The Kresge Foundation

Strategic Learning and Evaluation Officer

Troy , MI

Position Description

Executive Summary

The Kresge Foundation, a private national philanthropy based in Greater Detroit that is committed to expanding opportunities in America’s underinvested cities, seeks a new Strategic Learning & Evaluation Officer to advance its foundation-wide and field-building efforts around learning, research, evaluation, and racial equity.

COVID impacts, racial justice uprisings, and the broader movement for racial justice we’ve experienced this year, has exposed the prevalence and depth of the inequities faced by vulnerable communities. In this paradigm shifting moment for our country and philanthropy, The Kresge Foundation (Kresge) recognizes the importance of investing in how it more responsively learns from, and partners with, the communities it funds. The Strategic Learning & Evaluation Officer will provide critical leadership and perspective to these efforts by helping to cultivate a culture of curiosity, connect learning with action, facilitate equity-centered future visioning, and cross-team collaboration.

Launched as a cross-cutting-practice in 2015, the Strategic Learning, Research, and Evaluation (commonly referred to as “L&E”) team connects learning with action to enliven the Foundation’s values and mission. L&E advances a culture of learning within the Foundation by: drawing insights from grants and administrative data to set baselines and advance equity; co-creating framework/s that help Kresge live out its equity commitments; bridging and synthesizing insights within and outside of the Foundation; supporting and facilitating ongoing strategy refinement in partnership with Program teams; and shepherding third party evaluations rooted in Equitable Evaluation Principles.

From its cross-cutting perch and co-creative relationships with Kresge’s seven grantmaking areas as well as social investments, L&E is uniquely positioned to identify new program area opportunities, inform investment strategies, and foster collaborations by serving as idea and network weavers. In this sense, the work of the team as a whole can be described as a catalyst for reflective and transformative practice. In its support of learning and actionable insights, L&E helps information flow better between the organizations and individuals doing the work on the ground and program staff/leadership. The Strategic Learning and Evaluation (L&E) Officer will be charged in helping to facilitate these learning loops by taking an approach that values appreciative inquiry and asset-based strategies, recognizing that local wisdom and the power of communities drive social change.

Ideal candidates will have a strong understanding of community and systems level change and evaluative practices that drive learning and reflection. An understanding of current evaluation and learning concepts, norms, and practices is important, but formal education in evaluation or experience as a professional evaluator is not required. While no individual content or lived experience is strongly preferred, Kresge program and investment areas do tend to have elements of equitable community development, so a background in understanding the social determinants of community development (housing, education, public health, etc.) is favored. Candidates must have experience facilitating convenings, workshops, and peer learning across issues, a history of working with an explicit focus on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion, and proficiency in developing learning materials and/or agendas. An understanding of the principles, strategies, and mindsets required to organize individuals to influence institutions and a broader field is critical.

Previous experience working in a complex organization is highly desired, as is the ability to hold space for others, understand multi-directional power flow and experience working in collaboration with a kaleidoscope of organizations, consultants, and sector leaders with different missions. The successful candidate will be a strong relationship builder. Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills are necessary. Strong verbal and written communications skills are absolute musts. Most importantly, a personal and professional commitment to anti-racism, equity and inclusiveness is vital to advancing the work and contributing to the L&E team, including the understanding of how one’s own identity and lived experiences inform their work.

How To Apply


Talent Citizen, a national executive search and consulting firm focused on the pursuit of positive social impact with equity at its center, is partnering with The Kresge Foundation on this search. President Tracy Welsh and Senior Associate Connor Daley are leading this engagement. Additional questions and nominations should be directed to Connor (cdaley@talentcitizen.com). Interested parties should please send an updated resume, cover letter, and how you learned of the position to Kresge-SLE@talentcitizen.com.

Kresge is proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants. We do not discriminate based upon race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as an individual with a disability or other applicable legally protected characteristics. Please note: Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all Kresge staff are working remotely, and our Troy and Detroit offices remain closed until further notice. Kresge staff will not be traveling or attending in-person meetings during this time. Thank you for your understanding.
Position Description

Search Team

Tracy Welsh  

Connor Daley