Jobs Board

Program Operations Director (Bush Foundation)

Company Name

Bush Foundation

Company City

St. Paul

Company State


Job Location

St. Paul, MN

Company Information

Archibald G. Bush believed that “wealth should be used for the benefit of all humanity.” This belief led Archie, a 3M executive, and his wife Edyth to establish the Bush Foundation in 1953. Since then, the Bush Foundation has granted more than $1.2 billion to individuals and organizations working to do good.

The Bush Foundation Approach

We inspire and support creative problem solving – within and across sectors – to make our region better for everyone. Everything we do is to advance this purpose. It is what ties all our work together.

We invest in great ideas and the people who power them in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and the 23 Native nations that share this geography. This is both our tagline and our strategy to advance our purpose.

We work through open grantmaking programs to support organizations and people who think bigger and think differently about solutions to problems in their communities to:

• Develop, test and spread great ideas that will make the region better for everyone
• Inspire, equip and connect people to more effectively lead change

How We Do Our Work

We believe that change happens through people and that the future of our region depends on what the people in it believe they can do and be. We consider every investment we make to be an investment in people, to think bigger and think differently about what is possible. The Foundation’s operating values guide everything we do. We try to live them in every aspect of our grantmaking and our operations.

• Spread Optimism. We encourage individuals and organizations to think bigger and think differently about what is possible. We are positive and supportive in our internal and external interactions.
• Work Beyond Ourselves. We actively seek opportunities to work in true collaboration with others to have more impact. We are willing to both lead and follow. We candidly share what we learn with others.
• Everybody Matters. We are a champion for both excellence and equity inside and out of the
Foundation. We have fair, open and inclusive processes. We work to raise overall quality of life
while also closing opportunity and achievement gaps.
• Steward Well. We demonstrate appreciation for the Foundation’s history and thoughtfully build
on its legacy. We hold ourselves to high standards of integrity and accountability and conduct
ourselves in a way we hope would make our founders proud.
• More Good. Every Year. We are a true learning organization and work to be smarter and more
effective every year. We never lose sight of the reason we exist: to do the most possible good with the resources left to the community by Archibald G. Bush.

We have a deep organizational commitment to equity and we do our best to live out that commitment in both what we do and how we do it. We try to ensure we are accessible and relevant to people all around the region and we make sure that we are investing in communities with the greatest needs. We have a long-standing specific commitment to investing in Native Americans and the 23 Native nations in our region.

For more information about the Bush Foundation, please visit

Job Description

Classification: Exempt, Full-Time

  • Reports to: Chris Romano, Chief Operating Officer
  • Direct Reports:
    Amy Anderson, Program Operations Officer
    Kevin Bruins, IT Administrator
    Kallie O’Hara, Program Operations Officer
    Amanda Rios Heintz, Grants Administrator
    Nhia Vang, Program Operations Coordinator
    Kristi Ward, Program Operations Officer

The Program Operations Director Role

The Program Operations Director provides Foundation-wide leadership, coordination and expertise in grantmaking processes, grants administration and technology. They are responsible for ensuring that our grantmaking processes and practices are aligned with the Foundation’s operating values and are simple, supportive, strategic and advance equity. Leading a six-person team, they provide strategic and day-to-day leadership of grants management and administration, program operations and technology.

Core Responsibilities & Key Relationships

Grants Administration

• Promotes Foundation-wide understanding and adoption of effective grantmaking practices, including staying on top of and contributing to best practices and innovations in the field.
• Oversees grants administration at the Foundation through all stages of the grantmaking process in close collaboration with the Grants Administrator and other Program Operations team members.
• Reviews and approves all Foundation grants and program-related investments (PRIs), as well as all grant and program-related investment payments to ensure compliance with legal requirements and best practices.
• Consults with and supports staff across the organization in identifying and working through technical questions on grant design and implementation. The Program Operations Director plays a key role in problem-solving and working through technical issues on investments that are particularly complex or unique or have implications beyond a single investment.
• Consults with outside legal counsel as needed to accomplish this work effectively.

Program Operations

• Provides leadership and support to staff across the Foundation on a wide range of program design and implementation questions. This work is done in close collaboration with Program Operations Officers as well as Grantmaking, Learning & Evaluation and Communications team members.
• Supports Program Operations team members in resolving a wide range of technical, strategic and process issues.
• Works with Program Operations staff on tools and processes – such as dashboards, program calendars, etc. – that illustrate, anticipate and address operational and capacity tension points.
• Key consultant and collaborative decision-maker on Foundation membership and funder collaborative grants.
• Takes a big picture view in seeing the range of issues, questions and concerns that the Program Operations staff manage in their work with individual programs and activities. Proposes changes to process, training and workflow that would support effective org-wide partnerships, productive internal practices and great grantmaking.

Technology & Data Leadership

• In partnership with the IT Administrator, leads the information technology strategy (including hardware, software, online tools) to ensure effective operations and to create culture and practice that optimizes the functionality and utility of the Foundation’s tools.
• Serves as a key leader and resource on strategy and practice related to data protocols, data collection, data analysis and data extraction.
• Provides strategic leadership to the Foundation’s team of data experts (made up of the Grants Administrator and two Learning & Evaluation Managers) so that the Foundation’s data collection and data reporting meet our goals for transparency, high quality analysis and equity. This includes providing guidance and direction to ensure that reports prepared for the public, staff and board illustrate and analyze key trends and issues accurately and effectively.

