Join Our Team! GAR Foundation Seeks Program Officer

GAR Foundation logo

GAR Foundation seeks an analytical, community-minded, and personable professional to review grant proposals, conduct site visits, monitor grant progress, support grantees, and represent the Foundation on committees, at convenings, and in various public settings. The Program Officer works with grantees and other community organizations to identify areas for potential funding and partnership within GAR’s focus areas. 

About GAR Foundation

GAR Foundation is a private foundation based in Akron, Ohio, with roughly $200 million in endowment assets. Established in 1967, our mission is to help Akron become smarter, stronger, and more vibrant. Each year, we make approximately $7 million strategic grants across our focus areas: Education; Economic, Workforce, and Community Development; Arts and Culture; and Basic Needs. We frequently support “systems work”—identifying failures or missed opportunities in existing systems (i.e., education, workforce development, etc.), connecting partners, and leveraging other resources to drive better outcomes and deeper impact. 

Our vision is an Akron where every child gets a great start in life and benefits from a well-rounded education; where companies and opportunities grow in a talent-rich environment; where pathways to prosperity are equitable, accessible, and easily navigated by everyone; and where all residents and businesses feel connected to Greater Akron, to their neighbors and fellow citizens and are energized by its creative assets, its abundant opportunities, and its commitment to shared prosperity. 

Specifics of the Role

The what: This is a salaried, full-time (40 hours a week) position. The role's essential functions are developing strong relationships with grantees and cross-sector partners and driving change in our community through managing a diverse grantmaking portfolio, including community development, economic/workforce development, education, arts and culture, and basic needs. 

Grantee Relationship Management and Support

  • Serve as the primary contact, relationship manager, and thought partner for grantees.  
  • Review, research, and analyze quarterly grant proposals.
  • Prepare for and conduct site visits/interviews with potential applicants and past grantees.
  • Work with grantees to determine annual grant outcomes.  
  • Present concise, well-written analyses and grant recommendations to the Foundation’s Distribution Committee, adhering to internal deadlines and format requirements.
  • Participate in staff peer review of grant recommendations, providing and incorporating input on the content of grant recommendations.
  • Identify support and resources that grantees need.
  • Identify, communicate, and address grantee misalignment or underperformance.  

Continuous Learning

  • Review and present lessons learned from grantees’ end-of-grant reports.
  • Communicate regularly with grantees to understand and diagnose critical organizational and programmatic challenges, and to uplift progress on outcomes.  
  • Recommend concrete actions and resources to help grantees learn and grow.
  • Seek opportunities to learn from and share new grantmaking approaches and strategies. 

Community Building

  • Build and maintain community relationships.  
  • Create opportunities to collaborate and network among grantees.  

The who: The Program Officer will possess:

  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to create productive and healthy relationships with diverse individuals, organizations, and communities.
  • The ability to embrace challenges and difficult conversations to reach solutions.
  • A growth mindset and flexibility in adapting to dynamic work.
  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written) and ability to inspire and motivate others through compelling messaging and presentations.
  • Exceptional ability to distill nuanced topics into simple, clear messages.
  • Strategic thinking with the ability to manage a portfolio of grantees.
  • A customer-service mindset to support grantees and fellow staff in achieving their goals.
  • The ability to work independently, drawing on their own expertise while remaining open to feedback.
  • A high degree of self-awareness relative to strengths and opportunities for growth.
  • Confidence in working independently within a small team with high emotional intelligence.
  • A working knowledge of Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Outlook  

Additionally, we are seeking someone with the following education and experience:

  • An undergraduate degree, preferably a graduate degree, in a relevant field such as nonprofit management, business administration, or public administration is highly desirable. Significant project management experience in a nonprofit organization's middle to senior-management position is also desirable.    
  • At least five years of experience in fundraising, marketing, project management, or leadership in the nonprofit sector.
  • Evidence of strong commitment to creating more diverse, equitable, and inclusive programs and organizations.
  • Experience working collaboratively with teams, preferably including partners internal and external to an organization.

The how: The Program Officer will implement and help guide the Foundation's strategic grantmaking work. They must be an organized self-starter who can work independently, prioritizing work and driving projects from ideation to completion. This individual will give and receive clear, constructive feedback with diplomacy, professionalism, and humility. They can critically anticipate issues before they arise, proactively identifying and mitigating potential risks and problem-solving challenges.

The where: GAR Foundation offers a hybrid work environment. The Program Officer is expected to be present with the GAR team three days a week in our office in downtown Akron and can work the other two days remotely. This is consistent for all staff. 

Compensation and Benefits

GAR Foundation is a fast-paced, flexible, and fun place to work. Our small staff is collaborative and supportive of one another, and we come to work each day energized to advance the Foundation’s mission to make Akron smarter, stronger, and more vibrant. Our team members value learning and growth, and we support their development through a generous allowance for professional development experiences. 

We are looking to work with someone who shares our five core values: 

  • Curiosity – We continuously ask questions and learn about community issues and people’s experiences.
  • Equity – We deal fairly and equitably with all parties, meeting people where they are.
  • Humility – We are aware of our place and role (both its positives and negatives).
  • Collaboration – We work jointly with partners.
  • Innovation – We are original and creative in our thinking and our approach to the work.

We also offer competitive compensation and benefits, including:

  • Salary range from $85,000 to $90,000, commensurate with experience.
  • Health, dental, and vision coverage for employee and eligible family members.
  • Participation in GAR's employer-funded Health Savings Account program
  • 15 days of Paid Time Off (PTO) in the first two years, with increased PTO in the third year
  • 9 paid holidays per year
  • Eligibility for GAR Foundation's 401k retirement savings program
  • Participation in GAR Foundation's matching gift program whereby GAR will match your charitable contributions to eligible organizations

Position reports to: The Vice President of Programs, with secondary direction from the President.

Applicant Directions

  • Applicants should send a resume and cover letter highlighting their qualifications and interest in this position to [email protected]
  • We request that you combine your documents into a single PDF file and name it "Program Officer YourFirstName YourLastName." 
  • Attach the PDF file to your email with the subject line "Program Officer YourFirstName YourLastName." 
  • Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. 
  • The first round of interviews will begin in July 2024.
  • We kindly request no calls or emails other than to the designated email address.

GAR Foundation is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer. We do not discriminate based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, disability status, or any other applicable characteristics protected by law. We embrace and celebrate diversity and strive to create genuine belonging for all.