We’re Hiring: Program Manager – Project Play: Southeast Michigan

In Job Posting

The Opportunity

Project Play: Southeast Michigan is building a community in which all children have the opportunity to be
active in sports or recreation regardless of gender, race, zip code, or ability.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, with technical support from The Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program, leads this collective impact initiative through cross-sector partnerships that engage public, private, and philanthropic institutions, as well as residents, in collective action.

This role is funded by the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation through the end of 2024. As Project Play: Southeast Michigan continues its work, it is anticipated that the funding term will be extended.

The Community Foundation serves as a convener, co-creator, and administrative backbone organization for the initiative, working with the Aspen Institute and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation to mobilize stakeholders and develop breakthrough initiatives.

Initiative strategies focus on the Aspen Institute Project Play framework and build upon the Project Play Southeast Michigan State of Play report released in June 2017.

The Program Manager reports directly to the Director, Project Play: Southeast Michigan and will lead the effort to successfully identify, build, and implement programs focused on expanding access to sports, play, and recreation opportunities, and facilitating high-quality engagement for participating youth aged 5 – 13 who are most disenfranchised from physical activity, including youth of color, youth of lower socioeconomic status, youth with special needs, immigrant youth, LGBTQ+ youth, and girls.

This role will work closely with the Coalition Manager to grow the Project Play: Southeast Michigan Coalition membership and participation across the seven counties and ensure programs reflect the input and needs of the member organizations; a collaborative of nonprofit and community-based youth sports and recreation organizations, sports-based youth development programs, school districts, local government/city agencies (parks & recreation, etc.) representing a full spectrum of sports, play, and outdoor recreation, and individuals who want to make southeast Michigan a more active place for all youth.

The stakeholders work to advance positive youth development in southeast Michigan. This work will be grounded in the Aspen Institute’s 8 Plays and Children’s Bill of Rights and Project Play Southeast Michigan’s mission and vision.

The ideal candidate will have demonstrated success in program administration and facilitation and is excited by supporting community-driven outcomes and strategy.


  • Manage Project Play’s key strategic initiatives: Expand access to a variety of sports, play, and recreation opportunities that are nearby, affordable, and widely available for youth aged 5-13; and facilitate high quality engagement for youth aged 5-13 participating in sports, play, and recreation by emphasizing variety, safety, and developmentally sound experiences. Example programmatic strategies include:
    • Launch coaches training program based on local and national social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculums
    • Lead the efforts to advance opportunities for girls and women in youth sports by showcasing the work and mission of Project Play: Southeast Michigan
    • Review and evaluate current sport sampling opportunities to evolve and enhance the offerings to meet the needs of the community
  • Organize or participate in local and national events that reinforce or enhance Project Play’s vision and strategy; build trusting relationships with partners across sectors, including schools, nonprofits, local and county-level municipal agencies, business, and community members, with targeted outreach to BIPOC communities and other underserved populations (ex. Immigrants/refugees, LGBTQ, people with disabilities) within these sectors.
  • Active in the youth and community development communities; participate in conferences, workshops, networking events, and other thought leadership activities.
  • Understand and evaluate the landscape of afterschool programs to identify gaps and opportunities to expand access to sports, play, and recreation opportunities.
  • Coordinate with the Communications Associate to share key messages, stories, and best practices via Project Play’s newsletter, social media, and website.
  • Leverage the knowledge and work of the Project Play Ambassadors to ensure that programs reflect the voices of youth participants and Coalition members.
  • Support the Director in the ongoing engagement of the Project Play Coalition to continue to evolve the efforts and programs to meet community needs.
  • Work with the Director on the review and evaluation of grant applications and ongoing communication and engagement with grantees.
  • Partner with the Coalition Manager to identify the programs that address the region’s needs to expand access to play and facilitate high-quality engagement, emphasizing social-emotional learning.
  • Partner with the Coalition Manager to strengthen the leadership of the Coalition through training programs, micro-grants, investments in digital capacity-building resources, and evaluation to measure impact.
  • Be an active member of the larger Community Foundation team and coordinate efforts / leverage knowledge of sector across the Foundation.
  • Generally, travel is primarily within southeast Michigan. Some domestic travel may be required for job training and professional development.


  • Demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to equity and inclusion across all forms of diversity and difference.
  • A commitment to shared learning and leading across all relationships and reciprocal partnerships.
  • Interest and experience in youth physical activity, sport, or outdoor recreation.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of sport for development, youth development, and philanthropic sectors
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, including communicating effectively to Project Play Coalition members, staff, partners, and the community.
  • Demonstrated leadership presence with the ability to establish and maintain solid relationships with persons and communities of diverse cultural, economic, social, and ethnic backgrounds.
  • Ability to work independently, collaboratively, and proactively, within the team and across the Project Play Coalition to achieve the best possible results.
  • Strong project management skills with the ability to prioritize multiple projects within tight deadlines
  • Detail-oriented and organized.
  • Three to four years of relevant experience, including philanthropy, sports and recreation management, program development, or public administration.
  • Bachelor’s degree is strongly preferred; relevant backgrounds may include sports management, planning, public administration, education, business, economics, etc. Experience will be considered in lieu of a formal degree.
  • Advanced mastery of computer skills, including Adobe, Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.

To Apply

Send your cover letter, resume and salary requirements to Olubunmi Parks, Human Resource Director, at

To provide equal employment opportunities to all individuals, employment decisions will be based on merit, qualifications and abilities without regard to race, religion, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, height, weight, political or union affiliation, disability or any factor prohibited by law.

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