The Program Officer is an active collaborator and thoughtful partner within the Democracy Program team. S/he is curious to learn and eager to engage others internally and externally.
The ideal applicant for this position will bring a passion for youth and communities, especially their civic development. This might be demonstrated through prior work with youth ages 12-18, inside or outside school settings; experience leading community engagement efforts (through outreach, education, policy development, etc.); or other demonstrated capabilities.
To improve youth civic capacity, the Democracy Program supports diverse youth engagement and news media literacy programs, and is interested in continuing to develop this part of the grantmaking portfolio (please visit the McCormick Foundation’s website to see all recent grants). The ideal applicant will be familiar with issues in this field and bring ideas for how to advance the Program’s work in this area, through grantmaking, programming, and convening, among other activities.
The successful applicant will join a dynamic, diverse, and engaged team. S/he should be a strong communicator who is comfortable working in close partnership with others while maintaining a high level of individual responsibility.
In collaboration with the Democracy Program team, develops grantmaking priorities and strategic approaches, proactively researching grantmaking opportunities and challenges
Maintains a historic and current understanding of trends, needs, and opportunities in field of work
Serves as a thought partner on the Democracy Program team and brings additional knowledge and insights that inform adjustments to the Program’s strategy
Engages strategically within field of work to identify new and support existing grantees
Conducts due diligence to ascertain strategic fit and potential risks for new and current grantees
Responds to, evaluates, and recommends action on Letters of Inquiry and grant proposals. Prepares materials for recommendation to leadership including grant write-ups, financial reports, logic models, and strategy documents
Participates in meetings, conducts site visits, and reviews grantee submissions as part of overall responsibility for developing and managing existing grants and programs
Communicates with grantees and prospective grantees in a timely and effective manner, seeking and providing information necessary to the proper functioning of the grantmaking process. Assists in the assessment of performance achieved by each grantee
Leads or supports convenings, workshops, or other opportunities for learning and collaborative work among grantees and other thought leaders to share best practices, encourage collaboration, and explore opportunities for partnership
Manages, plans and coordinates evaluation of grantee performance and impact, including determining reporting requirements, the year-end reporting process and data analysis as assigned
Field Leadership and Foundation Support
Cultivates strong working relationships with grantees, outside advisors, experts in the field, public sector partners, and colleagues in philanthropy
Provides leadership in the professional field through public speaking engagements, writing, panel discussions, and use of social media, etc.
Works cooperatively with other Democracy Program and Foundation staff
Represents the Foundation as requested, traveling and participating in conferences, associations and activities that contribute to the Democracy Program
Works to increase effectiveness in all areas of job description, identifying and participating in activities to develop skills and knowledge, including technical capability of the program
Other duties as assigned
Bachelor's Degree, Master’s Degree preferred
Strong content knowledge in subject matters related to Democracy Program strategic focus areas
Knowledge of the culture, neighborhoods, institutions, and leadership of Chicago and Illinois
Demonstrated passion for the Foundation’s values with commitment to deliver results measured against the Foundation’s mission
Strong interpersonal skills and experience building positive, collaborative relationships, listening to new ideas, encouraging open dialogue, and inspiring people to work towards common goals
Excellent writing and presentation skills, particularly in communicating with diverse constituencies in a variety of settings
A minimum of five years of nonprofit experience or work in designated strategic focus areas of the Democracy Program
The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is part of the legacy of Col. Robert R. McCormick, the long-time editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune.
Col. McCormick grew up in a family committed to civic engagement and community service. He was the grandson of newspaper pioneer, Joseph Medill, one of the early publishers and owners of the Chicago Tribune. Col. McCormick built upon his grandfather’s ...legacy, was publisher and editor of the Chicago Tribune for more than 40 years, and built a media empire, which included WGN Radio and WGN Television.
Col. McCormick had many roles in his life, including public servant, citizen soldier, philanthropist, and staunch defender of the First Amendment, especially the freedom of press. His civic leadership helped transform Chicago into one of the world’s greatest cities.
At 23, he became alderman of the 21st Ward. From 1905 to 1910, he was the president of the Chicago Sanitary District.
Col. McCormick was a citizen soldier and a friend of veterans. He served in the Illinois National Guard and, in 1917, at the age of 36 volunteered for duty in France during World War I. There he fought with the First Division at the Battle of Cantigny, America’s first major battle of the war. Later, he renamed his farm in Wheaton “Cantigny.” A reserve officer and a founding member of the American Legion, he often hosted his fellow veterans at Cantigny. McCormick was buried in his World War I uniform with military honors.
Col. McCormick was among Chicago’s first major philanthropists, with his generosity shaping the city he loved. Upon his death in 1955, he left an estate estimated at $55 million. His will established what would become one of the nation’s leading charitable foundations.
Today, the Foundation continues Col. McCormick’s legacy, with the mission of fostering communities of educated, informed and engaged citizens. Since 1955, the McCormick Foundation has invested more than $1.5 billion in the areas of journalism, education, social services, civic engagement, and veterans’ programs.
The Foundation also oversees Cantigny Park, once the Colonel’s estate, in west suburban Wheaton, now a center for recreation, learning and civic engagement that has enriched the lives of millions of visitors.
With more than 60 years of philanthropic giving, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation remains dedicated to building stronger communities.