Grant Making Support Officer
The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to criticism, whose laws and policies are open to debate and correction, and whose political institutions are open to the participation of all people. We seek to strengthen justice and the rule of law; broaden respect for human rights, including the rights of minorities; encourage pluralism and a robust diversity of opinion; deepen democratic practice and participation; expand economic equity; support effective governance; and invest in individuals, public and private organizations, and social movements that advance these goals.
We are a global network of foundations committed to local knowledge and national expertise. Our network includes national foundations, regional foundations, and other geographic programs operating in more than one hundred countries. At the same time, many programs with global reach operate from our four headquarters in Europe and the United States, including programs on digital information, documentary photography, drug policy, early childhood, education, fellowships, fiscal governance, higher education, human rights, international migration, justice, public health, scholarships, think tanks, and women’s rights. In addition to making grants to organizations and individuals, the Open Society Foundations engage in policy advocacy, legal advocacy and litigation, program-related investing, and public communications, as well as providing direct assistance to governments. Most programs and foundations in the network are governed or advised by their own boards.
The Open Society Foundations are the global philanthropies of George Soros, who, as chairman, plays an active role in the work of the foundations.
he Grant Making Support Group
The Grant Making Support Group (GMSG) is a unit responsible for supporting and advocating for the practice of good grant making within the Open Society Foundations. The GMSG does this by: (a) promoting a culture of grant making across the network based on shared values and principles; (b) building an environment (policies, practices, systems, and structures) that encourages, supports and sustains good grant-making practice; and (c) strengthening the knowledge, skills and abilities of our grant makers.
The GMSG works in multiple ways, including: (1) developing and providing training opportunities to leadership and staff of grant-making programs, (2) designing and facilitating spaces and methodologies to encourage and support peer learning within and across grant-making programs, (3) examining and improving existing grant making policies, practices and systems, developing new ones when needed, (4) building knowledge of grant making through research, assessment, and engagement within, across and beyond OSF, as well as developing knowledge resources that are responsive to the needs of our grant makers, and (5) fielding questions and helping our staff solve grant-making related problems they are encountering.
Created in 2013, the GMSG works across the network engaging with colleagues from grant-making programs, including thematic and regional programs, National and Regional Foundations and operational units, such as General Counsel, Grants Management, Strategy Unit, Information Systems, Human Resources, Finance, and the Office of the President.
The Grant Making Support Group is seeking a Grant Making Support Officer to focus on the design, facilitation and assessment of GMSG’s training and peer learning events for OSF grant makers. The Grant Making Support Officer will report to the GMSG’s Director of Learning and will be part of a small, tightly-knit, collaborative team that works with colleagues from across all parts of OSF. Once ready, the Officer will hold responsibility for several “portfolios” of work within GMSG’s learning strategy. This will involve design, development, testing, delivery and adjustment of written, in-person, and on-line guidance, trainings, workshops, and clinics central to developing a strong culture of good grant-making practice across OSF’s network. The ideal candidate will have significant experience in grant making at OSF or at a similar grant-making institution, strong skills in training – both around content development and facilitation – outstanding project management and multi-tasking skills, and an ability to work seamlessly across different cultures.
The Officer is responsible for contributing to the effective work of the GMSG overall. The Officer is expected to exercise independent judgment in their work while consulting and collaborating with other GMSG team members as needed to maximize the quality and value of training and learning events. The Officer, while not a supervisor of other employees, manages complex projects and portfolios of work. Within those parameters, the Officer is responsible for effective deployment of time, money, and coordination with other OSF staff. These projects may be network-wide or involve similarly complex coordination, and will require strategic thinking, effective communication and collaborative problem-solving. Building and maintaining strong, trust-based relationships internally and externally, across cultures and geographies, is an important function of the Officer role. Competing interests, complex political and cultural factors, and tensions between long and short-term goals must all be managed effectively.
This position can be based in New York or London.
Position will start as soon as possible, ideally March 2018.
Duties and Responsibilities:
All the following duties and responsibilities will be exercised within a frame provided by GMSG’s leadership team, who will set the priorities for the Officer.
- Works within broader program strategy and parameters to design, develop, test and assess grant-making trainings, workshops, clinics, and other in-person (and remote) learning sessions.
- Works both independently and as part of GMSG’s facilitation team to deliver trainings, workshops, clinics, and other in-person (and remote) learning sessions.
- Collaborates within and beyond the GSMG team, including building partnerships beyond OSF, to design training and learning events that support and advance good grant-making practice, including, among other tasks, conducting research, writing facilitation guides, and creating training materials that support and advances good grant-making practice.
- Works with cohorts of new grant makers to design and facilitate ongoing, in-person and remote, peer-learning opportunities.
- Builds a knowledge base of grant-making practice, including significant engagement with OSF’s grant-making programs and National & Regional Foundations, to understand the contexts and practices for different styles of grant making and provide appropriate support.
- Builds collaborative relationships within and outside OSF that advance a shared culture of good grant making across the OSF network.
- Contributes to communicating, executing, and helping to revise one or more strategies inside the GMSG within associated budgets and work plans. Participates in the development of overall GMSG strategy and conducts research to support program design.
- Manages projects, which may be regional or global in nature, that include collaboration with staff from within and outside OSF.
- Coordinates work with program and/or administrative staff in support of training and learning activities.
Skills and Abilities
Strong candidates for this position will have most or all of the following:
- Ability to articulate a deep understanding of and vision for good grant-making practice based on experience and knowledge, using that understanding to develop and implement a strategy for achieving OSF’s broader vision for grant making. This includes understanding of common and atypical challenges, varied approaches, and appropriate use of grant-making tools.
- Demonstrable skills as an effective teacher/trainer/facilitator with knowledge of and/or significant interest in adult learning and facilitation. Experience in design and testing of teaching/training materials is highly desirable.
- Strong emotional intelligence, excellent communication and facilitation skills. Ability to engage and connect with groups in a trustful and personable way. Ability to “read the room” and adapt methodologies and plans accordingly.
- Ability to work comfortably in new projects, thinking creatively, testing new ideas and developing new frames, structures and methodologies for our trainings.
- Capacity to develop engaging, audience-appropriate written and multimedia training and learning products for audiences of varying grant-making skills and professional levels.
- Strong project management skills, including effective deployment of time, money, and human resources, network-wide or similarly complex coordination, effective communication, and collaborative problem solving.
- Track record of taking responsibility for projects and areas of work, ability to determine an appropriate course of action and problem solve with minimal supervision and guidance.
- Ability to exercise effective and inclusive leadership in cross-cultural settings and to build and maintain strong, trusting relationships – across the OSF network and with others – to further programmatic goals.
- Excellent written and spoken communication skills in English are required; proficiency in other languages is highly desirable.
- Ability to undertake regular international travel.
- Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study or equivalent experience/education. Graduate degree (or equivalent education/experience) a plus.
- Significant grant-making experience, with a minimum of three years in a grant-making position at OSF or at a similar grant-making institution, and a demonstrated ability to learn and adapt own practice.
- 7-10 years of progressively responsible experience in situations relevant to the duties of this role.
- Experience as a trainer and/or facilitator strongly preferred.
Essential functions are typically performed in an office setting with a low level of noise. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.