Senior Program Officer – Initiative on Faith and Development

Senior Program Officer – Initiative on Faith and Development
Organization Name: 
GHR Foundation

Organization Background

Built on faith in entrepreneurial creativity, GHR Foundation accelerates systemic change by nurturing promising new possibilities and partnerships in the areas of global development, education and health. For more than 50 years, the pioneering design-build legacy of Opus Group founders Gerald and Henrietta Rauenhorst has guided GHR’s philanthropic approach—collaborating with the world’s experts to design and build opportunities for change to take hold. 

GHR leads with excellence by building a team with unique insights, qualifications and training. Success at GHR requires adaptability, optimism and professionalism in working with partners. GHR is building a learning culture, focused on accountability and real-time assessment that delivers greater global good.

Since its inception, GHR Foundation has engaged with leaders and communities of all faiths to more effectively solve problems in the United States and around the world. Having reviewed its inter-religious action strategy in 2017, GHR has reaffirmed its commitment to engaging faith actors, and in fact, is looking to take our leadership to the next level. GHR Foundation is seeking an expert to help build on our rich history of inter-religious action, engagement with the Catholic community at all levels, and our partnership with actors of multiple faiths to further unlock the full potential of faith and faith actors in support of development objectives in the Twin Cities, in the United States and in high-priority countries around the world.


Position Summary

The Senior Program Officer is part of GHR’s Program Leadership Team whose primary responsibility is to lead GHR’s Initiative on Faith and Development. This person will be responsible for designing and implementing a strategic portfolio of grants and non-grant activities to both inform and advance the catalytic effect that faith can have on positive change in the world.


Reporting and Collaborative Relationships

The Senior Program Officer reports to the Chief of Strategy & Programs. The position works collaboratively with individuals in other program areas within GHR, including, but not limited to the broader Program Team, Strategy & Learning, Grants Management, Communications and Finance teams. There will also be a central external facing role engaging with partners, other funders, stakeholders and others in the field.


Primary Responsibilities

As the person leading GHR’s Initiative on Faith and Development, the Senior Program Officer will be responsible for developing programs; investigating and recommending grants; maintaining current knowledge of the latest evidence, best practices and current field developments; leading a strategic and creative portfolio of non-grant activities such as convenings, thought leadership and network building that also advance the work of the Foundation and the initiative as well as that of our partners and other stakeholders.  S/he will ensure high-quality, timely work that facilitates good discussion and decision-making within the foundation and that is responsive to and respectful of nonprofit applicants and grantees working across the globe. The Senior Program Officer will also create a positive working relationship with key external partners. The responsibilities for the Senior Program Officer will include, but not be limited to:   

  1. Program development: Develops and monitors a strategic plan, annual plans and budgets for the Initiative on Faith and Development:
    1. Conducts or updates landscape studies to outline the context, identify potential nonprofit, government and foundation partners and identifies potential roles for the foundation in grantmaking, thought leadership and beyond
    2. Engages the Program & Results Committee of the Board to develop and refine the initiative’s strategic plan and theory of change
    3. Works collaboratively with partners and grantees to inform and advance strategic frameworks and implementation
    4. Develops requests for proposals (RFP) or funding guidelines that reflect the foundation’s initiative strategy
    5. Reviews and evaluates current GHR Foundation activities to identify strengths and areas of improvement within the initiative
    6. Works collaboratively to build strategic communications into the program development plan and to take advantage of communications opportunities as they arise
    7. Engages more broadly in projects and efforts to advance the strategic and organizational objectives of the foundation overall


  1. Grantmaking:  Manages grantmaking to ensure adherence to GHR values and achievement of Initiative goals
    1. Manages proactive solicitation of potential nonprofit partners and identifies potential foundation or government partners with which to collaborate, and potentially co-fund initiatives
    2. Conducts and/or facilitates due diligence and overall assessment of potential grantees in coordination with the Grants Management team to ensure adherence to the highest legal and tax compliance standards
    3. Works collaboratively with Grants Management and Learning to align applications, funding guidelines, reporting requirements and data collection with the theory of change and learning and evaluation plan
    4. Prepares grant proposal summaries and recommendations and presents grant proposals for consideration
    5. Maintains regular communications with stakeholders and conducts site visits as appropriate


  1. Learning and evaluation:  Works with the Director of Strategy & Learning to ensure an evaluation and learning approach that actively captures learning and shares it both within the foundation and, when appropriate, with a broader group of stakeholders
    1. Practices continuous and real-time learning through regular monitoring and evaluation of grantee and initiative progress and uptake of lessons learned; shares learnings with grantee, the Program Leadership team and others to keep partners informed and advance the work
    2. Maintains regular contact with grantees to monitor results, identify and address needs for technical assistance
    3. Solicits and engages consultants as needed to continuously stay abreast of the field and ensuring a continuous learning and adaptation cycle for the initiative.


