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Program Officer, Southeast Michigan

William Davidson Foundation

William Davidson Foundation

Troy, MI, USA
Posted on Wednesday, May 8, 2024


The William Davidson Foundation is seeking nominations and applications for the position of Program Officer, Southeast Michigan.

The William Davidson Foundation is a private family foundation dedicated to helping to secure a bright future for the communities that have inspired our founder’s family for generations. We imbue our work with a sense of possibility and believe deeply in the importance of building meaningful relationships across difference. Together with community leaders who share our sense of optimism and obligation related to Detroit, Israel, and the Jewish people, we make transformative investments and support catalytic initiatives that will deliver lasting value for future generations. The Foundation has assets of approximately $1.5 billion and grants approximately $60 million annually.

Our culture reflects our founder’s greatest strengths and traits. Like Mr. Davidson, we prize optimism and creativity as we carry out our work together. We also value relationship building and true partnership within our team and alongside our board, grantees, and community. But in short, we believe in working hard, collaborating closely, and maintaining a consistent mindset embodying curiosity, courage, and action.


The Program Officer, Southeast Michigan is responsible for contributing to the development, refinement, and stewardship of grants across the Southeast Michigan Good Jobs portfolio and related strategies in Southeast Michigan. In Detroit and across Southeast Michigan, we work with our grantees and other partners to expand the number of good jobs and enhance our collection of great places. Together we see these as essential ingredients for a growing, connected community. As we define it, “good jobs” offer a sense of dignity, the promise of economic stability, and a path to prosperity for individuals and families. They can provide opportunities for people to grow into new roles or careers as markets and technologies inevitably evolve. The Program Officer, Southeast Michigan will advance the Good Jobs portfolio, furthering our efforts to support entrepreneurs in the region and stimulate the creation, growth, and retention of new businesses in technology, innovation, and other high-potential market sectors and industries that will yield good jobs for future generations.

Reporting to the Program Director, Southeast Michigan Economic and Cultural Vitality, this role is expected to perform strongly across a variety of tasks, including: independently creating and managing the Good Jobs portfolio of active grants, disciplined stewardship of funds, cultivating and sustaining strong relationships with grantees and partners, developing progress reports and materials for review and discussion by the grants committee and board, and assessing and acting on ethical duties and Foundation obligations to maintain the integrity of organization and oneself.

This role serves as a member of the Southeast Michigan program team and collaborates with other members of the program staff, board, and executive leadership to execute the strategic objectives of the Foundation. The Program Officer, Southeast Michigan thrives in a team environment and positively contributes to the organizational culture and is also adept at working independently.

This is a full-time position based out of our Troy, MI headquarters, with the expectation that the incumbent will reside in Southeast Michigan.


Duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:


• Identifies and acts on opportunities to establish relationships with new partners, develop common goals, and materialize those relationships into rigorous projects that expand the impact of our mission.

• Analyzes potential investment and reinvestment opportunities from a variety of sources. Evaluates those opportunities within the framework of entire portfolio.

• Conducts on-site visits with grantees, preliminary screening, and in-depth due diligence of organizations and projects with assistance.

• Writes clear, concise, and insightful summaries of inquiries, proposals, and progress reports, and provides further analyses and funding recommendations for program team review and discussion.

• Works closely with grantees to affect positive change as defined by mutual agreement, potentially offering technical experience as appropriate, and/or identifying outside assistance as necessary, while monitoring progress, and building a personal model of relational and strategy aligned philanthropy.

Strategy Development & Learning

• Actively participates in developing program strategy; shares learnings; continuously improves effectiveness through assessment of strategies, tactics, program design and implementation; develops local and/or focused strategies that reflect and accelerate strategy for the overall program portfolio.

• Contributes to the development and refinement of programmatic strategies and plans by preparing or commissioning briefs, presentations, and other syntheses on key topics related to the portfolios as needed.

• Obtains, maintains, and shares knowledge of the current thinking in field - what works, the most effective and /or innovative ways to support the work.

• Actively engages in continuous learning opportunities to further develop knowledge and expertise; maintains an awareness of needs and opportunities for investment; applies and improves a body of knowledge; keeps abreast of major developments in the field; acts as knowledgeable spokesperson for the Foundation’s strategy.

Foundation & Field Contributions

• Represents the Foundation’s interests with grantees and external partners, provides guidance and assistance, and manages partners’ expectations.

• Assists in developing, implementing, managing, and collaborating on emerging and existing projects, events, partnerships, convenings, and/or initiatives.

• Provides leadership in the professional field that contributes and furthers the Foundation’s mission.

• Actively contributes to other internal Foundation projects and duties, as needed, and assigned.


The ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

• Bachelor’s Degree required; Master’s Degree preferred.

• Minimum of three to five years professional experience in relevant field and familiarity with the nonprofit sector, with a preference for individuals who hold a deep passion for and broad experience in economic development and entrepreneurship.

• Experience as a grantmaker or grantseeker preferred, not required.

• Ability to make complex, multidimensional decisions in a mission-driven, strategic organizational environment.

• Excellent project management skills to include goal setting, planning, development, and execution; and the ability to balance multiple priorities effectively while meeting deadlines.

• Ability to prioritize work effectively and independently, “managing up” proactively to align on expectations and deliver consistently.

• Expresses ideas and information clearly and concisely verbally and in writing, and in various contexts.

• Prioritizes and practices regular, ongoing communication and dialogue that is candid, professional, and constructive.

• Strong critical thinking and analytical skills and experience in synthesizing large amounts of information.

• Strong interpersonal skills and effective at building relationships with and between colleagues, grantees, and stakeholders through inclusive behaviors.

• Maintains and demonstrates good judgment, discretion, and confidentiality and can remain objective operating in service to the mission.

• Comfortable with ambiguity, adaptable, versatile, and open to change.

• Technologically savvy; ability to understand technology solutions, proficient with Word, Excel, Powerpoint, project management softwares, and Microsoft Outlook.

• Thrives in a team environment, effective at building and maintaining collaborative relationships, acting in alignment with organizational values, and positively contributes to organizational culture.

• Ability to travel - including grantee site visits and representation of the Foundation at outside meetings.


• Reports to and is accountable to the Program Director, Southeast Michigan Economic and Cultural Vitality, and is a member of the Southeast Michigan Program team.

• Partners effectively with the Foundation’s board, grantees, funding applicants, co-funding partners, and relevant experts and advisors.

• Works collaboratively with all members of the Foundation’s staff.


Applications including a cover letter describing your interest and qualifications and your resume should be sent to: No phone calls please.

For further information about the William Davidson organization, please visit:

The William Davidson Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.