Program Officer (Health Equity), New Mexico

Date Posted: 
Thu, May 09, 2019
Company Name: 
W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Job Description: 


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 Officer, New 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 New Mexico team partners closely with community stakeholders and policy makers to create a network of organizations working together to advance New Mexico’s economic stability, racial equity, and community and civic engagement, while increasing access to quality education, healthy food, and medical care for children and families in need.

Reporting to Director of New Mexico Programs, Frank René López, the new Program Officer will provide leadership and oversight of the portfolio’s programmatic and policy initiatives that strive for educated, healthy kids and secure families throughout the State of New Mexico with a special emphasis in one of two areas: health equity or economic security. S/he will build relationships and coalitions throughout the state that enhance and support the portfolio’s work; screen and recommend grants for funding; and manage and monitor a portfolio of grant programs that have a public policy and community engagement approach aligned with the strategic framework of the Foundation. S/he will collaborate with other Foundation program staff to foster a rigorous, inclusive, and interdisciplinary approach to grantmaking. The Program Officer will nurture and maintain strong, authentic relationships to achieve the Foundation’s goal of working with communities to improve the lives of their children by partnering closely with community leaders and policymakers across New Mexico to co-create a network of organizations working together to advance health equity or increase economic opportunities. The incoming Program Officer will play a key role in supporting this work in pursuit of the Foundation’s ambitious goals.

The ideal candidate will have deep knowledge of and experience with New Mexico’s diverse communities and will know how to foster collaboration and support for positive change among and with New Mexico’s most vulnerable children and families. S/he will bring specific knowledge in working in and partnering with the various systems that foster the success of communities and impact access to quality healthcare and economic wellbeing. S/he will possess a thorough knowledge of systems change and will be a holistic and interdisciplinary thinker with significant mastery of the broad social, economic, and place-based forces affecting the social determinants of health or economic sustainability among communities and families in New Mexico. S/he will have a demonstrated ability to oversee development and implementation of programs that target disparities and possess the skills to facilitate authentic, productive dialogue within diverse communities and settings. S/he will 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 will have an advanced degree and substantial work and leadership experience in a relevant field.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation - New Mexico is being assisted by Carolyn Ho, Melinda Hull and Nureen Das of the Nonprofit Professionals Advisory Group. Please see application instructions at the end of this document.


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 and, now in its 83rd year, the Foundation celebrates over $7 billion spent toward helping people to help themselves.

In 2007, the Foundation reviewed, revised, and refocused program goals toward helping vulnerable children and
realigning with W.K. Kellogg’s original intent. The new mission statement reads:
“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 bring the vision of this refreshed mission into action, the Foundation unveiled a new strategic framework for its
programming. Previously, both the organization and its grantmaking were structured around individual programming
areas. The new framework, built on 80 years of grantmaking experience, recognizes that success for vulnerable children
depends on an intricate tapestry of elements. The three program areas (Education and Learning; Food, Health, and Well-
Being; and Family Economic Security) all play interconnected roles in creating an environment in which vulnerable
children are protected, nurtured, equipped and stimulated to succeed. Moreover, the attention to racial equity, the
eradication of structural racism, and the rigorous encouragement of civic and philanthropic engagement across each of
these program areas is essential to the creation of a social context in which all children can thrive, particularly the most


WKKF began its work in New Mexico in 1945 and remains focused on working with the state’s diverse communities to
create a future that is equitable across boundaries of language, ethnicity, and national origin. The Foundation partners
with a diverse portfolio of grantees to help ensure that New Mexico’s children are healthy, well-educated, and
economically secure while embracing the wisdom of the state’s unique cultural, social, and governance traditions.

Working with grantees and partners in the state to tackle the root causes of inequities and to support enduring,
community-led solutions, WKKF concentrates its investments in Bernalillo (specifically South Valley), Doña Ana,
McKinley, and San Juan counties and in Native communities across the state, because it is estimated that more than half
of vulnerable children in New Mexico live in those places.

The Foundation’s commitment to the state is also reflected in the regional office that was opened in Albuquerque in
2012. WKKF’s grantmaking emphasizes several interrelated program areas specific to the needs of New Mexico’s
children – including programs that support access to healthy food, extend mother-to-mother support for women who
breastfeed their babies, and help communities strengthen their local food systems and integrate healthier foods into
schools. In addition to this, the Foundation also supports programs that improve early childhood education, including
increasing access to home visitation.

WKKF works also with industry partners and technical education programs to ensure there are clear pathways to
employment for diverse populations. The Foundation supports families in developing a base of financial security that
will enable them to support and engage in the education of their children and to save for the future. Additionally, WKKF
is committed to helping develop diverse local leaders with influence and who can help leverage other local and national
philanthropic dollars.