  1. Value-add philanthropy:  Participates in resource mobilization and strategic partnership building with government agencies, non-government organizations and multilateral and bilateral donors and community based organizations to improve the Foundation’s goals and leverage resources domestically and abroad.  This can include but is not limited to:
    1. Promotes GHR Foundation goals and grantee/partner efforts through advocacy and policy dialogue with national and international agencies and commissions
    2. Leads and implements convenings to encourage sharing information, collaboration among partners and improved grant making
    3. Publishes and provides thought leadership by the foundation and through support of others within the initiative area
    4. Researches and disseminates findings to inform the field, improve the work, and guide decision-making by the foundation and its stakeholders
    5. Builds connections or networks among those with similar interests to help broaden the impact and improve outcomes
    6. Provides technical assistance to grantees as necessary
    7. Overall, builds trusting relationships that encourage collaboration, honest discussion and allows opportunities for further action to surface


  1. External leadership: Represents GHR Foundation and participates in activities that contribute to the overall effectiveness of the foundation
    1. Participates in membership/industry associations taking on leadership opportunities when the participation would advance the Foundation’s goals
    2. Participates in educational programs that will increase skills, knowledge and effectiveness of staff and foundation board members
    3. Makes presentations, participates in panels and/or writes articles that will advance the foundation and initiative goals
  2. Team and organizational leadership: Works as part of the foundation team to ensure grantee focus, achievement of high professional standards and commitment to a productive work environment.   As a colleague, provides coaching to help surface each person’s unique skills, creates plans and manages resources to ensure the team is capable of delivering what is promised
  1. Works to build the cohesiveness, efficiency and effectiveness of the team
  2. Balances work demands and identifies strategies to ensure high-quality service and tapping other members of the group
  3. Takes responsibility for own professional development plan in partnership with Chief of Strategy and Programs
  4. As needed, provides assistance or staffing support to GHR and/or other foundation initiatives
  1. Other duties as assigned



The Senior Program Officer is a seasoned and collaborative professional with a minimum of 10 years of relevant professional experience. Experience working with faith actors, faith leaders and/or inter-religious action highly valued.  Individual could come from traditional or non-traditional background, e.g. the candidate does not necessarily need to have come from a foundation and/or nonprofit.  Most important is a passion for the charitable work of GHR Foundation and the initiative’s goals. The individual will possess strong skills in program development, building collaborative working relationships and networks, global development (with an understanding of both the US and global contexts), strategic thinking and evaluation.  The individual will be adept at building collegial relationships within the foundation and be able to respond to issues with clarity and diplomacy.  The right candidate will inspire and foster trust and confidence in other staff, the foundation’s executive management and the external community of colleagues and will be a person of integrity. 

As lead for GHR’s Initiative on Faith and Development, specific qualifications sought include:

  1. General Subject Matter Knowledge
  1. Knowledge of strategies and approaches for effectively engaging faith and faith actors in service of development generally or at least to one specific development area
  2. Instinct about where and how faith can be deployed in support of various development areas most effectively
  3. In depth knowledge of at least one ‘development field’ (broadly defined, could mean traditional development or peacebuilding or human rights), including the engagement of religious actors within those fields (preferred)



  1. Strategy and Learning
  1. Ability to identify opportunities for GHR to provide unique value in championing faith engagement across development fields
  2. Ability to stay on course in decision-making and time/resource investments
  3. Ability to identify clear outcomes of investments and communicate those outcomes effectively
  4. Ability to analyze the field to determine unique opportunities for GHR Foundation to aggregate discrete sets of evidence in support of championing the faith initiative
  5. Ability to learn from emerging evidence and refine strategy in response
  6. Comfort engaging with qualitative and quantitative analysis


  1. Relationship Builder
  1. Ability to ‘sell’ the value of faith in support of development to individuals who may be hesitant to engage with the methodology or with faith communities
  2. Entrepreneurial aptitude to creatively engage with peers to determine areas of collaboration
  3. Strong people skills and the ability to build trusting relationships with diverse stakeholders, including individuals from other cultures and faiths


  1. Links with Private Development Funders and Organizations
  1. Ability to identify and advocate for collaborative grantmaking opportunities
  2. Experience in grantmaking and ability to oversee grants
  3. Understanding of non-governmental organizations and other potential grantees and how they work, including capacity constraints and how programs/methodologies can scale within an organization
  4. Strong and respectful advisory abilities in building organizational capacity 


  1. Qualities & Skills
  1. Passion for engaging faith and faith actors
  2. Persuasive verbal ability
  3. Strong written communications skills
  4. Deep analytical mind and a strategic thinker with the ability to conduct in-depth analysis of emerging trends and historic evidence-based research
  5. Strong listening skills and continuous curiosity for learning about the field
  6. Respect and deference for context and existing knowledge on the ground
  7. Project management and organizational skills
  8. Strong networks in domestic and global development and philanthropy
  9. Facilitation skill


As a member of the overall GHR Foundation team, other essential skills and experience include:

  • Professional demeanor with proven ability to build collaborative relationships
  • A high energy level, sound judgment and tolerance for working with deadlines and occasionally under pressure
  • The ability to organize and prioritize tasks, manage time efficiently, meet deadlines and work independently as well as in a team environment
  • Program management and development experience
  • Senior-level experience in a grantmaking or nonprofit organization valued
  • Quick study who can understand a broad spectrum of intellectual content quickly
  • Writing and oral presentation skills to communicate complex issues; active listener who anticipates questions, adapts approach, facilitates productive discussions that include broad engagement
  • Maturity and high degree of good judgment and objectivity
  • Self-motivated and able to work independently while at the same time know how to collaborate with colleagues and support their work
  • Integrity, honesty, loyalty and ability to maintain strict confidentiality
  • Strong interpersonal skills; sensitive to benefactors’ intent and ability to establish rapport and positive working relationships with Board members; comfort with presenting to a variety of internal and external audiences
  • Creative, pro-active, flexible, hands-on and entrepreneurial


Working Conditions

This is a typical office environment in which employees use office equipment like personal computers, fax machines, copiers, telephones; stand or sit at a desk for long periods of time (2-3) hours; may need to lift and move documents and supplies (not to exceed 25 lbs.); and bend to file or retrieve documents. Occasional domestic and/or international travel is required.                                                                                                                                                

To Apply:

Send cover letter and CV to  Position will remain open until filled.

Application Deadline: 
Saturday, March 31, 2018