Team and Organization-wide Leadership

• Supervises the six-member Program Operations team to ensure a positive and collaborative environment resulting in a high performance and continuous improvement culture that helps to support and develop team members to succeed individually and as a team.
• Oversees and manages the budgets for program operations, IT, staff and board donor advised funds and all individual grant recommendations for our donor advised funds.
• Plays a key role in organization-wide work to prioritize and manage key projects and work cycles, including our program prioritization process, program calendar and planning for the weekly org-wide meetings.
• Serves as part of Management Team and in other cross-organization roles and groups to ensure organization-wide alignment on strategic direction and operations.
• Represents the Foundation in relevant convenings and professional organizations, adding to knowledge and expertise in the sector.

Starting Salary: Annual salary of $177,555

Benefits: We offer excellent benefits, including health, dental, life and disability insurance; generous retirement contributions; professional development and vacation, sick and holiday leave.

Location & Schedule: We are a place-based foundation with a focus on serving the people in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share that geography. All employees are expected to live in the region that we serve. The Foundation’s primary office is located in St. Paul, MN. Three of the 34 current staff live outside of the Twin Cities metro area.

We work in a hybrid environment, with a mix of virtual and in-person work. Our focus is on flexibility, with a few important connection points that help us strike a good balance of independence and connection. Twin Cities-based staff work on-site every Wednesday, with one additional ‘connection and learning’ on-site day each month. Once a quarter, staff who live outside the Twin Cities travel to our St. Paul offices for those on-site days.

Work Environment: This role may require schedule flexibility and occasional travel in the region (up to 10%) to participate in events or meet priority deadlines.

Job Qualifications

Working at the Bush Foundation

Given our organizational culture and values, there are some attributes we are looking for in all our staff:

• We are a small organization with big aspirations. We need leaders who can both do the big picture strategic thinking and also do the hands-on work to make it happen.
• We are a very collaborative organization and nearly all our work is shared. This means we need people who are really good at intentional planning and decision making. This means raising and resolving issues in inclusive ways, with good communications with stakeholders all along the way – while still moving things forward and getting to action.
• We are a values-driven organization. We need people who are enthusiastic about the values and are willing to do what it takes to live up to them.
• We have a strong organizational commitment to equity. We need people who will consider the equity implications of every decision. We need people who are able to adapt to ensure everything we do works well for people of different backgrounds and abilities. We need leaders who are committed to anti-racism and are comfortable directly addressing issues of race and cultural difference.
• We are committed to leadership development in our programming and in our own operations. This means we need people who are self-aware and continuously working on developing their own skills to be more effective. Our supervisors need to model and embody this self-awareness and growth and to be actively committed to the development of others.


• Experienced leader. We’re looking for someone with significant experience – likely at least seven years – successfully leading and managing complex projects, working across teams, divisions, departments in fluid and dynamic settings. The issues that bubble up to this role usually have a mix of strategic, technical, operational and people elements and so the next Program Operations Director needs to be comfortable and effective in managing multi-dimensional issues.
• Grants professional. We need significant experience with and comprehensive understanding of grants administration processes and tools and current issues and trends in the grants management field. The Foundation strives to be creative and expansive in how and what we fund and the Program Operations Director is a critical partner in making that work. Commitment and interest to developing and spreading best practices in grantmaking, both internally and externally.
• Great supervisor. The Program Operations team is highly capable and self-directed. We’re looking for someone who is a terrific supervisor, with experience supporting and developing talented colleagues to succeed individually and as a team.
• Equity champion. The Program Operations Director must have a strong commitment to equity and anti-racism work, with experience leading inclusively and equitably, and applying that experience and expertise to all decisions both directly related to program operations and not.
• Creative problem-solver. Demonstrated aptitude for designing and supporting innovative process and technical solutions to address the Foundation’s grantmaking, date and operational goals. Is responsive and able to manage multiple projects with tight deadlines.
• Values-driven leader. Demonstrates integrity, sound judgement, positivity in their daily work with effective and adaptable communication and interpersonal skills. Strong problem-solving abilities and comfortable working at both strategic and operational levels.
• Collaborative partner. Is good at building trusting relationships and able to work well with people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds.

Other desirable experiences and skills:

• Experience with foundationConnect, Salesforce or similar complex databases as an end user or administrator would be a significant plus.
• Knowledge of the funding region or focus for the Foundation’s work or programmatic investments.
• Understanding of IRS rules and regulations governing private foundations, grantmaking and related activity.

How to Apply

Informational Webinar:
We have recorded a brief closed caption video to introduce the Bush Foundation and the job. You can find this recording on our website.

To Apply:
Please send a cover letter and resume to and include Program Operations Director: [your name] in the subject line.

In your cover letter, please describe your interest in the position and the experience you’ve had that lines up with the qualifications for the job. We’d love to have you tell us a story about a problem or issue that challenged you and illustrates your experience and enthusiasm for this role.

Applications will be accepted through Wednesday, December 28. We encourage and appreciate early applications!

The Bush Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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