Senior Communications Officer – K-12 Education
The Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is seeking a skilled communications professional to join the Communications team as a Senior Communications Officer – K-12 Education, reporting to the Director of Communications.
About the Walton Family Foundation
Sam and Helen Walton had an unshakeable belief in the power of people to transform their own lives. As Sam said, there is no limit to what individuals can accomplish if “given the opportunity, the encouragement and the incentive to do their best.” Today that “no limits” philosophy is carried forward by their descendants through the Walton Family Foundation.
Since 2000, the foundation’s grantmaking has grown from $50 million to an anticipated more than $400 million in 2015. With grantmaking projected to exceed $2 billion over the next five years, the foundation continues to move forward with increasing intensity, focus and commitment to sustaining the Walton’s timeless entrepreneurial values and their deep dedication to making life better for individuals and communities alike. By working with grantees and collaborating with other philanthropic organizations, the foundation is focused on making a positive difference in three primary program areas of collective interest to the Walton Family:
- K-12 education
- Freshwater and marine conservation
- Quality of life initiatives in Arkansas and the Mississippi River Delta Region
In addition to these program areas, the foundation also supports grantmaking interests of individual and groups of Walton family members, as well as independent foundations created by family members. These individualized giving areas represent a high growth area of the foundation.
During 2016, the foundation plans to invest over $400 million in domestic and international projects that address significant social and environmental issues. The foundation continues to implement and expand grantmaking to fund a positive difference in many diverse communities – and in the lives of the people who call these communities their home.
Headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, with offices in Washington, D.C., Jersey City, New Jersey and Denver, Colorado, a staff/consultant base of approximately 80 associates conducts the day-to-day operations of the foundation.
K-12 Education Program
The Walton Family Foundation is committed to improving K-12 outcomes for all students in the United States, especially those of limited means, by ensuring access to high-quality educational options that prepare them for a lifetime of opportunity. The foundation supports parents’ aspirations to select high-quality schools regardless of sector – traditional public schools, public charter schools or private schools.
The Senior Communications Officer – K-12 Education will contribute to the foundation’s overall communications goals by managing the foundation’s K-12 Education communications program. He or she will report to the Communications Director and work closely with the communications team and consultants, as well as with program and administrative staff from across the foundation.
- Work with internal stakeholders, including the communications team, program staff and consultants, to develop and execute effective strategic communication programs that advance the foundation’s goals for its K-12 Education Program.
- Serve as an active thought partner to the K-12 program staff to ensure that effective communications are embedded into the grantmaking process.
- Build and leverage the voice of foundation leaders to help achieve program goals.
- Identify key target audiences, assess communications challenges, identify specific communications objectives and identify communications-related metrics to track progress.
- Draft and edit materials to support those communications programs, including news releases, blog posts, web content, social media content, media kits, media pitches, media alerts, media statements, talking points, crisis management, etc.
- Develop and maintain relationships with grantees and key media outlets.
- Research and respond to requests for information from news media and/or coordinate appropriate responses with designated and authorized spokesperson or information source.
- On occasion, act as official spokesperson for the foundation in news media.
Qualifications and Experience
The Senior Communications Officer should ideally possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:
- A commitment to the mission of the Walton Family Foundation and a passion for K-12 education.
- At least seven years’ experience in a professional setting with a strong focus on media relations and/or public relations specifically regarding K-12 education in the U.S.
- Experience serving as a media spokesperson, in both proactive and reactive situations.
- Established relationships with or knowledge of reporters in education and philanthropy.
- Applicable knowledge of public/media relations, and/or communication principles and theories.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to create compelling online stories, both narratively and visually.
- Ability to be a self-starter; experience and aptitude managing long-distance internal and external relationships.
- Unquestionable ethics and personal integrity.
- Diplomatic approach and an innate understanding of customer service.
- A high level of discretion and confidentiality for both business and personal affairs.
- Bachelors’ degree in a relevant field required (e.g., journalism, communications or other media-related field).
The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
While performing the duties of this job, the associate is regularly required to stand, reach with hands and arms, and use hands to touch, handle or feel objects and/or controls. The employee is required to sit, walk, talk and hear; and move/carry files. The associate must occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 lbs.
Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, color, and the ability to adjust focus in order to handle extensive data collection, analysis and summary reporting. Computer work will be a part of the daily workflow and process.
The work environment characteristics for this job are typical for this type of job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The noise level in the work environment is reflective of a mid-sized office.
Compensation and Benefits
The foundation offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with skills and experience. This position will be located in one of the four foundation offices (Bentonville, Denver, Jersey City or Washington, D.C.). Some travel will be necessary.
Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume or CV referencing “Senior Communications Officer – K-12 Education” to the attention of Janet Post, Human Resources Manager at: JobPostings@wffmail.com. No phone inquiries please.
Please be sure to reference the job responsibilities and your relevant qualifications and experience in your cover letter and explain clearly how your skills and experience would be a good fit. Please note: This is not a position for a career-changer or someone new to media relations/public relations. Formal training or experience in a communications field is required.
The Walton Family Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.
Job Seekers: Help EWA by mentioning that you found this career opportunity on EWA’s website.
Employers: Looking to find the best talent in education reporting and communications? Post your employment opportunities with EWA.