The Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation is a private charitable foundation established in 1988 by Max and Marian Farash. The Foundation is dedicated to the civic and religious communities of its founders who believed in the importance of education and knew the power of entrepreneurial creativity. It strives to make long-term and meaningful contributions in Monroe and Ontario Counties with half of its grants supporting Jewish Life, and the other half supporting secular activities with a large emphasis on urban education. Since its transition to a professionally staffed organization in 2011, the Foundation has invested more than $70 million in grants and program support, and its assets total more than $255 million.
The Farash Foundation seeks a program officer responsible for the Foundation’s responsive community grantmaking strategy. The individual should be well-rounded, passionate about learning and welcomes the opportunity to work collaboratively with Foundation peers, grantees, community leaders, nonprofit and public sector colleagues, and fellow funders to strengthen the quality of education in Rochester.
Reporting to the Director of Grants and Programs, the Program Officer will lead all aspects of the annual grantmaking portfolio, assessing opportunities, evaluating the impact of investments, and managing a diverse portfolio of recipient organizations. By developing strong working relationships with grantee organizations, the Program Officer will help to assess how the Foundation can respond to evolving community needs inside and outside the strategic priority areas of Dynamic Jewish Life and Life Long Learning. This position and portfolio will work with the community to help the Foundation best respond to our area’s needs.
The Program Officer is expected to stay abreast of current issues and trends building expertise on topics specifically related to their portfolio and geography, as well as national trends with implications for the portfolio. This role will also nurture, strengthen, and facilitate collaboration and information exchange among nonprofit organizations, community leaders, and funders who support similar issues and organizations.
This is an exciting time to join the Farash team as it begins an expansion of its work, and a particularly exciting opportunity for the Program Officer to significantly help shape a grantmaking strategy, identify new opportunities for investment that respect historical longstanding relationships and a desired signature approach to grantmaking.
The ideal candidate for the Program Officer role will bring a deep commitment to the values and vision of the Foundation. They will be an experienced Program Officer and thought leader with a proven track record of success working with social sector organizations in a philanthropic, nonprofit, management consulting, academic, or government context. Applicants should have an understanding of the communities we exist to serve, including communities of color, immigrants and refugees, LGBTQ, and/or neighborhoods that face the greatest educational inequities.
Candidates must be comfortable with ambiguity and enjoy the challenge of forging a path forward when information is imperfect, and milestones may not be clear. They are excited by the prospect of a high performing team that is in the midst of developing and expanding its programmatic work and being in on the ground floor of that effort.
Strategy and Implementation
- Team with the Foundation’s staff, trustees, and the community to contribute and iterate an effective strategy.
- Develop and manage strategic relationships with peer leaders, and share insights with colleagues that inform the work.
- Seek out best practices in other communities, absorb ideas from conferences, and stay on top of current research and trends.
- Support the development and implementation of evaluation plans to track the impact of the work and allow for continuous learning.
- Represent the Foundation in the community through convenings and community initiatives.
- Proactively research demographics, initiatives, programs and concepts that have the potential to make the largest positive impact on issues and challenges within the assigned portfolio.
Grantee Partnerships and Support
- Serve as the focal point for all new grantee requests, ongoing management of an existing grant portfolio, and management of any ad hoc projects that reside inside or outside of the assigned portfolio.
- Monitor the performance of an active grantmaking portfolio; coach and advise grantee partners, including the agreement of performance milestones to support grantee success.
- As appropriate, convene grantees and other stakeholders to advance collaboration, networking, and learning opportunities for partners.
- Monitor the portfolio for grantee challenges and proactively develop strategies for intervention and risk mitigation.
- Respectively communicate with grantees to explore new areas of impact while also respecting grantees through changes in funding priorities and initiatives.
Due Diligence and Program Management
- Have a firm grasp of the concept, outcomes, sources and uses of funds and financial viability of all grantee requests.
- Master the Foundation’s grant management software, Fluxx, keeping the system current with meeting notes, relevant grantee/grants updates and project information at all times.
- Employ an unbiased, fact-based approach to preparing and delivering presentations on the merits and risks of new proposals, ideas and projects as well as existing grants within the portfolio.
- Prepare and contribute to written materials and oral presentations that communicate the alignment of grantee activities with portfolio goals and strategies, including grant recommendations.
- Collaborate with Foundation staff to ensure for the continuation of timely, compliant and effective grants management processes.
- Partner with evaluation experts to design a method for monitoring, checking and adjusting the effectiveness of the Foundation’s investments; create and maintain systems to track the progress and ensure that timelines and benchmarks are met.
Outstanding interpersonal skills are key. An approachable style, humility, compassion for the children and families being served, empathetic listening skills, and the ability to connect with diverse stakeholders are vital attributes. Candidates should demonstrate good judgment and discretion and be at ease in an external facing role; skillful handling of multiple relationships is critical. 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 successful candidate will possess the following:
- A Baccalaureate Degree in a relevant area of study is required; Master’s Degree is a plus.
- A familiarity with the Rochester area community and a willingness to learn about new ideas, initiatives and solutions.
- A track record for successfully executing strategic plans that achieve desired outcomes.
- Ability to assemble, analyze, assess, and draw conclusions from data.
- The ability to work across the political spectrum, and to respect diverse perspectives.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills, and listening skills, and judgment in communicating within a variety of settings.
- Ability to represent the Foundation with any number of external audiences and to be a credible voice in the field in which the Foundation is working.
This description is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of duties and responsibilities but constitutes a general definition of position scope.
The Max and Marian Farash Foundation is an equal opportunity organization. We recruit, employ, train, compensate, and promote without regard to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, veteran status, or any other basis protected by applicable federal, state or local law.