About the Foundation:
The Letters Foundation is a foundation of last resort that provides humanitarian grants to people experiencing a crisis through no fault of their own and for whom no other options exist. These one-time grants provide a hand-up to individuals as they work to stabilize their lives. Established by siblings Warren and Doris Buffett, the Letters Foundation reads and replies to letters from individuals living within the United States. We aim to honor the dignity of every person who writes to us and collaborate with grantees to assist in overcoming the barriers currently preventing them from moving forward in their lives. Doris’ lifelong commitment to individuals, and her kind but practical approach to problem solving influence all areas of grant making.
About the Role:
The Program Officer works directly and collaboratively with grant applicants throughout the process to determine eligibility based on Doris Buffett’s mission and philosophy.
Each Program Officer manages a diverse caseload of potential grantees and works to understand, engage, and collaborate fully with each applicant to determine their most pressing needs, and to ultimately decide upon the most appropriate form of assistance.
The Program Officer ensures eligible clients are awarded grants that allow them to overcome past and current barriers in their respective situations. Each Program Officer is directly responsible for their assigned cases and reports to the Director of Letters & Grants. Depending upon the needs of clients, this role may occasionally require working unusual hours such as working across time zones, and other factors.
- Review applicant’s letter and supporting files; develop a list of questions; request any additional pertinent documents; ensure that materials are complete
- Speak with grant applicants and review the supplied documents with them to fully understand their current situation and hardships, as well as short-term and long-term needs
- Develop detailed monthly financial budgets with clients
- Speak with multiple parties including references provided by applicants to gain additional insight into the case
- Maintain communication with each client throughout the process and ensure each case is well-documented with detailed case records, process, and notes using Foundation determined software
- Follow all procedures for issuing grants as defined by the Foundation
- Collaborate with Operations team to receive cases and implement grant payments
- Communicate regularly with Sr. Program Officers and Director of Letters & Grants to review casework questions and decisions
- Uphold the Foundation’s mission, vision, and values. Share and suggest ideas and information to improve scope and success of the program
- Be effective brand ambassadors for the Foundation’s work, and uphold Doris Buffett’s vision, mandates, and philosophy in all dealings with applicants, vendors, and general public.
Skills & Qualifications
- Ability to build rapport and trust across a diverse population, including comfort with understanding and meeting people where they are, as they are
- Impeccable integrity, judgment, and discretion along with a professional demeanor and interpersonal style that elicits trust from clients, staff, and the leadership team
- Strong and empathetic communicator and active listener
- Willingness to take a holistic view of each client’s situation and at times make difficult decisions
- Able to collaborate with clients with patience and persistence
- A background in budget or financial work is very helpful in order to understand client’s financial situation, document it accurately, and assist client’s understanding
- Experience working with trauma survivors is helpful
- Adaptability and a willingness to learn
- Comfort with technology and ability to learn new platforms; Knowledge of Salesforce and Evernote desirable
- Ability to work remotely; must live within traveling distance to Boston
- BA/BS preferred or equivalent work experience
- Fluency in Spanish strongly preferred
While the above is intended to describe the general nature and level of work for this position, it is not an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of individuals in this role.
Level of Language Proficiency
Fluency in Spanish strongly preferred
Minimum Education Required