Program Director - Quality of Life

Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies | Minneapolis, Minnesota


Ballinger | Leafblad is proud to present the following information on behalf of our client, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, in its search for a Program Director – Quality of Life.


Based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropic Services (MACPS) was established through the generosity of Margaret A. Cargill, a granddaughter of the co-founder of Cargill, Inc. MACPS encompasses two grantmaking entities, Margaret A. Cargill Foundation and Anne Ray Foundation, whose collective assets place it among the 10 largest philanthropies in the United States.


The organization’s grantmaking supports work in seven domains: Animal Welfare, Arts & Cultures, Disaster Relief & Recovery, Environment, Quality of Life, Teachers, and Legacy & Opportunity.


To provide meaningful assistance and support to society, the arts, and the environment.

Job Summary

The Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MACP) organizes most of its grantmaking activities into seven program domains with defined strategic boundaries. Quality of Life is one of the seven domains and within it are program areas focused on aging, families, and youth development with a focus on adolescents and post-high school age youth.

In collaboration with the Managing Program Director, the Program Director will work with Program Officers, other MACP staff, and Vice President, Programs in building, managing, and evaluating an effective grantmaking domain. The Quality of Life domain has a broad goal of supporting life’s journey at vulnerable stages for children, young adults, families and the aging.  Strategy development for this domain was initiated in 2016 and is expected to conclude with initial program strategies for each area in 2018. Quality of Life program strategies are being developed and will be approved by the Foundation’s leadership, and operated in a manner consistent with the philosophy of grantmaking that guides MACP.

Strategies will include some mix of aging services, with a focus on supporting older adults to live their lives with autonomy and dignity in the communities of their choice; supporting early adolescents’ development through specific outdoor enrichment experiences; stabilizing vulnerable families through crises; and supporting rural and Native American students succeed in post-high school educational opportunities.

Reports To

Reporting to the Managing Program Director, this role oversees the program team for the Quality of Life Domain.


Quality of Life: Manage program portfolios aligned with program strategies and translate those strategies, in collaboration with Program Officers, to develop proposals and implement grant agreements for the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation and the Anne Ray Foundation. Grantmaking assignments may change as the foundation grows.

  • Manage distribution goals for the Quality of Life Domain. 
  • Provide effective leadership for staff including: training and staff development, assigning and directing work and appraising performance. The Program Director will work closely with staff, taking every opportunity to coach and mentor as they work through intricate grant development and implementation and progress towards program goals. In addition, this role will emphasize the importance of engaging in effective and respectful team work and demonstration of MACP values.
  • Travel with Program Officers as needed to source new opportunities, develop and monitor grantee performance, and stay current with the field.
  • Communicate with Managing Program Director on all aspects of grants planning, implementation and evaluation and to MACP Leadership as requested.
  • In collaboration with Managing Program Director and Director of Evaluation and Learning, develop and oversee evaluation plans for programs within the Quality of Life Domain.
  • In collaboration with Managing Program Director select and oversee outside consultants who may from time to time be engaged to help with domain and program planning, delivery or evaluation.
  • In cooperation with legal, finance, grants management, and evaluation functions maintain accountability for due diligence on all grants within the portfolio. 
  • Evaluate opportunities to coordinate and collaborate with other funders to multiply overall impact within Quality of Life Domain strategies and focused goals.

Leadership: Serve as a member of the MACP Program Leadership Team to support MACP-wide goals, coordinate MACP programs and operations, and model the values-based culture and content and philanthropic expertise the foundation represents to its employees and its grantees. 

  • Participate in domain budget development, program planning, learning leadership, organizational development, and team-building. 
  • Work in partnership with others to advance the overall philanthropic vision of Margaret A. Cargill.  


  • Graduate level academic degree in a related business administration, social work, public administration, field or equivalent level of experience.  Minimum requirement is an undergraduate degree with at least 15 years of direct experience working in a human services field as a grantmaker, administrator, or program director.
  • Diverse and rich experience working with nonprofit human service organizations and knowledge of major public and private funding that support programs and services for older adults, families and youth.
  • Extensive experience in strategic philanthropic grantmaking with a proven track record of overseeing an expansive annual grantmaking portfolio.
  • Knowledge and experience in working in Native American and rural communities and in cross cultural contexts.
  • Experience in at least one of the geographic areas of program focus is preferred.
  • Understanding of and experience working with a wide range of scalable program models that support vulnerable populations, with an experienced capacity to advance program interests diplomatically with leaders of large and small scale nonprofit organizations including college/universities, health and human service organizations and the networks that support them.
  • A solid understanding of non-profit financial and governance structures, business models and program design.
  • Supervisory experience of a professional team, with demonstrated ability to develop strengths of individual team members and to build effective, values based teams.
  • An understanding of the key issues in philanthropy, a detailed knowledge of grantmaking tools and types, and a broad perspective of program areas with deep experience in more than one field.
  • Experience and understanding of program evaluation methodology.
  • Demonstrated record of success working with a diverse portfolio of partners and stakeholders to achieve measurable programmatic outcomes that go beyond the individual partners’ contributions.
  • Independence of thought that allows for both support of grantees and staff while challenging programmatic assumptions and approaches.
  • Demonstrated pragmatism in moving large issues into specific program delivery mechanisms.
  • Strong detail orientation, with the ability to maintain perspective on the broader principles driving an organization’s work.
  • Strong project management skills.
  • Strong interpersonal and communications skills.  Professional demeanor with proven ability to build collaborative relationships, operate in a team environment, and honor donor intent. 
  • Self-motivated and able to work independently.
  • Ability to generate innovative ideas and practices.
  • Perseverance, resilience, flexibility in the face of change.  Experience leading teams through organizational change.
  • Experience in a client service organization or reporting to a Program Leadership Team or Board. Demonstrated ability to translate the goals and strategies of the organization into actionable plans that align to the stylistic preferences of the organization.
  • High capacity for balancing multiple priorities and tasks simultaneously. 


The compensation package for this position is competitive and includes participation in the organization’s benefits plan.


Travel - up to 20%

View the complete position profile at:

How to Apply

Review of candidate materials will begin immediately. For additional information or to apply for the position, please email cover letter and resume to:

Lars Leafblad, MBA
Marcia Ballinger, PhD

Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies