Program Officer — Flint Program

Date Posted

November 9, 2020

Department

Programs

Location

Flint, Michigan

About the Mott Foundation

The Mott Foundation, established in 1926 in Flint, Michigan, by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the United States and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally.

Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Education, Environment and Flint Area. In addition to Flint, offices are located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg and London. With year-end assets of approximately $3.1 billion in 2019, the Foundation made 364 grants totaling more than $133 million.

History

Charles Stewart Mott was an automotive pioneer, community leader and philanthropist who cared about innovation, a just society and the strength of communities. Nine decades ago, he established the Foundation that bears his name in response to his deep concern about the welfare of Flint, Michigan, and an abiding affection for his adopted community.

Initially, the Foundation served as a vehicle for fulfilling the Mott family’s charitable interests. It began to evolve in 1935, when Mr. Mott teamed with local educator Frank Manley to create community schools in Flint. Their innovative approach to using schools to meet neighborhood needs would become a national model. That project also served as a platform for the Foundation to expand international grantmaking and become a global force for positive change in the areas of education, civil society and the environment.

The Foundation that Mr. Mott launched in 1926 with a $320,000 endowment now has roughly $3 billion in assets, offices in three countries, and a legacy of working with local organizations to improve communities on every continent except Antarctica. The Foundation has given away more than it is currently worth, awarding grants totaling more than $3 billion to organizations in 62 countries. For more information please visit www.mott.org.

Flint Program

Flint is the adopted hometown of Charles Stewart Mott. The Foundation’s first grant was made in Flint in 1928 and both C.S. Mott himself and the Foundation leadership that followed have remained steadfast in the Foundation’s commitment to local grantmaking. Flint grantmaking was the almost exclusive focus of the Foundation until 1962, when early national level grantmaking began in order to share lessons learned from the groundbreaking community education work taking place in Flint. By 1987, grantmaking had expanded both nationally and internationally, and the Flint area grantmaking was one of several program missions. In addition to the nationally recognized community schools grantmaking, other notable local grants include the key support given to the formation of the Flint Cultural Center Campus and support to build and expand key institutions such as the University of Michigan–Flint, Mott Community College and the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. The current grantmaking plan focuses on four grantmaking areas — the Education Continuum, Arts and Culture, Restoring Community Vitality, and an Evolving Community needs. However, as a place-based program, the Flint Area program seeks to be responsive to local needs and continues to evolve with the changing community.

The Role

Key Responsibilities

  • Work with the Flint team and the Foundations’ executive leadership team and to a certain extent lead the Foundation in creating and implementing a strategy to improve public education in Flint, potentially including a complete turnaround plan for Flint Community Schools, and a new campus development for public K-12 education in Flint. The program officer will report to the Flint Program Director, Kimberly Roberson.
  • Provide high-level analysis and craft a strategy for system-wide reform of education in Flint.
  • Develop a grantmaking and community leadership strategy that helps to meet the Foundation’s goal for Flint students to perform at or above the state average, and, ultimately, for every student in Flint to have the same opportunities as kids in wealthier communities.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Significant experience with K-12 education policy.
  • Hands-on knowledge and experience with public education sector.
  • Proven practical application of education service delivery.
  • Knowledge of issues impacting urban education.
  • Experience creating a plan to strategically direct limited resources to leverage change.
  • Strong analytical, writing and verbal communication skills.
  • Proven desire and ability to work collaboratively and respectfully with established and emerging education leaders.
  • Track record as a creative thinker.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required; advanced degree in related field is preferred but not required.
  • 10–15 years of experience working on related issues.
  • Understanding of the philanthropic world, including public, private, family and corporate foundations is advantageous but not necessary.
  • Willing to live locally.

Skills and Attributes

  • Ability to both think strategically and execute on strategy.
  • A doer with a solutions-orientation.
  • Strong relationship management skills, including the patience to listen deeply and a strong desire to promote dialogue within a diverse community of stakeholders.
  • A painstaking coalition-builder; graceful at navigating a complex system of stakeholders with disparate objectives and priorities.
  • Well-organized, with excellent time management skills.
  • Comfortable interacting with and presenting to internal and external audiences at all levels.
  • A natural relationship-builder who is adept at working collaboratively, building relationships, trust and credibility.
  • A self-starter, capable of working on multiple tasks on deadline and under pressure.
  • Known for intuitive problem-solving skills.
  • A good listener who is receptive to entertaining contrasting views but able to ultimately be decisive and sell her/his point of view.
  • Keen for feedback, especially around the effectiveness of her/his work and that of the Flint Program, and around ways to strengthen the Mott Foundation’s overall impact.

The Challenge

The Program Officer is responsible for providing thought leadership and practical guidance for the development of the Foundation’s strategy for deepening its impact in education in Flint. S/he will lead the analysis of various opportunities to improve educational outcomes and will work to vigorously implement those deemed priorities. S/he will help the Foundation strengthen its relationship with Flint Public School and establish the organization’s long-term strategy for education reform.

The Program Officer will be expected to accomplish a lot:

  • Balance thinking strategically with “rolling up sleeves” and executing on agreed plan priorities.
  • Evangelize and collaborate extensively, enmeshing her/himself in the community without losing sight of the Foundation’s clear goals.
  • Inspire a partnership of educational and community professionals who share the goal of increasing academic performance in Flint.
  • To a fair extent, “build the plane as you fly.”

What Success Looks Like

The Program Officer will, over the first year, have:

  • Built deep, trusting, and collaborative relationships between Foundation, community and education partners and is viewed as a trusted and strategic leader.
  • Analyzed various educational turnaround strategies, conceptualized the pathways of different solutions, and gotten stakeholders on the same page to establish key elements of a joint plan.
  • By the end of year 1, will have launched implementation of some elements of the plan, bringing together physical needs and curriculum paths, for instance.

Longer term — maybe in five years’ time — the Program Officer will have:

  • Brought some solutions to fruition, tracking critical aspects of improved student outcomes.
  • Established him/herself as an inspirational leader and voice in Flint education and the broader community.
  • Continued evolving the plan and driving execution of plan priorities.

The Career Opportunity

This opportunity offers the chance to:

  • Leave a legacy — create the strategy for dramatic improvements in education in Flint.
  • Make a difference — be bold in championing kids who have been underserved; work with Foundation resources to benefit a group of kids repeatedly not getting what they need.
  • Focus on relationships — continually deepening relationships, establishing sustainable partnerships.
  • Enjoy generous Foundation benefits.

How to Apply

If you or someone in your network is interested in exploring this opportunity, please submit a cover letter and resume (as a Word document) via email to: Ardith Myers, Founding Partner, AAM Search at ardith@aamsearch.com, with the subject line containing “Program Officer.” Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and the position will be open until filled.

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to creating an environment and team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, styles and experiences. We encourage all to apply because we believe a diversity of voices leads to better discussions, decisions, and outcomes for everyone.