Program Officer, Research, Patients and Access Portfolio

Website The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation

The Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation (STBF) is now seeking nominations and applications for a Program Officer, Research in its Patients and Access portfolio. 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 $500 million, it is one of the largest private foundations in the U.S. The Foundation has only two main areas of grant making: 1) supporting efforts to reduce unintended pregnancy and access to safe abortion for women 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 52 staff across 19 states in the U.S. and 11 staff in Kigali, Rwanda.

The Program Officer, Research will draw upon their deep experience in and knowledge of the clinical, social science, and/or policy research and/or evaluation related to abortion, contraception, and/or reproductive health, rights, and justice. They will serve as a skilled strategic thinker, co-creator, and implementer of portfolio workplans that serve STBF’s goals, and will help identify the data and research needs of the reproductive health, rights, and justice fields with an eye toward building research sustainability and equity through research. They will bring strong relationship-building skills to their role as a grant maker, developing trust-based and collaborative partnerships with portfolio grantees, and will leverage opportunities to build relationships with government agencies to seed and bolster research infrastructure. They will uphold high standards for stewarding the Foundation’s resources, including budgeting, grant monitoring, and compliance. Additionally, in keeping with the values of STBF, they will collaborate across 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 Patients and Access portfolio.

The Program Officer will bring a deep spirit of humility, honesty, and collaboration to the role of grant maker. Their relationship-building skills will allow for collaborative, responsive, conscientious, and expert thought partnership with their grantees. They will conduct site visits to stay up to date on portfolio grantees’ work and attend or convene meetings as necessary to bring additional expertise to bear that informs USP’s work. They will contribute to reports for the STBF Board and develop or maintain relationships with other funders in the movement.

About US Programs

US Programs (USP) manages the Foundation’s grantmaking to ensure equitable, available, and supported access to abortion and contraception in the United States. Our unit supports numerous organizations in two main areas (or portfolios) of reproductive health access and justice movements. The first, referred to as Patients and Access, funds work to ensure access to abortion and contraception through support of individuals, health centers, clinicians, training facilities and related research. The second, Social Change, supports organizations focused on building longer term systems change through increasing social support for abortion, addressing public policy advocacy, communications and messaging, movement building, and litigation. USP is currently 16 people strong, based in Omaha and remotely throughout the U.S., with plans to grow steadily in the coming years to meet the evolving and rapidly changing realities of abortion and contraception access in the United States.

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, Research will need to have a genuine understanding of, and appreciation for, the significance of these values and aspirations and how they are operationalized in the work the Foundation undertakes. Finally, the candidate will need to be aligned with the Foundation’s progressive values, including unambiguous support for individual reproductive freedom.


  1. Co-develop, implement, and manage strategies and goal-oriented portfolio work plans for US Programs, including by identifying and addressing the research and data needs of the reproductive health, rights, and justice fields, identifying gaps or liabilities in movement work that is related to or supported by research, securing internal or external stakeholder buy-in, seeking out new grantees, and shepherding new and existing grants through the proposal and reporting processes.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Contribute to reports for the STBF Board.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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, offering suggestions for improving STBF’s collaborative work environment, and serving as liaison between the US Programs team and the Research and Evaluation team. 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 within this Role

  • Seeks input from and value 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 clinical, social science, and/or policy evaluation research related to reproductive health access 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 be 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

  • Demonstrated knowledge of and experience in research and/or evaluation related to reproductive health care and policy. Added benefit if demonstrated knowledge in one or more of the following areas: abortion and contraceptive methods and access, perinatal and maternal health and outcomes, health care financing, causes and remedies of health disparities, health care delivery systems, barriers to reproductive access, reproductive and/or primary care clinical operations, health care quality standards, healthcare consumer/stakeholder engagement and patient experience, state and/or federal programs and policies that impact reproductive health care, or other relevant topical expertise.
  • Ability to effectively assess the merits of research proposals, including, but not limited to technical assessments of methodologies, critical evaluation of projected impacts, and nuanced assessments of organizational capacity and positionality to achieve project goals and/or organizational missions.
  • Experience building relationships with and liaising between grassroots activists, academic researchers, clinicians, reproductive justice experts, policymakers, and/or government agencies.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the organizational development needs of data and research organizations in the field, including the specificities of knowledge production and evidence building. Specific knowledge of both non-profit and healthcare organizations and work environments is highly valued.
  • Preferred: Bachelor’s degree in health care related field, political or social science, public health, gender studies, advocacy etc. OR 7+ years professional experience with increasing responsibility directly related to the role will be considered.
  • Minimum 5 years of experience in clinical, policy, or social science research and/or evaluation related to reproductive healthcare and/or policy, including some management responsibilities of people, projects, and/or initiatives.
  • Minimum 3 years of direct experience managing other people, relationships, projects, or processes.
  • Preferred: Experience working in an environment with colleagues across multiple locations

Travel Requirements

If working remotely, travel is expected up to 20% of the time, including coming 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 and proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and any recommended booster doses, subject to applicable laws.


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 November 30, 2023.

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.