Program Associate

Iowa West Foundation | Flexible (Council Bluffs), Iowa


At the Iowa West Foundation, we are part of building a community where families choose to live and businesses choose to locate because of the quality of life and standard of living. Despite its modest beginnings and relative youth, the Iowa West Foundation has evolved significantly to become one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the Midwest.

As a place-based, private, charitable foundation, Iowa West is committed to providing leadership, creating partnerships, leveraging resources and serving as a catalyst in identifying and supporting community needs. Iowa West Foundation grant recipients and partners have leveraged more than $484 million in grants to improve the quality of life in more than 100 communities in southwest Iowa and eastern Nebraska since the inception of our grants program in 1996.

We focus our work through four areas:

  • Economic Development - We fund work that seeks to increase the standard of living and economic competitiveness of southwest Iowa and the Council Bluffs-Omaha metropolitan area.
  • Education - The Foundation’s overall goals in education are intended to: (1) increase kindergarten readiness and decrease educational inequity due to socioeconomic factors; (2) ensure children are reading on grade level by the third grade; (3) increase high school completion rates; and (4) increase post-secondary opportunities.
  • Healthy Families - The Foundation places a priority on programs that strengthen families, foster essential life skills and address critical human/social service needs in our community while helping individuals reach their full potential.
  • Placemaking - Iowa West Foundation invests in creating world-class places in our community and activating those spaces with excellent arts and cultural programs.

Job Summary

We are seeking an analytical and energetic Associate who shares our passion for strengthening our region. The Associate must be an analytical and strategic thinker who can work flexibly with a variety of people to help them demonstrate the results of their work. S/he must bring personality and perspective to work on complex issues while also being a great teammate. Attention to detail and organization is critical for success in this role. 

The Associate will help to strengthen and refine the Foundation’s strategic learning. The right candidate will be able to manage variety of responsibilities related to research, analysis, and coordination of programmatic and administrative activities. This individual will work closely with the Vice President of Grants and Initiatives and other members of the Grants Team, overseeing a limited portfolio of grants and participating in internal change processes.

Reports To

This position will report to the Vice President of Grants & Initiatives, and work collaboratively with other members of the grants team and Iowa West Foundation staff.


1. Evaluation

At Iowa West we share what we learn in pursuit of a stronger community. Data, evaluation, and accountability drives our work and improves our performance. Our work is rooted in best practice, research, and innovation. The Program Associate will have the opportunity to look critically at our evaluation systems and led the process of continually improving our understanding of the impact of Iowa West Foundation investments. S/he will be responsible for collecting and disseminating data to stakeholders, such as the Iowa West Foundation staff, our Board of Directors, and the community.

  • Designs and coordinates a strategy and process for continual refining and strengthening the learning component of grant and initiative work. Support other program staff in establishing outcomes-based measurements to assess the impact of foundation funding.
  • Reviews mid-point and final reporting by grantees and works with staff to ensure each grant award meets the approved proposal conditions and expectations.

2. Member of Grants Team

As a member of the grants team, the Program Associate will participate in our grants management processes and help to develop our four portfolios.

  • Assists with evaluation of proposals and conducts due diligence, including applicant interviews, site visits, and review of budgets and financial information. Prepares proposal summaries and makes recommendations to senior program staff, as well as Advisory Committee Members or Board Members.
  • Monitors and evaluates grantee performance by reviewing and summarizing grantee reports, maintaining positive relationships with grantees, following up with grantees as needed to obtain necessary information, provide technical assistance and engage in problem-solving. Works with grantees to ensure compliance with grant agreements and successful project implementation.
  • Maintain ongoing communications with designated grantees, conduct site visits, and review grantee progress reports.
  • Generates reports and analyses data from the Foundation’s grants management database. Follows up with other staff as needed to ensure timely completion of all proposal review and grants management tasks.
  • Prepares grant agreements, reporting templates, and applicant correspondence, and checks for thoroughness and consistency of documentation across program areas; Responds to pre-application inquiries and grant proposals in the designated portfolio, especially in helping prospective/current applicants to understand IWF’s mission, vision, focus areas, and priorities.
  • Communicates with nonprofit agencies, partners, and the general public about the Foundation’s strategic priorities, guidelines, and proposal review process.
  • Develops grants-related and other content for the Foundation’s website and other communication vehicles, as needed. Prepares high-quality, written work products in support of the grantmaking and grants management processes.
  • Assists the CEO and senior program staff with research and analysis related to potential funding initiatives and/or special projects.
  • Assists in preparing meeting materials, taking notes/minutes, and creating presentations for Advisory Committee and Board meetings.
  • Assist in the ongoing refinement, development, and implementation of Grants and Initiatives policies, procedures, and programs.


  • Excellent analytical ability, strong written and verbal communication skills; ability to summarize complex issues clearly and concisely.
  • Experience in monitoring and evaluating results highly desirable.
  • Ability to manage multiple complex processes and track activities and outcomes to successful conclusion; ability to adhere to strict deadlines (required).
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, a collaborative approach, and willingness to work as part of a cohesive team (required).
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent (required). Advanced degree and/or with several years of nonprofit professional experience (preferred).
  • Expertise in MS Office including Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint (required).
  • A high degree of personal integrity, sound judgment, tact, and discretion.
  • An interest in and commitment to the Foundation’s mission and current focus areas.
  • Familiarity with the Council Bluffs and/or Pottawattamie County area.

How to Apply

Please submit a resume and thoughtful cover letter to, outlining how your skills and experience meet the qualifications of the position addressed to Matthew Henkes, Vice President of Grants & Initiatives.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Iowa West Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

Iowa West Foundation (

Iowa West Foundation