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Special Assistant to the CEO

Special Assistant to the CEO
Application Deadline: 
Monday, November 30, 2020
Job Description: 

The Foundation

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California. The Foundation’s vision is a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided more than $1.87 billion in grants to organizations throughout California. With about $2.5 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $105 million in 2019. We have about 55 staff across our San Francisco and Los Angeles offices. The Irvine Foundation is committed, internally and externally, to the values of accountability, curiosity, empathy, equity, nimbleness, partnership, and transparency.


The Special Assistant will work with the CEO to develop and manage special projects, including alliances and partnerships, to advance the Foundation’s vision of “a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically.”

The Special Assistant will work directly with Don Howard, President and CEO, to manage special executive- and board-level projects. Chief among these are potential partnerships with leading philanthropic, labor, public sector, and business leaders and their organizations. Additionally, this role will assess the potential of early stage investment ideas identified by the CEO.

This work requires strong relationship-building skills, the ability to create clear and compelling presentation materials, analytic skills, and attention to detail. The Special Assistant will interact with senior leaders and board members at the Irvine Foundation and will join the CEO in meetings with senior leaders of other institutions.

Reporting to Amy Saxton, Vice President for Program Development, the Special Assistant will also work closely with other teams at the Foundation, particularly Program Implementation, Grants Administration, and Communications as well as the Foundation’s Chief of Staff and Planning.

The ideal candidate will have a strong desire to contribute to the mission of The James Irvine Foundation and experience working independently with senior executives in the private, public, or social sector; developing and managing partnerships between large institutions, and an understanding of philanthropy. This is a great opportunity for someone with a background in quantitative and qualitative research and analysis, and partnership development; with a personal style characterized by flexibility, self-awareness, a sense of urgency, curiosity, humility and the ability to work with grace under pressure.

Application Process

Interested applicants should submit their cover letter and resume online or by mail:


Mail:                                         The James Irvine Foundation

Human Resources Department

One Bush Street, Suite 800

San Francisco, CA 94104

Application deadline:        Open until filled


The James Irvine Foundation offers an attractive benefits package. The Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we encourage applicants who reflect the diversity of California. Qualified applicants with criminal histories will be considered pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (“FCO”).

The Foundation greatly appreciates all expressed interest.