Senior Associate Program Officer

Builders Initiative/Builders Vision

Builders Initiative/Builders Vision

Chicago, IL, USA
Posted on Friday, February 9, 2024

About Builders Vision

Builders Vision is an impact platform that aims to shift markets and minds for good in pursuit of our vision for a humane and healthy planet. We work to help address some of the most difficult environmental and sustainability challenges across three focus areas: oceans, food & agriculture, and energy.

Builders Vision has deployed more than $3 billion across our focus areas and worked alongside nearly 450 partners to drive societal and environmental change. To date, we have helped mitigate, sequester, or avoid over 4 million metric tons of CO2e, generated more than 42,000 jobs, and supported the development of more than 170 sustainable products, technologies, or solutions. While we are seeing progress, we know that we can’t do this alone. The truth is these are trillion-dollar sectors that need a number of markets to scale and multiply significantly if we are to ensure a sustainable and secure future.

Our Builders Vision team includes more than 100 impassioned individuals who activate our platform using three primary approaches to influence stakeholders and drive impact across our focus areas:

  • Deploying Capital: We use a versatile set of tools, including grants, direct investments, and fund investments to support non-profit leaders, entrepreneurs, and fund managers. Given Builders Vision’s different capital tools and investment vehicles, we have the flexibility to operate across the capital spectrum. We deploy capital into programs and solutions with a focus on how our efforts will lead to the catalyzation of additional investments into the sectors.
  • Supporting Partners: We are committed to helping our partners by providing critical resources including technical assistance, networking, learning opportunities, support with impact measurement and management (IMM), and strategic advice to help enhance their success and outcomes.
  • Advocating for Change: We leverage communications and engage with influential audiences to accelerate the solutions we pursue. This includes strategic communications, thought leadership, hosting and attending convenings, and industry-wide initiatives and coalitions.

Our commitment to people and the planet extends to our workplace policies and benefits. In 2023, Builders Vision was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies and voted one of Chicago’s Best Places to Work by Crain’s Chicago Business. We are headquartered in the West Loop, one of Chicago’s most thriving and dynamic neighborhoods, and our offices have achieved Gold-level certifications from both the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and the International WELL Building Institute. We also offer fun social team events and offsite retreats to help our people feel refreshed and connected to nature, each other, and our mission.

You can read more about our team, programs, and impact here:

About Builders Initiative

As Builders Vision’s philanthropic team, Builders Initiative deploys grants and mission-driven investments to confront today’s most pressing issues. Through different types of grant support, including project-specific grants and general operating grants, our grantmakers partner with organizations of all sizes that are addressing societal and environmental challenges. In concert with our grantmakers, the Builders Initiative Investment Team engages with impact-driven organizations, companies, and fund managers at many stages of their development. Builders Initiative also includes the Builders Initiative Foundation, which has a $1.7B endowment that reached 90% mission-aligned investments in 2022.

About BI’s Food Initiative

The Food Initiative at BI is focused on catalyzing a healthier food system for all eaters. The Food program across three thematic strategies:

  • Food Systems in Chicago: increasing access to and consumption of healthy food in Chicago;
  • Food Is Medicine: engaging communities and coalition building for a unified food is medicine communications and policy agenda;
  • Values-Based Procurement: activating Good Food Purchasing policies and ensuring the necessary technical assistance for all procurement players to increase the supply of good food in institutions

Our Commitment to Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) are at the core of our mission to shift markets and minds for good. We know that a humane and healthy planet starts with us. We commit ourselves to learning from others and doing the work to become a more just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization, and we will seek to promote those same values in the world around us. We actively seek to recruit, develop, and retain the most talented people from a diverse candidate pool and create an inclusive culture that centers equitable practices and policies. We are an equal opportunity employer, and we welcome people from all experiences, abilities, and perspectives to apply.

Position Summary

Reporting to the Senior Program Officer, Food, the Senior Associate Program Officer (SAPO) will drive the continued development and implementation of BI’s Food strategy during an exciting growth period for the program and the foundation. The position will specifically focus on either food is medicine or values-based procurement, depending on the candidate’s background and skills.

This is an opportunity to work at an early-stage private foundation with a deep commitment to building a food system that affords healthier food for all. The SAPO will support strategy building and grantmaking within a lean team spearheading philanthropic work in the food is medicine or values-based procurement space. As brand-new themes, the SAPO will have the opportunity to build an inaugural set of partners and grants.

Key Responsibilities for the Senior Associate Program Officer, Food include:

  • Support the execution of grant-making, including soliciting grant proposals, reviewing programs, developing internal grant documents and monitoring progress of grants.
  • Engage with academics, NGOs and industry partners at a regional and national level to build a research base for the new strategies.
  • Conduct site visits to ongoing or potential project sites, attend public meetings and represent the foundation at conferences and other events. The SAPO will be asked to travel as needed.
  • Identify potential new partnerships and opportunities, including identifying other funding partners to engage each geographic focus.
  • Build evidence that connects food is medicine and values-based procurement to market catalyzing opportunities.
  • Provide information and assistance as needed to foundation team and board members.
  • Work with program staff across the office to implement and refine BI’s learning and evaluation program.
  • Support internal and external communications efforts in the office to build awareness for our programs and partners.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills and characteristics:

A Strategic Thinker and Collaborative Leader

This role requires self-direction and decisiveness combined with flexibility, humble leadership and a capacity to give and receive feedback graciously. The SAPO will be an individual with superior interpersonal skills, a respectful attitude for the work of grantees and a demonstrated ability to work effectively as part of a team. A strong asset for this role will be the ability to be extremely organized and detail-focused. This leader will bring proven skills in time management, written communication skills and intellectual agility.

Experience in, and Passion for, Food

This position calls for an understanding of issues related to either food is medicine or values-based procurement, or both. Ideally, this person will bring innovative thinking around the future of our food system. The SAPO should bring demonstrated experience in building and sustaining relationships with diverse stakeholders in the food system.

Grantmaking and Foundation Expertise

This role will allow a critical thinker interested in food to build grantmaking and foundation experience. Prior experience in grantmaking is preferred but not mandatory. It will be important for this Senior Associate Program Officer to have the ability to analyze, think critically and understand emerging issues that are directly relevant to programmatic funding areas. They should bring strong research, analytic and problem-solving skills and will seek to implement creative and strategic grantmaking to enhance the impact of BI’s tools.

Builders Vision is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building and maintaining a culturally diverse workplace. We encourage women, minorities, individuals with disabilities and veterans to apply. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, veteran status, or any other status protected by the laws or regulations in the locations where we operate.