Program Officer - HQ-Managed Awards & the Americas Region

Programs Portland, Oregon


About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is a leading global organization powered by the belief that a better world is possible.
In disaster, in hardship, in more than 40 countries around the world, we partner to put bold solutions
into action — helping people triumph over adversity and build stronger communities from within.
Now, and for the future.

Program / Department Summary

This is a new position at Mercy Corps that will split time between supporting US headquarters-managed awards and the Americas regional program portfolio. 

Multiple departments and teams across Mercy Corps' US HQ offices develop proposals and implement donor-funded programs representing a diverse array of donors, including the US Government, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and other corporate and foundations partners. Key departments that support HQ-managed awards include the Mercy Corps Technical Support Unit, the Research and Learning team, and the Innovations team, among others. 

Mercy Corps’ operations in The Americas are focused in the countries of Haiti, Guatemala, Colombia, The Bahamas and in the US, specifically the Northwest and Puerto Rico, as well as the Venezuela regional humanitarian crisis. These are a disparate collection of contexts with many different challenges and opportunities that are all undergoing dramatic transitions that have the potential to create significant opportunity for development and change.  Mercy Corps is well-placed to play a meaningful role in supporting forces for positive change in these countries. 

The Americas program desk provides essential headquarters support to Mercy Corps programs in the region.  The desk is the key point of HQ contact for country program management including for the Regional Director (RD), Country Directors, Program Managers and other non-National and National staff.  The desk links the country programs to a range of US and international-based resources and represents the region to potential and current funders and other organizations and institutions in the US and Canada. This Program Officer position is a key member of the program desk team that will consist of a Senior Program Officer (SPO) and second Program Officer.

General Position Summary

The Program Officer (PO) supports two award streams: 1) strategic, impactful, high-quality headquarters-managed (HQ-managed) awards; and 2) provides administrative and strategic support to the Americas Regional Program desk and awards directly under the Americas regional portfolio. These awards are administered from headquarters (HQ) and encompass a portfolio of projects that are US, multi-country, and globally-focused in a range of research related to humanitarian programming and  technical sectors such as technology and data for impact, conflict sensitivity and resilience and others. Due to the nature of these types of awards, the PO will navigate complex program, finance and compliance issues in coordination with other HQ support teams. As this is a new position, a learning-while-doing approach will be critical.

The PO will support Program Managers of HQ-managed and Americas awards in aspects of their:

        program and grant administration

        connection to and collaboration with HQ resources

        provide the secondary check and supports the program manager (ultimate point of responsibility) in adhering to internal and external policies and regulations

        internal and external communications as requested

        engagement with country teams and other key stakeholders

        supporting the pursuit of new business opportunities


Essential Job Responsibilities


        Support the Program Managers in overall monitoring on grants/programs for both external/donor requirements as well as Mercy Corps’ internal policies and requirements.

        Provide ongoing monitoring of the status of programs and complete regular check-ins on grant requirements (such as BVA, data aggregation, etc.). 

        Support the Program team’s adherence to Mercy Corps internal policies and Program Management minimum standards.  As identified, support adherence to Mercy Corps’ Complex Programs management standards.



        Support HQ coordination for proposals (unless designated otherwise). Throughout the proposal process, monitor the timeline and status of proposal and communicate to the relevant parties as appropriate.

        Contribute to proposal development as requested and review final draft for coherence and quality. The Program Officer may be appointed an expanded role in the design process and travel to the field if needed.



        With guidance from the SPO, coordinate partnership negotiation & development, ensuring the necessary teams are engaged, to help further program, country and regional interests.



        With guidance from the SPO, represent regional interests and programs with external stakeholders, in concert with the country teams.



        With guidance from the SPO, support HQ and country teams with strategy development and planning. 

        Facilitate learning across country portfolios and regions and share lessons learned and knowledge of agency resources/tools/best practices/etc.



        Support internal communications and ensure knowledge management systems are up to date and accurate to support communication with other teams.

        Ensure management of agency systems and adherence to HQ-related Program Management minimum standards, etc.

        Maintain awards in Grant and Award Information Tracker system.

        Adhere to retention policies with central filing of program files in agency server.




        As part of our commitment to organizational learning and in support of our understanding that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities they serve, we expect all team members to commit 5% of their time to learning activities that benefit Mercy Corps as well as themselves.


        Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically
to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work, while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Supervisory Responsibility



Reports Directly To: SPO

Works Directly With: Other HQ Program units and other departments, including Resource Development, Technical Support Unit,  Innovations, Finance, Research and Learning,  Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness, Legal, Policy and Advocacy, Mercy Corps counterparts at MC HQ offices in Europe; MC donors and partners


Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.


Minimum Qualification & Transferable Skills

We will consider any combination of relevant work experience, volunteering, education, and transferable skills as qualifying unless an item or section is labeled required. Please be clear and specific about how your background is relevant.

        BA/S in relevant field required; MA/MS/MBA or equivalent preferred.

        2 - 4 years of country-based experience in international relief and development and with multicultural and diverse teams; demonstrated knowledge of relevant sectoral and/or operational areas.

        2- 4 years of experience managing the development, implementation, administration and compliance of development or humanitarian relief programs (especially of US Government-funded grants).

        Experience with proposal development including support and writing with various donors, particularly US Government, private foundations and corporations.

        Experience with monitoring and evaluation and other learning efforts.

        Experience representing the a nongovernmental organization and its interests to a diverse range of local and international government officials, local civil society organizations, other international organizations, the media and the public – preferred.

        Proficiency with MS Office software (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) and Google Suite (Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, etc.) required.

        Proficiency in Spanish preferred but not required.


*Transferable skills: Any skills you have gained through education, volunteer or work or life experience (including the military) that are relevant for this position will be considered. Be sure to describe any transferable skills and how they apply to this position in your cover letter.


The successful candidate will demonstrate:

The successful candidate is a proactive problem solver, who is adept in effectively dealing with issues of complexity. They are comfortable taking initiative and are a skilled communicator, able to develop and leverage strong relationships with staff, partners and donors to coordinate and accomplish detailed work, often with short turnaround times. They will coordinate closely with their supervisor, the SPO, and commit to strong team communication and a learning mindset.They will collaborate with Mercy Corps’ diverse program support teams to support impactful partnerships with country programs and the region at large. The Program Officer is part of a team that works with country teams to ensure that we learn from experience, thoroughly research and analyze context and develop high impact strategies. They will be a skilled writer and synthesizer of diverse and complex information, helping teams generate new insights into their work, the needs of their countries and the region, and how program impact can be scaled. A robust sense of humor is greatly appreciated.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development


Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world’s most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives. 

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.


Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact. 

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.


Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. We will not tolerate child abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.