Senior Program Associate, Food Initiative

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Published 21 days ago


The Rockefeller Foundation (RF) is seeking a Senior Program Associate to join the Food team. This position is based in New York, New York. The Senior Program Associate will contribute to the development and execution of a multi-year initiative to advance a more nourishing, equitable and regenerative food system. Reporting to the Global Managing Director, Food Initiative, the Senior Program Associate will support programming, grantmaking and partnership cultivation. This will require working with the Food team and other Foundation staff—as well as a broader community of grantees, experts, and partners globally.

The successful candidate will bring technical experience, an understanding of the global and regional food systems, a track record of innovation in private sector and/or entrepreneurial pursuits, and some knowledge of key technical issues, trends and actors pertinent to the global food system, including true cost/value accounting, good food financing, institutional procurement, etc. to the role. To be effective in this capacity, the candidate must be able to flourish independently. The Foundation seeks a Senior Program Associate who brings a passion and energy for discovering food, nutrition, data and financing solutions that can create lasting impact.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s vision is a food system that promotes human and planetary health, advancing more nourishing, regenerative and equitable food systems. The Foundation’s new Good Food Initiative aims to transform the dietary quality of 650M vulnerable children and their families around the world over the next 10 years. The Foundation will contribute to this goal through engaging in:

1. Good Food Policy & Advocacy

2. Good Food Institutional Procurement

3. Good Food Data & Science

The Senior Program Associate will work with the global Food Team members and colleagues in the Africa and US teams to support the food initiative’s ambitious goal of transforming the food system to improve dietary quality for millions of vulnerable children and their families while enhancing regenerative agriculture and equity within these systems. The role will be split across four buckets of work: 30% level of effort focused on improving investor decision making toward good food; 30% effort toward grant administration, performance and reporting; 20% level of effort toward supporting institutional procurement; and, 20% toward mainstreaming True Cost/Value Accounting in the food systems. This role will provide support for the team as it moves into an exciting period of execution and expansion. The position is vital and intended to strengthen the Food Team’s overall strategy through grant management, contracting, knowledge management, project management, research and analytics.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities (Non-exhaustive list of Essential Functions):

• Contribute to the development and implementation of the Food Team's overall strategy and activities through project management and administrative tasks, including building grant and contract proposal packages and shepherding those through internal quality control and review processes.

• Work with Global Food Team on the management of a portfolio of grants within the food initiative, which includes understanding the capacity and effectiveness of potential grantees, researching potential grantees, designing and writing grant memos and other key documents, maintaining grantee relationships, participating in site visits and other monitoring activities.

• Review grantee reports and data, provide feedback on the grantee reports and other deliverables/products.

• Perform high-quality analyses drawing on a range of sources and methods to provide nuanced analysis so that key hypotheses are fully tested and that the Food Team strategy is dynamically reviewed.

• Support the team in surfacing cutting edge measurement approaches and provide guidance to grantees and partners in implementation of measurement approached. In particular, support global alignment around a shared definition of regenerative production techniques as well as other dimensions of the food initiative strategy.

• Working closely with grantees and partners, contribute toward systematic learning and reflection processes that lead to continuous adaptive management.

• Be a resource for the Food Team and its grantees in business modeling, due diligence, and quantitative analyses and market intelligence.

• Stay on top of developments in the field – new players, key events, new information being generated, policy movements, important upcoming events, etc.

• Provide research and analytical support on current trends in the field.

• Monitor and draft relevant knowledge management products; research, write, and edit original reports, commentaries, and issue briefs on issues including food systems, true cost accounting, investor decision making oriented toward good food, nutrition and metrics/data for food systems transitions.

• Prepare documents for internal communications (quarterly reviews, reports) and external convenings (inclusive of event organization, briefing reports, talking points, input into speeches, etc.) as needed.

• Provide higher level of analytical support, posing questions for consideration to shape out-of-the-box strategies.

• Represent the foundation at meetings and events and provide remarks where necessary.

• Work collaboratively with other foundation offices, funders and investors and entities to deliver the mission and vision.

• Schedule own travel, prepare own expense reports as well as manage files, mail, correspondence, etc.

