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Iowa West Careers


The Iowa West Foundation (IWF) seeks a full-time Program Officer to support our grantmaking and community initiatives.

The ideal candidate will be passionate about mission-oriented community work. They are a thinker, planner, and a doer. A successful candidate will embrace an organizational culture in which all team members are execution-focused. They can work to help create order from complex situations. 

Who We Are

The Iowa West Foundation (IWF) is a place-based, private foundation headquartered in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Our mission is to improve lives and strengthen communities for current and future generations. We do this by providing leadership, creating partnerships, leveraging resources, and serving as a catalyst in addressing community needs. As a place-based foundation, IWF serves an 18-county area of Southwest Iowa and Eastern Nebraska. Since 1996 the Iowa West Foundation’s grant program has awarded more than $500 million to improve the quality of life in our region.  

What You’ll Do

The Program Officer, who reports to the Vice President of Grants & Initiatives, is responsible for: 

  • Community engagement – you are a key representative of IWF at community and grantee events. You are a cheerleader and a champion for our communities. 
  • Grantmaking – in this position you will have significant responsibilities in reviewing and analyzing applications through our responsive grantmaking program. This includes conducting research and due diligence visits and analyzing and synthesizing information for our committees and board. After a grant award is made, the Program Officer acts as the point of contact with our grantees helping to track progress, troubleshoot problems, and support grantee success. As grants conclude, the Program Officer is at the leading edge of our organizational learning by analyzing grantee results. 
  • Community initiatives – in addition to our responsive grantmaking, the IWF team tackles significant community projects and programs. We do this by leveraging our expertise in strategic thinking, program development, and problem-solving skills. To be successful the program officer must be able to understand community systems and identify actionable opportunities for improvement.  
  • Special Programs – this Program Officer is the lead in our multi-year funding and streamlined program renewal processes. That means you build long-term relationships with some of our key grantee partners and help support their success

Who You Are & Keys to Success

  • Drive to achieve results: You have a track record of accomplishing ambitious goals and getting results even when there are obstacles. You set a high bar and meet it, because you think three (or 30) steps ahead to anticipate hurdles and come up with pragmatic solutions. You plan backwards and involve stakeholders appropriately.
  • Inclusive project leadership: You approach leadership with a mindset of “power with” rather than “power over” and regularly include others in decision-making. You have experience managing multiple projects and keeping tasks from slipping through the cracks. You use resources wisely, and can manage a team of staff, consultants, and volunteers to leverage time and talent for impact.
  • Relationship-building: You develop and maintain strong, collaborative working relationships with a diverse group of stakeholders. You know how to build alliances and find points of collaboration even when there are competing interests. 
  • Commitment to equity and justice: You recognize the role of race, income, age, immigration status, and other identities in shaping disparities, and you consistently amplify community voices to advocate for more equitable policy solutions. You recognize how your own identities show up in the work, and welcome, reflect on, and act on feedback with an eye toward continuous learning about race, ability, and other lines of difference. 
  • Strategic problem solving: You are an analytical thinker who likes to cut through complexity to identify what really matters. You anticipate challenges and try to “see around corners.” You are relentless in overcoming obstacles and looking for creative solutions. 
  • Clear communications: You can boil issues down to their essence and clearly communicate the key facts. You bring a professional style and can connect with a variety of audiences.   
  • Relevant Experiences 
  • Knowledge of and experience in the nonprofit sector is a must. Previous experience in fundraising and/or grantmaking is strongly preferred. 
  • A bachelors or equivalent professional experience in a related field. 
  • A clear, relevant, track record of project management, analysis, and communications (both written and presenting). 

If you were here right now, you would be: 

  • Reaching out to applicants to arrange due diligence meetings and review their application materials. 
  • Creating a communications strategy for an updated program. 
  • Reviewing impact reports to identify (1) whether the terms of the grant were met, and (2) what are the key take-aways we should share internally for our own staff or externally to celebrate our partner’s success. 
  • Helping to facilitate a roundtable conversation on homelessness. 
  • Developing an early childhood program. 

What Else You Should Know

Iowa West Foundation is an equal opportunity employer, and we value having staff who come from communities that we serve. We especially encourage people of color, LGBQ people, transgender and gender non-conforming people, and people with disabilities to apply.  

The position is full-time and is based at our new office building on the Council Bluffs riverfront. The role requires regular local travel throughout our funding area.  

The salary for this position ranges from $80,000 to $100,000 with exact salary depending on experience. We also offer excellent benefits. 

How to Apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to Matthew Henkes, Vice President of Grants & Initiatives at

OUR VISION is a community where families choose to live, and businesses choose to locate, because of its quality of life and standard of living.


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