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ARISE Program Officer

Connect Humanity
Fairmont, WV
  • Expired: over a month ago. Applications are no longer accepted.
Job Description

About the Role

Reporting to the Program Director, this role will be part of the growing Philanthropic Programs team. Connect Humanity is partnering with the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to support and prepare 50 un- and underserved Appalachian communities to apply for BEAD and DEA state and federal funding opportunities, and the financing they need to achieve digital equity. This partnership is part of the Appalachian Regional Initiative for Stronger Economies (ARISE) program. Through this program, we aim to facilitate the development of digital equity connectivity plans, along with a deep local awareness of the opportunities to achieve digital equity. We seek to build a community of digital equity experts in the region able to keep working on the issue until digital equity is achieved.

This work will proceed through three phases over 14 months:

  1. Request for proposals and selection process: Through a combination of outreach and open call for proposals, identify and select 50 communities across 5 regions who are ready to work on new networks and digital equity programming, and who are likely BEAD/DEA and Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) recipients. 
  2. Guide communities through the development of digital equity and broadband connectivity plans: Provide grants to communities and guide them through our Digital Equity Planning grant process. This includes engaging with consultants on community asset inventory and network design, and supporting the communities to build their technical, business, and financing plans necessary to bring high-speed, affordable internet, devices, and digital literacy training to all citizens in partner communities. 
  3. Assist in grant preparation and submission: Assist communities in the preparation and submission of their BEAD/DEA applications while working with the Investment Team to structure low-interest loan funds for new networks (as needed) with a combination of  philanthropic, and impact investment resources.

The Program Officer will be the main point of contact at Connect Humanity for the communities we work with through the ARISE program. The Program Officer will contribute to idea generation, strategic thinking, organizational networking, and collaborative team dynamics within the program team and across the organization. For the ARISE program, we are looking for 8 Program Officers, each of whom will lead 6 or 7 communities through the digital equity and broadband connectivity planning process and will assist communities as they use that plan to apply for funds to implement the plans. Program Officers will work closely with their cohort of communities, with our technical experts, and with Program Officers across other ARISE community cohorts. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Program Implementation, Coordination & Evaluation

  • Project manage and lead their portfolio of communities through the Planning Grant process, providing support for data collection, community engagement, and broadband advocacy, culminating in Digital Equity Connectivity Plans that serve as the basis for applications for public and private funding.
  • Design the community outreach plan and application process, review grant proposals, perform due diligence work, manage current grants, evaluate grant results and make recommendations to the Philanthropic Programs and Investments Team. 
  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of the digital equity challenges and partners in the ecosystem in the Appalachian region, with an eye toward supporting Connect Humanity’s grantee networks in the United States.

Community & Representation

  • Manage and produce program content for external communications.
  • Liaise with sector wide technical experts and connectivity specialists throughout program design and implementation, ensuring that the resulting network design is feasible and with stakeholder buy-in.
  • Follow up on past grants and submitted evaluation reports.
  • Support Connect Humanity’s networking with other donors and foundations to develop grantmaking and programmatic partnerships and collaborations.

Ideal Experience

We’re open to a number of different backgrounds for this role, and strongly encourage members of underrepresented communities to apply. For this project serving to connect communities in Appalachia, we are interested in bringing on board individuals with professional experience or lived experience with the communities we seek to serve, and therefore are keen to see applicants from or with experience in the Appalachian region. 

We care more about your ability to deliver on these responsibilities and your passion for this work than the letters after your name or where you went to school. In turn, we’re committed to ensuring that you have the support necessary to succeed. We think the right candidate will probably have several of these qualifications:

  • Typically has a bachelor’s degree  and 3 or more years of professional experience in a field related to broadband connectivity, digital equity, rural development, community organizing, or project management.
  • A critical understanding of and commitment to internet connectivity as a lever for social change, alongside a deep connection to working in the Appalachian region; preference for those that already have a strong local network with nonprofit organizations or government entities.
  • Demonstrated successful project/program management, exceptional attention to detail, and organizational skills, preferably in a technical capacity.
  • Experience managing external consultants to deliver on timing, with quality, within budget, and to scope.
  • Strong technical skills in GIS mapping, broadband network design, broadband advocacy, community organizing, or other relevant skill at a deep level.
  • Strong critical thinking skills, ability to problem solve, resourcefulness, and ability to work well with others.
  • Strong communication skills and experience managing complex, multi-stakeholder situations to collective alignment
  • Grant writing experience preferred, especially for government funding; strong writing skills and English language proficiency required.
  • Computer proficiency in tools like Salesforce and Smart Sheets, and including in collaborative technologies (e.g., Slack, Asana, GSuite, etc.), and comfort in working remotely with a distributed team.
  • Experience and comfort coordinating with a distributed remote team. Our team is currently spread across 7 cities and 3 time zones, but we expect that to grow soon. 

Organizational Relationships:

  • This position will report to the Program Director, work collaboratively with other Program Officers, and work in regular contact with members of the Investment team. 

Physical Demands:

  • Must be able to manage domestic travel, when safe to do so.

Work Environment:

  • This position will work from home. Heavy computer usage and frequent video conferencing is expected. 

About Benefits, Salary and Location:

This is a limited-term position (14 months) that offers a competitive benefits package including medical, dental, vision, and retirement savings plan, and additional fringe benefit programs. There is a possibility for extending employment with Connect Humanity beyond this program.

  • Expected start date: May 2023
  • Compensation: $75,000-95,000 per annum, commensurate with experience and qualifications.

Application Process

Send your résumé along with a cover letter (no more than 2 single-sided pages) speaking to a) your understanding of internet connectivity and digital equity as a lever for social change, and b) your relevant experience in this field. This role will stay open until filled. If invited to interview, you will be asked to prepare a short presentation that showcases your critical thinking skills as a grantmaker in the digital equity space. There will be about 3 rounds of interviews with various members of the Connect Humanity team. The interview process may take upwards of 8 weeks (with scheduling, etc).

About Connect Humanity

Connect Humanity is a fund advancing digital equity. We support, catalyze, and scale holistic solutions providing people with the internet access and means needed to participate fully in a digital society. Our work centers on the 3.6 billion people who are currently disconnected from the online world and equal opportunity to essentials like financial security, education, and healthcare.  We advance our mission by making philanthropic grants, providing structured loans, advocating for policy change, conducting research, and supporting a community of practice dedicated to connecting the unconnected backed by the capital to do so. Our expert team blends a deep knowledge of connectivity policy and technology with decades of experience managing multimillion-dollar philanthropic programs and global investments. We focus on the financial realities of this massive and multifaceted problem, offering support when, where, and how it is needed. Alongside our partners, we take a holistic approach to achieving digital equity, supporting projects in five interrelated areas:

  • Infrastructure: Supporting, catalyzing, and scaling non-traditional operators to meet the needs of underserved communities and expanding access to devices.
  • Affordability: Highlighting best practices and de-risking financing and business models to connect the unconnected, pioneering blended capital models to sustainably support network builds, and investing in technology at key points in the connectivity stack to reduce the cost of building networks.
  • Digital Skills: Innovating in delivering digital literacy at scale while increasing the pipeline and community of network engineers working in the public interest.
  • Locally Relevant Content: Developing and sharing best practices in scaling the production of locally relevant content, which is a critical incentive to use the internet.
  • Policy: Building grassroots power and advocating for changes to accelerate the rate at which people are connecting.

Connect Humanity is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in its selection and employment practices on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, or other non-merit factors. 

Connect Humanity


Fairmont, WV
26554 USA