SCE is Hiring a Program Officer!

Job Description: 

SCE is a Chicago-based foundation with a national purview. The focus of our work is on cultivating 21st century skills for the rising generation, with an emphasis on digital learning and social and emotional skills. Foundations traditionally work in proven areas where results can be predicted. SCE is more likely to make calculated and thoughtful risks, moving beyond traditional grantmaking to explore new areas of impact, forge innovative partnerships, and find points of leverage.

We are currently seeking an entrepreneurial thinker to work with a small team as a Program Officer to advance the Digital Learning and Social and Emotional Learning Programs. The Program Officer will be responsible for developing approaches for targeting the “white spaces” in our areas of interest, identifying partners and leading the development of new initiatives. The Program Officer will also support the Executive Director in managing SCE’s grantmaking operations and communications, and aid the continued development of SCE’s overall strategy. The Program Officer reports to the Executive Director.



  • Idea Development and Execution. Responsible for developing strategies to address skill development and gaps impacting underserved youth in areas including digital citizenship, workforce readiness, and others. Research trends, interview experts and identify opportunities to extend the reach of high-quality digital learning tools and social and emotional learning practices through informal learning environments. Identify and develop project ideas, prioritize, plan and coordinate activities.
  • Industry Research & Landscape Analysis. Contribute to SCE’s efforts to develop deep knowledge of digital learning, social and emotional learning and of the philanthropic landscape. Establish and maintain relationships with individuals and organizations that can provide information and insight to enhance the organization’s effectiveness.
  • Project Management. Manage a portfolio of active grants, review reports and maintain accurate records and constructive contact with grantees. Lead meetings that relate to program development, growth and impact.
  • Brand and Communications. Aid in the development of communications (including social media, web and print content) that provide a concise message about SCE’s point of view and program areas, and represent SCE to the public, media, and philanthropic community. Responsible for blogging, social media strategy and activity (Twitter and Facebook), and website content updates. Support process of updating website platform to more accurately reflect new strategic direction and steward relations with web development firm.
  • Grantmaking. Assist the Executive Director in managing the grants process: research and identification of promising projects and grantees, requests for proposal, screening and review, grant agreements, payment, reporting, and monitoring and evaluation. Provide technical assistance to grantees, and contribute information towards the Trustee’s knowledge-building and budgetary and grant review process.
  • Grant Management. Support the transition to a new grants management software, including data transfer and auditing, developing improvements to grant proposal templates and streamlined applications processes. Partner with the Executive Director to create and maintain documentation of all grant processes and policies, and develop new procedures for evaluation and impact measurement for all programs.
  • Organizational Strategy and Operations. Contribute to the collaborative process of developing goals, objectives, and operational plans for the organization. Assist Executive Director in implementing new organizational strategy and provide support in managing SCE’s day-to-day administration. Maintain written and electronic records of all SCE meetings, correspondence, grant requests, forms, and financial transactions.


The ideal candidate possesses the following qualities and technical skills:

  • Five years of relevant work experience with knowledge of investing or grantmaking from philanthropy, nonprofit foundation or private investment; knowledge of private foundation legal issues desired
  • Entrepreneurial oriented, bold thinker
  • Track record of devising ways to build successful initiatives that begin as aspirational concepts
  • A strong interest in innovation; a willingness to think unconventionally while maintaining an understanding of traditional methods and approaches
  • Ability to adapt and be nimble in strategic operations and work with ambiguity
  • An energetic self-starter able to work independently as well as within a team
  • Intellectually curious, willing to research topics and interview experts in a variety of fields
  • Familiarity and comfort with grant management databases, including making fixes and updates as a systems administrator (knowledge of Foundant Grant Lifecycle Manager strongly desired)
  • Solid research and analytic skills; an ability to cull insights from large bodies of knowledge and complex concepts and develop readable briefs and recommendations
  • Knowledge of broad national trends in education and learning (knowledge of civic technology and digital citizenship strongly desired)
  • Proficient in using communications platforms such as MailChimp, WordPress, Twitter and Facebook
  • Respectful and ethical; motivated to be a positive force for social change
  • Strong interpersonal communication and collaboration skills
  • Sense of humor and passion for the mission is required

This position is based in the City of Chicago, but our trustees, grantees, and partners span the country. Must be willing to travel 20% of time. Salary commensurate with experience. For more information on SCE, visit www.scefdn.org.


How to apply:

Please submit resume, cover letter and two-page writing sample via attachment to resumes@scefdn.org with the subject heading “SCE Program Officer”.

Happenings — The Latest at SCE

On Our Radar — The Latest in the Field