Menlo Park

Director, U.S. Democracy Program, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The Organization

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation–a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world–is seeking a Program Director to join the U.S. Democracy team. Leading and partnering with a team of four, the Program Director will oversee $25,000,000 in annual grantmaking. Over the next five years, as the program implements, evaluates, and refreshes its strategies, its grant budget is expected to increase substantially in response to the pressing challenges facing democracy in the United States.

About the Foundation

For more than 50 years, the Hewlett Foundation has supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, support vibrant performing arts, strengthen Bay Area communities, make the philanthropy sector more effective, and foster gender equity and responsive governance around the world. The U.S Democracy program is the newest program. In addition, we also make grants for special projects and to address other timely problems, such as challenges related to cybersecurity. In 2020, the foundation announced a new grantmaking commitment focused on racial justice.

The foundation was started in 1966 by engineer and entrepreneur William R. Hewlett and his wife, Flora Lamson Hewlett, with their eldest son, Walter Hewlett. Today, it is one of the largest philanthropic institutions in the United States, awarding roughly $471 million in grants in 2020 to organizations across the globe to help people build better lives.

The foundation has approximately 120 employees in programmatic, operational, and investment roles, located in Menlo Park, California. Across the organization, our employees are challenged with meaningful work, have the resources for ongoing professional development and learning, and contribute to a collegial and engaging environment where they can thrive. We are committed to fostering a culture of inclusion and encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to apply. For more information about the Hewlett Foundation, please visit

Hewlett’s Work to Support U.S. Democracy

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation began its work to support U.S. democracy in 2014, when it launched the Madison Initiative. The initiative was named for James Madison, who warned against and sought to alleviate “the mischiefs of faction.” Between 2014 and 2020, the foundation board authorized the Madison Initiative to make $150 million in grants to uphold U.S. democracy in an age of polarization.

In March of 2020, the foundation board deepened the institution’s commitment to U.S. democracy by converting the time-limited Madison Initiative into the ongoing U.S. Democracy Program. Its work is now on an equal footing with the foundation’s other core programs. In June, in response to one of the most tumultuous and troubling periods in the history of our democracy, the Program launched two refreshed strategies, one focused on strengthening national governing institutions and the other focused on supporting trustworthy elections.

Hewlett’s U.S. Democracy Program is nonpartisan and supports organizations across the ideological spectrum, including academic researchers, advocacy groups, think tanks, media platforms, infrastructure providers, and civic leadership organizations that share our values and goals.

Position Overview

The Role

Reporting to the President, the Program Director provides strategic direction and overall leadership to the program. Building on the strength of the current program and staff, the Program Director is responsible for the ongoing implementation, evaluation, and development of the program’s strategies, for reviewing and approving grantmaking decisions and other related efforts by program staff, and for managing the program’s budget and financial matters. The Director also serves as a member of the foundation’s senior staff leadership team, engaging with the President and peers on policies, practices, and other cross-foundational projects.

Specific responsibilities include:

Program Strategy and Leadership

·       Lead, to demonstrable and sustainable impact, the continuing implementation, communication, evaluation, refinement, and dissemination of program strategies and outcomes

·       Develop and manage operations and programming budgets

·       Maintain efficient systems for managing large workloads within the team and ensuring adherence to grantmaking and other deadlines

·       Ensure measurement and evaluation systems are robust and consistent with the foundation’s principles and approach

·       Ensure that the program’s strategic and operational objectives continue to align with those of the Hewlett Foundation

Collaborative Management

·       Manage and promote a collaborative working environment that capitalizes on the diversity of team members’ backgrounds and perspectives

·       Lead an ongoing process of continuous improvement and learning in the program’s grantmaking

·       Foster strong and continuous communication across the program team

·       As part of the senior management team, contribute to the development and implementation of the foundation’s mission, policies, strategies, and operations

Leadership in the Field

·       As part of the senior management team, contribute to the development and implementation of the foundation’s mission, policies, strategies, and operations

·       Through strong policy acumen and field knowledge, effectively represent the foundation and its work to government leaders, nonprofits, business, and civic leaders through meetings, updates, speeches, briefings, and interviews

·       Help to develop and strengthen organizations that are central to the program’s strategies, focusing on their goals, governance, staffing, financial health, communications, and fundraising

