Senior Program Officer

Northwest Minnesota Foundation
Bemidji, Minnesota
This position is salaried, commensurate with experience.
Closing date
Nov 13, 2021

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The Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) is one of the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) established by the McKnight Foundation in 1986 to assist Minnesota’s rural regions during the farm crisis in the 1980s. As the region’s MIF and the only community foundation in the region, NMF has been serving the vast nonprofit community in northwest Minnesota for more than 30 years.

NMF provides grants and loans to organizations and small businesses that have offices located within the 12-county region and the two tribal nations. Since its founding, NMF has invested millions to help make the region a better place to live and work.

Senior Program Officer
Emphasis – Community Driven Economic Impact

• You will lead the Regional Investment and Loan Committee and associated activities with respect to the loan committee’s duties. You will be the primary point of contact for the active/existing loan portfolio for the Foundation’s Regional Investments and Loans and the former Business Finance Program. You will lead and manage the cultivation of new loans, including the loan application process, from initial inquiry through loan approval and underwriting to loan close-out.
• You will lead the Foundation’s Communities Thrive program. Through this program you will collaborate with our regional communities and assist with funding new and/or existing programs, projects, studies, planning, collaborative work, and other community engagement efforts. Key focus areas will be downtown revitalization, inclusive and diverse community events, and the promotion of local economies, tourism, and culture. You will assist the communities in the creation of lasting resources, such as the
establishment of a community or revolving loan fund. Working with NMF’s internal programs such as Philanthropic Services, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Child Care, and Entrepreneurial Development will be critical to positive outcomes for our regional communities. You will communicate to the NMF Board of Directors, Leadership Team, and staff on the progress, challenges, and success of the Communities Thrive program and loan portfolio in the region. You will cultivate and enhance meaningful
relations with key stakeholders within the regional communities. You will work with the Communications Director, Leadership Team, and staff a to ensure that communication strategies within our communities are inclusive of all audiences and equitably accessible. You will be responsible for the budgetary and financial oversight of the Communities Thrive program.
• You will work with and assist the Entrepreneurial Development Program (EDP) to gain an understanding of their current Small Business Administration (SBA) lending portfolio, technical assistance program, regional investment loans, as well as our forgivable loans. This position will work in collaboration with our Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in consulting and technical assistance to our regional small businesses and implementation of the IDEA Competition. You will partner with community organizations, local Economic Development Authorities (EDA), area Chambers of Commerce, and government entities to serve the needs of our regional businesses.
• You will assist the VP for Operations and Senior Program Officer – EDP in the creation and strategic implementation for regional economic development and report monthly on the progress to the NMF Board of Directors. You will work with and/or develop and manage teams, relying on shared staff, and collaborate with internal and external stakeholders. You will contribute to and be a part of the Leadership Team. You will work with NMF leadership and/or staff in developing guidelines, policies, and procedures that will lead to operational success. You will be responsible to manage all budgets assigned to your programs and work directly with Finance when necessary.
• You are responsible for all other duties as assigned.

What success looks like;

• Your career experience within lending organizations and successful management of loan portfolios will allow for immediate success managing current and prospective clientele for our region. You are an effective leader within the Foundation and you nurture a culture that reinforces people-centered, mission-driven, impact-focused operational excellence. You will be in a senior role and will help develop and promote the Foundation’s vision, mission, and strategies as well as grow and refine community
driven economic development.
• Your abilities to manage programs and lead collaborative initiatives allows for NMF program growth and success. You are a person who excels at both collaboration with regional partners and assisting with the reimagining of our communities’ downtowns through revitalization strategies. Your ability to promote and manage NMF’s loan portfolio and additional financial tools will strengthen regional communities. Your ability to think strategically about community driven economic development and collaborate with NMF internal programming will lead to positive advancements of the Foundation’s mission and the impact of the Foundation’s work in the region for our constituents/customers.
• You are a person who is curious about the organization, the region, the philanthropic sector, and the issue areas that are a part of the Foundation’s strategic framework. You actively seek out best practices and new trends in the economic field and you apply that information, as appropriate, to the work of the Foundation.
• The Northwest Minnesota Foundation is committed to growing a fair and equitable workplace that reflects the communities we serve. You are a person that will embrace opportunities to develop and grow in your skills to strengthen Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion within the Foundation and for our region.

Ownership of:
• The NMF Regional Investment and Loan and Business Finance Program’s loan portfolio, loan committee, and other financial products to assist in the economic success of the region.
• Data utilized in our customer relationship software system.
• The continued development of Communities Thrive and Economic Development initiatives.
• Continued outreach to regional stakeholders around community investment and downtown revitalization.
• The establishment and reinforcement of systems and processes for the utilization of loans, grants, and other financial mechanisms established for the advancement and growth of our regional communities economic development, entrepreneurism, and business revitalization.

Will collaborate in:
• Advancing the Foundation’s position with relevant constituents, as well as to drive broader awareness and support for the organization.
• Mentoring and developing staff using a people-centered, supportive, and collaborative approach on a consistent basis.
• Positively and productively impacting both the financial and administrative initiatives of the Foundation.

Required Qualifications:
• Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in economics, business administration, public policy and administration, or related field.
• 5 years of related experience

Preferred Qualifications:
• Master’s degree in a related field
• 2 years of experience in CDFI and/or loan underwriting
• Excellent project and process management skills
• Knowledge of commercial real estate, economic development, and other community financing and deal structuring
• Knowledge of the Small Business Administration, Small Business Development Center and other government organizations that assist regional business development
• Innovative thinker, with a track record for translating strategic thinking into action plans and output
• Superior management skills; ability to influence and engage direct reports and indirect reports and peers
• Excellent and persuasive communicator
• Energetic, flexible, collaborative, and proactive; a team leader who can positively and productively impact both strategic and tactical finance and administration initiatives
• Passion for the mission of the Northwest Minnesota Foundation

This position is salaried, commensurate with experience.

The primary location for this position may be a remote home office that is located in the twelve counties or two tribal nations served by the Foundation. A successful individual in this position will spend adequate time in person at our Bemidji offices to foster collaboration and effective team building.

This position will require travel locally, regionally, state-wide, and potentially nationally.

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The Northwest Minnesota Foundation follows an equal opportunity employment policy and employs personnel without regard to race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability, pregnancy, veteran status, military obligations, and marital status. This policy applies to hiring, internal promotions, training, opportunities for advancement, and terminations.


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