Bay Area, CA

Managing Director of Programs, Crankstart

The Organization

Crankstart is a private foundation based in the Bay Area dedicated to working

collaboratively on immediate problems and underlying causes. Crankstart partners with leaders and organizations that demonstrate know-how in areas of critical need, including education, arts and sciences, economic and racial justice, immigration, civic engagement and environmental action.

Crankstart was created by Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman. As early signatories to the Giving Pledge, they have committed to giving away the majority of their wealth in their lifetimes. Michael has been a partner of Sequoia Capital since 1986, was born in Wales and moved to the United States in 1976. Both his parents were refugees from Nazi Germany. Originally from Chicago, Harriet is a sculptor and former journalist who wrote for the New York Times before moving to the Bay Area in 1985.

In 2020 Crankstart distributed $120M in grants, including $92M to nonprofit organizations in California, and $53.5M to groups based in San Francisco. For 2021, Crankstart is targeting grants totaling more than $200M, with giving expected to continue to grow in the coming years. Grantmaking has a primary focus on the Bay Area with secondary focuses on Chicago and the UK.

Crankstart is currently a small, lean team of five with plans to grow over the next few years. Crankstart is a strategic, collaborative, responsive, equity-focused funder. Crankstart has an actively engaged family board and its organizational culture is one that emphasizes healthy relationships, empowerment, and a strong team culture based on trust, authenticity, healthy disagreements, and collaborative conversations.

For more information about Crankstart, please visit

Position Overview

Crankstart is seeking an experienced strategic philanthropic leader to serve as the Managing Director of Programs. This newly created senior role reporting to the CEO is responsible for the vision, strategy, development and implementation of ambitious program strategies and grantmaking to advance the foundation’s goals in its next phase of evolution and growth.

The Managing Director will be a principal advisor to the CEO and board on all matters related to foundation programs and grantmaking ensuring that each program area advances the foundation’s goals to be a strategic, collaborative, responsive, equity-rooted grantmaker. The Managing Director will build, manage, and mentor a program staff working on diverse grantmaking portfolios; identify emerging opportunities and strategic leverage points; work in creative and strategic partnership with other funders and stakeholders; ensure quality and accountability; and evaluate the performance of programs and grantees.


  • Vision and Program Leadership. Partner with the CEO and board on the development and execution of strategies, programs and grantmaking to advance foundation goals. Provide seasoned leadership to the foundation’s grantmaking. Serve as a senior advisor to CEO and provide thought leadership, perspectives, and lived experiences to the work of the foundation.
  • Program Development and Grantmaking. Oversee diverse grantmaking and program portfolios in the areas of education, communities, civil rights and democracy, as well as the environment and science.
  • Management. Manage, build, train and mentor a staff comprised of up to 8 -10 senior program officers, program officers, program assistants and consultants as needed. Ensure effective collaboration and appropriate opportunities for professional growth and autonomy. Help to shape and solidify the emerging culture of the foundation.
  • Communications. Prepare strategy memos, briefs, reports, and presentations in a variety of formats for the board, grantees, community leaders, and mentor staff to do the same.
  • External Relationships and Partnerships. Represent the foundation to a broad range of decision-makers and partners, including grantees, community leaders, business leaders, government officials, affinity groups, and other collaborators in the region and across the country.
  • Evaluation. In partnership with the Learning, Networks & Evaluation (LNE) leader, guide the development of overarching strategies, tactics, and evaluation metrics across all the foundation’s programmatic work. Work with the LNE leader and team to activate the plan, ensuring program staff are aligned on their roles in gathering data, including explicating any reporting requirements into grant agreements in ways that are doable and meaningful for both grantees and the foundation, and participating in team learning sessions to glean insights, track progress and setbacks, and make course corrections when needed.
  • New projects. Assume other responsibilities and explore new opportunities that arise with the evolving needs and aspirations of the foundation.


The ideal candidate is someone who will thrive in a culture that is accountable and highly collaborative, has a demonstrated commitment to working in the service of others, and can operate as a strong, effective generalist. They should be focused on the timely delivery of projects and be resourceful in how they address and solve problems. They should approach the work with humility, welcome the chance to learn from others, and be open and eager for feedback to learn and improve.

Experience and Education

  • Ten or more years of leadership experience, including in a grantmaking organization. A proven ability to work successfully in an agile and lean organization.
  • Demonstrated experience envisioning, developing, and implementing grantmaking strategies and programs. Vision for, and commitment to, the creative ways philanthropy can impact the communities it serves.
  • A sophisticated understanding of the non-profit sector and the unique dynamics, challenges and opportunities of such organizations.
  • While the ideal candidate is a generalist, a working knowledge of current issues and initiatives in the fields in one or more of the principal diverse focus areas of the foundation is desired.
  • Knowledge of key socio-economic, social justice and environmental issues impacting California and the San Francisco Bay Area. Knowledge of Chicago is a plus.
  • Knowledge and passion gained either through personal lived experience or through work in and with the communities served by the foundation.
  • Understanding of grassroots and movement-building work.
  • Track record of successfully building and leading high-performing teams internally and
  • effectively building strategic alliances and partnerships externally on behalf of an organization.
  • Experience using quantitative and qualitative data/information to evaluate success.
  • BA/BS degree; relevant advanced degree preferred.


  • Superior management, planning and strategic thinking skills; ability to drive simultaneous, complex projects to measurable success and to oversee a comprehensive team strategy.
  • Drawn to environments where ideas, systems and structures are iterated, trial and error are expected, and no job is too big or too small. Adept and willing to wear many hats on a daily basis. Comfortable with uncertainty.
  • Passion for the foundation’s vision, mission and values; commitment to modeling the foundation’s core values.
  • Commitment to innovation through experimentation, critical thinking, problem solving and adaptability.
  • Forward-thinking mindset, always looking for ways to leverage efficient and creative solutions to help operations function optimally for the highest impact.
  • Strong mentoring and coaching experience within a team with diverse levels of expertise; ability to lead a team with collaboration, empathy and humility.
  • Exceptional written, oral, interpersonal and presentation skills and the ability to effectively partner with the CEO, board, staff and other stakeholders.
  • Open-minded perspective and a collegial demeanor. Ability to develop relationships based on trust, confidence and respect. Openness to considering a diverse range of viewpoints. Willingness to build effective coalitions to move the agenda forward and proactively solicit others’ views before making key decisions.
  • Unquestionable ethics and integrity.

Compensation and Benefits

Crankstart offers a competitive salary depending on experience and a benefits package including medical, dental, a 15% 401k match, generous vacation and paid holidays, and a generous Employee Giving Alignment Program.


Crankstart is proceeding with hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic. Interviews will be conducted utilizing videoconferencing, unless or until circumstances change. New staff will be onboarded in a virtual environment. Work will initially occur remotely with long-terms plans for a hybrid workplace in the Bay Area.

Crankstart requires that all employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, except as required by law. Any employment offer will be contingent upon satisfactory proof that you are fully vaccinated from COVID-19, subject to reasonable accommodations for medical or religious reasons, and/or as otherwise required by applicable law.

How To Apply

Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC has been retained for this search. Interested and qualified candidates should apply by sending a cover letter, resume and salary requirements by email to All correspondence will remain confidential.

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