APPLICATION PERIOD CLOSED. We are currently in the process of reviewing applications that have been submitted. We will be in touch with those individuals whose skills and background align closely with the requirements of the position. Thank you for your interest.

Job description:  Program Officer

November 2023

Organization background

At the Better Way Foundation, we center on early education and positive child development because they play a vital role in society, helping build a foundation for educational achievement, lifelong health, strong families and communities, and the success of the next generation. Our commitment to Indian Country is deepening; our grants support Indigenous early childhood development, so more Native children have access to language and culture revitalization programs, as well as the American Indian Catholic Schools Network, a growing network of former boarding schools that help facilitate Truth & Healing and culturally dynamic and centered learning environments for Native youth.

We invest in collaborative, systemic, and evidence-based approaches. And we strive to develop authentic partnerships with organizations and other funders, ones in which we learn together, demonstrate mutual respect, and work in concert to help organizations reach their missions for the benefit of children and their families and communities.

Better Way is a private family foundation rooted in catholic social values. Since inception, we have granted more than $20 million and, since 2018, approved Program-Related Investments totaling $3 million to generate high social returns. The Board is a blend of family and community members. Learn more at

Position summary

The Program Officer’s primary responsibilities include supporting foundation initiatives through researching fields of Board interest, identifying potential strategies for impact, building and refining processes and procedures for monitoring progress and learnings, identifying potential grantees, soliciting proposals, conducting due diligence, evaluating program effectiveness, and project management related to these tasks. In alignment with Better Way’s mission, vision, and values, they help advance the foundation’s various functional areas and draw on experience and expertise in relevant fields, including grantmaking, strategy and process design, early childhood development, and work in Indian Country.

Reporting & collaborative relationships

The Program Officer reports to the Executive Director and collaborates and coordinates with the foundation’s Program Assistant, as well as colleagues at our sister foundation, GHR Foundation (GHR provides Better Way with various supports, including IT and technology, accounting, human resources, and grants management), and the Adler investment office.

Primary responsibilities

  • Support the design and implementation of strategies to fulfill the mission, vision, and values of the foundation, including implementing the Partnership Lifecycle, nurturing partnerships with grantees and communities (e.g., with other funders and faith-based organizations), implementing the Evaluation Framework, and informing new initiatives
  • Work on all aspects of the grant-making process with prospective grantees to develop grant proposals that are within their capacity to deliver and within Better Way’s funding plans
  • Oversee and monitor grants, including tracking grantee progress, providing guidance and assistance to grantees, ensuring execution of grant terms, reviewing and analyzing reports, and facilitating the use of grantee data and stories for Board materials and varied communication initiatives
  • Develop and use processes and technology to support efficient grantmaking and identify areas for improvement and additional technical support; strengthen methods and systems for analyzing grant impact and effectiveness for the purposes of accountability and learning
  • Prepare relevant written materials for Board and management review
  • Identify innovative trends and resources with assigned focus areas
  • Represent Better Way at meetings, forums, and public presentations, as appropriate
  • Facilitate connections and partnerships across organizations and institutions working on shared issues, in coordination with the foundation’s Executive Director
  • Support the design and implementation of Better Way’s strategic plan and annual priorities


The Program Officer is a professional with a passion for the philanthropy-based work of Better Way that centers on equipping under-invested communities with capital to realize solutions and to advance early childhood development. The Program Officer plays a consultative role that may vary upon the foundation/project to which they are assigned. The individual will be adept at building collegial relationships, respond to issues with clarity and diplomacy, and inspire and foster trust and confidence in leadership and colleagues. The ideal candidate may or may not have philanthropy experience as other types of professional experience, such as working across functional areas at a non-profit organization or a community development corporation, can offer skills that are transferrable to this role.

Required skills

  • Understanding of and support for the mission, vision, and values of the Better Way Foundation
  • 7-10 years of philanthropy-related experience—or equivalent service
  • Strong cultural competency and demonstrated commitment to racial equity
  • A fundamental understanding of philanthropy, and curiosity to learn across multiple issue areas
  • Ability to research and interview to gather salient points; analyze information and data; present data in objective manner
  • Excellent organizational skills with strong attention to detail; demonstrated ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously and accomplish tasks under a deadline
  • Able to work in a collaborative, team environment where flexibility, adaptability, and accountability are highly valued; experience working in a client-focused organization and/or a family foundation
  • Able to effectively work with and relate to foundation grantees and other stakeholders
  • Maturity, high level of personal and professional integrity and ethics, sound judgment, and ability to handle highly confidential matters
  • Excellent interpersonal communication skills, including engaging with a variety of audiences; proficiency with writing and editing
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook software

Desired skills

  • An advanced degree in a related field
  • Lived or work experience in/with Indigenous communities
  • Demonstrated experience and effectiveness in project management and evaluation methodology
  • Experience with grant-tracking software
  • Understanding of or familiarity with impact investing

Personal characteristics

A self-starter who can work independently but also enjoys being part of a team, with a:

  • Awareness of how lived experience may relate to the role
  • Ability to apply an equity lens in their work
  • Strong work ethic and positive energy
  • Results orientation
  • Ability to listen and strong commitment to collaboration
  • Entrepreneurial spirit

If you don’t meet all qualifications, we still welcome application submission.


The salary range for the Program Officer role is $93,200-$104,875, depending on qualifications.

The Better Way Foundation fosters a respectful, inclusive, collaborative and fun environment, a supportive and engaged team, and offers full benefits, including health, dental, vision (for self, partner, and children) short- and long-term disability, a generous retirement matching program, PTO starting at 20 days/year, an educational assistance program, pre-tax health and transportation accounts, and nine paid holidays a year in addition to the office closing from Dec. 25–Jan. 1 each year.

Location, working remotely & travel
Better Way Foundation offers a virtual work environment, with the expectation that team members meet in-person at a consistent cadence. We office in Minneapolis and are open to the Program Officer serving in a remote capacity so long as they travel to meet with the team approximately every other month (between travel to Minneapolis and/or partner site visits). Occasional travel to connect with partners and attend relevant conferences and meetings is required.

Application review begins Dec. 20, 2023

Better Way Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, or any other status protected by state or local law for an individual who falls within the jurisdiction of such law. We respect and seek to empower each individual and support the diverse cultures, perspectives, skills, and experiences within our workforce. All are encouraged to apply.

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