The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation
Remote within the United States (Remote employment is not permitted in Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, or Wyoming)
The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) is a private grant-making Foundation with a U.S. home office in Omaha, Nebraska, and a global office in Kigali, Rwanda. With annual spending in excess of $500 million, it is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. The Foundation has only two main areas of grant making: 1) supporting efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy and access to safe abortion for women in the U.S. and around the world and 2) to enable low-income students in Nebraska to attend and succeed in college. The Foundation currently employs 43 staff across 14 states in the U.S. and 7 staff in Kigali, Rwanda.
STBF is now seeking nominations and applications for a Research & Evaluation Associate Officer (AO). We seek a Research & Evaluation Associate Officer (AO) to support technical work in partnership with the College Access and Success (CAS) Program. Reporting to a Senior Research & Evaluation Officer (SREO), the AO operates in a supportive role on the team, collaborating with other team members and assisting on technical, administrative, and learning projects. The CAS mission is to provide sustainable, long-term access to higher education opportunities and support to degree completion for at-promise Nebraskans (i.e., students who are low income, many of whom are also first generation college students and students of color). Using an equity lens, the CAS team is focused on creating sustainable institutional change, maximizing the impact of financial aid, and creating evidence to support high-impact practices to reach these goals. The CAS team works with institutional and community partners to achieve these goals.
About the Research & Evaluation Unit
The Research & Evaluation Unit (R&E) includes the Vice President, three Senior Research & Evaluation Officers, three Officers, three Associate Officers, and one Administrative Assistant that supports the Vice President. R&E drives learning across the Foundation by working in partnership with STBF’s three Programs: College Access and Success (CAS), Global Programs, and U.S. Programs. Specifically, R&E enhances the quality and effectiveness of the Foundation’s grantmaking by guiding research and evaluation questions, helping partners think through methodological and analytic approaches, guiding regular assessment of progress towards and achievement of outcomes, and promoting the utilization of measurement and evaluation results. R&E makes the connection between strategy development, outcomes measurement, and evaluation to assess program and organizational effectiveness and to support learning for the Foundation and for the field.
Additionally, the R&E team is engaged with the Programs to commission expert external evaluators to assess the potential impact of major areas of grant making. As a part of this effort, the R&E team serves as the technical interface between external evaluators, Programs staff, and grantees. In all partnerships, R&E is committed to creating an environment that is welcoming, and values different perspectives and experiences, mutual input on research and evaluation design, and open discussion regarding the dynamics of the relationship and the best way for everyone to work together. The R&E unit itself does not carry out original research, conduct evaluations of Foundation projects, or publish original research.
The Foundation is intent on safeguarding the values that drive our culture:
• Respect for Donor Intent
• Appetite for Risk and Tolerance for Failure
• Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Humility
• Passion Tempered by Objectivity and Evidence
• Compassion and Love of Humanity
• Honesty and Integrity
• Kindness and Respect
• Shared Accountability
The Research & Evaluation Associate Officer will need to have a genuine understanding of, and appreciation for, the significance of these values and aspirations and how they are operationalized in the work the Foundation undertakes. Finally, the candidate will need to be aligned with the Foundation’s mission, including unambiguous support for individual reproductive freedom.
The Research & Evaluation Associate Officer (AO) will be an integral member of the Foundation’s R&E team. Typical R&E tasks include helping Programs and grantees formulate research questions and hypotheses; providing technical assessments and study design recommendations; and formulating measurement frameworks to support the continuous improvement of program strategies. Because of the technical nature of much of this work, the R&E unit is strongly committed to supporting staff’s ongoing professional development and learning. The responsibilities of a Research & Evaluation Associate Officer include:
Project Management and Monitoring Assistance
The AO will support the SREO and others with all aspects of project management and due diligence, including: monitoring timelines and producing Gantt charts; managing relevant files and assisting with record retention; reviewing proposals, contracts, study protocols, progress reports, budgets and budget justifications; providing input on study design; preparing materials for and documenting key discussion points from internal and external meetings; and facilitating relationships with partners.
