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Program Officer, The Builders Initiative

The Builders Initiative is seeking a dynamic, patient, and self-starting individual to join the team as a program officer. This role requires self-direction and decisiveness combined with flexibility.

About the Position
On any given day, this program officer may conduct due diligence on grantee partners, attend meetings and forums to share current work and learn about a particular focus, or explore new areas for potential philanthropic investment. Overall, the program officer will collaborate with and advise one family member (the principal) on their philanthropic interests.

What You Will Do
You will provide services for the principal, including program and grant management, strategy consulting and grant administration.


  • Develop and execute grants, PRIs, recoverable grants and other innovative instruments: conduct due diligence on organizations, their leadership and capacity to carry out programs; define grant terms and expectations; obtain agreement on reasonable outputs and outcomes including how they will be measured and reported; review budgets for appropriate expenditures; conduct site visits; monitor ongoing operations, review financial and narrative reports and ensure timely payments.
  • Assess impact and continuously learn from/improve work, for example through lean data methodology, or by using third-party evaluations, grantee learning cohorts and expert advisors.
  • Assist the principal in gathering and assessing information and developing strategies within focus areas, including attending conferences with the principal or on behalf of the principal.
  • When appropriate, collaborate with departments across Walton Enterprises and the family office in Chicago to execute aligned strategies and provide coordinated support to family members.
  • Manage outside consultants: develop RFPs, solicit proposals, develop work plans, oversee contracts and ensure high-quality deliverables.
  • Serve as an expert resource for the principal on grantmaking best practices, foundation administration and other philanthropy topics; coordinate with other professionals in HR, Legal, etc. to work through issues and arrive at solutions.
  • Identify, discuss, communicate, and leverage synergies of the principal’s philanthropic mission, maximizing impact and promote cohesiveness.
  • Effectively manage workflow and processes through clear communication that is simple, effective and customized.
  • Ensure a positive experience for the principal through superior customer service; be proactive in anticipating needs and provide accurate, timely resolution of issues when they arise and maintain/facilitate transparency in all processes.
  • Manage other projects and assignments as requested.

Who We Are Looking For
You possess self-direction and decisiveness combined with flexibility and a capacity to give and receive feedback graciously. You have superior interpersonal and communication skills, a respectful but analytical approach to the work of grantees, and a proven ability to work effectively both independently and as part of a team.

As a generalist program officer, this position calls on a breadth of knowledge rather than depth in one content area. Most important is an understanding of effective philanthropy that can be applied across any program area.

Qualifications Required for Your Success

  • 5+ years of related social change or grantmaking experience
  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Experience negotiating large grants, contracts or financial transactions, including conducting due diligence and setting terms
  • Willingness to travel up to 30% of time

Additional Helpful Experience Includes

  • Grantmaking and/or foundation management
  • Entrepreneurial or Intrapreneurial experience, taking and managing associated risks
  • Knowledge of Chicago, Northwest Arkansas and Montana a plus
  • Interest in animal welfare, ranging from companion animals to farm animals

Personal Attributes that Support Your Success

  • Intellectual agility and the ability to analyze, think critically, and understand varied areas of interest; flexible and adaptable, comfortable with uncertainty
  • Ability to serve as a trusted advisor to principals, colleagues and grantees and exhibit humility, integrity and exercise sound judgement
  • Relentless in the pursuit of excellence and continuous improvement. You have a proven background of developing team members, enhancing processes, systems and platforms to increase operational efficiency. You empower others to make a difference
  • A passion to serve in a way that demonstrates respect and care for family and staff, exceeds expectations and has fun along the way

About The Builders Initiative
The Builders Initiative is a family philanthropy office located in Chicago that looks to create meaningful change for all. To best support our partners, we deploy both philanthropic and investment capital. We believe that an overarching approach can powerfully transform sectors, and that philanthropic investment can serve as a catalyst for change. We welcome co-investors, partners, and thought leaders to join our work.

We are an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status of protected veteran, among other things or status as a qualified individual with a disability.