• On behalf of the Managing Director, prepare briefs for meetings and coordinate follow-up with relevant external and internal staff in the region as needed.

• Support special projects as designated by the Managing Director.

• Bring humor, flexibility, empathy and a sense of optimism to the work each and every day.

Supervision Received:

The Senior Program Associate reports to the Global Managing Director, Food Initiative and while they will need to work independently and be self-driven, they will also be required to exercise sound judgement in implementing activities of the team.

Supervision Exercised:

Supervises partnerships, grantees, and contractors as needed by the Managing Director.

Education, Experience and Qualifications:

• Master’s/Advanced degree in a relevant field.

• A minimum of 5 years professional experience, preferably in management consultancy, private sector development, SME acceleration/incubation or supply chain management or running a food/agribusiness enterprise.

• Experience with investors (asset managers, etc.), preferably with ESG/socially responsible investing.

• Strong business analytical skills required with a track record in using data and analytics to inform business decision-making.

• Experience in employing market-based solutions to address complex social and development challenges will be an added advantage.

• Experience in Impact Investing, Development Finance Institutions, and/or grant-making institutions will be an added advantage.

• Ability to thrive in fast-paced, demanding, and emergent organizational/strategic setting.

• Experience with cutting-edge measurement and evaluation will be an added advantage.

• Ability to travel.

• Computer proficiency in MS Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Internet search skills and ability to learn new applications quickly.


• Communication: Has strong interpersonal abilities including strong listening, writing and verbal skills; demonstrates assertiveness and effectiveness in presenting ideas to a variety of internal and external audiences and for multiple and diverse purposes.

• Decision-Making: Has the ability to evaluate risks and opportunities; uses analytical and problem-solving skills; takes initiative and drives for results; is able to prioritize their own work while accepting ambiguity and functioning in the bureaucracy of a large organization.

• Execution: Has excellent project management skills; manages their own time well and successfully meets deadlines; has a sense of urgency and takes responsibility for their work and is able to juggle multiple tasks simultaneously; works well under pressure; employs attention to detail with their work and has high standards for accomplishing their work.

• Integration: Accesses functional and substantive expertise organizationally, and accomplishes their work with inclusiveness and collaboration.

• Leadership: Thinks innovatively and creatively about their work, has strong negotiation skills which enable them to work effectively and efficiently across a large portfolio, engaging effectively with a broad and diverse community of internal and external colleagues; demonstrates integrity and accountability at all times.

• Partnership and Relationship Building: Has strong professional presence and can be seen as a key representative of the Foundation and the Food Initiative; has intercultural knowledge and appreciation; and possesses strong strategic partnership-building skills.

• Strategic Ability: Anticipates future opportunities and consequences, demonstrates an innovative and flexible approach to work, and has the ability to organize chaos into a coherent plan and implement it well.

• Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: Deeply committed to the mission of the Foundation, to inclusion, equity and diversity in every aspect of your work, and to challenging conventional wisdom through evidence, reason, and amplifying dissenting, unconventional, and marginalized voices.

As an organization, we focus on six values to advance our culture and to continue our success. We are dedicated to being Transparent, Optimistic, Accountable, Collaborative, Trusted and Equitable. We operate from a strong commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in everything that we do. It’s not only the right thing to do – we couldn’t make an impact without the diverse perspectives and experiences of our team members. We expect all employees at the Foundation to contribute by developing their unique perspective and talent, and to challenge conventional wisdom through evidence and reason, and by amplifying marginalized voices.

The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunity and to compliance with all federal, state, and local laws concerning employment discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. To this end, the Foundation ensures equal opportunity to all employees and applicants regardless of race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, lawful alien status, physical, mental, and medical disability, veteran status or liability for service in the United States Armed Forces.

The Rockefeller Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.


Submit cover letter outlining how you meet the necessary education, experience and skill sets for this role accompanied by your CV.

This is a fixed term 2-year position.


The Rockefeller Foundation (RF) is seeking a Senior Program Associate to join the Food team. This position is based in New York, New York. The Senior Program Associate will contribute to the development and execution of a multi-year…

Details at a Glance

  • Time Commitment
    Full Time Schedule
  • Job Type


Temporarily Remote
Work may be performed anywhere in United States
Associated Location
420 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10018, United States

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