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Program Associate, Community and Opportunity

Program Associate, Community and Opportunity
Application Deadline: 
Friday, December 24, 2021
Job Description: 

About the Foundation

The Heising-Simons Foundation is a family foundation based in Los Altos and San Francisco, California. The Foundation works with its many partners to advance sustainable solutions in climate and clean energy, enable groundbreaking research in science, enhance the education of our youngest learners, and support human rights for all people. In 2020, the Foundation awarded more than $127 million in grants. The Foundation’s grantmaking is guided by the values of humility, courage, justice, opportunity, sustainability, innovation, relationships, and integrity.

During the remainder of 2021, employees have the option to work remotely. We plan to fully reopen our offices in 2022, at which time we will implement a hybrid work model.

Position Summary

The Program Associate (PA) provides administrative and program-related support to the Foundation’s Community and Opportunity (C&O) team. The C&O program focuses on four areas: building community power in San Jose, organizational effectiveness for grantees across the Foundation, journalism, and the CEO Fund.

In 2020, the C&O team made 150 grants totaling approximately $12.25 million in grant funding through the Foundation and 4 grants totaling $1.5 million through the Heising-Simons Action Fund. It is anticipated that the volume and amount will increase from 2021 to 2022.

 The C&O team is currently staffed by one PA, one Program Officer (PO), and the Program Director (PD).

This full-time (37.5 hours per week) non-exempt position reports to the PD and works collaboratively with the entire C&O team and may provide support to other program teams as needed. This position is based in our Los Altos office.

This position is an opportunity to learn about place-based grantmaking, organizational effectiveness, and philanthropy.

The primary responsibilities of the PA are to:

  • Serve as the first point of contact for grantees and grant seekers.
  • Work closely with the Grants Management (GM) team to ensure that grantmaking adheres to the Foundation’s grantmaking and contracting policies, procedures, and deadlines.
  • Provide administrative support to the PO and the PD, ranging from calendaring to research.

This is a relatively entry-level position, with opportunities to learn and grow in the role. Candidates are not expected to have experience in all areas listed in the job posting.

Primary Responsibilities

Provide grants administration for the program’s organizational effectiveness, local, and membership portfolios.

  • Invite grantees to the Foundation’s grantee portal and offer technical assistance to support the successful completion and submission of grant proposals and reports.
  • Track grant start and end dates, due dates for deliverables and reports, and changes to grant timelines and scopes of work. Ensure team members and grantees are aware of upcoming deadlines.
  • Keep grant files and contacts current by entering and updating grant information.
  • Regularly update the program’s grantmaking budget.
  • Conduct research to inform the due diligence process as well as the program’s grantmaking, including: (1) Reviewing organizations’ websites for information about their mission, staff, board members, and recent projects or accomplishments; (2) Reviewing organizations’ financials to conduct an initial assessment of financial stability.; and (3) Reviewing reports, products, and press to gather background information on prospective grantees.
  • Work with team members to draft, format, and proofread written materials for grants, including grant summaries, budgets, and overview memos.

Provide administrative support.

  • Manage the PD’s calendar and meeting requests and make travel and other logistical arrangements, as needed.
  • Arrange and attend meetings and phone/video conferences, and plan logistics of convenings ranging from 2 to 50 attendees.
  • Plan and attend grantee site visits, when team members visit grantees to learn more about their work.
  • Work with team members to draft, format, and proofread materials, including memos using Microsoft Word, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and other documents.
  • Track and help manage the program’s workflow and deadlines.
  • Support the management of contracts by monitoring expenditures and submitting invoices and authorized expenses to the Director of Finance for payment.

Support the C&O program’s strategy development, learning, and evaluation.

  • Communicate the C&O program’s strategy and grantmaking guidelines to internal colleagues and in external meetings.
  • Communicate the Foundation’s history, values, and programs in external meetings.
  • Support strategic planning activities, including collating historical grants data and other information and contributing to strategies and presentations.
  • Conduct research, analyze data, and prepare reports.
  • Track current research, policy changes, and trends in the areas of community organizing, place-based grantmaking, organizational effectiveness, disaster relief and recovery, firearms violence prevention, democracy reform by reviewing news and professional publications and by attending related conferences, meetings, and other events.
  • Provide regular feedback to supervisor and colleagues both informally and as a part of the annual review process.

Foundation-wide Responsibilities

  • Pitch-in across the Foundation, as important deadlines or events approach.
  • Participate in Foundation-wide committees; diversity, equity, and inclusion work; and internal culture-building.
  • Participate in Foundation-wide training sessions.
  • Help the Foundation promote and maintain environmentally friendly office practices.


  • Relevant work experience providing administrative support, working in or with non-profits, or a college degree. Capacity-building experience in a nonprofit, or local grantmaking experience, is a plus.
  • Interest in or lived experience with community organizing, San Jose communities, place-based grantmaking, organizational effectiveness, disaster relief and recovery, firearms violence prevention, democracy reform. We will prioritize applicants who live in, or who have lived in, San Jose or East San Jose.
  • Able to manage and prioritize a large volume of tasks and deadlines with attention to detail.
  • Able to read, write, and produce professional written materials in English.
  • Able to communicate and work with people of different backgrounds internally and externally to achieve shared goals.
  • Reliable, resourceful, proactive, and motivated to find creative solutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Able and willing to quickly learn and use new systems of technology, such as Microsoft Office applications, Salesforce, Zoom, and Box. Able to produce presentations in PowerPoint and maintain databases is a plus.
  • Committed to living the Foundation’s values.
  • Flexible and willing to assist others, when needed.
  • Must be available for occasional travel between our San Francisco and Los Altos offices or to other meetings, conferences, and convenings with grantees or other stakeholders.

Compensation and Benefits

The target starting salary for this position is $72,000-86,000 per year, depending on geographic location and experience.

We offer a comprehensive employee benefits package that includes employer-paid medical, dental, and vision insurance for employees and dependents, long term disability, business travel and life insurance, flexible spending accounts for medical and child care expenses, a 401(k) plan (with a matching contribution of up to 16%), commuting assistance, an employee assistance program (EAP), mental health counseling, tuition reimbursement and a generous professional development budget, matching gifts, fitness reimbursements, fertility and adoption assistance, and identity theft protection. In addition, we allow flexible schedules and some telecommuting with the manager’s approval.

Paid time off includes:

  • Vacation: 3 weeks/year, with increases based on tenure
  • Sick: 12 days/year
  • Personal Days: 2 days/year
  • Family Medical Leave: 10 days/year
  • Parental Leave: 6-16 weeks/year, depending on tenure
  • Holidays include: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; President’s Day; Memorial Day; Juneteenth; Independence Day; Labor Day; Veterans Day; Thanksgiving Day (and the day after); Year-End Break (Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day)

Application Process

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of applicants. Foundation policy prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital status, physical disability, mental disability, military service, legally protected medical condition, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws. Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified applicants with disabilities may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.

Our success is dependent on our ability to build teams that include people with different experiences and expertise and who can challenge each other’s assumptions with new viewpoints and bring different perspectives to the team. We encourage women, people of color, formerly incarcerated individuals, immigrants, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and others with diverse perspectives and experiences to apply.

To apply for this position, please upload your resume and cover letter here: