Program Officer, Economic Mobility and Dissemination (Limited Term Employee – 3 yrs)

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Guided by the belief that all lives have equal value, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation pride ourselves in being ‘impatient optimists’ whose purpose is to work to reduce inequity. Our vision is to ensure a world where every person has the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life. We have four missions to:

  • Ensure more children and young people survive and thrive;
  • Empower the poorest, especially women and girls, to transform their lives;
  • Combat infectious diseases that particularly affect the poorest; and
  • Inspire people to take action to change the world.

Key to enabling these missions is our commitment to science and innovation, collaboration and partnership, measurement and rigor, as well as optimism and risk taking. Based in Seattle, the foundation has a worldwide staff of 1,500 people and is led by CEO Mark Suzman, under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates. We have offices in the United States, Europe, India, China and Africa.

Division Summary
The vision of the foundation’s U.S. Program (USP) is that all people navigating U.S. education systems and job markets can develop the knowledge, skills, and agency needed to thrive in their communities such that race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status are no longer predictors of educational attainment and economic mobility and security. We work with partners to improve education systems and pathways from early learning to K-12 to postsecondary education to prepare and empower all students to thrive in the labor market and their lives while employing targeted strategies for student groups who have been inequitably served by current systems – Black and Latino students, and students from low-income backgrounds. We also work with partners to improve systems in ways that increase equitable access to opportunities for adults experiencing poverty, especially those facing greater mobility barriers due to racism and sexism.

Team Summary
In 2018, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched a strategy focused on increasing mobility from poverty in the U.S.

This team works to ensure that more people in the U.S. have pathways out of poverty and have access to the information and tools they need to succeed. Our efforts include funding research that can lead to better policies, empowering local leaders, supporting the development of new technologies and tools to help social service providers, crafting partnerships to increase coordination across sectors, and improving understanding of poverty and its causes among policymakers and the public. We launched our strategy in a moment of strong economic growth and historically low unemployment, but also increasing inequality, threats from automation, and shrinking medium-skill employment.

Over the last two years, the global pandemic has disproportionately affected women and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities, accelerated automation and inequality in earnings, and shifted labor market dynamics. A substantial influx of federal resources has created a potentially once-in-a-generation opportunity to fight poverty, racism, and invest in workers. This is also accompanied by an interest and willingness among many state governments to focus on economic opportunity and new levels of interest and demand from private sector employers in building high quality jobs for traditionally lower-mobility workers to address labor shortages. And yet, the field remains highly fragmented and lacking in critical capacity to set and work toward large-scale measurable goals with long-term impact.

Our approach is organized around 3 portfolios:

  • Making Lives Better Now: Improve the effectiveness of existing public benefit programs through digital platforms and accelerate progress out of poverty for families and children.
  • Public Good Creation and Dissemination: Establish and grow a shared evidence base to improve understanding and making it easier for key decision makers to share standard methodologies to accelerate adoption of effective interventions.
  • Critical Enablers: Strengthen the field by creating shared priorities across national, regional, state and local organizations and the creation of critical channels to accelerate information flows and funding.

Job Summary
In this role, you will be responsible for making and owning grants to improve economic mobility within the team’s Critical Enablers portfolio and Public Good Creation & Dissemination portfolio. Within Critical Enablers, you will work to develop field infrastructure (networks, accountability mechanisms, etc.) to meet the needs of local, regional, and national leaders, funders, and community organizations in the field. Within Public Good Creation & Dissemination, you will be responsible for building out our research & data on public goods and supporting local decision-makers in the uptake of these public goods.

You will need strong relationship skills to engage and collaborate with a wide variety of partners, high-level grants management abilities, and experience with monitoring and evaluation. You will also drive high-quality analysis and decisions around key issues, making sure that new data from the literature, partners, grants, and projects is collected, analyzed, and fed back into the strategic decision-making processes.

**This role is a limited-term employee for an expected term of 3 years. ****This role is not eligible for employment visa support.**

Core Responsibilities
Develops strategic insights and plans, leads and performs a wide range of activities in support of annual planning, prospecting, and developing sophisticated investment opportunities, grant management, and external relationship management. Review letters of inquiry and grant proposals; provide clear, concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding, including drafting and editing proposal summaries and progress reports for existing grants for review by foundation leadership. Collaborate with grantees to achieve the desired impact of grants; conduct site visits when appropriate, provide technical advice, convene meetings and apply and evaluate milestone-based performance objectives. Lead internal processes and portfolio progress while ensuring appropriate documentation, grant budgeting, and reporting. Improve operational efficiency and effectiveness. Partner with other program officers to assemble data and insights from grants, contracts, and partners and use them to interrogate team hypotheses and support better decision-making. Prepare and write briefs and synthesize existing literature. Provide written analysis of key topics for foundation management. Fulfill data requests from leadership.

Your Skills and Abilities!
Strong verbal and written communication skills, able to efficiently synthesize information to reach diverse audiences and build consensus. Track record of engaging collaboratively with local government, policymakers, businesses, researchers, and community-based organizations to share new knowledge and establish innovative programs to improve economic mobility. Experience building coalitions with a diverse membership and establishing relationships to enable coalitions to use diverse experiences and talents to achieve community goals. Proven record of working in a collaborative fashion in a ‘cross-team’ role. Creative problem solver with strong quantitative analytic skills. Validated ability to lead and influence others in a constructive manner and to build and sustain collaborative relationships.

Your Education and Experience!

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent years of experience in a similar role and 5+ years of directly related experience.
  • Tenured knowledge of an experience in poverty alleviation, community development, broadening access to opportunity, coalition building, local government, and/or program design and implementation at the state and/or local level.


Hiring Requirements
As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Depending upon your work location, we may require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and any recommended booster doses. All employees based in the United States are to provide proof of full vaccination upon hire and any recommended boosters, subject to applicable laws.


If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request to [email protected].


Inclusion Statement
We are dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve-in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs-and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.

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