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Senior Officer, Strategy, Learning, and Evaluation

The Walton Family Foundation is seeking an experienced and skilled individual to join the foundation’s Bentonville or Denver office as a Senior Strategy, Learning, and Evaluation Officer supporting the Walton Personal Philanthropy Group.

This position can be based in Bentonville, AR or Denver, CO.

About the Position
SLED has been a core function at the foundation for ten years, working collaboratively with program teams across three diverse content areas to advance the foundation’s education, social, and environmental change mission. The foundation has just completed a strategic planning process and every department, including SLED, has developed a new vision for how we will approach our work for the next five years. This offers a unique opportunity to play an important role in shaping the continued development of a best in class strategy, learning, and evaluation function at the foundation.

This position will play a critical role in equipping program staff in Walton family households to engage with rigorous and inclusive evidence that fosters continuous learning for transformative impact. This role has three key functions:

  • Help program staff in Walton family households develop and implement learning and evaluation systems;
  • Facilitate learning on allied topics within and among Walton family households, as well as with the Walton Family Foundation (“WFF”).
  • Serve as an expert resource to WEI colleagues on learning and evaluation.

The Walton family households use a range of tools to advance social impact, including grantmaking, advocacy, and impact investments, across a wide array of issues and across multiple geographies. This is a new position and may evolve over time. Comfort operating within ambiguity and an entrepreneurial spirit are critical for success.

The position will formally report to the Director of the Strategy, Learning, and Evaluation Department (“SLED”) of the Walton Family Foundation (“WFF”) and also work in close coordination with the Director of the Walton Personal Philanthropy Group (“WPPG”). The position will be part of the WPPG and WFF SLED teams, benefitting from the evaluation and learning infrastructure and expertise within WFF, as well as access to and support from WPPG leadership as well.

Specific duties include the following:

Developing and implementing learning and evaluation systems (~75% of time)

  • Help program staff in Walton family households develop the building blocks of learning and evaluation systems (theories of change / logic models, performance measures, learning agendas, evaluation plans).
  • Help program staff in Walton family households’ scope appropriate learning and evaluation services and projects to assess, inform, and increase social impact.
  • Help program staff in Walton family households implement learning and evaluation practices (for example landscape research, portfolio reviews, data collection, monitoring, formative or summative evaluations) either by directly engaging in these activities and / or managing projects with third parties.
  • Help program staff in Walton family households consume learning and evaluation findings, for example by creating dashboards, data visualizations, reports, etc.

Facilitating learning (~15% of time)

  • Facilitate learning among and across program teams in Walton family households to help tie research and evaluation findings back to relevant strategies and investment decisions.
  • Identify opportunities to generate and share research and evaluation findings across households and / or with WFF.

Serving as an expert resource (~10% of time)

  • Develop and deliver trainings for WPPG staff to help build knowledge and skills around key evaluation and learning topics.
  • Serve as an ad hoc advisor to WPPG staff on evaluation and learning related needs.
  • Provide technical expertise and assistance to WPPG staff on an as needed basis.

Whom we are looking for:

You are a strategic self-starter who can tackle complex issues, synthesize varied perspectives and assets toward common goals, and effectively work with diverse stakeholders, all in service to the goals that each family household has set for social impact. You have superior client service skills and instincts and can serve as an expert advisor and facilitator for family household teams in their social impact efforts. You are excited by the prospect of building something new and not intimidated by ambiguity.

Qualifications required for your success

  • Master’s degree in a relevant social science field, such as sociology, geography, economics, public policy, etc.  
  • At least 7 years of prior experience in strategy, learning, and evaluation activities in a fast-paced, entrepreneurial philanthropic environment
  • Demonstrated ability to apply qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation methods across a number of topics and issue areas
  • Willingness to travel up to 30% of time

Additional preferred qualifications

We are seeking candidates who are highly motivated, have a keen sense of responsibility, and can balance multiple priorities in a fast-paced work environment.

  • Ability to process large amounts of complex information and present concise conclusions drawn from this information to a variety of audiences
  • Demonstrated written and oral communication skills for a diverse audience
  • Exceptional project management, prioritization, and planning skills, with demonstrated success producing high-quality deliverables on time and within budget
  • Demonstrated commitment to principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Experience in selecting and working with external evaluators, managing a portfolio of evaluations, working closely with staff to assure that the evaluations provide high-quality, actionable information
  • Familiarity and comfort with impact investing and advocacy, and understanding of how to use various impact tools as part of a holistic strategy
  • Competency with the Microsoft Office suite of programs, including the ability to analyze and graph data using Excel
  • Experience conceptualizing and creating actionable evidence in support of social impact strategies
  • Experience working in a consulting firm
  • Experience facilitating adult learning opportunities
  • Experience in impact investing

Additional helpful characteristics include

  • Proactive approach to problem-solving
  • Diplomatic approach and an innate understanding of customer service
  • A high level of discretion and confidentiality for both business and personal affairs
  • Experience acting as a trusted advisor to clients, colleagues, and consultants

About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta.

About SLED
Strategy, learning, and evaluation are at the core of who we are at the Walton Family Foundation. Our SLED team plays a central role in providing actionable information that helps inform decision-making about individual grants as well as overall strategy. We are dedicated to learning not only from our own grantmaking, but also with and from our grantees and partners in the field. Through a strategic approach to learning, we can develop stronger strategies to achieve the greatest impact.

About the Walton Personal Philanthropy Group
The Walton Personal Philanthropy Group (WPPG) provides services to the family of Sam and Helen Walton to support their individual philanthropic activities. These services for the family and their related entities include program and grant management, strategy consulting and grant administration. WPPG is a part of Walton Enterprises, the family office of the Walton family.

About Walton Enterprises
Walton Enterprises supports the personal, philanthropic, and business activity for the Walton family. We are a family-led organization, supporting multiple generations of Sam & Helen Walton’s family.

Compensation and Benefits
The Walton Family Foundation offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience.

How to apply

The Walton Family Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace that is free of discrimination and harassment of any kind. 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, veteran status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate.