MacArthur Foundation Vacancy for a Program Officer

MacArthur is one of the nation’s largest independent foundations. Organizations supported by the Foundation work in about 50 countries. In addition to Chicago, MacArthur has offices in India, Mexico, and Nigeria.

MacArthur Foundation is recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Program Officer
Position Overview

  • The Program Officer will be responsible for assisting the Director to implement the Foundation’s new programmatic and strategies contributing to the development of new strategies. She/he will also provide program leadership and direction.
  • As an integral part of the grant review and monitoring for the Nigeria Office, the final candidate will be a high energy, intelligent individual who thrives in a challenging, fast-paced, and dynamic environment. This individual will have evidenced through his/her career, the ability to successfully deal with ambiguity, and to manage both up and down. Further, the individual will have a reputation for working strategically with discretion, integrity, and ethical decision making, while not being afraid to be “hands-on” with a high degree of responsiveness, strong attention to detail, and common sense. In addition, it is expected that this individual will have the combination of talent and drive to lead and achieve performance goals within the company.
  • The Program Officer will work closely with Foundation grantees. He/she will represent the Foundation in situations that require tact and diplomacy. As a key member of the program team, this position will work with the Director, Deputy Director, Nigeria team, and Chicago staff, with the non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governmental bodies, other donors, topic area experts, and policymakers.
  • The Program Officer will also manage a portfolio of grants by agreement with the Director and may serve as the area expert in one of more of the area(s) governance; accountability; anti-corruption; media and journalism; electricity; or criminal justice, among others.

This is a great position for a person who is able and motivated to:

  • Exercise sound, thoughtful, strategic decision making, understanding when to seek counsel. Work for an organization with strong financial and brand strength. Serve as a valued partner and advisor to the organization. Foster an environment that builds passion, personal commitment, and excellence. Develop the skills, capabilities and career as a part of the Nigeria team. Enjoy outstanding camaraderie with peers.


  • The Program Officer will be responsible for contributing to several grant portfolios, strategy development, and implementation.
  • At times, the individual will serve as spokesperson for the specific programs in Nigeria, and as point person on numerous programs in Chicago.
  • He/she will provide informed and objective counsel on issues relating to Nigeria and the Foundation.
  • He/she will stay up-to-date on major Country Office activities, ready to step in when needed.
  • This individual should be a strong and proactive advocate for the values and the characteristics of the Foundation.

Specific Responsibilities
Specific responsibilities are listed below but are not limited to the following, and may change at any time with or without notice:

  • Manage a roster of active grants in the Nigeria program.
  • Evaluate letters of inquiry and grant proposals, respond to grant proposals, and prepare grant recommendations for funding.
  • Engage in outreach activities.
  • In addition to crafting grant recommendations and supplementary analysis, the Program Officer is expected to engage actively with prospective and existing grantees, and with a wide range of experts in the field; so as to help formulate feasible grant strategies and facilitate successful achievement of grant objectives.
  • Participate in Foundation-wide initiatives related to strategy development, monitoring and evaluation, and grants management, as needed.
  • Gain proficiency in and manage an active portfolio of grants in the Foundation’s grants management system.
  • Provide intellectual leadership in the field.
  • Maintain accurate records, monitor grant performance, assess progress on an ongoing basis, and participate in the evaluation of grantee work and program area strategies.
  • Assist with strategy development in the Nigeria program.
  • Work closely and collaboratively with a team that is based in Abuja and in Chicago.
  • Stay current in the field and maintain an open, even approach to diverse perspectives.
  • Represent the Foundation at meetings.
  • Travel domestically and, occasionally, internationally, in connection with Foundation duties.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Skills & Experience Requirements

  • Advanced Degree in a field relevant to Social Science, Humanities, or a related field.
  • Seven or more years’ professional experience in governance, accountability, anti-corruption, education, criminal justice, or one of the, areas of Foundation work is required.
  • Demonstrated superior analytical and communication skills. Strong writing skills are essential for this position.
  • Experience in non-governmental organizations, either national or international; organizations preferred.
  • Required to have strong interpersonal skills and a demonstrated capacity for sound judgment while also being open to diverse views and effective at cross-cultural problem-solving.
  • Desire to grow into a position beyond Program Officer.
  • Familiarity with civil society networks, private sector, and government is helpful.
  • Excellent organizational abilities and the capacity to meet tight deadlines.
  • Must continually exhibit the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues and adapt to changing priorities.

Critical Competencies for Success

  • Managing Vision and Purpose – The Program Officer will work with the team on continual improvement while fostering a culture of accountability and results. With this in mind, the Foundation requires a professional, team-oriented individual who has broad-based credibility, and is capable of consistently motivating people to take action.
  • The Program Officer will possess the analytical skills to help effectively drive creativity, improve overall productivity, and elevate the Foundation’s advancement in achieving its new initiative goals in Nigeria.
  • Process and Results-Oriented – The new Program Officer must be performance-driven and able to provide measurable results while following the necessary due diligence processes.
  • The successful candidate will be resourceful, action-oriented, and possess a proactive sense of urgency, and the ability to overcome obstacles to produce results in a timely fashion. Achieving these goals while working in a collaborative environment will require the political savvy to know when to push for action and when to step back to build consensus.
  • This individual will be a strong role model who can build, inspire, and coach, while forging close working relationships with grantees, foundations, government officials, and private sector professionals.
  • Strategic Agility – In addition to subject matter expertise, this individual must be intellectually sharp and clearly capable of thinking on his/her feet while demonstrating outstanding judgment.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply

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