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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Program Officer, Open Society Foundation, New York, USA

Program Officer

Deadline: 26 May 2015 
Location: New York, USA 
Organization: Open Society Foundation
The Open Society Public Health Program (PHP) advances a human rights approach to health, with an emphasis on social inclusion, transparency, accountability, and participation. We work to make justice systems more responsive to health, to challenge the health establishment to advance human rights, to shift power dynamics in health-related decision making, and to influence the funding environment for health and rights.

Job Profile

The program officer for grant-making operations will oversee a portfolio of operational and grant-making work dedicated to the use of grant making to advance health and human rights. This will include both: (i) guide the implementation of PHP’s grant-making policies and procedures as a member of PHP’s Central Division; as well as (ii) developing and managing a portfolio of PHP key grantee organizations and individuals advancing the field of health and human rights as a member of the PHP’s Global Financing and Support to the Field Division. The program officer will also act as PHP’s main point of contact with Open Society’s legal department. He/She will report to the director of learning and grant making. Work is carried out independently/under general supervision. Essential duties and responsibilities include the following:
  • act as PHP’s liaison with the Office of Grants Management and represent the program in relevant grant-related fora and discussions
  • alongside the director of learning and grant making, act as one of the two Public Health Program liaisons to the Grant Making Support Group, working with him/her to cultivate a culture of grant making at Open Society based on shared values and principles; building an environment that encourages, supports, and sustains good grant-making practice; and strengthening the knowledge, skills, and abilities of our grant makers
  • train new PHP staff on grant processes and workflow, and provide related ongoing support and refreshers (both individually and centrally)
  • supplement the Foundation Connect (grant-making software) training that new employees receive from Open Society, as needed, to ensure they are able to use the system well, and assist with trouble shooting for all employees
  • stay abreast of relevant grant-making policies and guidelines, and assist the Public Health Program team to understand, operationalize, and comply with grant-making related policies and processes
  • keep PHP grant-making guidelines and templates updated and in line with guidance provided by Grant Making Support Group and Grants Management
  • maintain the quality and consistency of PHP’s organizational eligibility recommendation processes (does not include providing substantive review of others’ organizational assessments)
  • together with the director of learning and grant making, act as a knowledge hub on questions and good practices pertaining to organizational eligibility and grants exceeding the threshold of one-third of an organization’s annual budget coming from Open Society
  • coordinate annual grant-making schedule and deadlines; organize monthly peer review meetings of grants exceeding designated funding threshold; work with PHP staff and Grants Management to ensure timely grant compliance review; as needed, work with the PHP director and deputy to monitor the review pipeline for grants and eligibility assessments; monitor and suggest improvements to the PHP grants pipeline
  • oversee the tracking of the program’s grant-making activity, including administrative follow up, management of data entry, and grantee reporting
  • maintain accurate records of all the program’s grant-making activities, as well as data on the program’s grant-making; produce and review reports of grant-making trends as needed
  • when needed, process grants on behalf of national and regional foundations (e.g., when requested by the Conflict of Interest committee)
  • develop and manage a portfolio of key grantee organizations and individuals advancing the field of health and human rights, including soliciting and evaluating proposals, preparing documentation, corresponding with grantees, conducting project site visits, and monitoring grants to ensure progress
  • identify and experiment with new ways of working with key grantees advancing the field, including ways in which PHP can support them more meaningfully ways, as well as further benefit from their intellectual capital
  • crystallize and build on good practices derived from these efforts for the benefits of other key PHP grantees advancing PHP fields; shape related learning session for the benefit of PHP’s staff
  • continuously scan the field of health and rights for potential new partnerships to advance the field as a whole, consistent with PHP strategy
  • analyze the architecture and governance of the health and rights field and make recommendations about Open Society’s role in helping to shape and positively influence the field as a whole
  • act as PHP’s main point of contact with the Legal Department to streamline exchanges and represent PHP in relevant legal-related fora and discussions
  • stay abreast of relevant network legal policies (e.g., consultant policy, lobbying, contracts versus grants, conflict of interest, U.S. sourcing) and assist the PHP team to understand, operationalize, and comply with policies and processes (including legal guidance pertaining to contracts & expense agreements, including templates)
  • keep abreast of legal training offered which would be beneficial to staff, attend and track PHP staff participation, and provide training suggestions when/if relevant
  • maintain PHP-specific resources pertaining to consultants’ contracts including TOR templates, standard agreements, standard rates, etc.
  • provide support to staff for questions pertaining to consultancy agreements, including Contract Online (contracts software), questions pertaining to the distinction between consultancy and grants, and conflicts of interest in relations to contracts


This exciting opportunity is for an experienced practitioner with substantial knowledge, expertise, and experience in grant making, either as a grant maker or grant manager, in the field of health and human rights.The successful candidate will have the following:
  • advanced degree or equivalent experience in a relevant area such as public health, economics, social work, or law
  • at least seven years of relevant experience, including at least five years of direct professional experience as a reflective grant maker or grant manager, ideally in a field related to health and human rights
  • experience in working collaboratively with CSOs/NGOs, including an understanding of civil society approaches to advocacy, campaigning, and organizing; understanding and appreciation of the grantee perspective
  • superior organizational and process management skills; ability to train and motivate others to follow complex processes; experience with translating internal policy into practice, simplifying processes for others and creating efficiencies; ability to discern which rules work well and which require improvement; ability to use institutional policies to programmatic advantage; patience and a sense of humor
  • superior internal communication and collaborative skills; ability to communicate and work collaboratively with colleagues outside line of formal authority
  • passion for grant making as a tool for social change; understanding of the need for administrative rigor as part of good grant making; perspective on the appropriate balance between substance and process operation in a large institution
  • knowledge of key actors in the fields of global health, health, and human rights, and in private philanthropy; grasp of the major trends in the health and rights field
  • track record of and disposition for representing complex issues in a compelling fashion to senior colleagues
  • understanding of cultural and contextual differences and ability to work effectively with a multicultural staff and colleagues/partners
  • demonstrated flexibility, ability, and willingness to work simultaneously on a wide range of tasks and projects
  • ability to exercise strategic judgement on multiple assignments at once; high level of organization, sensitivity to deadlines, and ability to work quickly; high level of self-motivation, action-orientation, and ability to work independently while managing up effectively
  • experience with knowledge management and data visualization preferable
  • excellent written and oral communication skills in English; fluency in another language of relevance to Open Society’s work a plus
  • willingness to travel
How to apply: Visit the Open Society Foundation's website to apply
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