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Associate Director, Food

The Foundation is seeking an Associate Director (AD) to join the Foundation’s Food team. The AD will contribute to the development and execution of a multi-year initiative to advance a more nourishing and sustainable food system. The AD will work under the direction of the Managing Director (MD) for food to identify and understand global trends, issues, challenges and opportunities in the global food system such as transforming the future protein economy and increasing equitable access to nutrient-rich foods. This will require working with the Food team and other Foundation staff—as well as a broader community of grantees, experts, and partners—to design the strategy and launch new work. These partnerships could take a variety of forms, ranging from traditional grant structures to strategic partnerships to innovative financing mechanisms.

In addition to supporting the development of the food strategy, the AD will be responsible for designing a future food system vision prize, helping to develop and manage the Food team’s portfolio of grants, supporting external partnership development, and conducting targeted analysis on key topics as needed. This role will be critical in enabling the Foundation to achieve our next phase of impact in the food and agriculture space. A successful candidate will bring experience working in the global food system, a track record of innovation and foundational knowledge of key issues, trends and actors. To be effective in this role, the candidate must be able to advance work independently. He/she should bring a passion and energy for discovering food and agriculture solutions that can create lasting impact.


Principal Duties and Responsibilities (Essential Functions**):

The Associate Director will be responsible for:

  • Helping the Food Team assess incoming project opportunities, which includes shaping criteria to inform decision-making and evaluating incoming pipeline of individual ideas, grant proposals and opportunities
  • Lead the design and implementation of the Rockefeller Food System 2050 Vision Prize which will require significant partnership and network development
  • Supporting the management of a portfolio of grants within the Food initiative, which includes understanding the capacity and effectiveness of potential grantees, designing and writing grant memos and other key documents, managing grantee relationships, and conducting site visits and other monitoring activities
  • Collaborating with grantees to maximize impact from their work; ensures methodological rigor
  • Bringing intellectual leadership and creative thinking to the design and development of new areas within Food; identifying high-impact opportunities and flexibly and effectively responding to those opportunities
  • Initiating and executing an implementation strategy, working as a member of a team 
  • Working with staff, grantees and partners to facilitate monitoring, evaluation and learning
  • Cultivating and building relationships with external experts, funders, and partners that expand Rockefeller’s ability to deliver maximum impact
  • Representing the Foundation in diverse communities, including speaking engagements, attending conferences and participating in other key internal and external meetings
  • Partnering with other Food team members and colleagues across the Foundation’s initiatives to ensure cross fertilization of ideas.

Supervision Received:

This position is supervised by and reports to the Managing Director - Food.


Supervision Exercised:

This position may involve supervisory responsibilities of Program Associates, consultants and interns.


Qualifications & Skills:

Leadership: Vision, innovation, thought leadership, collaboration, integrity, accountability and emotional intelligence.

People Management: Skills in team building, coaching, mentoring, delegating, inspiring and motivating.

Strategic Ability: Ability to see opportunities, design innovative approaches backed by strong analysis and planning. Experience in system thinking and practice preferred.

Execution:  Strong project management skills, deadline management, sense of responsibility and accountability and the ability to effectively multi-task.

Partnership and Relationship Building: Strong professional representation of the Foundation, interpersonal relationship abilities, intercultural knowledge and appreciation, strategic partnership building.

Decision-Making: Ability to evaluate risks and opportunities, using analytical and strong problem-solving skills.

Integration: Ability to demonstrate inclusiveness, collaboration, respect and broad organizational interests.

Communication: Strong interpersonal and communication abilities; exceptional listening written and verbal skills.


Preferred Education & Experience :

  • Advanced degree (PhD preferred) in any of the following areas: agriculture, food systems, nutrition, ecology or environmental science
  • A minimum of 10 years related working experience.
  • Experience developing, managing and implementing multi-party projects with defined objectives, deliverables, monitoring and evaluation of results
  • On the ground work experience in emerging markets, with nuanced understanding of  international development
  • Demonstrated ability to identify and develop innovations
  • Experience across academic, research, private and public sectors preferred
  • Experience with evaluative research methods and system thinking helpful


The Rockefeller Foundation is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunity and to compliance with all federal, state, and local laws concerning employment discrimination, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.  To this end, the Foundation ensures equal opportunity to all employees and applicants regardless of race, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, national origin or ancestry, citizenship, lawful alien status, physical, mental, and medical disability, veteran status or liability for service in the United States Armed Forces.

The Rockefeller Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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