Senior Program Officer, Education Finance Policy
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
Grade: Unspecified
Occupations: Educations, Finance, Budget and Accounting, Management and Strategy, Programme and Project Management
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Added 2 months ago
Job Description

At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation we believe that by creating an environment for our employees to personally and professionally thrive, we will have maximum impact toward our missions to achieve our vision.

To learn more about our vision and missions, please visit our website at

To learn more about career opportunities at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, please visit our Careers site at

Group Summary

The North America Team (NAT) develops and executes policy, advocacy, communications and government relations strategies to build political support and advance domestic and global programmatic priorities that are funded by, or executed within, the United States, Canada, and the United Nations.

Leadership & Culture

Our culture shapes our choices about what we do and how we do it. We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment can do extraordinary things. We expect foundation employees to intentionally and consistently embody our four agreements; show respect, offer trust, be transparent, and create energy.

Position Summary

The Senior Program Officer (SPO), U.S. Programs – Policy & Finance, will be responsible for developing and executing a body of work focused on the design of policy solutions and analytical tools on K-12 or Postsecondary Finance issues (specific areas of focus will depend on the qualifications of the successful candidate).  To achieve this goal the SPO will strategically develop and lead one or more portfolios of grants and contracts while simultaneously nurturing a collaborative partner ecosystem.  The successful candidate will bring a depth of knowledge and applicable experience on a variety of public education finance and budgeting topics, a balance of analytical and people skills, and an ability to be adaptable in the face of constantly evolving internal and external conditions.    

Core Responsibilities

  • Develop, execute, and manage a complex portfolio of grants  closing gaps in educational outcomes by race and income. Review letters of inquiry and grant proposals and provide clear, concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding.

  • Advise grantees and other partners to improve individual and collective impact of projects or to jointly tackle complex problems.

  • Develop foundation points of view on priority educational finance and budgeting issues that support the goals of our US Program (USP) strategy teams, including K-12 Education and Postsecondary Success.

  • Serve as an internal specialist on relevant educational finance and budgeting issues who stays up-to-date in their knowledge or is able to track down reliable information on topics outside of their primary areas of expertise.

  • Collaborate with USP as they build understanding of the various cost structures and resource tradeoffs associated with solutions they are investing in and may eventually seek to publicly scale and sustain.

  • Generate custom analyses and products for foundation leaders and staff to provide relevant updates on our work and its impact, or in response to requests for additional information or directed learning on particular education finance topics.

  • Represent the foundation before key external audiences in various settings ranging from national conferences to media to communicate foundation strategies and policy priorities.

Position Reports to: Deputy Director, North America Team – U.S. Programs Policy & Finance

Core Knowledge and Skills

  • Deep experience and proven application of how to structure public funding and budgets to shape incentives and change behavior of system actors to yield more equitable outcomes.

  • Experience with or solid understanding of education finance and budgets including but not limited to their formulation, inclusion of policy elements, and various approval processes.  Experience across multiple subjects (e.g. K-12, Postsecondary) or geographies (e.g. federal, states) is a bonus.

  • Proven experience both in crafting “big-picture” vision with a systems-change attitude and developing and executing complex, yet flexible, implementation strategies. 

  • Proven ability to lead and influence others in a constructive manner using both formal and informal authority while building and sustaining collaborative relationships.

  • Demonstrated ability in rapidly assessing, prioritizing, and delivering on requests for assistance across multiple internal and external parties.

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills with a focus on being able to succinctly and effectively synthesize complex concepts, information, and recommendations for decision.

  • Technical experience or familiarity with cost-benefit analyses, financial modeling, macro-economic forecasting, or other forms of data analysis and visualization is a bonus.

Willingness to travel up to 20%.

Education and Experience

Advanced degree with 7+ years of experience on public education finance and/or budgeting issues in a policy context, or equivalent experience

*Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.


As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve the mission of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 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

* Prior Protected Activity

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