The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a leading philanthropic institution helping communities create the conditions children need to thrive, is seeking nominations and applications for a Communications Officer for Michigan Programs. Working on the team led by the Vice President of Communications and reporting to the Director of Communications, the new Communications Officer will execute the foundation’s internal and external strategy with each Officer managing that strategy from different locations throughout the foundation’s network. The new Communications Officer will be a seasoned, skilled storyteller with the ability to craft content that engages audiences around the foundation’s identity, mission, programming and impact. The Communications Officer for Michigan will join the place-based team in Battle Creek to implement a communication and outreach strategy to raise awareness and advance the social impact of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s priorities. The Communications Officer will be responsible for telling the foundation’s story in Michigan and managing media relations and social media platforms, writing high level editorial content, and other relevant communication and outreach activities.
Under the direction of Kathy Reincke, Director of Communications, the Communications Officer will not only oversee the foundation’s internal and communication strategy, they will also contribute to the development of national and place-based programs. Leveraging the foundation’s matrixed or networked model, the Communications Officer will collaborate closely with program staff and foundation leadership as they strategize the goals and objectives of each portfolio. This collaborative working model positions Communication Officers not only as thought-partners on communication strategy, but also as thought-partners to Program Officers as they conceptualize and execute the foundation’s grantmaking strategy in Michigan.
The ideal candidate will have a bachelor’s degree in journalism, public communication, fine arts, marketing, communications, or related field and at least eight years’ experience in communications with an agency, corporation, publication, or nonprofit organization. He/She/They will be committed to advancing social change and achieving racial equity, with particular interest in the foundation’s mission to create healthy communities for children and families; and a desire to lean into the foundation’s new networked model that relies on agile, collaborative teams. Additionally, he/she/they will have demonstrated experience partnering with leadership to create content across mediums; the ability to analyze and translate raw data and or technical information; the ability to translate it into accessible language for multiple audiences; and an in-depth understanding of current digital marketing technologies, industry trends, and audience engagement tactics. Success at a networked organization requires each team member to be highly motivated and nimble, results-oriented and adaptable. The ideal candidate will bring passion, maturity, creativity, and humility to the role of Communications Officer.
The search committee is being assisted by national search firm NPAG. 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.
“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families, and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society.”
To advance this mission, W. K. Kellogg Foundation created a framework to prioritize investment decisions toward achieving desired ends.
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 will access an array of change-making tools – grantmaking, impact investing, contracting, networking and convenings – to ensure progress. 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.
COMMUNICATIONS AT THE FOUNDATION
The Communications team plays a central role in elevating the foundation’s strategies and engaging its diverse stakeholders around funding, programmatic priorities, grantees, and partners to priority audiences, including internal staff, grantseekers, grantees, policymakers/thought leaders, community leaders/members, peer foundations, the media, job seekers, and the general public. The foundation’s robust website is the central hub of communications with the overarching goal of highlighting grantees, sharing lessons learned, fostering conversations, and advancing the foundation’s mission.
As the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s home state, Michigan has always held a special place in its mission. The foundation has a focused team whose work in the region is committed to the health, happiness, and well-being of all children in the community. Critical to that effort is having the community fully engaged in its own outcome. The foundation believes that its work must focus on community and civic engagement as well as racial equity to create real, systemic, and lasting change for Michigan’s children. Programming includes partnerships with think-tanks committed to bipartisan, cross-sector policy reform; research and action to drive business development in the state; and racial equity advocacy, which promotes collaboration across healthcare, business, higher education, K-12 education, foundations, faith-based groups, and the arts.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FACING THE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER
The new Communications Officer will be responsible for execution of the foundation’s internal and external communications goals and objectives with intense focus and a growing expertise on how best to execute that strategy from the perspective of Michigan Programs. Reporting to the Director of Communications and the Director of Michigan, he/she/they will collaborate with program staff and peers to appropriately elevate Michigan funding strategies, programmatic priorities, grantees, and partners to priority audiences.
Specifically, the Communications Officer will:
Partner with Communications and Digital teams on the foundation’s national communication strategy and goals while also adapting that strategy to create content that highlights and advances the social impact of the work of the Michigan Programs. The new Communications Officer will be a regional and national thought-partner, deeply committed to crafting and sharing the nuances of WKKF Story – specifically how that story is influenced and perfected by grantees, communities and programming in Michigan. As the new Communications Officer creates content, he/she/they will maintain a workflow that prioritizes close collaboration with the national foundation leadership and the programs team in Michigan.
Liaise with Director and Program Officers to develop a sincere, thoughtful understanding of critical issues and trends facing children and communities in Michigan. In order to accurately craft and deliver content that highlights the foundation’s impact in Michigan, the new Communications Officer will need to develop processes by which he/she/they will acclimate themselves to the history and impact of the Michigan portfolio. He/She/They will ultimately be responsible for interpreting the work of Michigan programs team into media products that balance the national identity of the foundation with the priorities and cultural and political nuances of the place-based work.
Maintain close, mutually collaborative relationships with foundation leadership, programs team, and national work groups to continuously drive and refine development of programming strategy. Communications Officers at the foundation are integral voices in grantmaking strategy. He/She/They will participate in program meetings and offer support to Program Officers and Directors as they develop and execute the goals and objectives of the portfolio.
Support the foundation’s social media engagement to advance the digital ecosystem’s effectiveness. The new Communications Officer will support the Digital Communications team as it designs and develops content optimized for social media platforms.
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:
• A bachelor’s degree in journalism, public communication, public relations, marketing, communications, or related field required and work experience (8+ years) in communications with an agency, corporation, or nonprofit organization preferred.
• Commitment to advancing social change and achieving racial equity, with particular interest in the foundation’s grantmaking strategies to create healthy communities for children and families.
• Demonstrated successful experience in interviewing, analysis, narrative writing, journalistic writing, blogging, copy editing, and long form conceptualization.
• Demonstrated experience partnering with colleagues and organizational leadership to collect raw information and translate that information into multimedia content accessible by diverse audiences.
• The ability to consistently create high quality content (including but not limited to: press releases, blog posts, features for the WKKF website, scripts, op eds, long form narratives, and other tools to communicate with grantees and community partners) independently and/or in partnership with colleagues.
• Entrepreneurial-minded; a self-starter who is also a highly motivated, results-driven collaborative leader who works well in cross-functional teams; a well-rounded, driven, and highly dependable individual who thinks creatively, approaches work with humility, and is committed to delivering quality results on large projects and daily tasks.
• Experience leading and or collaborating with a digital communications team with in-depth knowledge of digital and social media engagement tactics and trends.
• The ability to actively participate in problem resolution, reacting positively and quickly to changing dynamics; strong trouble-shooting capabilities with a skill for remaining flexible and open to internal workflow changes; work well under pressure with tight timelines; demonstrated ability to use interpersonal skills with tact and diplomacy.
• Pristine spelling, grammar, punctuation, and verbal and written communication skills required; ability to work independently, handle multiple projects with various deadlines and priorities, exercising good judgment and multi-tasking skills.
• The ability and willingness to travel.
• For all roles at the foundation, fluency in Spanish; Maya; Tzeltal; Tzotzil; Haitian Creole; Portuguese; and/or French, is a plus.
APPLICATIONS AND NOMINATIONS
More information about the W.K. Kellogg Foundation may be found at http://www.wkkf.org.
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: Communications Officer Michigan WKKF-COMI@nonprofitprofessionals.com
The search is being led by national search firm NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. 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.