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Program Officer

Program Officer
Application Deadline: 
Monday, November 2, 2020
Job Description: 

California Wellness Foundation

Position: Program Officer

Reporting to: Program Director

Location: Los Angeles or Oakland, CA


As a state-wide funder, The California Wellness Foundation seeks to understand and recognize all of California, including the underserved rural regions of the Far North, Central Valley, Central Coast, Imperial Valley, and Tribal Nations. We are seeking a creative, innovative and visionary Program Officer to add depth to our team, and bring a deep understanding and connection to issues impacting the lives of rural Californians. Program Officers support statewide portfolios and ensure the equitable distribution of the foundation’s resources, while simultaneously sharing their specialized and unique knowledge and experience with the entire team to help embed that knowledge into all of our portfolios.

Candidates with program management experience in the nonprofit, philanthropic, government and/or private sectors; a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); and experience confronting injustices related to race and gender that negatively impact community outcomes and health are encouraged to apply. Candidates must have deep knowledge and experience in a rural region of California


The California Wellness Foundation is a private, independent foundation established in 1992 with a mission to protect and improve the health and wellness of the people of California. As one of the largest health-focused foundations in California, with over $900 million in assets, Cal Wellness is a nationally recognized leader for its strategic core operating support for grantees; public policy grantmaking; and a focus on violence as a public health issue. It is Cal Wellness’ desire to promote equity and level the playing field so that everyone has access to good-paying jobs, healthy and safe neighborhoods, and quality health care services.

The foundation’s current Advancing Wellness grantmaking strategy includes four interrelated portfolios that focus on equitable access to health care; safe and healthy neighborhoods; economic security; and community and organizational leadership. Since its founding, Cal Wellness has awarded nearly 9,000 grants totaling more than $1 billion. As the foundation looks to the future, it is pursuing new and innovative strategies beyond its core grantmaking to advance its mission, including implementation of new technology systems, development of its public affairs capacity, and establishing mission- and program-related investment portfolios.

Cal Wellness has a diverse staff of approximately 40 located in its Los Angeles and Oakland offices and a diverse 11-member Board located throughout the state of California. The foundation’s work underscores a belief that wellness requires social justice, a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and sustained efforts to eliminate systemic barriers that prevent access to health care, education, employment and safety.

Please visit for more information.


Program Officers are part of a 14-member department headed by the Vice President of Programs who reports to the CEO. This Program Officer will initially support the “Leading for Power and Change” portfolio which aims to amplify the voices, leadership, and power of people of color, and other people who have historically been excluded from full participation in civic society. The portfolio will support systems, policy, norms/narrative and capacity-fielding building in the following areas: 1) non-profit sector equity, 2) movement and power-building, and 3) new models that address the social determinants of health and advance equity. Program Officers will have an opportunity to rotate portfolio assignments every few years. The programs team is supported by a cohort of program coordinators and the director of program operations. Program Officers will also interact with the CEO, the executive management team and the board of directors.

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  • Review solicited and unsolicited letters of interest to determine fit with the foundation’s guidelines and priorities
  • Review and analyze grant proposals and financial documents to determine strategy alignment, organizational capacity and effectiveness
  • Conduct site visits with prospective and current grantees
  • Perform programmatic and financial due diligence for all grant proposals
  • Prepare and present cogent analytical grant recommendations to the Program Director and Vice President of Programs
  • Present recommendations and analyses to CEO and the board as needed.

Grant Monitoring and Learning

  • Monitor the performance of active grants within assigned portfolios
  • Monitor progress of grantees in achieving key objectives through the life of the grant and participate in discussions with grantees to help resolve issues
  • Contribute to reports that communicate the alignment of grantee activities with portfolio goals and strategies, including grant recommendations, analyses and other documents
  • Review and assess grantee reports and coach grantees, as needed, to support success
  • Maintain and build content expertise by staying abreast of current research, data and trends in the health care, public health and social justice fields; and by attending and participating in relevant convenings and conferences
  • Perform research and other assignments

Community Engagement

  • Explain foundation priorities and procedures to grantseekers and respond to goal-and priority- related inquiries from grantseekers and the general public
  • Represent the foundation at relevant conferences, meetings, briefings
  • Participate in conferences, workshops, briefings and other professional development opportunities to remain current on issues and philanthropic best practices


  • Develop and maintain teamwork with all staff members in a trustful, respectful, and cooperative work environment
  • Participate as an active member in cross-departmental and foundation-wide activities


The ideal candidates will be aligned with our mission and values; possess strong program management, strategic and analytical skills; demonstrate exceptional communications and relationship-building aptitude to respectfully develop genuine connections with grantees and peer funders; and embody, through lived experience, applying a DEI lens to our work.


  • Live our Core Values: Respect, Integrity, Accountability, Equity, Stewardship, Excellence, Learning, and Trust.
  • Drive Towards Innovation: Be bold. Experiment and learn from both successes and failures.
  • Make a Difference: Yes, we can. Own our responsibilities and our ability to make positive change.
  • Contribute to One Team: We’re in this together. Our success is a collective effort.
  • Show Courage: Be thoughtful but act on your convictions. Be open to feedback.


  • Mid-to senior level experience in project development, nonprofit management, community organizing, fundraising, strategy development, and/or financial analysis
  • Work or lived experience in California’s rural and tribal areas
  • Exceptional project management skills, including organization and attention to detail
  • Solid understanding of the social determinants of health and the philanthropic, public and nonprofit sectors including knowledge in one or more of the foundation’s grantmaking areas
  • Ability to work independently and prioritize duties: must work well under pressure, balance multiple and competing demands, complete work accurately under deadlines, and follow tasks through to completion
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences while maintaining high professional and ethical conduct including maintaining confidentiality and exercising discretion
  • Ability to maintain objectivity in proposal evaluations
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, a strong customer service orientation, and desire to work in a collegial, team-oriented environment
  • Excellent analytical, research, reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making abilities
  • Superb written and oral communication skills, including solid presentation abilities
  • Capacity to see how details fit into a bigger picture
  • Comfort with receiving feedback and assisting others
  • Flexibility in assuming additional responsibilities, as required
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office software and general computer literacy
  • Strong alignment with the foundation’s values
  • Willingness to travel up to 40%


  • Desirable areas of expertise include (but are not limited to): health administration, health policy, public policy, health care, mental health, social work, communications, nonprofit business management, or a related field
  • Experience with community-based organizations, community organizing, fundraising, corporate philanthropy, government, health professions, higher education, public affairs or private foundations
  • Understanding of program related investments


The starting salary for this position is $108,200, commensurate with skills and experience. The full salary range for the role is $86,600 to $129,900. Highlights from our benefit package include: a variety of health plans, a generous 401(k) retirement savings plan, paid time off, professional development and educational opportunities, matching gifts, and the opportunity to work at a mission and values driven organization.


The California Wellness Foundation is partnering with Walker and Associates Consulting - a national strategic management consulting and search firm located in Oakland - for this search. To apply, email a cover letter, resume and list of three references (candidates will be notified in advance of any outreach to references) to Use the subject line: Program Officer Search. Submission via one combined PDF or Microsoft Word file is preferred. Resume review begins immediately. Questions or Nominations? Email us at

The California Wellness Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse candidate pool.

A Note Regarding COVID-19: Cal Wellness is proceeding with hiring in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Interviews will be conducted utilizing videoconferencing. New staff will be onboarded in a virtual environment. Cal Wellness looks forward to someday returning to its offices in downtown Los Angeles and Oakland and being able to see everyone face-to-face.