Program Officer

Position: Full Time; Exempt

Department: Grantmaking and Community Impact

Reports to: Senior Director, Responsive Grantmaking

Supervises: Program Coordinator (shared supervisory responsibility) 

Date Reviewed: February 2024

Organizational and Program Background

For more than 109 years, the Cleveland Foundation has worked with donors, nonprofit organizations, and community partners to enhance the quality of life for all Greater Cleveland residents. Focusing on Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties, the foundation builds community endowment, addresses needs through grantmaking and social impact investing and provides leadership on vital issues. The Cleveland Foundation is the world’s first community foundation and one of the largest today, with approximately $3 billion in assets. 

Summary: By design, responsive grantmaking is the community’s front door to the Foundation, where community ideas are developed and implemented by nonprofit and public sector partners. It is the Foundation’s primary vehicle for meeting our mission of enhancing the lives of Greater Clevelanders by allocating resources focused on improving access to services and opportunities for underserved populations, strengthening nonprofits, generating new ideas, advancing new ways of collaborating, leveraging philanthropic and public dollars; and supporting public policy, awareness, and advocacy. This Program Officer role works within the Responsive Grantmaking team in partnership with the entire enterprise to steward innovative and impact-oriented grants.

This area of responsive grantmaking focuses on a broad range of issues, including but not limited to arts and culture, youth development, mental and physical health, environment, education, and general health and human services.

Essential Functions and Expected Outcomes:

1. Implement the responsive grantmaking strategy focused on impact: As part of this role, the officer will understand and work within the emerging framework and process for evaluating and funding responsive grant requests utilizing the broad range of the Foundation’s tools and resources. In addition, the officer will support the connection of new and established donors with the Foundation and enhance the grantee’s experience. 

  • Manage a diverse portfolio of responsive grants from initial grantee conversation to completion of the grant cycle and final report; review grantmaking inquiries and manage write-ups; meet with prospective grantees; review financial and organizational information and prepare detail-oriented, data-driven evaluations of and recommendations for the Board for funding requests to ensure grants are in alignment with Foundation priorities and community needs/opportunities.
  • Review and analyze reports and public data and identify trends in the nonprofit community to inform future grantmaking; identify and fill gaps in current data/knowledge that would improve responsive impact. 
  • Provide information to grant seekers concerning grantmaking policies and procedures, additional funding opportunities, and emerging research to ensure a well-informed nonprofit community within the region.
  • Leverage sector-specific expertise and remain abreast of best practices, trends and innovations, and policy implications shaping key issues impacting the Foundation’s tri-county footprint (Cuyahoga, Geauga, & Lake Counties).
  • Understand and contribute to current donor engagement strategies. Work with Philanthropic Services to ensure donor intent best aligns with community needs and support cross departmental collaboration on special projects.
  • Serve as a technical resource for committee-advised funds and/or supporting organizations by providing strategic, grantmaking, and administrative support.

2. Participate and contribute to high-performing teams across the enterprise: Commit to a team culture that is collectively and individually responsible for maximizing the use and impact of foundation assets to meet community needs. 

  • Contribute to a culture of innovation, ideation, and data-driven decision-making across all facets of the Foundation’s work, both within and outside the Responsive Grantmaking team.
  • Work with staff to participate in or collaborate on certain program(s) or special project(s). The work may include managing volunteer committees and advisory groups, collaborating with other funders and entities, designing and implementing processes and events, defining appropriate outcomes, developing effective evaluation methodologies to measure outcomes, etc.
  • Engage with donors through facilitated group conversations and individual meetings; share expertise and knowledge of the community in service of impactful and informed donor-advised grantmaking.
  • Share professional background and expertise with the team for the group’s collective benefit and understanding and in the development of the collective impact agenda.
  • As required, contribute to high-performing ability to work with other departments to address emerging opportunities related to the foundation’s mission.

 Essential Qualifications, Credentials, and Technical Skills Required:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree and five to seven years of experience with demonstrated accomplishment. Master’s Degree preferred.
  • Ability to scan large quantities of data and extract relevant themes. Strong analytical skills (financial and programmatic) and the ability to draw conclusions, synthesize information, communicate complex data, and make sound recommendations.
  • Interpersonal and social-emotional skills to promote and build healthy group dynamics, collaborations, and coalitions. 
  • Exceptional communication and facilitation skills can initiate and lead conversations examining and interpreting data to make decisions and move to action.
  • Experience working as part of a multidisciplinary team and working effectively with persons and communities from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds. The ability to work in a complex environment requiring significant collaboration.
  • Interest in supporting and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts internally and in the community.
  • Strong planning and organizational skills, with the ability to think strategically in the design and execution of programs.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness in written and oral communication. The ability to present complex issues to a variety of audiences. Ability to handle sensitive and confidential information tactfully and respectfully.
  • Proficient with MS Office and knowledge of database software.
  • Familiarity with Cleveland and its nonprofit and public sectors.
  • Ability to operate in a fast-paced environment and prioritize work to consistently meet deadlines.


The Cleveland Foundation exists to enhance the quality of life for all citizens of Greater Cleveland. The ability to carry out our mission and to foster our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion can best be pursued if our workforce, grantees, donors, partners, and governing body are inclusive of individuals of diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and perspectives. We believe that diversity encompasses, but is not limited to, age, color, education, ethnicity, family or marital status, gender, gender identity or expression, language, national origin, physical and mental abilities or characteristics, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, veteran status, and/or other characteristics that make an individual unique.  

The Cleveland Foundation is committed to equal employment opportunities for all, and our policy is to ensure that employees are selected, developed, retained, and promoted based on the individual’s ability and job performance, and without regard to that individual’s status or characteristics protected by federal, state or local law.


According to the foundation's compensation program, the anticipated annual salary for this position is in the mid $70,000 range, with some flexibility. This flexibility is determined by considering a candidate's academic, professional, and community experiences and credentials.

The foundation offers an exceptional benefits package, including medical, dental, vision, identity theft, and life and disability coverage, a comprehensive wellness program, an employee assistance program, a fully vested 403(b) retirement plan, ten paid holidays, and, for exempt positions, 15 days of vacation and 12 sick days, prorated the first year of service based on the date of hire. 


If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit your cover letter and resume as soon as possible This posting will remain active until on or around March 31, 2024. We regret that we cannot respond personally to each applicant.

Note: Our flexible workplace policy provides one day of remote work per week.