Program Associate/Officer, Natural Resources/Community Development

Gates Family Foundation
Denver, CO, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
Experience Level: 
Entry Level (0-2 Years)
Degree Required: 
Bachelor's (Or Equivalent)


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The Gates Family Foundation is seeking to hire a new Program Associate (entry-level) or Program Officer (for more experienced candidates) to support the Natural Resources and Community Development team. Qualified applicants should submit a letter of interest and resume no later than November 2. Details are below.

Position Summary

The Natural Resources/Community Development Program Associate/Program Officer will support and report to the Senior Program Officers for Natural Resources and Community Development. Job responsibilities include working on all aspects of grantmaking in these two areas, as well as in the Foundation’s capital grantmaking work (which is supported by all program staff). Work will include responding to inquiries, meeting with potential grantees and partners, following up on communications and convenings, maintaining scheduling of staff commitments, undertaking due diligence and analysis for potential grants, refining and tracking metrics for grant reporting and program evaluation, developing material for the website and external communications, and working with other foundation staff, partners, and grantees.  Program staff prepare a formal grant docket quarterly for trustee review and approval, which requires intensive research, writing, and editing by all staff. This position also requires occasional reimbursed travel around the state (on average approximately 2-3 days per month), as well as occasional out-of-state travel.

This position is part of a small team of staff who manage Foundation activities.  As such, the Program Associate/Program Officer works closely with other team members and routinely shares and coordinates activities with other staff members.  These include other program staff, the finance and administration team, strategic communications, the grants management team, and the Foundation president. 

Required Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree and three or more years of work in one or more of the topic areas of interest (environmental studies, natural resources, resource economics, community development, rural studies, economic development, and urban and regional planning); a relevant Master’s degree is a plus and will be given additional consideration
  • Strong conceptual, strategic, and organizational planning skills
  • Experience in evaluation and outcome measurements
  • Ability to generate new ideas and approaches, handle shifting priorities, and adapt to rapid change
  • Ability to see potential and perceive opportunities for additional leverage, impact, and connections
  • Experience working as part of a team
  • Outstanding communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Proven ability to develop and maintain strong working relationships
  • Willingness to travel throughout Colorado as needed
  • Strong customer service skills and a positive attitude
  • Demonstrated commitment to the mission of the Foundation
  • Familiarity with Colorado, particularly the state’s natural resource and community development challenges and opportunities
  • Previous nonprofit and/or philanthropic experience is a plus

Desired Professional Characteristics

  • Entrepreneurial and self-motivated
  • Collaborative
  • Problem solver
  • Creative
  • Sense of humor
  • Dedicated to completing tasks
  • Ability to multi-task
  • Can maintain grace under pressure
  • Ability to recognize and respond effectively to nuance and context
  • Fiscally responsible
  • Intellectually curious/lifelong learner
  • Analytical

This position is based in the Foundation’s Denver, Colorado office. Compensation is commensurate with experience.  The Foundation also offers excellent benefits and a flexible work environment.


The Gates Family Foundation is a private family foundation based in Denver, Colorado. The Foundation was established in 1946, and has distributed more than $350 million since it was created. Primary areas of focus for the Foundation include K-12 education, natural resources stewardship, and urban and rural community development. The Foundation is also a capital grantmaker in a broad set of areas including education, parks and recreation, social services, arts and culture, and community development. The Foundation’s grantmaking is focused on the state of Colorado.

Roughly 60% of the Foundation’s activity is initiated by its staff and focused on addressing four long-term quality of life challenges in Colorado:

  • Closing the achievement gap between low-income children and their more affluent peers, while raising the academic bar for all children
  • Being effective stewards of Colorado’s land and water resources
  • Improving the quality of life in urban areas even as Colorado copes with a doubling of its population in the next forty to fifty years
  • Supporting the long-term health of rural communities, both those that face challenges due to growth and change and those that are struggling to survive

The Foundation’s Natural Resources Program comprises roughly 25 percent of annual giving, generally focused on addressing challenges to land and water resources resulting from a rapidly-growing population and the effects of a changing climate. The Gates Family Foundation has a strong conservation legacy, and current program priorities include: water conservation solutions, land protection in focus landscapes, the sustainability of Colorado’s land trust community, natural resource stewardship, and payment for ecosystem services.

The Community Development Program comprises roughly 10 percent of annual giving, generally focused on supporting opportunities for economic and social advancement and fostering livable urban and rural communities that provide a safe, healthy, vibrant environment within which to live and work. Current program priorities include: access to economic opportunity, community planning, multi-modal access and infrastructure, placemaking, and food systems and agriculture.

To learn more about the Gates Family Foundation and its programs, visit our website at The current strategic plan is available here.

The Foundation also utilizes Program Related Investments (PRIs). PRIs include various forms of recyclable commitments of capital (low-interest loans and loan guaranties) in support of activity in priority areas. The Foundation also engages selectively in mission investing, committing capital in its portfolio to mission-aligned investments with the potential to generate market returns. Gates is also frequently a convener and collaborator with other funders and community partners.

The Foundation currently has a full-time staff of 12. The Foundation is governed by a board of seven trustees, three of whom are Gates family members and four of whom are community members selected for their skills, experience, and knowledge of the state. The Foundation currently has an asset base of approximately $500 million.

To Apply

Please send a letter of interest and resume no later than November 2 to Carol Menard, with the subject line “NRCD Position.” It is anticipated that this position will be filled in late 2018. The Gates Family Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer and values a diverse workforce.