Program Officer – Inclusive Economies

The Surdna Foundation seeks a Program Officer for its Inclusive Economies Program.

About the Surdna Foundation

The Surdna Foundation was founded by John E. Andrus in 1917, and its mission is to advance social and racial justice in U.S. communities. The Foundation has assets of more than $1 billion, an annual grantmaking budget of over $60 million, and a staff of 27. It is governed by a Board of Directors that includes fifth-generation members of the Andrus family, as well as community members. The Foundation pursues its mission by providing grants in the areas of arts and culture, environmental justice, economic inclusion, and youth justice, as well as through its internal operations and investment practices. In addition, Surdna seeks to achieve three foundation-wide racial equity outcomes: wealth creation, democratic participation, and accountability of institutions.

The Foundation strives to exemplify its core values—justice, equity, inclusion, respect, and humility—in every aspect of its work. Surdna’s staff contribute to an organizational culture of collaboration, curiosity, and bold thinking.

About the Inclusive Economies Program

The Inclusive Economies (IE) Program fosters the creation of an inclusive, just, and equitable economy in which people of color can maximize their potential as leaders, creators, and innovators across sectors. The IE Program’s includes two grantmaking strategies:

  • Business Start-Up and Growth, which supports the development and scaling of businesses owned by people of color, especially enterprises in high-growth industry sectors. The IE program focuses on enabling entrepreneurs to secure growth capital so that company founders will flourish to create jobs, establish themselves as business leaders, and shape the future of the economy. The Foundation aspires to a vision in which the success of entrepreneurs of color fuels a new era of economic growth, inclusiveness, and shared prosperity.
  • Equitable Economic Development, which increases accountability and community voice in economic development planning, policy, and practice. Since communities of color and lower-income populations have not benefited—and have often been harmed—by past economic development initiatives, the IE program seeks to ensure that future economic benefits accrue to these communities. The Foundation’s is that cities and regions will incorporate higher labor and accountability standards into their economic development practices, as well as checks and balances between the public sector, businesses, and communities.

The Opportunity

The Surdna Foundation seeks a Program Officer for its Inclusive Economies Program. The Program Officer reports to the Vice President, Programs and manages all aspects of the IE Program’s grantmaking, field leadership, and a corresponding learning agenda. They work closely with the Program manager and Program Associate(s) on implementation and day-to-day operations, including review of grant proposals and due diligence; the development of grants, strategic grant clusters, and special initiatives; assessment of grant performance and program outcomes; site visits and other learning activities; and reports for the President and Board of Directors.

Surdna’s program officers are leaders in their areas of expertise and fortify their grantmaking efforts through work in the field as collaborators, conveners, innovators, and bridge-builders. Specifically, Surdna expects Program Officers to have substantive programmatic expertise and knowledge to help build networks among funders and grantee partners around issues that need attention; communicate and advocate for social change; and develop partnerships to multiply the impact of the Foundation’s grantmaking.

Moreover, the Program Officer engages in learning and ongoing assessment of the IE Program’s effectiveness and the impact of its grantmaking working with the Vice President, the Program Leadership Team, the Learning and Grant Operations (LGO) team, and other Surdna colleagues to develop cross-programmatic opportunities that ultimately help achieve just and sustainable communities.

First Year Priorities

During the first year of employment, the IE Program Officer will be expected to:

  • Immerse themselves in the Surdna Foundation—its history, mission, vision, values, goals, programs, staff, grantee partners, structure, administration, finances, audiences, organizational culture, and potential;
  • Become familiar with the Foundation’s grantmaking strategies, grant guidelines, and theories of change;
  • Develop and leverage relationships with internal and external colleagues (individual and institutional) to generate ideas and efforts to inform the IE Program’s work; and
  • Contribute and apply subject-matter and field expertise to an ongoing analysis of the IE Program’s implementation efforts; identify and assess prospective grantee relationships; and develop effective communications about the portfolio.

Candidate Profile

The Program Officer stewards the IE Program’s grantmaking strategy; informs and strengthens the Foundation’s programming; and advances the Foundation’s mission. The Program Officer provides strategic, creative leadership that is agile and responsive to changing conditions, new trends, and unexpected challenges. Specifically, the Program Officer will:

  • Manage and monitor a grants portfolio of approximately $10 million annually; build strong, trust-based relationships with grantee partners and field leaders to develop high-impact grants; conducting site visits and assessments; undertaking periodic reviews of progress with grantee partners; and reporting on the portfolio’s performance to staff, Board, and external colleagues;
  • Work closely with the Vice President, Programs, a Program Manager, and a Program Associate(s) to implement day-to-day efforts, and collaborate with the President, Board members, and other colleagues on long-term strategy assessment, learning, and planning;
  • Work with grantee partners to achieve shared goals through collaboration, learning, and strategic partnerships, including with other parts of the foundation and with other donors; build relationships with field experts, governmental decision makers, philanthropy affinity groups, and other funders; and be an effective philanthropic advocate in related fields;
  • Maintain and contribute to a breadth of knowledge about best practices, current trends, emerging issues, policy interventions, and innovations in the Program’s focus area;
  • Support the Foundation’s efforts to use data and key performance indicators to measure program activities and assess outcomes; and collaborate with the Learning and Grant Operations and Communications and Engagement teams to commission, develop, and disseminate research and knowledge products sharing lessons learned and informing funder practice;
  • Represent Surdna and serve as a thought leader in a range of settings, including external meetings, in media, and in publications to promote grantee partners’ efforts and Surdna’s racial and social justice mission; and
  • Work closely with other programs at the Foundation and facilitate cross-program collaboration.

Qualifications & Experience

While it’s understood that no one candidate will bring every desired skill or characteristic, the overview below is representative of the competencies, knowledge, and experience the Program Officer should have:

  • Strong track record of achievement and relevant experience in the nonprofit, public, or private sector;
  • Minimum of seven years in the field and interdisciplinary experience;
  • Substantive knowledge of the fields and intersecting issues related to the IE Program;
  • Demonstrated leadership as a strategic, systems-oriented, outcomes-focused, and creative thinker with a deep commitment to racial and social justice;
  • Deep understanding of structural racism, the role of power in supporting social change, public policy, and the nonprofit community’s role in driving change;
  • Extensive experience (work-related experience and/or lived experience) working with diverse communities across race, class, gender, ethnic, political, and geographic boundaries and a history of building effective partnerships and relationships;
  • Open mindedness about different points of view, new approaches to problems, and challenges to conventional wisdom coupled with a willingness to listen, collaborate effectively, and encourage dialogue across differences;
  • Willingness to work with colleagues across the Foundation to collaborate on shared interests, contribute to a supportive organizational culture, share and learn intersectional lessons, and accomplish institutional goals;
  • Commitment to learning, thoughtfulness, inquiry, open-mindedness, giving and receiving candid feedback, and ability to handle multiple priorities without sacrificing quality;
  • Exceptional written and oral communication skills;
  • Impeccable integrity, credibility, ethical leadership, and sound judgement;
  • Positive energy, flexibility, self-motivation, helpfulness, and a sense of humor; and
  • Willingness and ability to travel across the United States up to 30 percent of the time.

Compensation & Benefits

The salary range for the Program Officer, Inclusive Economies is $130,000 – $141,250.

This position is a full-time position, and Surdna offers a leading and holistic total compensation package that includes salary and benefits. All full-time staff are eligible for our generous benefits package including:

  • 100% employer-funded medical, dental and vision coverage, life insurance and long and short-term disability from first day of employment for individuals and dependents
  • Retirement plan with an overall employer contribution of 12% per annum of gross salary, regardless of employee contribution
  • Paid time off
  • Tenure based vacation time starting at 15 days for years one and two, then increasing to 20 days through 6th year anniversary, then 25 days thereafter
  • 3 personal days per year
  • 8 wellness days per year
  • 12 paid holidays, including four extended holiday breaks with foundation-wide closure to encourage restorative time off
  • Cell phone and internet stipend
  • Home office equipment allowance
  • Employer funded transit contribution of $130/month
  • Access to professional development opportunities (capacity and financial support) and tuition reimbursement
  • Fully paid parental leave (maternal and paternal) during the new child’s first year (born into the family or adopted)
  • Financial relocation support
  • Staff Matching grants

How to Apply

Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Molly Brennan and Sarah Avendaño of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The Surdna Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and considers all applications without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, disability, socio-economic status, marital or veteran status, pregnancy status, or sexual orientation.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of 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 Partners, visit