The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), a leading philanthropic institution helping communities create the conditions children need to thrive, is seeking nominations and applications for the position of Program Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean Programs. The Latin America and the Caribbean Programs are comprised of foundation efforts in Mexico and Haiti, and the Program Manager will be based in WKKF’s office in Mexico City, Mexico. In recent years, the foundation has sharpened its focus on improving conditions for vulnerable children, concentrating on three key factors of success and their intersections: education and learning; food, health, and well-being; and family economic security. The foundation has made a generational commitment to grantmaking in the region that advances the vision of a future in which every child thrives. The Haiti and Mexico teams partner closely with community stakeholders and policy makers to create a network of organizations working together to advance economic stability, racial and ethnic equity, and community and civic engagement, while increasing access to quality education, healthy food, and medical care for children and families in need.
Serving under Rui Mesquita Cordeiro, Director for Latin America and th Caribbean (LAC) Programs, and alongside a team of three Program Officers, including Alejandra Garduño and Veronica Fernandes de Castro, the new Program Manager will support the place-based grantmaking portfolio by working to enhance the grantee experience throughout the lifecycle of the grant. S/he will build relationships with colleagues and grantees that enrich and support the portfolio’s work, taking a proactive, service-oriented stance toward grantee engagement and adopting management practices that are reflective of the foundation’s mission and desired community impact. The incoming Program Manager will play a key role in supporting the foundation’s ambitious goals that strive for educated, healthy kids and secure families throughout Haiti and Mexico.
The ideal candidate will have experience organizing and directing grant administration processes that enhance and support the foundation’s efforts to bring about positive change among and with children and families in Mexico. S/he will bring specific knowledge in defining, developing, and implementing various project-based work and initiatives. S/he will have a demonstrated ability to analyze information and develop strategies to solve problems, specifically creating mechanisms to solicit input from and respond to internal and external stakeholders. S/he will have a strong customer service orientation and be able to adjust processes to maximize the impact of the grantmaking portfolio. S/he will also possess a strong team orientation, a high tolerance for ambiguity, the ability to adapt quickly to change, and a record of success in working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds. The ideal candidate must have a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field as well as professional experience in philanthropic or nonprofit administration.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is being assisted by Carolyn Ho and Courtney Thomas of the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group. Please see application instructions at the end of this document.
HISTORY AND MISSION
In 1930, breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg donated $66 million in Kellogg Company stock and other investments “to help people help themselves,” launching the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The foundation began its work in Michigan, but by the 1940s had expanded its work internationally and was breaking ground in areas such as rural children’s health, “mainstreaming” children with disabilities, and the development of the healthcare profession. By its 50th anniversary, the foundation was among the world’s largest private philanthropic organizations. Its mission reflects the foundation’s core priorities of thriving children, working families, and equitable communities, and the dynamic connection between the three.
“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society.”
To advance this mission, W.K. Kellogg Foundation created a framework supported by an innovative matrixed organizational design to prioritize investment decisions and maximize effectiveness toward achieving the desired ends and improvements for children and their families. This new framework supports disciplined choices toward targeted outcomes and stronger alignment across programs. It is a focused and networked approach to strategic programming that relies on close cross-foundation collaboration and agile teams to leverage human capital and knowledge resources to positively impact vulnerable children, families, and communities. Across bodies of work, the foundation implements an array of change-making tools – grantmaking, impact investing, contracting, networking and convenings – to ensure progress. A commitment to racial equity, community engagement, and leadership development are woven into each endeavor as essential to the creation of a social context in which all children can thrive, particularly the most vulnerable.
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN PROGRAMS
WKKF began building partnerships in Mexico more than 60 years ago to improve the well-being of the most vulnerable rural and indigenous communities. The core belief for WKKF’s work in Mexico is that active and inclusive participation is essential to creating conditions where children and families can thrive. Today, the foundation’s efforts are concentrated in two regions of the country where poverty is particularly high: the Highlands of Chiapas and the inner areas of the Yucatan Peninsula. WKKF works closely with the Mayan, Tzotzil, and Tzeltal indigenous communities on comprehensive investments in education, health, and family economic security. In keeping with the core belief of active and inclusive engagement, the foundation partners with leaders and members of indigenous communities in creating visioning plans to guide these efforts. Recent efforts include grassroots intervention strategies based on improving food security through land management; the creation of community observatories in Chiapas to monitor and evaluate municipal decisions that affect indigenous residents; and a program in the Yucatan which trains women in different productive activities to increase family income.
