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Opening: Program Director

Publication date: 
October, 2020

Position: Program Director
Organization: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders 
Location: Remote
Deadline: October 26

Job Summary

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) seeks a full-time Program Director to play a critical role in developing the timely and relevant content that brings value to our network of philanthropic and investment funders who support sustainable agriculture and food systems work. Program content is delivered through online and in-person events, webinars, learning cohorts, and other venues as appropriate. The Program Director will work in close collaboration with other members of the Program Team and with funder planning committees to develop, execute, and promote SAFSF’s programs.

Strong candidates for this position will excel at working collectively with a team, quickly organizing and synthesizing information from many sources, setting vision and strategy, and executing tasks to reach goals and objectives. This position includes both leadership and support responsibilities. There will be considerable opportunities for professional growth and education with regard to philanthropy, agriculture, and food systems issues. The Program Director must demonstrate dedication to the values promoted by SAFSF: collaboration, equity, respect, stewardship, and integrity. Reliability, flexibility, a commitment to lifelong learning, and a sense of humor are strongly valued.

All SAFSF employees work remotely; candidates may live anywhere within the United States.

About SAFSF

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems Funders (SAFSF) is a philanthropy-serving organization (PSO) that amplifies the impact of philanthropic and investment communities in support of just and sustainable food and agriculture systems. Established in the late 1990s and staffed since 2003, SAFSF has evolved into a vibrant network of approximately 100 organizational members from the philanthropic and investment sectors whose work spans a broad range of issues and strategies as well as a wide geographic range—domestic and international. Our vision is that all resources invested in food and agriculture systems enhance our collective wellbeing. Our core values of collaboration, equity, respect, stewardship, and integrity drive our organization on a daily basis. We use these values to guide our decision-making process in all our work, from developing programs and hiring new staff to choosing caterers, vendors, and venues.

SAFSF recognizes that a diversity of perspectives, lived experiences, and professional and personal skills among our staff, leadership, and membership is critical to our success as an organization. We are a dynamic organization that values creativity and innovative thinking and fosters strong teamwork based on mutual respect.

The SAFSF staff is organized into four teams: Program, Membership and Outreach, Operations, and Executive. Each SAFSF team plays a unique role in our strategy to harness the power of our membership and community via three strategic levers: Strengthening Connections, Fostering Collaboration, and Building Capacity. For the Program Team, the use of these levers looks like:

  • Strengthening Connections: The Program Team ensures a diversity of voices and perspectives are present at events, both as speakers and participants; personal introductions are made where possible and when requested; and programs offer opportunities to strengthen connections between the different sectors including philanthropy, investors, government agencies, media, advocacy organizations, farmers, and others.
  • Fostering Collaboration: The Program Team provides staff leadership for small group cohorts and collaboration-focused workshops designed to form and deepen relationships among funders working on similar issues, geographies, and/or strategies leading to greater collective impact.
  • Building Capacity: The Program Team works to ensure that SAFSF’s educational programs expose members of our network to new ideas, topics, strategies, skills, and resources that can increase their funding impact.

Job Responsibility

  • Work as part of the SAFSF staff team; very little is done individually, which means communication and collaboration as part of a team is critical.
  • Stay abreast of current and emerging issues relevant to SAFSF member organizations and analyze overall programming objectives and develop strategies to increase value and impact for SAFSF members.
  • Develop relationships with the SAFSF network including staff at funding organizations, philanthropic support organizations, and nonprofits and businesses involved with food system change, especially at the national level. These groups combined broadly describe the overall SAFSF network.
  • Present at events including those hosted by SAFSF and others. Roles might include introductions to workshops or webinars, moderating a workshop panel, or presenting on SAFSF’s work.
  • Play both lead and support roles on the program team as needed to conceptualize, produce, develop, and execute webinars, policy work, learning cohorts and other in-person and virtual convenings, and the annual SAFSF Forum. This involves the following aspects:
    • Create content and design programming: collaborate with the program team and planning committees to develop and execute program framing and format.
    • Manage planning committees and other groups: design and facilitate meetings; schedule meetings; send reminders; document notes (internal and external); and follow up on action items.
    • Create communication materials: write, edit, and/or distribute announcements, agendas, resources, etc. using mobile apps, website, email, and printed documents.
    • Evaluate program success: develop, distribute, analyze, and report on program outcomes using a variety of evaluation tools.
    • Manage logistics: develop and manage registration sites; speaker invitations, travel planning, and tracking; interface with vendors and venues for selection and relationship management.
    • Database and project management updates: use SAFSF tools to maintain accurate database and project management tracking.
    • Financial and contract awareness: work with the operations team to ensure that revenue and expenses are within budget and in line with contract agreements.