Support the Senior Research & Evaluation Officer and College Access & Success Program
The AO will assist the SREO and others in managing internal databases, conducting data analyses, and creating data visualizations to support evidence-based decision-making within CAS. They will support the SREO and others in the development and implementation of efforts to track progress towards strategic outcomes and CAS research/evaluation priorities.
Analyze and Synthesize Data
The AO will review and assist with the interpretation of data and information for R&E and programmatic use. They will capture key points and action items from meetings and document them in clean, synthesized meeting notes. In addition, the AO will search for, summarize, and synthesize evidence (such as academic and gray literature) and in partnership with the SREO, develop relevant recommendations for CAS/Foundation colleagues.
Develop Documents for Foundational Learning
The AO will work closely with the SREO and others to develop and provide input on logic models, theory-of-change frameworks, technical documents and presentations, and other tools for internal and external audiences. Working closely with the SREO, the VP for CAS, and others, the AO will support the construction of a research and evaluation agenda for CAS and develop measurement strategies to track progress towards long-term outcomes and learning questions relevant to the CAS Program.
Contribute to Teamwide DEIJ Efforts
The AO will contribute meaningfully to R&E team and Foundation-wide dialogue to advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Illustrative examples include centering a DEIJ lens in measurement frameworks, supporting diverse pools of potential evaluation partners, and safeguarding equity when assessing potential contractors.
Assist with other tasks as needed, including direct requests from the R&E VP for team support, etc.
Employment Location: This role can be based in Omaha, NE at our home office location, or remote within the United States – with the exception of Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, and Wyoming. Remote staff are required to attend periodic in-person staff meetings in Omaha, Nebraska.
Compensation: The minimum salary for this role is $114,000. The Foundation also provides comprehensive benefits.
QUALIFICATIONS OF THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:
Values & Approaches
• A commitment to DEIJ values and an ability to engage respectfully with all colleagues and partners, including those from an array of racial/ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds, ages, cultures, nationalities, genders, and sexual orientations.
• Professional and personal integrity, and a demonstrated commitment to all Foundation values.
• Strong emotional intelligence, a willingness to think critically and creatively and ask challenging questions; and energetic, with an ability to succeed in a sophisticated, fast-paced environment that requires excellence, collaboration, and teamwork.
• Ability to balance teamwork with an ability to work independently and proactively to accomplish a wide variety of tasks and projects with strong organizational skills.
• Responsiveness to constructive feedback and a willingness to continuously improve.
• A willingness to travel as needed, with an expectation of approximately 5-15%.
• A willingness to support R&E’s work with other program teams when/if needed.
Background and Experience Qualifications
• A master’s degree with preference for a degree in educational research, psychology, sociology, statistics, or other related social science.
• At least two (2) years of monitoring, research and/or evaluation-related experience, with a preference for a focus on social science programs, including: developing measurement frameworks and logic models, selecting metrics, analyzing data, interpreting results, and applying lessons learned.
• Proficiency with Microsoft Office, EndNote, Excel, and other relevant software.
• Strong quantitative research skills, including an understanding of the concepts and applications of descriptive and inferential statistics as well as experience using software packages such as Excel, Stata, SAS, Tableau, and/or R for statistical analyses.
• Familiarity with qualitative research methods.
Hiring Requirements: As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check and proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and any recommended booster doses, subject to applicable laws.
How to Apply
This search is being led by Cara Pearsall and Robert Diggs of NPAG. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest, qualifications, and experience supporting research and evaluation efforts in the college access and success space, along with their resume, via NPAG’s website by Friday, May 12, 2023.
Accommodations: If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request to .
We are committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. This includes not only creating a diverse team where everyone feels represented, respected, and included, but also embedding these values across our work and practices. All applicants who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.