Program Officer, Civic Engagement
Description

  

REPORTS TO:   Program Director, Civic Engagement


POSITION SUMMARY

Houston Endowment Inc. (the “Foundation”) seeks an experienced professional with a strong understanding of the importance of a healthy democracy and robust civic engagement to join our team as a Program Officer (the “Program Officer”). The Program Officer will work proactively to advance Houston Endowment’s vision of a thriving Houston region. 

Houston Endowment’s Civic Engagement program area supports work that fosters the conditions necessary to create and support a system that eradicates inequitable civic engagement policies, and practices that disproportionately impact historically disenfranchised communities, and ensures all Houstonians can actively participate in shaping the community by activating their voices and votes for the issues that impact their daily lives. It has three priority areas:  (1) increasing electoral participation in the region among eligible voters by supporting non-partisan get-out-the-vote efforts and engaging with decision makers to have policies and practices in place to effectively increase Greater Houston’s voter participation; (2) increasing immigrant civic integration by ensuring that immigrants gain access to the infrastructure and necessary supports to move along the pathway to citizenship and become civically engaged; (3) journalism that fosters transparent and responsive local government, enhances collaborative opportunities between journalists and communities to surface local issues that need to be reported, and ensures that communities historically marginalized by mainstream media have their voices and perspectives represented.


The strongest candidates will have meaningful experience in electoral participation areas described above and knowledge of grantmaking.


KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

The Program Officer’s role includes the following:

  • Work with the leadership team to develop and oversee the Foundation’s strategies, consistent with the direction set by the Board of Directors (the “Board”)
  • Represent the Foundation in collaborative relationships with current and prospective grantees, other funders, philanthropic organizations and community stakeholders, as well as at state and national meetings
  • Participate in educational and related activities to further knowledge and understanding of issues and opportunities
  • Identify proactively those grants that have the potential to advance the Foundation’s goals
  • Maintain relationships with other funders in the community; when appropriate, assist grantees, funders and other community organizations with conferences, meetings and coordination around issues of mutual interest
  • Develop a network of peers in the field as a potential source of new ideas and/or strategies the Foundation may want to pursue
  • Conduct appropriate due diligence of applying organizations through phone interviews, site visits and research, and analysis of relevant programmatic and financial information on the organization and its leadership
  • Prepare grant recommendations to be presented to the Foundation’s executive leadership and the Board.
  • Ensure that funding strategies address community needs and align with Foundation goals
  • Review and refine strategic direction by seeking and analyzing information, trends and best practices related to topics of importance. Create and execute new programs to address gaps in the field
  • Prepare strategy papers and other written materials for the Foundation’s executive leadership and Board
  • Analyze grantee reports and updates and maintain appropriate level of grantee engagement according to the risk and/or strategic significance of related investments
  • Share knowledge gained from evaluation process with colleagues and use to inform future grantmaking
  • Contribute thoughtfully to a meaningful evaluation of recommendations to the Board, both for individual grant requests and more general program activities
  • Participate in Foundation committees/special projects, as appropriate

Collaborate with teams across the organization to ensure that grants are processed effectively, in a timely manner, and in full compliance with all applicable rules, regulations and internal processes

Requirements
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s preferred
  • A minimum of five years of related work experience in managing successful enterprises and working well with multi-dimensional challenges either in community building or electoral participation 
  • Familiarity with the nonprofit, philanthropic or foundation sector a plus
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to make complex issues understandable and relevant      to external audiences
  • Track record of success in developing new ideas and programs and building commitment among stakeholders
  • Experience working with a variety of stakeholders including charitable organizations’ executives and boards of directors and      the communities they serve
  • Detail-oriented and highly motivated
  • Ability to prioritize projects, meet deadlines, and support others in doing the same
  • Passion for supporting the Foundation’s efforts to improve quality of life for the people of greater Houston
  • Knowledge of the region’s challenges and opportunities in electoral participation
  • Understanding of elections administration, elections policy, and nonpartisan voter participation

VALUES

We believe it is both an honor and a great responsibility to work for Houston Endowment, so we are committed to our values and seek colleagues who share our commitment. 


High Performing

We bring our best every day so we: 

  • Hold high standards and drive for excellence
  • Challenge ourselves and show determination in pursuit of our collective goals
  • Pursue continuous improvement, even when we have achieved our intended outcomes
  • Stay curious to do our best work

Courageous: We know bold action matters so we: 

  • Hold an audacious vision for what we can accomplish together
  • Work proactively, take risks, and make difficult choices when necessary
  • Choose optimism, show resilience, and stay engaged in challenging situations

Committed: We care deeply about the organization so we:

  • Prioritize and commit to the mission of the organization
  • Seek and act on feedback on our work, and devote energy to our own development       to be at the top of our field
  • Gather diverse perspectives and expertise in service of better results

Connected: We care deeply about each other so we: 

  • Build relationships with one another to create a highly effective team
  • Start with trust, assume others have good intentions, and practice generosity       of spirit
  • Address issues directly to resolve conflict or misunderstanding
  • Embrace inclusion and adapt as appropriate when partnering with others