San Francisco Bay Area preferred

Director, Climate and Clean Energy, Heising-Simons Foundation

The Organization

About the Foundation

The Heising-Simons Foundation is a family foundation based in Los Altos and San Francisco, California. The Foundation works with its many partners to advance sustainable solutions in climate and clean energy, enable groundbreaking research in science, enhance the education of our youngest learners, and support human rights for all people. In 2020, the Foundation awarded more than $127 million in grants. The Foundation, and the affiliated Heising-Simons Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) organization, are guided by the values of humility, courage, justice, opportunity, sustainability, innovation, relationships, and integrity.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, all Heising-Simons Foundation staff are working remotely. We plan to reopen our offices on September 13, 2021, with flexible telecommuting policies.

About the Climate and Clean Energy Program

The goal of the Climate and Clean Energy (CCE) program is to protect people and the planet from the worst impacts of climate change by cutting pollution and accelerating the transition to a clean energy future. The Foundation’s and Action Fund’s grantmaking supports organizations that help advance government policies to spur large-scale progress curbing pollution, and to ensure that a low-carbon future is a prosperous one for the most vulnerable communities.

The CCE program currently funds solution-based policy efforts primarily in the U.S. focused on four strategic areas: 1) advancing climate policy to limit greenhouse gas emissions; 2) transforming the energy sectors that are the primary source of pollution; 3) cutting the most potent pollutants, such as methane; and 4) seizing time-sensitive opportunities to achieve large-scale emission reductions. In 2020, the Foundation awarded approximately 60 grants totaling $24 million in CCE grant funding, and the Action Fund awarded approximately 10 grants totaling more than $2 million in CCE grant funding. It is anticipated that the volume and amount of grantmaking will increase moderately in 2021. The program is also entering a process to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into its strategy and grantmaking to mitigate climate change.

Position Overview

Position Summary

The CCE Program Director oversees the CCE team and is responsible for engaging members of the Board, the CEO, and the CCE team to establish and implement a common vision and strategy for the program’s grantmaking and activities for both the Foundation and the Action Fund.

This full-time (37.5 hours per week), exempt (salaried) position reports to the President and CEO and is responsible for overseeing the team’s two Program Officers, two Program Associates, and various consultants. This position can be based in either Los Altos or San Francisco, CA. While we will consider candidates who do not reside in the Bay Area, we will be prioritizing local candidates, as well as those willing to relocate, for this search.


Primary Responsibilities

·        Lead and manage the CCE program’s strategy and grantmaking

o   Develop, implement, and evaluate the CCE program’s overall strategy, as well as specific initiatives and grantmaking. Lead team in integrating equity into the strategy.

o   Regularly discuss strategy, updates in the CCE field, and the overall effectiveness of funding in the CCE program area with the Board and the President and CEO.

o   Develop annual grants and administrative budgets for the CCE program area and monitor progress and use of resources.

o   Manage the CCE grantmaking portfolio, including soliciting proposals, conducting site visits, summarize proposals for review by the Board, and report on progress to management and the Board.

o   Screen proposals and inquiries, applying breadth of expertise and the Foundation’s strategy. If necessary, develop a complete and coherent rationale for inquiries that will not be funded.

·        Manage, mentor, and build the capacity of the CCE team

o   Manage the CCE program team and consultants and serve as an essential member of the Foundation’s senior leadership team.

o   Supervise team members by coaching, mentoring, evaluating, and providing feedback to achieve the team’s and the Foundation’s goals and advance the employees’ career goals.

o   Provide regular feedback to supervisor, direct reports, and colleagues both informally and as a part of the annual review process.

o   Lead and/or assist with recruiting, onboarding, and training of new team members.

·        Build partnerships and represent the Foundation in the CCE field

o   Forge partnerships and collaborations with partner foundations, grantee partners, and other stakeholders. Provide non-financial support to grantees, including advice concerning capacity-building, fund development, network connections, projects, and evaluation.

o   Represent the Foundation, its CCE grantmaking, and CCE issues to external audiences through speaking, writing, and other opportunities.

o   Develop and implement activities designed to amplify the effects of Foundation grantmaking (e.g., convenings, communications, connecting with relevant public and private stakeholders), in collaboration with the Foundation’s communications team.

