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Ford Family Foundation: Program Officer, Community Economic Development- Roseburg, OR

  • 1.  Ford Family Foundation: Program Officer, Community Economic Development- Roseburg, OR

    Posted 04-16-2018 17:21

    Waldron is currently partnering with the Ford Family Foundation in Roseburg, OR to identify a new Program Officer, Community Economic Development. 


    The Ford Family Foundation is a leader in rural economic development, focusing its efforts in Oregon and Siskiyou County, CA. This Program Officer will join the newly formed Community Economic Development department to assist the Senior Program Officer and leadership team in developing a strategy that incorporates workforce and economic development, entrepreneurship, and family asset/wealth building in rural communities.

    You can read the full position profile for more information here: Program Officer, Community Economic Development | The Ford Family...

    For more information, please contact:
    The search for the next Program Officer, Community Economic Development is being assisted by a team from Waldron:

    Heather Mohler
    Engagement Manager

    The Organization
    Successful Citizens and Vital Rural Communities

    Organizational Outcomes for the Next Decade
    By 2025, more residents of rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, California will be:

    Educated and prepared for successful adulthood
    Employed in a high-quality job
    Engaged in local community improvement and civic affairs
    A national leader in rural philanthropy, The Ford Family Foundation is a private foundation benefiting communities in rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. In 1957, Kenneth W. Ford & Hallie E. Ford established a then- modest foundation to give back to the timber communities of southwest Oregon. It grew in size, scope, and geography to become The Ford Family Foundation in 1996, with its main office in Roseburg, Oregon, and its scholarship office in Eugene, Oregon. One of the three largest grantmaking foundations in Oregon, The Ford Family Foundation has assets of $850M and distributes $43M annually with a staff of 40 and a seven-member board of directors.

    During its formative years, the Foundation concentrated its support on three counties in Oregon and California: Douglas, Coos, and Siskiyou. In recent years, the Foundation has expanded statewide throughout rural Oregon while remaining committed to the three-county region.

    The Foundation aims to improve conditions in rural communities and to increase the wellbeing of children and families who live in those communities. The Ford Family Foundation has distinguished its work by recognizing that community capacity building is key to making lasting positive change, and it has invested in leadership development and community building for fifteen years. A new leadership team over the last five years has accelerated the Foundation's commitment to strategic and proactive investments to facilitate community-based change that is driven and owned by community residents. The Foundation is targeting all of its philanthropic tools – grants, scholarships, capacity building, convening, research, and strengthening statewide systems – to improving life in rural communities in support of its mission.

    Successful Citizens
     Initiatives, partnerships, and grants in this area focus on investments in people who live in rural communities, including: early childhood development, youth development and education, child abuse prevention and intervention, access to health and dental care, postsecondary preparation and success, scholarships for college students, and career readiness for postsecondary students.

    Vital Rural Communities
    Initiatives, partnerships, and grants in this area include focus on investments in rural communities, for example: capacity building, community-based efforts to improve local conditions, workforce and business development, rural capital investments, and rural economic vitality.

    About Roseburg
    Located in Southwestern Oregon, Roseburg is a part of the Hundred Valleys of the Umpqua. The Umpqua River, which gives the region its name, begins near Roseburg and meanders for 111 miles through valleys and mountains before emptying into the Pacific. The community is nestled in a lush, forested region that has been compared geographically and climatologically with Italy and Southern France. Roseburg is just an hour south of the state's second largest city, Eugene, home to the University of Oregon. There are myriad recreational opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts within the Roseburg area and nearby: Oregon beaches are to the west, Crater Lake National Park is to the east, and the region is famous for hiking and fishing.  Theater lovers from throughout the world flock to Ashland, home of the world renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which is less than two hours south. Roseburg is the county seat of Douglas County with a regional population of over 100,000 people.

