Program Officers - Civil Society (2 positions), Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Michigan, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Apr 4, 2023

About the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation        

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, established in 1926 in Flint, Michigan, by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the United States and, on a limited basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Education, Environment and Flint Area. In addition to Flint, offices are located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg and London. In 2022, the Foundation made 385 grants totaling more than $187 million and had year-end assets of nearly $3.7 billion.

About the Civil Society Program   

The Mott Foundation’s Civil Society program focuses grantmaking on building vibrant communities where all people can engage in decision-making that affects their day-to-day lives. We work with grantees to strengthen the space for civic engagement, enhance local philanthropy and increase access to justice so all communities can address challenges and seize opportunities that lie ahead. The program is currently organized around four main program areas:

  • Strengthening Civic Space in which we strive to promote, protect and reinvigorate the space for civic engagement.
  • Enhancing Community Philanthropy in which we support the development of community foundations that foster just, equitable and sustainable societies.
  • Increasing Access to Justice in which we promote social equity in communities by increasing access to justice.
  • Special Initiatives in which we support unique opportunities to advance the Civil Society mission.

While our Civil Society grantmaking is global in scope, we have an interest in North America, Latin America, Africa and Europe. In 2022, the Civil Society program awarded 98 grants totaling $21.5 million. For more information about our work, please visit

The Opportunity       

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is seeking two new Program Officers for its Strengthening Civic Space program area within the Civil Society program.

The Civic Space program area works to promote and expand the space for civic engagement under two grantmaking objectives. The first objective focuses on improving the policy environment for the sector by strengthening sector infrastructure. The second objective focuses on advancing civil society development through research, policy analysis and innovative practice. Across these two objectives, there are three main civic space issues being addressed:

  • The core enabling environment for nonprofits and philanthropy. Grantees build, protect and enhance the fundamental legal and fiscal framework for the existence and operation of nonprofits and philanthropic organizations.
  • Digital policies that help advance civil society and protect civic space in the digital age. Grantees mitigate the negative impacts – and enhance the potential for positive impacts – of digital technology on the rights to assembly, association expression and access to information through policy development and advocacy, cutting-edge research and analysis and capacity building for the sector.
  • The root causes of closing civic space. Grantees address the fundamental, structural drivers of the increasing restrictions and limitations on the space in which civil society actors operate and exercise rights to assembly, association and expression. These drivers include the laws, policies and rhetoric related to counter-terrorism and other security threats, and the rise of authoritarianism and erosion of democracy globally.

The two new Program Officers will co-manage the Foundation’s work in Civic Space and will be part of the seven-person Civil Society program team.

The ideal candidates will have a strong background and relevant experience in civil society, particularly in promoting and protecting civic space. Experience in Latin America and Spanish language proficiency will be preferred for at least one of the positions. Experience in policy related to philanthropy and nonprofits, particularly in the U.S. will be preferred for the second position. An interest and/or experience in the Civil Society program’s other program areas, especially Enhancing Community Philanthropy, would be an advantage.

The positions report to the Director of the Civil Society Program. These are full-time positions located in Flint, MI, and they require frequent international and domestic travel. In cases of candidates with the right to work in the United Kingdom, there could be consideration for one of the new program officers to be based in the Foundation’s London office.

Key Responsibilities

In these roles, the Program Officers will:

  • Design and execute effective multi-year grantmaking strategies.
  • Build relationships with nongovernmental organizations and leaders in the field in order to best understand the opportunities and challenges in this work.
  • Investigate grant requests and develop funding recommendations.
  • Process, administer and monitor grants and clusters of grants according to Foundation policies and procedures.
  • Prepare, individually and with other team members, reports and other documents for the Foundation’s management and board of trustees.
  • Work with colleagues across the Foundation and other grantmakers outside the Foundation on issues of mutual interest.
  • Assist with external communications, including representing the Foundation at meetings and in discussions with grantees and partners.


As an incoming Program Officer, you must possess many, though perhaps not all, of the following characteristics and qualifications:

  • At least seven years of experience working on civic space, civic engagement, civil society infrastructure, philanthropy or related topics.
  • Interest in civil society broadly, particularly in related issues of interest to the foundation, e.g., supporting the development of community foundations that foster just, equitable and sustainable societies and promoting social equity in communities by increasing access to justice.
  • Demonstrated experience creatively and strategically directing limited resources to leverage change.
  • Strong analytical, writing and verbal communication skills.
  • Proven desire and ability to work collaboratively and respectfully with established and emerging NGO leaders and other funders.
  • Strong project, time and budget management skills.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Ability and willingness to conduct extensive international and domestic travel (approximately 60 days per year).
  • Flexibility and willingness to work as a member of a team and with other teams/departments throughout the Foundation.
  • Ability to work independently towards a set of shared team goals and objectives.
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree preferred but not required.
  • Experience with team leadership and coordination is preferred.
  • Experience working in Latin America and proficiency in Spanish are preferred for at least one of the positions.
  • Previous experience in philanthropy/grantmaking and/or at a nonprofit is preferred.

Compensation & Benefits  

The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation offers a competitive salary and benefits commensurate with experience and skills.

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and encourages diversity of thinking, background and perspective among its staff. All qualified individuals are encouraged to apply.

Application Process

Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC has been retained for this search. Interested and qualified candidates are encouraged to apply by sending a cover letter, resume and salary requirements by email to Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We encourage interested parties to apply as soon as possible.



Apply for Program Officers - Civil Society (2 positions), Charles Stewart Mott Foundation

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required

Your file must be a .doc, .pdf, .docx, or .rtf. No larger than 1MB
Selected file:

When you apply for a job we will send your application to the named employer, who may contact you. By applying for a job listed on The Chronicle of Philanthropy Jobs you agree to our terms and conditions and privacy policy. You should never be required to provide bank account details. If you are, please contact us. All emails will contain a link in the footer to enable you to unsubscribe at any time.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert

Similar jobs