment tools.
  15. Manage consultants and commission research as needed. Lead research and program development along with managing director.
  16. Within the team calendar, conduct site visits and partake of professional development opportunities.
  17. Maintain a high level of external visibility and involvement, and lead community initiatives on behalf of the foundation.
  18. Operate in full alignment with the program strategy and initiatives.
  19. Lead and manage projects across the grantmaking strategy.
  20. Write and publish complex strategy papers and complex grant write-ups. Actively sources strategic and programmatic grants.
  21. Perform other duties as assigned.
  22. Strong commitment to the foundation’s vision and values with the ability to demonstrate that commitment in daily interactions.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in relevant field is required; Master’s degree and relevant credentialing are preferred.
  • Minimum of seven to ten years of experience and leadership in relevant human services or related fields.
  • Experience working collaboratively across the nonprofit, private and public sectors.
  • Previous grantmaking or lending experience is preferred.
  • Proven ability to distinguish between technical and adaptive challenges in the field and support the development of strategy to address those challenges.
  • Effective problem solving and decision-making skills
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Experience in the development, implementation and evaluation of strategies to effect change.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in a high demand, fast-paced environment.
  • Ability to take initiative to achieve results.
  • Financial analysis skills, including the ability to analyze audited financials, balance sheets, and business plans of nonprofit organizations; experience with complex financial instruments desirable.
  • Strong verbal communications and social skills, including the ability to work effectively as a member of a team.
  • Proven strong strategic thinking skills and the ability to lead and contribute to critical conversation focused on advancing policy solutions and systems change.
  • Ability to undertake extensive (~30%) national travel.
  • Commitment to supporting families and communities.
  • Experience supporting a strength-based approach.
  • Experience embracing the importance of racial equity.
  • Excitement and commitment to help the Human Services team achieve the vision.

To Apply

Click here to apply.

Application deadline for this position is May 31st, 2019

Kresge is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability or other applicable legally protected characteristics.

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