San Francisco

Program Officer/Senior Program Officer (People Pathway), San Francisco Foundation

The Organization

With more than $1.5 billion in assets, the San Francisco Foundation is one of the largest community foundations in the country. The foundation is committed to expanding opportunity and ensuring a more equitable future for all in the Bay Area. Together with its donors, the foundation distributed $154 million to nonprofit organizations last fiscal year. The San Francisco Foundation serves Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties with some initiatives, including this one, serving the nine-county Bay Area.

Position Overview

The San Francisco Foundation is uniquely positioned to address the Bay Area’s most pressing needs, particularly in the areas of affordable housing in the region. The Foundation aims for greater community impact and moving toward population-level results for low-income families and communities of color left out of the region’s robust economy. Five years into the San Francisco Foundation’s implementation of the racial equity and economic inclusion agenda, the organization is at an exciting juncture and next crossroads – poised to further leverage its impact across the Bay Area through deepened strategies for policy and systems change at the local, regional, and state levels, as well as innovative, proactive, and strategically aligned approaches.

Reports To: Director, People Pathway

Position Overview

The Program Officer / Senior Program Officer, under the direction of the Director of the People Pathway, has primary responsibility for grantmaking, strategy development, and activating SFF’s other resources in service of People Pathway strategies and results. Working in partnership with the People Pathway Director, the Program Officer / Senior Program Officer will manage a portion of the grantmaking, and operating budget related to core bodies of work including criminal justice, quality empowered jobs, and community wealth. This position will also play a role in building team cohesion as well as convening inter-departmental working groups related to strategic geographies (Contra Costa), populations (migrants), or approaches (youth organizing).  The ideal candidate must   be comfortable being a thought partner on strategy, managing a grantmaking portfolio, engaging in internal and external relationship management, as well as managing his/her own schedule and administration.

Role and Core Responsibilities

Under the direction of the People Pathway Director, the Program Officer/Senior Program Officer is responsible for strategic grantmaking that contributes to the Foundation’s economic inclusion target which is: by 2024, 50,000 more people of color who were earning low wages will have family sustaining wages and opportunity to save.

The Program Officer/ Senior Program Officer will help to ensure strong relationships with grantees, strategic  alignment across grantmaking portfolios as well as use other levers to amplify and strengthen work of grantee partners including capacity building, funder influence, donor alignment, convening, and communications.  Major areas of responsibility are:

Strategic Grantmaking

Conduct strategic grantmaking related to economic inclusion, criminal justice, quality empowered jobs, and community wealth. The Program Officer / Senior Program Officer helps to meet grantmaking performance measures for the People Pathway by doing the following:

  • Develop and manage a robust grantmaking portfolio. Serve as the main point of contact for grantees in existing portfolio as well as determine future directions of the portfolios.  As appropriate, s/he will also jointly review grants with other teams in the Community Impact Department and in collaboration with other funding entities, including the Foundation’s lobbying portfolio.  Execute grants and coordinate logistical details related to grants and relationship management.
  • Review, research, and recommend grants. Determine the solicitation of grants and the response to nonprofit, government, and private agency requests for Foundation funding. This could include the development of RFPs and/or plans for grants distribution. Evaluate merits of written proposals, conduct due diligence, participate in site visits, review research, and present grant recommendations to the Board of Trustees, as appropriate.
  • Monitor Landscape.  Track key players, opportunities, and threats in key content areas related to People Pathway strategies.  Engage grantees and field leaders as key informants and thought partners on landscape and strategy.

External Focus

  • Meaningful contributions that advance the team’s economic inclusion strategies to achieve population-level outcomes. This includes management of key components of strategy development and implementation, including research and analysis, as well as building and maintaining relationships with community partners.
  • Demonstrated civic leadership.  Develop and implement plan to advance critical elements of the Foundation’s equity agenda in economic inclusion through a civic leadership role, maintaining grantee relationships, connections to staff at similar foundations, and participation in relevant affinity groups.
  • Partnership design, development, and implementation. Lead proactive efforts for change, including partnership development efforts with other funders, private and public sector leaders, and grantees. This could include working with other SFF teams and Institutional Partnerships Officer to raise additional funds from other foundations to leverage additional grantmaking resources for community impact.
  • High-impact, well-organized convenings, events, and other briefings. Identify, facilitate, and manage opportunities to bring various stakeholders together to further the goals of the Foundation’s inclusive economy agenda. Working with the rest of the People Team, other relevant internal collaborators, as well as the Foundation’s Marketing and Communications Team so that convenings position SFF as a resource for those interested in addressing critical issues affecting individuals and communities, gather input on a specific strategy or body of work, garner support for a cause or activity, and/or educate and learn.
  • Provide resource and referral advice and technical assistance to grantee partners, agencies and/or collaboratives.

Internal Focus

  • Deepened knowledge, skill, and expertise at SFF about People Pathway grantees and strategies through the Program Officer / Senior Program Officer’s research and thought leadership, and information dissemination through key speaking engagements, articles, media interviews, and other social media opportunities.
  • Meaningful contributions to the Foundation’s strategic learning and evaluation work.  Determine the benchmarks, indicators of success, and methodology to track and assess the progress toward outcomes associated with the People Pathway strategies, as well as the effectiveness of grants and progress reports. Use qualitative and quantitative data to inform recommendations and decision-making.
  • In partnership with the Philanthropy and Gift Planning Department, the Program Officer/ Senior Program Officer meets with donors and prospective donors as assigned, providing them with information about People Pathway  efforts or other specific issues, and best practices and grantmaking opportunities in the Bay Area. Provide background information for direct funding requests to donors. Organize and present at donor forums.



Bachelor’s degree, in one or more of the Foundation’s programmatic areas of focus or a related discipline required or the combination of education and experience.


8+ years of increasingly responsible experience in a leadership role in the public, non-profit, or philanthropic sector.  In-depth knowledge of grantmaking and successfully managing projects to achieve specified goals and outcomes.  Ideally, the Program Officer / Senior Program Officer has broad, multi-sector knowledge and/or experience coupled with an understanding of Bay Area nonprofit, public, and philanthropic communities. This person must deeply value racial equity and economic inclusion and has experience with grassroots or community-based work, policy advocacy, and/or systems change efforts at scale. Proven record of successfully working collaboratively and in teams.

Knowledge, Skills, & Competencies

  • Strong active listening, oral, and written communication skills.
  • Ability to build successful relationships with local leaders and organizations and engage people from diverse backgrounds in a variety of settings.
  • Ability to facilitate meetings, synthesize ideas, and provide sensitive feedback.
  • Strong understanding of organizational development and operations of small and large nonprofits.
  • Budget and management experience; finance experience a plus.
  • Ability to lead collaboratives of multiple funders and leaders, provide cross-sector learning opportunities for funders and grantees, and serve as staff lead for special projects or committees.
  • Demonstrable computer and technology literacy in word processing, email, spreadsheets, contact management, and knowledge management applications.


Commensurate with background and experience in addition to a competitive benefits package.

The San Francisco Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and encourages people of diverse backgrounds to apply.

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