Program Director, Local Initiatives & Opportunities | Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies

Program Director, Local Initiatives & Opportunities
Eden Prairie, MN
Organization Name: 
Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies


Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MACP) is seeking applications and nominations for the role of Program Director, Local Initiatives & Opportunities program. Founded by the late Margaret A. Cargill, MACP supports efforts to enhance quality of life for children, families, and seniors; preserve and promote the environment and the arts; assist in the response to, and recovery from natural disasters and encourage the humane treatment of animals. MACP actively partners with capable organizations to make a lasting difference for individuals and communities, with particular attention overlooked causes. With $8 billion in assets, MACP is among the top ten grantmakers in the United States. In 2019, MACP’s national and international grantmaking efforts consisted of 498 grants, totaling more than $240 million.

The Program Director will oversee the MACF Opportunity Fund, a flexible responsive fund that provides one-time support primarily to local/regional groups aligned with MACP program priorities. This position also administers the Program Area Fund, a flexible fund that is utilized by our various program domains to support one-time innovative, urgent, or learning opportunities that are aligned with our strategic grantmaking programs. The Program Director supervises a small team that currently includes a Program Officer and a Program Associate; will serve as a member of the MACP Program Leadership Team in support of organization-wide goals; and provide effective leadership for program staff including mentorship and talent development opportunities and contribute to positive organizational culture that is reflective of MACP values.

About Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies (MACP)

Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies refers collectively to two grantmaking entities, Margaret A. Cargill Foundation (MACF) and Anne Ray Foundation (ARF). The two foundations have separate boards and investment portfolios but share a common mission of providing meaningful assistance and support to society, the arts, and the environment.

  • Margaret A. Cargill Foundation is a private foundation that came into existence upon Ms. Cargill’s death in August 2006. MACF’s assets are approximately $3 billion.
  • Anne Ray Foundation is a supporting organization, which may make grants only to beneficiary organizations specifically named by Ms. Cargill. ARF’s assets are approximately $4 billion.

MACP’s well developed Philosophy of Grantmaking underscores the values and guiding principles of Margaret A. Cargill by: using education and innovation as a means to achieve core purposes; empowering people to be self-sufficient; maintaining a low profile while meeting the needs of others; supporting programs that could have a broad impact, have socially redeeming values and standards, and that value life; and relieving suffering in times of disaster. As a core element of its philosophy, MACP invests in long-term relationships with key grantee organizations in order to find solutions that are consistent with the values of both parties.

Additionally, MACP is engaging in a diversity, equity, and inclusion process that includes:

  • Building intercultural competency and emotional intelligence work at an organizational level, to include deeper learning and dialogue on racial and social equity.
  • Increasing local racial equity grantmaking to fund local efforts to address systemic racism and social inequities; and,
  • Reviewing each programmatic domain to more formally examine the role equity and inclusion currently play and can play in MACP’s grantmaking.

Eden Prairie and the Twin Cities

MACP’s home in Eden Prairie, Minnesota is a foundational aspect of its identity, reflecting an organizational commitment to sustainability. In spring 2016, MACP completed a major building expansion focused on sustainable design practices. The original building renovation earned LEED Gold certification, and for the expansion, MACP earned LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. MACP has invested in Native art which is found throughout its building to reflect the connection between art and the organization’s mission.

Eden Prairie is part of the Twin Cities metro area including Minneapolis and St. Paul, which have over 3 million residents and together make up the 14th largest metropolitan area in the country. A unique blend of small town and major cosmopolitan hub, both urban cores boast a thriving business atmosphere. Saint Paul, as the state capital, is home to state government and has a more historical vibe. Minneapolis is the larger and more commercial of the two cities. Both cities share a common root of being river towns - and the great outdoors are still a major attraction for residents and visitors alike.

MACP’s Local grantmaking

MACP has growing interests in deepening its understanding and engagement in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota with particular focus on issues and needs of populations that are neglected or under-represented. Through the MACF Opportunity Fund, MACP provides one-time support to local and regional groups that are aligned with the foundation’s program priorities. These are responsive grants and occasionally directed to overall themes that are particularly salient for the community. Recent themes have included COVID recovery, local diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, and mental health. Some are made through Donor Advised Funds from community foundations, who have been important partners in our work. MACP has cultivated strategic partnerships with local community foundations to distribute funding more efficiently to local partners. This work includes partnerships with other leaders, funders, and organizations working to create and support a more diverse, more inclusive and more equitable community. MACP staff are engaged locally through philanthropic networks, strategic grantmaking programs, and as residents of this diverse community.

Opportunities and Challenges Facing the New program director

The Program Director will be a key leader on the Program Leadership Team and will provide high-level management to the MACF Opportunity Fund and Program Area Fund. The Program Director will work in close partnership with the Managing Program Director on the development of strategy, process, implementation, and evaluation of the portfolios. The Program Director can expect to engage in the following opportunities and challenges:

Provide leadership to the MACF Opportunity Fund.