WKKF began working in Haiti in the 1950s, first through fellowships and scholarships, and later with a full-scale grant program that lasted until 2006. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, a new window of opportunity opened in Haiti, thanks to strengthened solidarity among Haitians, renewed international interest, and longer-term strategic thinking. The foundation’s current investments in health, income generation, and education are based in two micro-regions in Haiti: the Central Area and the Southwest Corridor. WKKF’s efforts in health focus on improving healthy birth outcomes and early development for mothers and babies with improved maternal and infant care to reduce infant and maternal mortality, and increasing access to potable water and healthy food in order to improve children’s nutrition levels and prevent disease. The foundation’s income generation portfolio in Haiti is dedicated to improving agricultural production and agricultural product development, investing in promising value chains, and developing diverse, sustainable microenterprises beyond agriculture. Schools in rural communities are scarce, and those that exist are often unregulated and unstructured. A priority for WKKF’s education portfolio in Haiti is increasing the number of qualified teachers available to students in rural communities. This preliminary step is essential to increasing the number of students receiving a quality education.
Opportunities and Challenges Facing the Program MANAGER
The new Program Manager will join an extraordinary global team of individuals who are passionate about eradicating social disparities and improving well-being for all children and families. S/he will be a key member of the growing and closely connected cross-disciplinary Latin America and the Caribbean team executing the foundation’s place-based work in Haiti and Mexico. The new Program Manager will expect to engage in the following challenges and opportunities:
- Provide leadership around grantee engagement and support, partnering with other units across the foundation to enhance relationships among the foundation, grantees, and partners. Together with the Program Officers, the Program Manager will design and ensure adherence to specific standards for grant management and processing, reflecting a proactive approach to responding to and engaging with grantees. S/he will monitor overall grant status for the portfolio and initiate appropriate action(s) to ensure timely, accurate, and thorough follow through.
- Support Program Officers in research activities associated with administration of the Latin America and the Caribbean grant portfolio. The Program Manager will collect and analyze data from a variety of sources, identifying key trends and patterns that inform and advance the foundation’s work in Haiti and Mexico. S/he will identify data to inform grantmaking decisions that will leverage WKKF investments for maximum impact in creating systemic change in the most vulnerable communities in Haiti and Mexico.
- Collaborate with and support grantees and colleagues by providing comprehensive technical and issue resolution support. The Program Manager will provide appropriate technical support to grantees and senior programming staff in the development, implementation, and learning associated with all aspects of programming efforts. S/he will act as a liaison between Program Officers and other programming teams to assist with program alignment, integration, and aggregated learning opportunities.
- Support overall administration of grants in the Latin America and the Caribbean portfolio. The Program Manager will monitor, receive, and respond to programming proposals, requests, and contracts, and will also provide first-level review of funding requests and assist with preparation and editing of funding documents as appropriate. Acting as a key resource in contract due diligence and management, s/he will partner with internal units to administer vendor contracts as appropriate, including communicating expectations, monitoring progress, and ensuring accountability for value-added outcomes. In addition, s/he will carry out special and administrative projects and duties as assigned.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
While no one person will embody all of the qualities enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:
- Minimum of three years of experience in a professional environment with significant project management, workflow assessment, and data analysis and presentation experience; Bachelor’s degree in a field relevant to the portfolio is required; prior experience working in an organization promoting health equity, economic security, or early education is preferred; fluency in English and Spanish is required; preferred (as a plus), Maya; Tzeltal; Tzotzil; Haitian Creole; Portuguese; and/or French.
- Ability to conduct research and access networks and key information using internal and external sources of data, information and analysis, and the corresponding technical knowledge of relevant research resources, methods, and tools to execute required research;
- Expertise in understanding how to effectively communicate and present data, utilizing appropriate technology to illustrate key findings;
- Demonstrated flexible, multidisciplinary thinking required to address the broad social and economic forces that affect communities and families and the desire to focus that broad thinking into research, analysis, and assistance for the benefit of the programming team, grantees, and the foundation’s work as a whole;
- The knowledge and sensitivity to effectively work with and support vulnerable communities including appreciation for historical context, discernment of relationship nuances and power dynamics, and understanding of social, racial, and ethnic realities;
- Successful experience working as part of a multidisciplinary team and working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds; willingness to set aside a personal agenda in favor of organizational and/or community goals and objectives;
- Strong customer service and communication skills that seek to enhance the foundation’s mission and connect grantees, program staff, and partners with each other at key moments that informs, shapes, and advances the work;
- Excellent writing, editing, analytical, and oral communication skills including the ability to collect, review, synthesize, and present information and findings;
- Ability to multitask and meet deadlines within designated timeframes, as well as demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities; strong organizational skills and exceptional attention to detail with the ability to work both independently, take initiative, and contribute ideas for enhancing performance;
- An optimistic outlook and the humor, integrity, and patience necessary to work within a transformative environment; and
- Ability to travel to support job duties.
APPLICATIONS AND NOMINATIONS
The search is being led by Carolyn Ho and Courtney Thomas of Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications, your resume (in Word format), and where you learned of the position should be sent to: WKKF-PMMEX@nonprofitprofessionals.com . Please type your name (Last, First) as the only contents in the subject line of your e-mail.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity.
Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.