·       Provide external leadership and engage in meaningful dialogue on critical program issues as they intersect with the foundation’s work, mission, and goals

Candidate Profile

The Hewlett Foundation seeks a leader with intellectual breadth and leadership experience in the field of U.S. democracy as well as an ability to lead and manage a dynamic and high-performing team. With skill in setting priorities across multiple domains, the Program Director will identify and support collaboration, mutual learning, and integrated grantmaking opportunities. The Program Director must also understand the dynamic and complex contexts in which the foundation’s grantees work, as well as the evolving landscape of organizations in the democracy field; be skilled in building constructive dialogue and collaboration; and manage for results in a way that is responsive to both budget and time constraints. The Program Director will have outstanding communication skills, both written and verbal, and be able to effectively represent the foundation to many audiences.

Specific competencies include:

Leadership Style: The successful candidate will model and promote collaboration, transparency, openness, and inclusivity in ways that encourage creativity and innovation. With confidence, a sense of humor, humility, intelligence, humanity, energy, and respect, they will be adept at productively engaging with and managing intellectual debate.

Setting Strategy and Achieving Results: The successful candidate will have the capacity to develop a compelling view of the future of the U.S. Democracy Program and how best it can address rapidly evolving challenges in its areas of focus. The candidate will guide and implement the elements of a program focused on outcomes and goals that align with the Hewlett Foundation’s mission and values.  They will have demonstrated organizational and managerial skills to lead a diverse team to meet grantmaking goals, timelines, and other benchmarks.

Building Teams: The candidate will have a demonstrated track record in building collaborative teams. In addition to the core team of direct reports and colleagues providing functional support (for example: Legal; Communications; Grantmaking Operations, Insight and Learning), these teams could include other program directors and external partners (grantees and other funders, etc.). The position requires a person with a proven ability to recruit, retain, motivate, and develop talented individuals from diverse backgrounds and engage them in an intellectually rigorous environment. They will be a person of sound judgment and sensitivity, and will be able to listen, value, and leverage the skills of people with different perspectives and approaches.

Judgment: Through timely and clearly communicated decisions, they will take appropriate risks to achieve results. Likewise, they will be thoughtful about deploying the program’s grantmaking and administrative budgets in a way that maximizes outcomes aligned with core institutional values, while managing risk. With unquestioned personal and professional integrity, they will listen to and learn from key stakeholders inside and outside of the foundation and will be an inclusive and independent thinker, drawing on current research, when applicable. They will manage ambiguity and devise solutions in a timely manner, even when a clear path is not evident.

Passion and Shared Values: Evidence of such passion and commitment should be demonstrated through significant contributions to improving democracy through public service, the nonprofit or private sectors, or other appropriate venues in one or both areas the program is focused on (governing institutions and trustworthy elections). It will be necessary for the leader to share the program’s commitment to nonpartisanship in promoting democracy. They should be ready, willing, and able to work with partners across the political and ideological spectrum who share the program’s values and goals and lead the team’s work in ways that alleviate rather than inflame the polarization and divisions that threaten U.S. democracy. They must also share the foundation’s overarching commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and ensure it is reflected in how the team goes about its work.

Work Environment

The position is based in Menlo Park, California. While performing the duties of this position, the employee is required to spend extended periods of time at a computer. This position also requires moderate levels of travel. Program directors and officers of the Hewlett Foundation serve for an eight-year term. The foundation employees are currently working remotely until early 2022. The physical demands described are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform these essential functions.

Effective September 13, 2021, the foundation will require all staff, vendors, and visitors accessing our office to be fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Compensation and Benefits

The Hewlett Foundation is committed to providing compensation that is competitive within the philanthropic sector. We offer a generous total compensation package that emphasizes both base salary and comprehensive benefits. The salary range for this role starts at $300,000. Offers are based on the candidate’s years of experience and our practice of maintaining salary equity within the foundation. This position is exempt and full-time.

How To Apply

Viewcrest Advisors ( is partnering with the Hewlett Foundation on this search. Please send your resume and an initial cover letter in non-pdf, preferably MS Word, format. Your cover letter should include a description of how your skills and professional experience fit this position.


The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation embraces the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion both internally, in our hiring process and organizational culture, and externally, in our grantmaking and related practices. We are an equal opportunity employer and welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, cultures, and experiences.

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