Required Qualifications 

  • Familiarity with the complexities of food and agriculture systems in the U.S. context.
  • Understanding of racial equity concepts and the importance of working to dismantle white supremacy in philanthropy and food systems.
  • Ability to balance project management and execution with analytical and critical thinking.
    • Project management skills: track and manage small details while not losing sight of the big picture, develop timelines to bring ideas to completion, manage multiple projects simultaneously, anticipate obstacles, identify and involve stakeholders appropriately, work within a budget and manage other organizational resources wisely, and apply creativity, organizational, and execution skills.
    • Analytical and critical thinking skills: seek out, curate, and synthesize information from a variety of sources to develop and shape programming on a wide range of topics related to food and agriculture systems; identify and rely on subject area experts without needing to be an expert yourself on any particular subject.
  • Strong verbal and written communications: clearly and effectively communicate with others on the phone, in person, video meetings, and in writing via email, chat, and other online platforms.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills/enthusiasm for working in a highly collaborative environment: work effectively and respectfully with a variety of individuals and organizations, seek out and provide space for diverse perspectives, and build relationships.
  • Experience and comfort with presenting in front of an audience: speak to groups ranging in size from 5 to 300 people online and in person.
  • 5+ years of relevant professional experience: discuss how past experiences and skills provide a foundation for success in this position

Additional Preferred Skills / Qualifications

  • Experience in philanthropy and/or investment communities either through direct employment with a funder, employment with a PSO, or direct connection to philanthropy through nonprofit work.
  • Ability to tap into a network of professional connections from previous work experience. Preference given to an active network of connections within the philanthropic and/or food/agriculture system communities.
  • Experience with group facilitation, both online/virtual and in person.
  • Experience working remotely.
  • Some event/conference planning experience.

Basic Work Requirements

Familiarity with common computer-based tools such as Microsoft Office Products (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) and/or Google Drive (docs, sheets, slides); email; and websites. Fluency in English. Willingness to travel within the U.S. occasionally, up to several times per year. We acknowledge current COVID-19 related travel restrictions but expect that this position will require travel in the future.

Compensation and Benefits

This is a full-time, exempt, permanent, remote position with a starting salary range $55,000-$65,000. SAFSF offers an excellent benefits package, which currently includes automatic (5%) and matching (up to 3%) retirement contributions, medical, vision, dental, and prescription insurance (100% paid by SAFSF for employee), as well as health and fitness, internet, and cell phone reimbursements. Paid time off includes 8 federal holidays plus the day after Thanksgiving, summer half-day Fridays, the week between Christmas and New Year’s, accrued vacation, and sick time. SAFSF has an entirely remote workforce.

Application and Hiring Process

All interested applicants must apply online at tfaforms.com/4853877 no later than 11:59 pm on Monday, October 26, 2020.

We are committed to transparency and aim to minimize the stress and uncertainty of our application and hiring process. SAFSF seeks to minimize bias and the impact of structural discrimination within our hiring practices. As such, we focus first on relevant work skills and experience, both lived and professional. We are seeking a diverse pool of candidates and are utilizing processes that help to mitigate unconscious biases.

Applicants must respond to the following four questions in lieu of a traditional cover letter and upload a resume or CV to complete the application.

  1. What compels you to want to be part of the SAFSF team and work at the intersection of philanthropy and food and agriculture? (250 word count max)
  2. What are the qualities, contributions and experiences that you will bring to this position? Please provide examples. (300 word count max)
  3. The events of 2020 have, to a large degree, highlighted the systemic racism and inequity in the U.S. food and agriculture system. What thoughts do you have as to how SAFSF – as both an organization and a national network – can and must show up now and moving forward? How do your experiences prepare you for this? (300 word count max)
  4. What is one thing about yourself that you are proud of? This can be either in the personal or professional realm. (250 word count max)

The application form will ask candidates to voluntarily disclose demographic information, which will not be visible to the members of the hiring committee. Voluntarily providing demographic information helps SAFSF assess the diversity of our applicant pool throughout the hiring processes.

Applicants who move forward through the hiring process will participate in a combination of a phone and video interview(s) and assessment(s).

Please contact jobs@safsf.org with any questions. We look forward to getting to know you!

Equal Employment Opportunity

SAFSF is a 501(c)(3) public charity that is committed to attracting, developing, and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding, and enables each of us to realize our potential. SAFSF’s work environment is open to all people, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.

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