The Program Director will manage the MACF Opportunity Fund which includes average distribution of $10 million per year, by partnering with the VP Programs and CEO to source, evaluate, and develop local proposals. Through this work, the Program Director will work to elevate MACP’s visibility and positive impact within the community in both its giving and participation by maintaining a network of local and state philanthropic connections to more fully understand the role of philanthropy in solving local problems. The Program Director will build and nurture relationships and partnerships with community stakeholders and provide an active presence at community events and with local initiatives on matters of relevance to MACP. The Program Director will act as a connector by participating in ways that support MACP leadership and demonstrates MACP’s interest and desire to engage and build trust with funders, community, and nonprofit leaders throughout Minnesota. Lastly, the Program Director will create connectivity between local opportunities and issues and MACP leadership and Board.

Provide leadership to Program Area Fund.

The Program Director will administer the Program Area Fund, a flexible fund that is utilized by MACP’s various program domains to support one-time innovative, urgent, or learning opportunities that are aligned with its strategic grantmaking programs. Through this Fund, MACP invites program directors and teams across the foundation to submit nominations for projects that are aligned with MACP’s interests without directly fitting into an existing programmatic domain, with the goal of enhancing learning, building competency, and growing the sector. The Program Director has a unique opportunity to cultivate deeper engagement across the MACP team in contributing to the Program Area Fund.

Serve as a member of the MACP Program Leadership Team in support of organization-wide goals.

As a member of the Program Leadership Team, the Director will participate in strategy discussions and decision making that impact programs and grantmaking. As in all activities, the Program Director will embody effective and respectful teamwork in keeping with MACP values.

Provide effective leadership for program staff including mentorship and development opportunities.

The Program Director will oversee and support a Program Officer and Program Associate and will provide effective leadership for program staff, including meaningful inclusion; appreciation of non-dominant culture perspectives; empowerment and accountability; training and individual development; and learning-based approaches to assigning, supporting, and reviewing performance. The Program Director will work closely with staff, coaching, mentoring and supporting MACP approaches to grant development, oversight, and evaluation. The Program Director will set the stage for a practice of teamwork and modeling MACP values to staff and grantees.


While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes and experiences:

Leadership Experience

  • Demonstrated leadership experience in a nonprofit, philanthropic, or other mission-driven organizational setting that leverages relationships across the philanthropic, private, and public sectors with local and community stakeholders.
  • Deep understanding of and experience in advancing equity, inclusion, and diversity in the practice of local philanthropic grantmaking, with experience in the Twin Cities strongly preferred.
  • Strong relationship building experience and skills paired with a knowledge of best practices for philanthropy to build relationships with less known, diverse communities amid the dominant structures of power and influence in the community.
  • Experience and skills in place-based program delivery and/or philanthropy and how one-time, opportunistic grants can lead to a long-term impact on an organization’s capacity and impact.
  • Experience in managing a defined program portfolio with measurable strategic objectives and accountability to a client, board, committee, or senior leader.
  • Demonstrated ability to translate the goals and strategies of the organization into actionable plans that align to the operational policies and procedures of the organization.
  • Demonstrated experience in identifying, reviewing and selecting non-profit organizations to deliver shared impact or partner on shared goals. Understanding how to invest in program partnerships of donors, implementing partners, and/or communities for collective impact across a wide range of interests or disciplines and in ways that leverage this work with larger societal, governmental, or community objectives.

Organizational and Team Management

  • Supervisory experience with demonstrated ability to develop strengths of individual team members and to build effective, values-based teams. Strong interpersonal and communications skills with proven ability to build collaborative relationships, trust, and operate in a team environment.
  • Ability to generate innovation, engagement, and ownership by listening to staff and communities and reflecting their thinking in solutions and practices.
  • Understanding or experience in streamlining processes, oversight, and evaluation processes to allow more attention to be spent on impact and relationships, while continuing to provide strong stewardship of resources.
  • Proven ability to think strategically; demonstrated record of success working with a diverse constituency of partners and stakeholders to achieve specific programmatic outcomes.
  • Demonstrated pragmatism in moving large issues into specific program delivery mechanisms.

Values Alignment and Interpersonal Qualities

  • Deep awareness of systemic racism and knowledge of methods for incorporating equity, inclusion and diversity into grantmaking and relationships with staff and community. Knowledge of how philanthropy works in local communities and states and how to reach less known, diverse communities amid the dominant structures of power and influence in the community.
  • Collaborative, positive, and able to navigate well with ambiguity and change; adept at building collegial relationships and able to respond to issues with clarity and diplomacy; demonstrated ability to inspire and foster trust and confidence in staff, management, and their colleagues.
  • Highly relational partnership builder who is a compelling “gate opener” for new partners.

The Basics

  • Graduate level academic degree in social services, public policy, non-profit management, philanthropy or a related field or equivalent level of experience preferred. Minimum requirement is an undergraduate degree with at least 10 years of relevant experience in areas which could include non- profit management, human services, organizational development, community development in rural and urban settings, collective impact, or philanthropy,
  • Willingness to travel up to 15% time.


For more about Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, please visit:

This search is being led by Cara Pearsall and Britni Russell Bianchi of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website.

Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies is an equal opportunity employer and encourages candidates of all identities, experiences, orientations and communities to apply.