Full-time Employment Opportunity - Strategic Communications Officer

The Heinz Endowments is based in Pittsburgh, where we use our region as a laboratory for the development of solutions to challenges that are national in scope. Although the majority of our giving is concentrated within southwestern Pennsylvania, we work wherever necessary, including statewide and nationally, to fulfill our mission. That mission is to help our region thrive as a whole community, economically, ecologically, educationally and culturally, while advancing the state of knowledge and practice in the fields in which we work. Our fields of emphasis include philanthropy in general and the disciplines represented by our three strategic grant making areas: Creativity, Learning, and Sustainability.

We seek to:

•Help ignite and sustain a new era of regional transformation by facilitating demonstrable and exemplary progress in areas critical to the community’s future.
• Have a material and systemic impact on the priorities identified by our program areas and special initiatives.
• Be a leading national benchmark for foundation effectiveness, ethics, regional focus and general excellence in philanthropy.
• Promote the advancement of a sustainable, diverse, and inclusive society.
• Preserve our ability to sustain our philanthropic impact over time by continuing the prudent and longstanding practice of living within our means and managing our assets for the long term.

Reporting to the Vice President of Communications, the focus of this position is working with and through others, building and maintaining relationships, and working closely and accurately within established guidelines. There is a need for an effective communicator, someone who is able to stimulate and motivate others while being aware of and responsive to their needs and concerns. There will be many different people to meet and work with. The person in this position must be friendly and genuinely interested in the business, agenda, and needs of others, including the company, its management, the team, the company’s customers, or all of the above. A persuasive, teaching style of communication is required to communicate the company’s policies, programs, and systems. A faster-than-average pace will be the norm for this position. Detail work is a major focus of the job, and those details need to be handled quickly, correctly, and efficiently. This portion of the work will often focus on relationships with others; correct handling of details dealing with others is necessary to maintain and grow relationships. If the job involves managing others, following up carefully, closely, and cheerfully is required to ensure both correct work and maintenance of the relationships. Necessary corrections must be made in a constructive, supportive manner. As time is usually a factor, the work must be done on time, as well as correctly. In general, this is a position where guidelines, structure, and established policies must be followed fairly closely, while working with and for others.

More information can be found at

Position Description

This is a new, permanent full-time exempt salaried staff position. The broad focus of activity is to help manage the activities and processes required to sustain the Endowments’ communications and public relations functions and to help create and implement effective communications that support and promote the organization’s strategic objectives.

The Strategic Communications Officer will work with the head of the communications department to develop strong and compelling storytelling around the organization’s grant making, community initiatives and special events using the Endowments’ website and social media together with story placements with various external media where appropriate. Key goals are to identify opportunities to employ strategic communications to advance the Foundation’s programmatic objectives, to explain, inform and promote the work of the Endowments and to encourage and inspire engagement with community constituents and the public.

Part of this work will be to maintain close liaison with the leaders of the Endowment’s three new strategic areas that drive its grant making policies – Sustainability, Learning and Creativity – and to develop a flow of activities and materials for internal and external audiences that advance the effectiveness, outcomes and public awareness of the organization’s efforts.

Special focus is required on the activities of the Sustainability area, given the volume of high- profile grant making initiatives that address environmental and economic development issues, and the underpinning role that sustainability has in the Endowments’ on-going P4 Pittsburgh program.

Excellent writing, strategic thinking and organizational credentials will also be required in other areas of the Endowments’ communications work, including identifying opportunities for news releases and preparing them for approval, and the drafting of materials for blogs, the website, h magazine and, when required, talking points and opinion pieces for the President and senior staff.

A demonstrated facility with strategic communications will enable the incumbent to fulfill their role in providing advice and direction for program staff on the best uses of communications planning and tactics to help achieve their goals. The incumbent must consistently achieve standards of communications planning and writing that are professional, engaging and effective in presenting the Endowments’ messaging appropriately.

Primary Responsibilities Include:
• Organize and maintain close and direct liaison with senior program staff as an ‘embedded’ member of the communications team, and attend and participate in grant making program meetings as necessary.
• Working in close concert with program staff, identify opportunities for communications to actively support the Foundation’s program goals. The incumbent will have a key responsibility to provide strategic communications advice and support for program staff.
• Develop and maintain a flow of stories that showcase the Endowments’ grant making initiatives, especially those that help to demonstrate the effectiveness and community impact of the organization’s three new strategic program areas.
• Stories will be used to help populate sections of the Endowments’ new website, and when posted, will be promoted via social media. There will be a requirement to adapt stories for use in h magazine and for other uses.
• Work with Vice President Communications in drafting news releases announcing grant making initiatives and in positioning selected funding stories with external media.
• Work with program staff to draft blogs on grant making initiatives and to express the organization’s interest and involvement in critical community issues.
• In conjunction with Vice President Communications, assist in the preparation of talking points and speeches for the Endowments’ senior leadership about grant making initiatives and community funding issues.
• At all times, protect and enhance the image and identity of the Endowments’, its staff and board, and help promote its mission to safeguard and improve the well-being of Pittsburgh’s regional community.
• Provide support for the communications department and the organization for special projects and events, including news briefings and conferences.
• Work with communications staff in determining and meeting departmental and organizational goals.
• Perform other duties as assigned to meet the needs of the Foundation as a whole.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
• B.A. degree in communications, journalism, or a related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
• Minimum eight-to-ten years’ experience in developing and implementing communications strategies with a large nonprofit organization, a major corporation or public agency.
• A demonstrated passion for the mission of the organization, and care and concern for those nonprofits with whom we partner to achieve our goals.
• A values alignment with the work and approach of The Heinz Endowments.

Key Competencies
• Demonstrated facility with the strategic use of communications to promote organizational outcomes.
• Superior writing, editing, and listening skills with the ability to gather and organize information in a timely and effective way.
• Detail oriented with strong organizational and project management skills and ability to work effectively under pressure and to meet deadlines.
• Exceptional and innovative leadership with strong initiative, creativity and self-directing skills.
• Ability to support and coordinate multiple constituents (internal departments) across a range of communications needs.
• Ability to anticipate and plan for communications needs and to provide effective strategic communications advice and guidance for senior program staff.
• Strong interpersonal skills.
• Ability to make well-reasoned decisions as part of a team and in the best interests of the organization, to work and plan collaboratively and effectively with individuals of diverse backgrounds.
• High level of personal integrity and ethics and must work to the highest standards of discretion and confidentiality.
• Keen interest in philanthropy and the nonprofit community and the health and well-being of the broad Pittsburgh region.

How to Apply
Applications from interested and qualified individuals are accepted through the following site:

APPLICATION MATERIALS DUE BY: 5 PM on Friday, February 24th, 2017

The Heinz Endowments has retained Nonprofit Talent to assist with this important organizational change process. Interested individuals wishing to confidentially discuss this opportunity may contact Todd Owens, Principal at or 412.512.3879. Please note that applications are not accepted at this email address.
Please direct all inquiries related to this position to Nonprofit Talent and do not contact The Heinz Endowments, or members of their staff or board.

© 2017 The Heinz Endowments