Bay Area, CA

Deputy Director, 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 a multi-talented generalist with excellent strategic, tactical and project management skills for its newly created role of Deputy Director. The Deputy Director will have the unique opportunity to work closely with the CEO on a wide range of strategic, operational and organizational development issues in Crankstart’s next stage of growth and development.

The Deputy Director will serve as the CEO’s trusted strategic advisor and implementer overseeing multiple operational functions by building a strong ‘foundation’ for the foundation, and bringing a strategic, efficient, problem-solving approach to the work. The Deputy Director will complement and leverage the work of the Programs team and work closely with the Managing Director of Programs.

Specifically, the Deputy Director will lead Operations initiatives and help to launch the “Learning, Networks and Evaluation” function. This function will work across the organization to ensure alignment of vision and strategy, coordinate multi-year and annual work plans, create a  culture of shared learning and evaluation, add efficiency tools that support knowledge management, collaboration and impact, and create an ecosystem map to guide Crankstart’s external engagement and networks. Both of these functions will be built in collaboration with the CEO.


The Deputy Director oversees two strategic areas for the foundation – 1) Learning, Networks and Evaluation; and 2) Operations. As the organization scales and more capacity is required for one or both areas, the Deputy Director will likely move into a role specializing in one of these two areas.

Learning, Networks and Evaluation. Lead new internal function that works across the foundation on issues of planning, integration, efficiency and learning. Key areas include:

  • Vision and strategy. Ensure alignment of vision and strategy with the organization’s work, updating and evolving that work as the organization grows.
  • Culture. Operationalize a culture of shared learning, evaluation and collaboration. Model and embed the foundation’s values throughout the organization and in all aspects of operations. Inspire excellence at all levels of the organization.
  • Planning and reporting. Work closely with the CEO and Managing Director for Programs on annual and multi-year strategic planning and reporting, i.e., sharing information on what Crankstart is accomplishing, what is working, what is not and identifying key learning. Work with the Managing Director for Programs to activate the plan, ensuring 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. In addition, partner with Managing Director for Programs to curate learning sessions to glean insights, track progress and setbacks, and make course corrections when needed.
  • External support. Work closely and efficiently with external partners, including capturing learning in a way that the entire team can benefit from.
  • Information technology and internal systems. Implement tools that support knowledge management, collaboration and efficiency.
  • Grantee portfolio assessment and communications tracking. Develop and implement an efficient process for gathering key information, metrics and learnings from grantees. Implement a useful system for grantee foundation communications.
  • External engagement and networking. Map the foundation’s ecosystem, prioritizing networks to join, conferences and relationships (with grantees, other funders, and experts) for sourcing and learning.
  • Direct Reports. A team of one to three is expected to be built for this function, once a strong plan is in place.

Operations. Partner with CEO to develop short and long-term strategies for nimble and efficient systems and processes across a wide range of operational and administrative functions, including finance, human resources, communications, IT and legal. Several of these functions are currently outsourced and some of the work will involve assessing, recommending and implementing the best approach – in-house vs. outsourcing. Short-term plans include the hiring of a senior person leading Talent and Culture.


The ideal candidate is a philanthropic generalist skilled in creating and running systems that result in operational excellence and efficiency. They should be a superb, proactive and resourceful problem solver with a ‘get it done’ mentality who knows how and where to find the best information for any operational issue. They should excel at being super organized, detailed-oriented and productive, and love the challenges and opportunities of working in a growing and evolving foundation.

Experience and Education

  • Ten or more years in senior-level management in complex relevant organizations, ideally in private philanthropy or a philanthropic consulting organization.
  • Prior experience leading several of the following functions is desired: strategy, learning and evaluation, information technology and/or tech software solutions, risk management, human resources, finance or related functions.
  • Proven ability to work as a key business and administrative partner to the president and CEO and to execute activities across the organization and with various stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of, or experience in, change management or organizational development is helpful.
  • 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 daily. 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 the team using collaboration, dependability, empathy and humility.
  • Commitment to, and knowledge about, best practices in systems thinking and operations.
  • 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.
  • Unquestionable ethics and integrity.

Compensation and Benefits

Crankstart offers a competitive salary based 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 return to 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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