Program Officer, Individually Directed (Chicago)

About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We believe the best ideas can come from anywhere, so we stay open to new thinking from all over. And we partner with those who are closest to the problem because they're usually closest to the solution. 

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. 

Headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, with offices in Washington, D.C., Jersey City, New Jersey and Denver, Colorado, approximately 110 staff conducts the day-to-day operations of the foundation.    This job will be located in Chicago, Illinois.   

Individually Directed Giving

In addition to our three program areas, individual members of the Walton family have a range of philanthropic interests, some of which are highly aligned with the WFF program areas and some of which are entirely independent. The Individually Directed team is on the cutting edge of philanthropic practice working with a highly engaged, innovative family of entrepreneurs. Individually Directed staff work directly with family members to support their interests, often in concert with the family members' own staff, which may include content specialists, personal foundation leadership or family office staff (such as a Chief Investment Officer). 

This work is ever-changing. On any given day, an Individually Directed program officer might:

" Develop an RFP for a consultant to conduct a landscape analysis within a new issue area in a chosen geography;

" Negotiate a gift to establish an endowment at a major national nonprofit;

" Review an annual report from a local nonprofit, helping clarify their impact and rolling the data up into a program-level evaluation;

" Receive an approved grant proposal and turn it into a grant agreement, including timelines, deliverables and other key terms;

" Attend a forum or working group with fellow ID and/or WFF staff to share current work and learning in a particular focus area such as facilities financing.

" Speak with experts in a new interest area to provide input on a potential exploratory grant.

What you will do: 

This position will be located in Chicago, Illinois.  The Program Officer, under the supervision of the Director of Individually Directed, will:

" Collaborate with departments across Walton Enterprises and individual family offices to execute aligned strategies and provide coordinated support to family members. 

" 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.

" Manage outside consultants: develop RFPs, solicit proposals, develop work plans, oversee contracts and ensure high-quality deliverables.

" Serve as an expert resource for family and their staff 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 between individual family members' giving strategies to maximize impact and promote cohesiveness, while respecting family members' individual philanthropic missions.

" Assist individual family members to coordinate their grantmaking with Walton Family Foundation program areas as appropriate.

" Effectively manage workflow and processes with family members through clear communication that is simple, effective and customized.

" Ensure a positive experience for family members through superior customer service; be proactive in anticipating needs and provide accurate, timely resolution of issues when they arise.

" Manage other projects and assignments as requested by the foundation's board, Executive Director or Director of Individually Directed.

Who we are looking for:    

Personal attributes that support your success 

The role requires self-direction and decisiveness combined with flexibility and a capacity to give and receive feedback graciously. The foundation seeks to recruit individuals with 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. The Program Officer should ideally possess the following attributes:

" Comfortable working in a family-directed environment and working directly with principals

" Service oriented, with an aptitude for giving and receiving feedback to guide family members and to serve as a trusted advisor

" Action-oriented and entrepreneurial, can work well independently and in teams

" Ability to handle confidential issues and practice discretion

" Down-to-earth approach with a good sense of humor

" Ability to convey difficult messages and hold partners accountable for results 

" Clear communication skills, and an ability to represent family members' interests to grantees 

" Intellectual agility and the ability to analyze, think critically, and understand varied areas of interest; flexible and adaptable

" Unquestionable ethics and personal integrity

" Ability to creatively problem solve with energy and optimism

" Proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and SharePoint

" Excellent written and oral communication skills

" Proven skills at organization and time management

" Willingness to travel up to 25% of the time

" Willingness to represent family members' interests as requested at conferences or public events for the purpose of research or project development.  

Basic qualifications required for your success  

This position calls on a breadth of knowledge on sustainability issues rather than depth in one area. Most important is an understanding of effective philanthropy that can be applied across any program area.

" 5-7 years of related social change or grantmaking experience

" Commitment to sustainability and experience in the environmental field, such as renewable energy, clean water or climate change

" Bachelor's degree required 

" Knowledge of impact investments, PRI's, loans, or experience with blended finance projects is preferred

" Knowledge of Chicago philanthropic organizations, and a relationship with city government helpful

" Experience negotiating large grants, contracts or financial transactions, including conducting due diligence and setting terms

" Entrepreneurial (or intrapreneurial) experience, taking and managing associated risks

Possible fields of experience include:

" Entrepreneurial background

" Non-profit management 

" Previous experience with PRI's preferred

" Grantmaking and/or impact investing

" Business management 

" Research 


To apply:   




The Walton Family Foundations is 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.