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Program Officer, Racial Equity & Justice Initiatives

Posted by The Cleveland Foundation ; Posted on 
Jobs - DEADLINE :  
Program Officer, Racial Equity & Justice Initiatives


Position:                              Regular; Full Time; Exempt

Department:                      Program

Reports to:                          SVP for Program

Supervises:                         Program Assistant/Coordinator and other staff assigned

Date Reviewed:                April 2022

Summary:  The Program Officer works collaboratively with the SVP, VP for program and key program staff, foundation partners and consultants in the research, development, implementation, and evaluation of initiatives, special projects and programs related to racial equity initiatives.  Some of the primary projects include: the Cleveland Black Futures Fund, Latinx Power Building, the Racial Equity Racial Justice Initiative, and participation in the Community Foundation Opportunity Network’s (CFON) NEON initiative.  In addition, this role will lead grantmaking in the areas of racial equity and racial justice, often supporting and working with fellow program officers on REI grants in specific issue areas.

Responsibilities and Expected Outcomes:

  • Oversee the foundation’s grantmaking strategy related to Racial Equity Racial Justice (RERJ) Initiatives.
  • Manage grantmaking applications and write ups related to REI. Meet with prospective grantees and prepare monthly detail-oriented formal evaluations of and recommendations for the Board for funding requests to ensure grants are in alignment with Foundation priorities and community needs/opportunities.
  • Work in partnership with other program directors & officers to develop and implement RERJ strategic priorities or strategies for grantmaking to improve outcomes for the Greater Cleveland community by identifying cross-cutting issues and aligning strategies (i.e., workforce and economic development; youth & social Services, neighborhoods, education and environment).
  • The work may include additional staff supervision, consultants, managing volunteer committees and advisory groups; collaborating with other funders and entities; designing and implementing processes and events; define appropriate outcomes; developing effective evaluation methodologies to measure outcomes; etc.
  • Monitor various sectors to remain abreast of best practices, sector trends, and policy implications shaping Racial Equity and Inclusion Initiatives. Capture and disseminate information and prepare thoughtful research and analyses on a variety of topics and organizations to promote a deeper sense of awareness of REI issues among TCF staff.

 Racial Equity:

  • Lead and manage the Cleveland Black Futures Fund and work collaboratively with other Program and Advancement Team members to ensure that donor intent for pooled funding best aligns with community needs and serve as technical resource for committee-advised funds and/or supporting organizations.
  • Work with foundation partners, staff, board members and consultants on broader the Racial Equity Racial Justice Initiative and Community of Practice, Latinx Power Building and developing strategies to work within the ecosystem for AAPI, Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) and LGBTQ communities.
  • Leverage local and national philanthropy as well as other forms of capital, to advance opportunities that promote equitable grantmaking practices.
  • Monitor various sectors to remain abreast of best practices, sector trends, and policy implications shaping issues related to racial equity. Capture and disseminate information and prepare thoughtful research and analyses on a variety of topics and organizations to promote a deeper sense of awareness of racial equity issues impacting Greater Cleveland amongst Foundation stakeholders (staff, board, donors, Greater Cleveland Community).
  • Actively participate in relevant affinity and professional groups to confirm standing as a thought leader to serve as a knowledgeable resource on topics related to Racial Equity to the community. Provide effective communication to inform the Greater Cleveland area non-profit community through in-person presentations, written work, and online forums.

 Essential Qualifications, Credentials and Technical Skills required:

The successful candidate must possess the following professional qualifications and skills:

  • A minimum of a bachelor’s degree and five years of experience in mid-level position in the not-for-profit sector designing, managing or funding programs 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, and make sound recommendations.
  • Ability to assess proposals for compatibility with Foundation’s program priorities and/or restricted fund availability.
  • 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.
  • 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 in tactful and respectful manner.
  • Desire to continually acquire new skills and knowledge and share it with colleagues.
  • Ability to operate in fast-paced environment and prioritize work to consistently meet deadlines.
  • Ability to collaborate with other organizations and individuals, and demonstrated effectiveness in working as an initiator, convener, and collaborator.
  • Ability to maintain confidence when working with sensitive information.
  • Experience working as part of a diverse multi-disciplinary team, and a willing to work with internal and external colleagues in a sustained commitment to this work.
  • Multi-lingual capability helpful.
  • Intimate familiarity with Cleveland and the northeast Ohio region, its economic landscape, and its nonprofit sector a plus.
  • Proficiency in software programs such as Word, Excel, Outlook, record/database management, etc., web-based skills for research, and social media skills.


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.


Based on the foundation’s compensation program, estimated annual salary for this position may be anywhere between $60,000 and $75,000, based on the academic, professional and community experiences and credentials of a candidate.  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 date of hire.


If you are interested in applying for this position, please submit your resume and cover letter here by August 20, 2022. We regret that we cannot respond personally to each applicant.

Note:  Hours worked will be largely remote, until we move into our new headquarters building late in 2022.  The Cleveland Foundation requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide valid proof of vaccination unless a documented medical or religious exemption is approved. All information provided will be kept strictly confidential.