Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Senior Program Officer, Knowledge Creation and Research
Location: Kansas City, MO

The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation (Kauffman Foundation) seeks a strategic, relationship-driven, and highly adaptive research professional to serve as its next Senior Program Officer, Knowledge Creation & Research. The Senior Program Officer will work collaboratively with both internal and external partners to leverage field data, emerging research, and the Foundation’s own data infrastructure to identify new learning and uplift insights on the field of entrepreneurship that are aligned with Foundation’s mission of inclusive prosperity for all.

Headquartered in Kansas City, MO but with national reach, the Kauffman Foundation invests almost $200M annually across three thematic areas. Known for its entrepreneurial spirit, affordability, and barbecue, Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri and is one of the most diverse cities in the Midwest, and the Kauffman Foundation has a strong commitment to supporting its home. Through its Kansas City Civic efforts, the Kauffman Foundation works alongside its community and invests in programs and initiatives that create supportive learning environments for youth and families as well as key institutions and organizations that eliminate barriers for all people to drive cultural, social, and economic impact in Kansas City. This is also reflected in its Education portfolio, which seeks to close academic performance gaps between Kansas City and the state, including kindergarten readiness, K-12 proficiency, and postsecondary completion rates. In addition, the Education program is leading a regional effort with high schools and businesses to redesign the high school experience, placing real world learning at the center of education. The Entrepreneurship program works with entrepreneurs, empowers them with tools and resources, and works to break down barriers that stand in the way of starting and growing their business via entrepreneurial ecosystems, learning, support organizations, policy change, and impactful research. The three programs work with the Public Affairs program team to extend reach beyond the Kansas City region for national impact.

Reporting to the Director of Knowledge Creation & Research in the Foundation’s Entrepreneurship team, the Senior Program Officer (SPO) will work with leaders across the Entrepreneurship portfolio – especially its research team – as well with grantee partners, external data contracts/consultants, and national thought leaders to offer in-depth measures, reports, and accompanying interactive data visualizations that present entrepreneurial trends in the United States. As the field of entrepreneurship is, by its very nature, dynamic and constantly shifting, the Entrepreneurship research team takes a balanced approach to research by developing relevant and actionable insights that is grounded in sound data analysis. The SPO will help drive this research activity by leading data analysis and partnerships, serving as a critical thought partner to the Director and program staff to drive internal data infrastructure-building and research decisions.

They will also work with external partners, such as contractors/vendors and grantees to help maximize the Foundation’s impact and reach across the fields of entrepreneurship, economics, and community development. This also comes at an exciting moment of reimagining how data can be used to drive change within the Kauffman Foundation, and the SPO is anticipated to serve as a strategic and reflective thought partner around data infrastructure, system end-use capabilities, and data equity.

The SPO will lead the Kauffman Indicators project, an ongoing effort to track, analyze, synthesize, and communicate important insights and trends across the field of entrepreneurship, nationally. This project itself is a strong example of the work of the SPO: rigorous data analysis collected from multiple sources and presented in an accessible and powerful way. Critically, this and other projects should have at their cores a commitment to be action-oriented, so that leaders across the business, policy, research, and program communities may use their insights to drive decision-making and learning. The SPO is also expected to serve as an advocate for data use and citizenry, and especially with the Technology and Evaluation teams as the organization continues to build a data infrastructure advancing Kauffman’s goal of inclusive prosperity through a racial equity lens.

The ideal candidate for this position is a critical, independent thinker with a strong understanding of quantitative data analysis approaches and methodologies and a deep familiarity with the data and tools that support measurement and learning such as statistical packages, datasets and platforms from a range of sources (government, philanthropic, corporate, community, etc.), survey collection platforms, and data preparation/visualization tools. At the same time, it is equally important that the candidate brings a highly adept level of communication skills to this role to be able to translate findings across projects and functions, and across different audiences and levels of familiarity with data and technology. Compelling candidates for this position must be highly motivated, capable of self-directed work, be both holistic in their thinking as well as detail-oriented and able to work collaboratively across teams and departments. Incumbents must exhibit a keen sense of responsibility and enjoy working with multiple demands, shifting priorities and constant change.

The successful candidate will be a consultative thought partner and strong relationship builder. Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills are necessary. Strong verbal and written communications skills are absolute musts. An advanced degree in the social sciences is strongly preferred (Master’s level or above) with experience conducting rigorous, quantitative research but an undergraduate education with significant post-graduation research and data activity will be considered. Most importantly, a personal and professional commitment to anti-racism, equity and inclusiveness is vital to advancing the work of Kauffman, including the understanding of how one’s own identity and lived experiences inform their work.

Application Instructions

Talent Citizen, a national executive search and talent consulting firm focused on the pursuit of positive social impact with equity at its center, is partnering with the Kauffman 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 EMKF-SPOKR@talentcitizen.com.

The Talent Citizen Search Team

Tracy D. Welsh

President | She/Her
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Connor Daley

Senior Associate | He/Him
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Alicia Paquette

Search Coordinator | She/Her
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