About The Ford Family Foundation
A national leader in rural philanthropy, The Ford Family Foundation is a private foundation benefiting rural communities in Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. In 1957, Kenneth W. Ford & Hallie E. Ford originally established the Foundation to give back to the timber communities of southwest Oregon. During its formative years, the Foundation concentrated its support on three counties in Oregon and California: Douglas, Coos, and Siskiyou. Over time, the Foundation’s size and scope increased to include a statewide focus on rural communities while remaining committed to the original three-county region. One of the largest grantmaking foundations in Oregon, The Ford Family Foundation currently has assets in excess of $1 billion, an annual budget of approximately $45 million, a seven-member board of directors, 43 employees, and two office locations (headquarters in Roseburg, Oregon and scholarship office in Eugene, Oregon).
Foundation Mission & Vision
The Foundation’s mission is Successful Citizens and Vital Rural Communities, reflecting a belief that children in rural Oregon and Siskiyou County should have the family, educational and community supports they need to become successful adults. Consistent with a recently completed strategic plan, the Foundation is targeting all of its philanthropic tools – grants, scholarships, community building, convening, research, and strengthening statewide systems – to improving the wellbeing of children, families, and communities in the region.
In support of its mission of Successful Citizens, the Foundation invests in initiatives, partnerships, and grants focused on the people who live in rural communities. Current efforts and focus areas include early childhood development, youth development, and education, child abuse prevention and intervention, postsecondary success, scholarships for college students, and career readiness for postsecondary students.
In support of its mission of Vital Rural Communities, the Foundation invests in initiatives, partnerships, and grants focused on rural communities. Current efforts and focus areas include community capacity building, leadership development, community-based efforts to improve local conditions, workforce and business development, rural community capital projects, and rural economic vitality.
Located in Southwestern Oregon, Roseburg is a part of the Hundred Valleys of the Umpqua. The Umpqua River, which gives the region its name, meanders for 111 miles through valleys and mountains before emptying into the Pacific. The community is nestled in a lush, forested region approximately an hour from Eugene to the north (home to the University of Oregon) and Medford and Ashland to the south. 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, and the wines of the region are becoming world-famous. Roseburg, with a population of approximately 24,000, is the county seat of Douglas County, an area about the size of the state of Connecticut with a population of approximately 110,000 people.
The Foundation is increasingly focused on the interconnectedness between our public, private, nonprofit, and community systems, and identifying how they must work together more effectively for improved outcomes in rural communities. The Community Economic Development Program Officer (Program Officer) will join the Community Economic Development team to further develop and manage a portfolio aimed at strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems in local rural communities, increasing the ability of statewide systems to support rural economic development, and, growing programs 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.
PROGRAM OFFICER, COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
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 entrepreneurship, rural economic development and promoting family economic success. The Program Officer will serve as a thought partner to the Director 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.
THE FOCUS AREAS AND RESPONSIBILITES:
Grant development and management
- Work closely with the Director 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
- 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 Director for Community Economic Development to create strategy and work plans
- Build and maintain a high level of knowledge in program focus areas (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
The Ideal Candidate
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 Oregon’s economic development ecosystem 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 skills, including an instinctive ability to prioritize and manage multiple strands of work, as well as skillful handling of multiple relationships are core elements of this role.
To Be Considered
Candidates must have at least 7 years of experience in rural community economic development. A bachelor’s degree is required and a graduate degree in a relevant subject such as business, public administration, or policy is preferred. Candidates will be considered from diverse backgrounds that might include nonprofits, public-sector programs and agencies or foundations.
The position is based in Roseburg, Oregon and residency in Douglas County is required and non-negotiable. While Foundation staff have been primarily working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are increasingly returning to the office and it is expected that a full re-opening will take place in early 2022 or as soon as it is deemed safe. Approximately 30% of the time will involve travel within Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. Additional national travel to attend conferences and meetings is anticipated.
The Ford Family Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals to perform essential functions. Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest in the position and fit for the role via the Become a Candidate button. Letters may be addressed to Sarah Meyer.