Program Associate, Social Change Portfolio

The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation
April 10, 2024
Remote, United States of America
Job Type


The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) is now seeking nominations and applications for a Program Associate, in its US Programs, Social Change portfolio. 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 $800 million, it is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. The Foundation is unusual for donors of such size as it has only two main areas of grant making: 1) supporting efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy and ensure access to safe abortion 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 over 70 staff across the U.S. and Kigali, Rwanda. The Foundation will not exist in perpetuity. After Mr. Buffett passes away (he is currently 93 years old), the Foundation’s grantmaking will grow substantially, then eventually sunset after 15 years.

The Program Associate holds a vital role in an integral part of the team, providing grantmaking, programmatic, and administrative support to Senior Program Officers and Program Officers on an assigned portfolio (Patients and Access or Social Change) on the US Programs team. Working closely with Senior Program Officers and Program Officers, the Program Associate will oversee facilitating smooth grantmaking processes, providing programmatic insights, and ensuring efficient administrative operations. The Program Associate, who reports to one of the Senior Program Officers, will assist two Program Officers by managing grants, tracking progress, and contributing to the portfolio's strategic direction. In addition, the Program Associate will work on special projects as needed, leveraging their organizational skills and attention to detail to move impactful philanthropic initiatives forward.

The Program Associate will provide essential support to Senior Program Officers and Program Officers to ensure smooth and efficient grantmaking. The Program Associate will approach the position of grant manager with an impeccable sense of modesty, integrity, and cooperation. This position requires a dynamic individual capable of managing multiple responsibilities effectively while maintaining a high level of accuracy and professionalism. Lastly, the Program Associate will possess a strong understanding of grantmaking processes and programmatic support, with excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, which are essential for liaising with internal stakeholders and external partners.

US Programs
US Programs (USP) oversees the Foundation's grantmaking to guarantee contraception and abortion in the United States in a manner that is fair, accessible, and supported. Our unit provides assistance to a multitude of organizations operating within the access and justice and reproductive health movements (or portfolios thereof). The first, known as Patients and Access, provides financial resources to support initiatives that guarantee access to contraception and abortion. These initiatives assist health centers, clinicians, training facilities, and conduct related research. The second, Social Change, provides assistance to organizations that are committed to effecting systemic change over the long term. This is achieved through outreach and messaging, movement building, public policy advocacy, and litigation, as well as by increasing social support for abortion. With seventeen employees presently situated in Omaha and operating remotely across the United States, USP intends to expand consistently in the forthcoming years to address the dynamic and ever-evolving circumstances surrounding access to abortion and contraception in the country.

Shared Values
The Foundation is intent on safeguarding the values that drive our culture: Mission, 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, and Shared Accountability.

The Program Associate must possess 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 progressive values, including unambiguous support for individual reproductive freedom.


  1. Provide day-to-day support to Program Officers for year-round grantmaking including processing contracts, grants, renewals, and payment schedules and releases.
  2. Execute detail-oriented tasks and manage projects, as assigned.
  3. Support the review of grant proposals and reports to ensure compliance with STBF policies and IRS rules.
  4. Upon grant approval, work with the Finance & Business Operations team to process payments.
  5. Maintain grants database, budget spreadsheets, and grant calendars for assigned Senior Program Officers and Program Officers.
  6. Provide scheduling and logistics support, including taking notes, for external in-person and zoom meetings with grantees.
  7. Coordinate in-person and virtual meetings for Social Change team and/or Program Officers, which may include researching and securing venues, coordinating A/V needs, making hotel accommodations, and managing reimbursement processes.
  8. Responsible for ongoing maintenance of all grantee files.
  9. Contribute to the annual board report and other team reports as needed.
  10. Research and track high priority issues or grantees as assigned.
  11. Help to identify, troubleshoot, and correct errors in the grant and contract processing phase including the maintenance and upkeep of processing instructions.
  12. Support collaboration and learning across the U.S. Program team and across the Foundation for effective and efficient grantmaking and internal operations.
  13. Engage in learning opportunities, including participation in team meetings, skill building, collaboration, and equity learning agenda.
  14. Available outside of “normal” business hours including occasional weekends and evenings, to meet deadlines and address time sensitive concerns.
  15. Demonstrate an absolute commitment to confidentiality and discretion.


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:

Attributes for Success in this Role

  • Highly detail oriented and proficient in time management and prioritization. Capable of maintaining a swift pace of work with high quality. Anticipates and adjusts for problems/roadblocks.
  • Ability to critically engage and anticipate team needs, and to balance and/or prioritize multiple competing priorities. Willingness to learn new skills and existing systems used by the team support Program Officers and improve systems if necessary.
  • Values the uniqueness of people from different groups and identities. Works effectively with individuals of diverse cultures, interpersonal styles, abilities, motivations, or backgrounds. Challenge practices or policies that may be exclusionary. Proven commitment to race equity.
  • Develops and maintains effective working relationships with team members, internal and external partners and others using strong interpersonal skills. Works effectively with people outside formal authority to accomplish goals. Practices discernment, receptiveness, accountability, collaboration, kindness, authenticity, and optimism when working with others.
  • Utilizes good judgment and awareness to leverage internal and external stakeholders at all levels. Exercise the utmost diplomacy and tact. Understands how to get things done both through formal channels and informal networks. Can pivot and signal as appropriate to the impacted stakeholders. Understands the need to “manage up”.
  • Effective and professional both written and verbally. Responsive, thoughtful, culturally humble, and able to convey complex content in clear ways to a range of audiences.
  • Demonstrates an ability to say “no” when necessary and appropriate and have the confidence to choose the correct answer over the popular one. Shows tolerance for ambiguity and is very comfortable with constant change brought on by internal and external pressures or expectations. Understands the value of flexibility and adaptability.

Background and Experience Qualifications

  • Minimum 5+ years’ experience in a similar supporting role regularly interacting with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Highly organized with a strong attention to detail.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, time management, and organizational abilities.
  • Demonstrated experience exercising resourcefulness, good judgment, and discretion to making decisions and acting.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (including Teams), Dropbox, G-Suite, and a willingness to learn other software as needed.
  • Preferred: Experience in grants management or project management.
  • Preferred: Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience.
  • Preferred: Experience working in a remote environment with colleagues across multiple locations.

Travel Requirements
If working remotely, travel is expected up to 20% of the time, including travel to Omaha 3-5 times per year.

Hiring Requirements
As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Compensation for the Program Associate role is $85,000. The Foundation also provides comprehensive benefits.


This search is being led by Cara Pearsall and Tyra Gravesande of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website. It is encouraged that applicants submit their application by April 19, 2024.

Accommodations: If a candidate needs accommodations, please let NPAG know.

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.