Research and Evaluation Officer
Founded in 1964 by Warren Buffett and the late Susan Thompson Buffett, the Foundation seeks to improve the lives of women and families throughout the world by promoting access to contraception and abortion and expanding educational opportunities for Nebraska students. The priorities of the International and U.S. Programs include strengthening reproductive health service-delivery systems, creating training opportunities, and bolstering research and advocacy efforts.
RESEARCH AND EVALUATION
The Research & Evaluation Unit drives learning across the Foundation by providing technical support, guidance, and measurement expertise to the U.S., Global, and College Access and Success Programs. The team includes the Director and one Administrative Assistant, six Senior R&E Officers, two Officers, and four Associates. We have a diverse staff, about half of whom are people of color and about a quarter are LGBTQ+.
The R&E Unit enhances the quality and effectiveness of the Foundation’s grant-making by guiding research and evaluation idea-generation and conceptualization, helping partners think through methodological and analytic approaches, regular assessment of progress towards and achievement of outcomes, and providing guidance on the utilization of measurement and evaluation results. R&E makes the connection between strategy development, outcomes measurement, and evaluation to establish approaches to assess program and organizational effectiveness and to support learning for the Foundation and for the field. Typical R&E tasks include helping Programs and grantees formulate research questions and hypotheses; providing technical assessments and study design recommendations; and formulating measurement frameworks to support the continuous improvement of program strategies. Because of the technical nature of much of this work, the R&E Unit is strongly committed to supporting staff’s ongoing professional development and learning. Additionally, the R&E Unit is engaged with the Programs to commission expert external evaluators to assess the potential impact of major areas of grant making. As a part of this effort, the Unit serves as the technical interface between external evaluators, Program staff, and grantees. The R&E Unit itself does not carry out original research, conduct evaluations of Foundation projects, or publish original research.
The R&E Unit values diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) and incorporates this lens into the way we work internally and externally. Before the pandemic lockdown, at a team retreat in November 2019, the R&E team made a commitment to hold ourselves accountable to embodying DEIJ principles in our everyday actions. Our racial justice team (RJT), which includes all R&E staff and convenes monthly, facilitates DEIJ within R&E and develops mechanisms to address and unlearn racism as it manifests individually and interpersonally. When we carry out external evaluation, R&E approaches this work in the spirit of true partnership, with clarity and transparency. In all of our partnerships R&E is committed to creating an environment that is welcoming, values different perspectives and experiences, mutual decision-making on the evaluation design, and open discussion regarding the dynamics of the relationship and the best way for everyone to work together.
The mission of the U.S. Program Unit is to prevent unintended pregnancy and ensure access to safe abortion in the U.S. The U.S. Program seeks to achieve these goals through grants undertaken as part of several mutually reinforcing strategic initiatives across policy, law, culture, medicine, health services, and other domains needed to ensure that people can realize their reproductive desires with dignity. These initiatives, and the grants made pursuant to them, are particularly focused on the needs of low-income women and women of color. The work of USP is evidence-based and is therefore subject to consistent and rigorous monitoring and evaluation, often in partnership with R&E.
For example, R&E and USP engage in frequent thought partnership to unpack the complexity and nuance of each set of long-term programmatic outcomes to identify the best metrics by which to measure success. In addition, R&E provides ongoing technical monitoring of several independent evaluations of specific grantmaking initiatives.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FACING THE RESEARCH & EVALUATION OFFICER
R&E is eager to bring on board a Research & Evaluation Officer with a primary focus on supporting the work of the U.S. Program. Reporting to a Senior Research & Evaluation Officer, the REO will:
Provide technical guidance and research/evaluation expertise to the U.S. Program team.
The REO will partner with the U.S. Program to maximize its ability to make data-driven decisions. S/he/they will support the development and implementation of efforts to track progress towards strategic outcomes and answer key programmatic research questions. S/he/they will provide technical assessments and recommendations to the U.S. Program related to study design, methodologies, and strategies for applying evidence. S/he/they will critically assess measurement and metrics of program impact and success, guide the compilation and synthesis of program data, and conduct analyses of secondary data for the purpose of creating data visualizations and other tools to support use of data for decision-making.
Leverage learning across evaluation studies.
The REO will oversee evaluations carried out by external evaluation partners, ensuring that evaluators meet milestones and objectives and that their work products meet the Foundation’s high standards. S/he/they will advise the evaluators on evaluation design to ensure that the approach answers the right evaluation questions, and that the evaluation is responsive to and always mindful of the needs of the U.S. Program.
Facilitate relationships with external evaluation partners and other stakeholders.
The REO will help foster a collaborative relationship between evaluation partners, U.S. Program colleagues, and other stakeholders. S/he/they will model clear and transparent communication and ensure that the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, are reflected in partner engagement.
Synthesize evidence and information produced by a broad array of sources.
The REO will compile information from numerous formal and informal sources (e.g., published academic literature, white papers, organization, and grantee reports, etc.). S/he/they will communicate these findings through regular meetings, reports, and one-on-one direct exchanges with U.S. Program staff and partners, as well as facilitate discussions to make sense of and apply data to specific programmatic decisions.
Participate in R&E’s DEIJ teamwide efforts.
The REO will help center a racial justice lens into how R&E does our work and collaborate with other R&E team members to build or improve internal processes and evaluation approaches from a DEIJ perspective.
WHAT WE OFFER
The Foundation offers a unique opportunity to engage with talented and passionate staff and partners from around the world. Staff have flexibility to ensure a healthy work/life balance within a friendly and non-bureaucratic environment. The Director of Research & Evaluation creates opportunities for professional growth and development, finding new ways for staff to continuously expand their learning.
The starting salary is $120,000 per year, and the exact salary figure will be commensurate with education and experience. The Foundation offers a full and generous benefits package, including medical/dental insurance and a retirement program. Relocation benefits are available. The Foundation is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities in the hiring process and on the job, as required by applicable law.
As an Equal Opportunity Employer, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation is deeply committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, and actively seeks individuals who can offer broader perspectives to our organizational thinking and culture. We value all dimensions of diversity – regarding race, gender identity, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, being the first in a family to attend college, and beyond – and seek to model the equity and inclusion necessary to build a world rooted in justice.
The expectation is that the new REO will be based in Omaha with the team. STBF typically operates in-person with a fully vaccinated staff (requirement). However, STBF is responsive to the COVID-19 pandemic and has recently restarted the option for working virtually given the concerns about the Delta variant.
The Foundation is conducting this search with assistance from Cara Pearsall
, Catherine Seneviratne
, and Britni Russell-Bianchi
. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume/CV via NPAG’s website
The R&E team is committed to establishing an equitable process for soliciting applications, advancing candidates, and extending offers of employment. As part of the application process, top candidates will have the opportunity to have a “culture interview” with a Foundation staff member who is not directly involved in the hiring process. The purpose of this meeting is to give candidates an opportunity to learn about Omaha and the Foundation’s work culture in a relaxed, pressure-free environment.
STBF is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion or belief, disability, gender, nationality, ethnicity, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by law. Black, Indigenous, Latino and other people of color, LGBTQ people, and people with other marginalized identities are strongly encouraged to apply.