Program Officer, Law and Policy, Social Change Portfolio

The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation


The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) is now seeking nominations and applications for a Program Officer, Law and Policy in its US Programs, Social Change portfolio. The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) is a private grant-making Foundation with a U.S. home office in Omaha, Nebraska, and a global office in Kigali, Rwanda. With annual spending in excess of $800 million, it is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. The Foundation is unusual for donors of such size as it has only two main areas of grant making: 1) supporting efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy and ensure access to safe abortion in the U.S. and around the world and 2) to enable low-income students in Nebraska to attend and succeed in college. The Foundation currently employs over 60 staff across the U.S. and Kigali, Rwanda. The Foundation will not exist in perpetuity. After Mr. Buffett passes away (he is currently 93 years old), the Foundation’s grantmaking will grow substantially, then eventually sunset after 15 years.

The Program Officer (Law and Policy) plays an important role in developing and managing workplans focused on law and policy, including deepening the Foundation’s investments in legal and policy organizations working to expand access to abortion and contraception through litigation, policy, and advocacy strategies at the state and federal level.

The Program Officer will bring strong relationship-building skills to their role as a grant maker, developing trust-based and collaborative partnerships with portfolio grantees. The Program Officer will co-develop and then take responsibility for implementation of workplans that serve STBF’s goals, including identifying gaps or liabilities in movement work, securing internal or external stakeholder buy-in, seeking out new grantees, and shepherding new and existing grants through the proposal and reporting processes. They will uphold high standards for stewarding the Foundation’s resources, including budgeting, grant monitoring, and compliance. Managing goal-oriented work plans may additionally entail setting learning agendas, preparing grants for approval by Senior Program Officers, making budget recommendations, and communicating grantee progress or challenges to others. Additionally, in keeping with the values of STBF, they will collaborate with colleagues and join a diverse team of people deeply committed to equitable practices and reducing disparities in the workplace as well as in the field. This position reports to a Senior Program Officer in the Social Change portfolio.

The Program Officer will approach the position of grant maker with a profound sense of modesty, integrity, and cooperation. They will be capable of establishing relationships with their grantees that are expert, responsive, conscientious, and collaborative in their thinking. They will participate in site visits to remain informed about the progress of the portfolio grantees and convene meetings, if required, to contribute supplementary knowledge that guides the work of USP. They shall provide input for the STBF Board reports and establish or sustain connections with other funders involved in the movement.

US Programs

US Programs (USP) oversees the Foundation’s grantmaking to guarantee contraception and abortion in the United States in a manner that is fair, accessible, and supported. Our unit provides assistance to a multitude of organizations operating within the access and justice and reproductive health movements (or portfolios thereof). The first, known as Patients and Access, provides financial resources to support initiatives that guarantee access to contraception and abortion. These initiatives assist health centers, clinicians, training facilities, and conduct related research. The second, Social Change, provides assistance to organizations that are committed to effecting systemic change over the long term. This is achieved through outreach and messaging, movement building, public policy advocacy, and litigation, as well as by increasing social support for abortion. With seventeen employees presently situated in Omaha and operating remotely across the United States, USP intends to expand consistently in the forthcoming years in order to address the dynamic and ever-evolving circumstances surrounding access to abortion and contraception in the country.

Shared Values

The Foundation is intent on safeguarding the values that drive our culture: Mission, Respect for Donor Intent, Appetite for Risk and Tolerance for Failure, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Humility, Passion Tempered by Objectivity and Evidence, Compassion and Love of Humanity, Honesty and Integrity, Kindness and Respect, and Shared Accountability.

The Program Officer (Law & Policy) must possess an authentic comprehension and admiration for the importance of these values and aspirations, as well as the manner in which they are translated into practice in the Foundation’s endeavors. Finally, the candidate must support the Foundation’s progressive values unequivocally, including the freedom of the reproductive system for individuals.



Co-develop, implement, and manage strategies and goal-oriented portfolio work plans for US Programs, including by identifying gaps or opportunities to protect and expand abortion and contraceptive access through legal and policy strategies at the state-level, securing internal or external stakeholder buy-in, seeking out new grantees, and shepherding new and existing grants through the proposal and reporting processes.

  1. Manage goal-oriented work plans, including setting learning agendas, preparing grants for approval by Senior Program Officers, making budget recommendations, and communicating grantee progress or challenges to others.
  2. Serve as a partner and relationship-builder with grantees, applicants, other funders, and stakeholders through collaborative, responsive, and conscientious thought-partnership, collaboration, and guidance, and through participation in site visits, meetings, convenings, and conferences with grantees and funders to stay informed and bring additional expertise to bear.
  3. Contribute to reports for the STBF Board.
  4. Steward the foundation’s resources through budgeting, grant monitoring, and compliance, including by routinely tracking and forecasting portfolio budgets in conjunction with Senior Program Officers; carefully and objectively monitoring grants, and routinely communicating with grantees to provide both encouragement and constructive feedback, while assessing progress towards project goals; and reviewing grant proposals, budgets, and reports for both clarity and strategic alignment.
  5. With the support of Program Associates, ensure grants are processed correctly, reports are filed, and all documents are reviewed for compliance with both IRS regulations and USP guidelines and procedures.
  6. Collaborate internally to advance collective work and to uphold a strong team culture, including by actively engaging with colleagues at all levels, offering thought partnership across portfolios, proactively identifying opportunities, and offering suggestions for improving STBF’s collaborative work environment. Participate in unit-wide working groups where appropriate, including cross-functional strategic initiatives, STBF’s teamwide inclusion and racial equity committee, race-based caucuses, ad hoc planning committees, and other groups.



While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

Attributes for Success in this Role

  • Seeks input from and values the uniqueness of people from different groups and identities. Works effectively with individuals of diverse cultures, interpersonal styles, abilities, motivations, or backgrounds. Challenges practices or policies that may be exclusionary. Demonstrates a proven commitment to race equity and identifies ways to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts internally and programmatically and commit to your own ongoing learning about inclusive behaviors and work cultures.
  • Develops and maintains effective working relationships with team members, internal and external partners and others using strong interpersonal skills. Works effectively with people outside formal authority to accomplish goals. Practices kindness, authenticity, and optimism when working with others.
  • Demonstrates expansive knowledge of tools, methods, and resources in the area of reproductive health access, advocacy or policy development in the context of the movement systems and politics.
  • Asks good questions and probes all sources for answers; sees underlying or hidden patterns; looks beyond the obvious and does not stop at the first answers. Uses rigorous logic and methods to learn, analyze, and understand why problems occur; generates and implements creative, cost effective and realistic solutions.
  • Looks for new or alternative ideas from a wide range of sources. Considers future consequences and trends while considering future possibilities.
  • Communicates effectively both in writing and verbally. Listens carefully and seeks mutual understanding in daily interactions.
  • Demonstrates comfort and skill in situations of conflict. Executes an ability to say “no” when necessary and appropriate and have the confidence to choose the correct answer over the popular one. Shows tolerance for ambiguity and is very comfortable with constant change brought on by internal and external pressures or expectations. Understands the value of flexibility and adaptability.

Background and Experience Qualifications

  • Strongly Preferred: Juris Doctorate
  • Strong knowledge and experience in law and policy on abortion and contraception.
  • Demonstrated knowledge in one or more of the following areas: constitutional litigation strategies, administrative and legislative policy development and implementation, legal academia, criminal defense experience, legal issues related to abortion supporters or helpers.
  • Demonstrated ability to successfully navigate coalition dynamics and building relationships with partners to identify needs and gaps and implement solutions.
  • Track record of developing relationships and working across cultures, identities, and power dynamics.
  • Minimum 5 years of experience working in law or policy including some program management responsibilities.
  • Minimum 3 years of direct experience managing relationships, projects, processes, or other people.
  • Preferred: Experience working in a remote environment with colleagues across multiple locations.

Travel Requirements

If working remotely, travel is expected up to 20% of the time, including travel to Omaha 3-5 times per year.

Hiring Requirements

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


Compensation for the Program Officer role starts at $164,000. The Foundation also provides comprehensive benefits.



This search is being led by Cara Pearsall and Tyra Gravesande of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website. It is encouraged that applicants submit their application by February 20, 2024.

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

We are committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. This includes not only creating a diverse team where everyone feels represented, respected, and included, but also embedding these values across our work and practices. All applicants 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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