The new Program Officer will join an extraordinary team of individuals who are passionate about eradicating social
disparities and improving well-being for all children. S/he will also be part of a closely connected cross-disciplinary
team executing the place-based work that spans across Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, New Orleans, Haiti, and
Mexico. The place-based teams strive to improve conditions across these diverse places by sharing best practices and
aligning resources, approaches, and assessment of grantmaking to drive solutions for systemic social change.

The new Program Officer, New Mexico, will expect to engage in the following challenges and opportunities:
• Provide leadership and oversight for on-the-ground execution of program efforts that is aligned and
integrated with the unified mission and vision of the Foundation. The new Program Officer will develop a
strong network of key stakeholders, policymakers, community leaders, and grantees that support the
Foundation’s mission and inform and advance its work in New Mexico. S/he will expand and deepen the
Foundation’s work on health equity and/or economic security, shaping the work and supporting communities
to enhance the well-being of children and families in the state.
• Collaborate with and support prospective and existing grantees in developing funding strategies, requests,
and plans with a focus on change making relevant to policy and advocacy. The Program Officer will
provide high-level technical assistance to grantees including conducting site visits and consulting on model
development, partnership negotiations, leadership capacity building, and coaching. S/he will identify and
recommend grantmaking opportunities that leverage WKKF investments for maximum impact in creating
systemic change, and s/he will maintain strong, authentic relationships with grant seekers and grantees,
ensuring mutual understanding of WKKF program direction, goals, and expectations.
• Create learning communities and collaborative networks amongst grantees and partners, develop and
manage learning and evaluation components for grants, and cultivate a wide breadth and depth of
knowledge about trends, practices, and issues relevant to economic and/or health equity. The Program Officer
will work closely with WKKF’s Learning and Impact team to incorporate assessment components into program
efforts to measure progress and impact. S/he will document and circulate lessons learned from grant
investments, networking meetings, and other foundation-related activities. S/he will work collaboratively to
identify and prioritize the highest value knowledge and learning from the Foundation's grant investments and
networking meetings.
• Build public and policy goodwill and awareness of issues affecting vulnerable children and families. The
Program Officer will contribute ideas for how the Foundation's highest value knowledge and learning could be
packaged and disseminated to benefit nonprofit executives, business leaders, government officials, community
leaders, parents, and other external stakeholders of the Foundation. S/he will serve as a credible, articulate
representative and spokesperson for the Foundation and will communicate the program’s strategic direction
and particular funding interests to various audiences, internal and external to the foundation.


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 five years’ experience in health, health equity, community development, and/or economic
development with a preference for significant relevant work experience (8+ years) and strong networks and
contacts in northwest New Mexico; Master’s degree in health, health policy, social work, public administration,
economic development or a field relevant to the portfolio is preferred;
• Demonstrated flexible, multidisciplinary thinking required to address the social determinants of health and
economic security and the drive to shape and inform the work based on the immediate issues and opportunities
found in communities; understanding of the broad social and economic forces that affect communities and
families and shape programming efforts; holistic and multi-dimensional approach to leadership development,
organizational change, and community transformation;
• Sophisticated understanding of health and economic disparities in New Mexico and the related policy
landscapes; ability to navigate successfully the different legal, social, and political forces at play through the
federal, state, local, and sovereign governance systems in New Mexico; familiarity with the different health
delivery systems in New Mexico and their funding, regulatory, and reform processes especially as it relates to
the Indian Health Service and other health related organizations serving native communities; and/or knowledge
of financial systems, capital markets, and economic mobility policy and practices that leverage diverse models
and effective strategies for economic security particularly among native communities.
• Expertise in understanding philanthropy’s role in policy development to sustain program success and the current
trends, movements, and best practices in developing policy to advance and magnify philanthropic investment
and capitalize on emerging opportunities;
• Capacity to develop and implement impactful programs and effectively communicate conceptual program
frameworks to grant-seekers and trustees; deep and comprehensive understanding of program design and
development, systems, networking, and community change;
• Demonstrated success in forging and stewarding partnerships with the private sector, government agencies,
foundations, policymakers and stakeholders in health, racial justice and equity, economic development,
education, and community organizations in support of children and families;
• 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;
• Demonstrated ability to develop and implement programs that have impact; ability to think globally while
working locally, representing WKKF to a variety of stakeholders and intermediaries in a credible and influential
way and with a selfless manner focusing on values and the greater good;
• 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 relationship building and communication skills; the ability to have authentic dialogue around sensitive
issues including funding priorities, WKKF expectations, and community concerns; highly developed emotional
intelligence and active listening skills, and the ability to use interpersonal and political skills in collaborative,
diplomatic ways;
• 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 approximately 50 percent time is required; regular attendance on-site at the Battle Creek
headquarters to facilitate interaction and synthesis of the grantmaking programs is required.


More information about the W.K. Kellogg Foundation may be found at

The search is being led by Carolyn Ho, Nureen Das, and Melinda Hull 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: In order to expedite the internal sorting and
reviewing process, 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.

New Mexico