Los Angeles, CA or San Francisco, CA

Human Resources Generalist, The James Irvine Foundation

The Organization

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 $2.2 billion in grants to organizations throughout California. The Foundation ended 2021 with more than $3 billion in assets and provided $128.9 million in grants. We have about 80 staff across our San Francisco and Los Angeles offices. The Foundation is committed, internally and externally, to the values of accountability, curiosity, empathy, equity, nimbleness, partnership, and transparency

Position Overview

This is an exciting time to join the James Irvine Foundation, as our grantmaking has grown steadily to reach $186.5 million in 2022. With this growth the Foundation is increasing internal capacity and expanding its workforce to ensure our continued impact, including hiring for a new position: Human Resources (HR) Generalist. This position will support, and ultimately run, the daily operations of the Talent department across onboarding; training and development; interviewing and hiring staff; administering pay, benefits, and leave; and communication of and accountability reporting for company policies and practices. The first year will be spent focusing on onboarding new employees; training and development; reporting; and employee communications and partnership. Professional Development budget, time, and support will be offered to promote learning and growth within the role.

The HR Generalist will partner with the Director of Talent on direct recruitment, liaise with outside recruitment firms, and manage staffing agencies for temporary employees. Over time, the HR Generalist will partner with all departments on all human resources related areas, conducting qualitative and quantitative research and analysis in support of planning and executing key projects. This role will ultimately own the operational function of Talent and serve as the subject matter expert for our Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) and Learning Management Systems (LMS) – Namely and SAP Litmos, respectively – ensuring they are deployed to their most strategic and full use. The HR Generalist will also provide orientation, coaching, and technical assistance regarding our Talent Advancement Program.

Ideal candidates will be highly collaborative, organized, and learning-oriented with some HR background and a desire to become a generalist across all core facets of HR. The HR Generalist must be collegial, curious, and accountable with the emotional intelligence and interpersonal savvy to build and maintain trusting relationships while using discretion and managing confidentiality. Ultimately, the HR Generalist should be passionate about aligning practices and systems with organizational values and centering the team’s needs and voice in HR solutions just as the Foundation centers low-income workers.

Irvine is dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and has committed to increasing our knowledge and understanding of systemic racism, identifying it as a persistent obstacle to our vision of a California where low-income workers have the power to advance economically. In 2020, Irvine pledged an additional $20 million of grantmaking to specifically address anti-Black racism and racial equity more broadly. The HR Generalist will be a key partner in the development of DEI competencies and will work collaboratively with colleagues as we look to operationalize racial equity internally within our processes and operations in 2022 and beyond.


  • Support the hiring of qualified job applicants and oversee new hire orientation and turnover.
  • Serve as the subject matter expert for HRIS (Namely) and LMS (SAP Litmos).
  • Partner with cross departmental work groups to create and implement policies and processes.
  • Provide project management support and participate in the planning and execution of projects across cross-functional teams, as assigned by Director of Talent and/or Chief Operating Officer.
  • Handle employment-related inquiries from applicants, employees, and managers, referring complex and/or sensitive matters to the appropriate staff.
  • Review, track, and document compliance with mandatory and non-mandatory trainings, continuing education, and work assessments including safety and anti-harassment trainings, professional licensure, and aptitude exams and certifications.
  • Perform routine tasks required to administer and execute human resource programs, including but not limited to compensation, benefits, and leave; disciplinary matters; disputes and investigations; performance and talent management; productivity, recognition, and engagement; occupational health and safety; and training and development.
  • Partner and lead employee engagement efforts, survey development and tracking, and organizing culture building activities.
  • Maintain compliance with federal, state, and local employment laws and regulations; recommended best practices; and review policies and practices to maintain compliance.
  • Maintain knowledge of trends, best practices, regulatory changes, and new technologies in human resources, talent management, and employment law.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


  • A strong desire to contribute to the mission of The James Irvine Foundation.
  • Ideally 3 to 5 years of professional experience and background in Human Resources or related operational or talent functions (e.g., recruitment, hiring, training and development).
  • Demonstrated personal commitment to racial equity with awareness of how systemic racism can impact organizational culture and society; participation in diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts; and interest in applying an equity lens to HR processes and systems. Direct experience with racial equity work within progressive organizations is preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability to self-direct, plan, and think strategically; set and achieve realistic goals and objectives; and balance multiple priorities with excellent attention to detail and follow through.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills with an ability to learn and work on new content areas quickly and to assemble and assess data and research.
  • Experience in positively contributing to a culture of learning.
  • A desire to work collaboratively in a dynamic team-oriented environment.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, listening skills, ability to facilitate challenging conversations, and judgment in using discretion, managing confidentiality, and communicating within a variety of settings.
  • Demonstrated respect for diverse perspectives and an ability to make all people, across any area of difference, feel comfortable discussing potentially sensitive matters.
  • An empathetic professional with excellent interpersonal and collaboration skills. A personal style characterized by humility, flexibility, self-awareness, accessibility, a sense of humor, and the ability to work with grace under pressure.
  • Ability to act with integrity, professionalism, and confidentiality.
  • Some experience with or ability and genuine curiosity to learn Namely and SAP Litmos.
  • Some experience with or enthusiasm to learn employment-related laws and regulations
  • Experience in growing organizations supporting midsized teams across multiple offices in a remote or hybrid context is preferred

How To Apply

The James Irvine Foundation is partnering with Walker and Associates Consulting, a BIPOC- and woman-owned national strategic management consulting and executive search firm, for these openings. To apply, email a cover letter, resume, and list of three references (candidates will be notified in advance of any outreach to references) to irvine@walkeraac.com on or before 5:00 p.m. PST on Friday, May 6, 2022. Use the subject line: HR Generalist Search. Submission via one PDF or Microsoft Word file is preferred. Questions or Nominations? Email Jeannine N. Walker at jwalker@walkeraac.com.

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.

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