    The Opportunity
    In 2015, The Ford Family Foundation embarked on a new program to support rural economic vitality that has three main components.  The first is to provide grants and other supports to communities that define a plan of action for rural community economic development with a priority on increasing employment opportunities through local business retention and expansion.  Working closely with the Ford Institute for Community Building, the Foundation supports communities that wish to energize a local economic development agenda.  The second, working with the Foundation's Post-Secondary Success Team, is to provide grants and other supports to organizations that develop the workforce skills needed by companies that employ rural workers. Third, there is a growing program to support child and family asset and wealth building strategies, such as increasing the use of the Earned Income Tax Credit, Individual Development Accounts and Child Savings Accounts.  Finally, the program aims to increase the ability of statewide systems to support rural economic development.

    Key Priorities and Responsibilities

    This position assists in developing and implementing a strategic grantmaking area focused on economic development in rural communities.  This will include policy and practice in workforce development, entrepreneurship, rural economic development and promoting family economic success. The Program Officer will serve as a thought partner to the Senior Program Officer as they build, refine and execute strategy and work plans. This Program Officer will also work alongside and in partnership with other program officers to promote all aspects of the Foundation's mission of successful citizens and vital rural communities.


     Grant Development and Management

    Work closely with the Senior Program Officer for Community Economic Development to cultivate grantmaking opportunities to build a $5M portfolio of program supports for rural economic vitality in Oregon and Northern California
    Oversee and conduct due diligence (research, analysis and site visits) for all foundation grants under the Community Economic Development program and on all rural community building capital projects such as investments in libraries and community convening spaces
    Prepare grant recommendations for review at the appropriate staff, committee or board level
    Maintain ongoing communication and monitor relationships with grantees
    Relationship Building and Collaboration

    Serve as a grantee resource by providing technical assistance, coaching and relationship brokering
    Develop strong and trusting relationships with community leaders, partners and grantees to achieve shared goals
    Represent the Foundation externally to grantees, community constituents, funding partners and public sector partners
    Engage with Foundation peers to develop collaborative approaches to community change

    Serve as a thought partner to the Senior Program Officer for Community Economic Development to create strategy and work plans
    Build and maintain a high level of knowledge in program focus areas (employment, workforce training, growing rural businesses, asset and wealth building strategies, and effective state and local economic development systems)
    Contribute to writing background documents, meeting reports, and presentations, and conduct relevant literature reviews, landscape analyses, and data analysis
    Champion the importance of rural community vitality in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California

    Ideal Candidate Profile
    The Ford Family Foundation seeks a Program Officer who is passionate about rural communities and welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with residents and local leaders to strengthen community economic development. Knowledge of workforce and business development in rural settings is strongly preferred.

    The ideal candidate has a demonstrated commitment to rural issues.  Familiarity with or direct experience in the rural communities of Oregon and Siskiyou County, California is highly desired, including knowledge of the economic development challenges they face and an understanding of the network of agencies and organizations dedicated to mitigating those challenges.

    Outstanding interpersonal skills are key. An approachable style, humility, empathetic listening skills and the ability to connect with diverse stakeholders are essential for this role. The successful candidate will thrive in a collaborative, collegial and team-oriented environment where a willingness to "roll up your sleeves" to get the job done is central to the culture.

    The Ford Family Foundation seeks a well-rounded individual with excellent communications and presentation abilities. Cogent, succinct writing, as well as an ability to relate complex ideas to diverse audiences are critical. Exceptional project management and skillful handling of multiple relationships are core elements of this role.


    A bachelor's degree is required; a master's degree is preferred.  The candidate should have at least 5 years of experience in community economic development. Candidates will be considered from diverse backgrounds that might include foundations, nonprofits or public sector agencies.

    The position is based in Roseburg, Oregon and residency in Douglas County is required. Approximately 40% of time will involve travel within Oregon and Siskiyou County, California.


    Cathi Kim
    Director, Community Development Investment Program
    National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
    New York NY
    (212) 809-1850