San Francisco

Director of Strategic Learning and Evaluation, 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 in its last fiscal year. The San Francisco Foundation serves Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties with some initiatives serving the nine-county Bay Area.

Position Overview

Strategic Learning and Evaluation at the San Francisco Foundation 

SFF is an equity centered and results driven organization committed to advancing racial equity and economic inclusion in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Director of Strategic learning and evaluation will support the expansion of the Results Count® framework throughout the organization and co-create opportunities for staff to become results-based leaders. Using traditional and nontraditional data sources, the Director of Strategic Learning and Evaluation will lead timely analysis, disaggregation of data by race and ethnicity, gender, geography, and other important demographics in service to advancing equity to scale and strengthening our strategies.

Our goal is to assess and communicate our external impact while modifying our strategies, as needed, to achieve our equity agenda. Thus, we have identified strategic learning – gathering data and insights to inform the Foundation’s decision-making about strategy—as the priority function for the Strategic Learning and Evaluation team. This entails synthesizing and interpreting information from a wide set of evaluative or monitoring sources to inform Foundation leadership and staff about progress in achieving our equity goals. In addition, the Director will use both internal and external sources to assess our contribution to population-level changes, and to enable the Foundation’s decisions to stay the course and determine when and why strategies or tactics should be altered.

The Director of Strategic Learning and Evaluation reports to the Chief Impact Officer.


The Director’s primary functions are to:

  • lead the Strategic Learning and Evaluation Team
  • improve and refine the foundation’s creation of a data infrastructure that enables the collection, analysis, and synthesis of data, to monitor how the Foundation’s donors, grantees, programs, strategies, and overall civic leadership are advancing our equity agenda;
  • oversee evaluation efforts and/or provide guidance to other staff or consultants for that work, as well as for the ongoing monitoring of the effectiveness of their portfolios;
  • advance knowledge management by supporting cross-team and cross-department learning; and


To fulfill the strategic learning responsibilities, the Director of Strategic Learning will function as an in-house leader and advisor:

  • In consultation with Foundation leadership and external and internal advisors, advance an overall approach to strategic learning and evaluation for the Foundation that balances being proactive and responsive.
  • Work with Foundation leadership to support monitoring and assessment of the Foundation’s equity strategy, track the Foundation’s impact in advancing economic security, affordable housing, and civic engagement while capturing and sharing learnings, both internally, including with the board, and externally.
  • Design the structures and processes to support strategic learning. Identify opportunities for learning to improve practice internally and highlight innovation.
  • Assure that the Foundation’s data infrastructure and learning processes function well and inform strategy. Identify the lessons/information that can be aggregated and synthesized for others in the Foundation.
  • For priority strategic initiatives, work with staff to track indicators and develop and monitor performance measures.
  • Implement processes and frameworks to assess progress, inform decision-making, and ensure continuous improvement of SFF’s equity agenda.
  • Provide consultation during strategy development.
  • Advise on which functions should be implemented by foundation staff and which require external evaluators; oversee consultants as appropriate.
  • Work with IT and Grants Administration to identify and address functional gaps in the data infrastructure, as needed, to ensure high quality and timely data analysis and reporting.

In fulfilling the above responsibilities, the Director of Strategic Learning will support and work with other staff. The Director will:

  • Lead, supervise and mentor the Strategic Learning and Evaluation team.
  • Work with leadership in strengthening SFF’s results focus and the overall approach of developing, monitoring and making strategic shifts to reach goals
  • Develop generic approaches and tools that staff can use for assessing the effectiveness of their work and their progress towards identified results.
  • Respond to Community Impact (and other) staff requests for assistance with major evaluations to assure that they provide quality, useful and timely information on SFF’s progress towards a more equitable Bay Area. Provide technical consultation to Community Impact (and other) staff engaged in priority strategies, helping to frame priorities, questions, sequencing, methods, and interpretation of results.
  • Collaborate with Director peer group across the Foundation on initiatives that have cross-departmental impact.
  • Identify specific gaps in knowledge and skills needed to ensure that SFF staff obtain and use data to make course corrections as needed. Coordinate with SFF’s HR/Training staff as needed.
  • Articulate SFF’s learning and evaluation principles and present evaluations and learning cases to the Board of Trustees in cooperation with Foundation leadership.
  • Take a developmental evaluation approach as the foundation advances its equity strategy, creating a collaborative and dynamic learning environment for strategic learning and supporting improvements in practice and decision-making, including in the ongoing development of relationships with grantees and their engagement in participating in and setting the parameters of learning and evaluation.
  • Work effectively as a valuable and trusted team member and facilitate collaborative learning within the Community Impact department and across the Foundation.
  • Encourage and reinforce a feedback-oriented culture, specifically as related to the effectiveness of SFF’s efforts against equity strategy goals.
  • Coordinate with Marketing and Communications to advance understanding of the Foundation’s commitment to promote equity in the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Facilitate collaborative learning and help SFF staff utilize evaluation data to advance the equity agenda.
  • Work with external partners to further develop and advance the Bay Area Equity Atlas and engage SFF staff in the ongoing use and development of the Atlas.

As part of the administrative tasks of the role, the Director of Strategic Learning will:

  • Develop and manage an annual budget for approval by the Chief Impact Officer.
  • Participate in other duties consistent with the role of a Director and/or duties as requested by the Chief Impact Officer.


The Director of Strategic Learning should have the following experience and qualifications:

  • Deep commitment to the Foundation’s mission, values, and equity strategy.
  • A minimum of 8 years of work experience conducting, designing, commissioning, and/or managing social science research or evaluations that are actionable and inform strategy in the social sector. Experience with a broad set of methods and approaches to evaluation and performance measurement, including both quantitative and qualitative methods. Experience with database applications and research services.
  • Proven ability to motivate, develop, and lead individuals and teams.
  • Significant experience in the equity and/or social justice field; substantive knowledge on the approaches and technologies to promote equity, such as advocacy, organizing, movement-building, and public policy.
  • Experience with foundation(s) preferred; ideally, as a practicing evaluator in a foundation’s program areas related to equity, nurturing movements, community-building in low income communities and/or communities of color or similar experience. Comfortable bringing evaluative thinking, techniques, and a learning orientation to bear in multidisciplinary (cross-program area) projects.
  • Graduate degree in the social sciences, economics, public policy, urban planning, or related discipline or equivalent professional experience/qualifications demonstrating knowledge of multiple approaches to strategy, learning and evaluation.
  • Ability to clearly communicate concepts, research findings and data interpretations, and to draw the implications of these analyses for program strategy.
  • The highest level of personal and professional integrity and respect for others. Flexibility, sense of humor; emotional intelligence; capacity for self-reflection and humility.
  • Ability to work collaboratively and effectively with high performing peers in shared efforts. The ability to listen and learn from diverse perspectives.
  • Excellent writing and conceptual skills. Demonstrated ability to process complex information and present ideas in a pragmatic, compelling manner.
  • Conscientious and pragmatic approach to problem identification and resolution. Capacity to negotiate priorities and seek creative solutions. Well organized but not rigid.
  • Web-based skills relevant to research and communication in the evaluation field. Proficient with Microsoft Office applications.
  • Experience with Fluxx and Salesforce are a plus.

COMPENSATION: A competitive compensation package commensurate with background and experience in addition to a very competitive benefits package will be offered

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

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