·        Continue learning and expanding the Foundation’s network in the CCE field

o   Keep abreast of current policy discussions, technologies, organizations, trends, and research in the CCE field.

o   Build knowledge of CCE issues, the CCE funding landscape and gaps in the field, and philanthropic grantmaking techniques. Attend workshops and conferences to learn about relevant topics and trends.

o   Join and/or network with relevant affinity groups or individuals to increase access to knowledge and thought partnership.

·        Support Foundation-wide advances

o   Participate in the Foundation’s overall strategic growth as a highly collaborative and supportive member of the senior leadership team.

o   Participate in Foundation-wide committees; diversity, equity, and inclusion work; internal culture-building; and training sessions.

o   Help the Foundation promote and maintain environmentally friendly office practices.



Desired Qualifications

Candidates are not expected to have experience in all areas listed in this job posting and will have an opportunity to learn and grow in the role.

·        Demonstrated long-term success in relevant professional experience, including leading strategies, people, and teams.

·        Passionate about achieving the goals of the CCE program and the Foundation.

·        A respected leader in the field, with broad expertise on the issues, key players, and strategies and tactics to advance policies.

·        Proven ability to design and implement successful, bold strategies while prioritizing resources to maximize impact.

·        Demonstrated sound judgment and critical thinking skills, with the ability to consider multiple perspectives and act thoughtfully with integrity.

·        Collaborative leadership style, respecting differences while working toward shared goals; flexible and committed to leading with humility, humor, and an openness to adapting and learning.

·        Strong track record of developing trusting, productive relationships in the field and operating with a deep sense of authentic respect for grantees and the individuals they serve, as well as engaging in a partnership-driven approach to grantmaking and change.

·        Exceptional relationship building and communication skills, including the ability to be an excellent listener and connect with a wide range of stakeholders.

·        Eager to mentor, coach, and motivate team members to continuously grow and learn.

·        Proven organizational and project management skills, with a keen attention to detail.

·        Excellent research, analysis, and synthesis skills.

·        Commitment to family philanthropy as a mechanism for change.

·        Self-motivated, with a proactive approach to work, an eagerness to learn, and a motivation to stay at the forefront of developments in the field.

·        Proficiency with all Microsoft Office applications.

·        Ability to accommodate travel (once it is safe to do so).

Compensation and Benefits

·        The starting salary for this position is $260,000 to $340,000 per year, depending on skills, experience, and geographic location. We conduct an annual review of our salary ranges and make adjustments based on data from our peer organizations.

·        We offer a comprehensive employee benefits package that includes employer-paid medical, dental, and vision insurance for employees and dependents, long-term disability, business travel, and life insurance, flexible spending accounts for medical and child care expenses, a 401(k) plan (with a matching contribution of up to 16%), commuting assistance, an employee assistance program (EAP), tuition reimbursement and a generous professional development budget, matching gifts, fitness reimbursements, fertility assistance, mental health counseling, and identity theft protection. In addition, we allow schedule flexibility and telecommuting, with manager’s approval.

·        Paid time off includes:

o   Vacation: starts with three weeks/year, with increases based on tenure

o   Sick Leave: 12 days/year

o   Personal Days: two days/year

o   Family Medical Leave: 10 days/year

o   Parental Leave: 6-16 weeks, depending on tenure

o   Holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; President’s Day; Memorial Day; Juneteenth; Independence Day; Labor Day; Veterans’ Day; Thanksgiving Day (and day after); Year-End Break (December 24th through New Year’s’ Day)

How To Apply

Application Process

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse pool of applicants. Foundation policy prohibits unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital status, physical disability, mental disability, military service, legally protected medical condition, or any other consideration made unlawful by federal, state, or local laws. Reasonable accommodation will be made so that qualified applicants with disabilities may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.

Our success is dependent on our ability to build teams that include people with different experiences who can challenge each other’s assumptions with new perspectives. We encourage people of color, from under-resourced communities, immigrants, LGBTQIA+, and others with diverse perspectives and experiences to apply.

The Foundation has retained CEA Consulting to lead this search. Interested and qualified candidates should apply by clicking here to upload a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements. Please direct any questions to Eileen Ashton at All correspondence will remain confidential.


Sign up