San Francisco, CA

Senior Program Officer - Democracy & Climate, Crankstart

The Organization

Crankstart is a private foundation based in the Bay Area. The Crankstart mission is to support leaders and organizations with the know-how and tenacity to take on tough problems which have no quick or easy answers. Crankstart currently supports efforts in democracy, education, economic mobility, housing security, climate, and science.

Crankstart is primarily focused on helping build a stronger and more just San Francisco and Bay Area for all. We focus our giving primarily in San Francisco, Oakland and Chicago. In 2022, Crankstart made over $200m in grants with about 60% going to nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area, 44% of whom are based in San Francisco.

Crankstart is currently a small, lean team of nine with plans to grow efficiently over the next few years. As a funder, Crankstart aims to build trust, be responsive and enable leaders and communities to identify problems and solutions that matter most to them. We have an equity-oriented team that prioritizes collaboration and inclusion, as well as healthy disagreements in all directions.

Crankstart was founded by Michael Moritz and Harriet Heyman who are actively engaged as Board members. As early signatories to the Giving Pledge, they have committed to giving away the majority of their wealth in their lifetimes.

Crankstart envisions a vibrant, thriving Bay Area, where our region’s prosperity is shared, strengthened, and realized by all who live here. We are a family foundation, based in San Francisco, working with others to address social issues and their underlying causes. Our main interests are education; a thriving democracy; economic mobility; housing security; the environment; and the basic sciences. In 2021, we made over $250m in grants, with about 60% going to nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area. Crankstart is very much a startup and consists of 10 core team members of diverse backgrounds. We value: authenticity, collaboration, learning, commitment, and hope.

For more information about Crankstart, please visit

Position Overview

The Opportunity

Crankstart is seeking an equity-centered strategic leader to serve as a Senior Program Officer (SPO) leading Crankstart’s work focused on democracy (voting engagement, voting rights, criminal justice and immigration) and climate (greenhouse gas emissions and environment-related problems disproportionately affecting local low-income communities). The SPO will function as a high-level individual contributor and people manager. The role oversees two bodies of work:

Democracy. The SPO will lead Crankstart’s democracy funding strategies and grantmaking focused on voting engagement and voting rights, criminal justice and immigration. Crankstart’s historic voting work has been national in nature while much of our immigration work is focused within the Bay Area and California. Our work intends to generate the conditions and support the leaders needed to help democracy become a system for the people and by the people. This means building a strong and engaged multiracial electorate that expands the rights and secures justice for those who have been sidelined.

Climate. The SPO will lead Crankstart’s climate funding strategy and oversee related grants. In this newer portfolio, the SPO will look to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address environment-related problems disproportionately affecting local low-income communities. Current areas of interest include enabling a faster transition to good, green jobs, enabling innovation for sustainable production and distribution of food and protecting nature to mitigate climate change.

The SPO will spend about 80% of their time, effort and resources on democracy and 20% on climate work.

The Senior Program Officer shapes and oversees multiple grant portfolios within the democracy and climate strategy. You lead ongoing development, prioritization, and implementation of discrete funding activities to further the impact of our grantee partners. You collaborate with other senior leaders to maintain strategic and organizational alignment across issue areas and oversee and delegate projects to program officers to ensure our grantmaking processes are running smoothly for everyone involved. You identify and meet with organizations, conduct due diligence, and make funding recommendations to your team and the Board. You ensure Crankstart is always listening to and learning from our grantee partners and other community leaders.

We are looking for an individual with: 1) substantive leadership experience in one of the following areas: voting, criminal justice, and/or immigration, along with a strong interest in climate; 2) a track record of improving the outcomes of historically marginalized communities; and 3) a strong ability to break down system-level problems to a set of levers that can be addressed through philanthropic strategies.

The SPO will report to Crankstart’s Managing Director of Programs. The role is based in the San Francisco Bay Area; this is not a remote position.

Key Responsibilities

Strategy Development & Leadership (45%)

  • In collaboration with the CEO and Managing Director of Programs, lead a comprehensive philanthropic strategy for democracy and climate that supports Crankstart’s overall mission and intersectional work across funding portfolios.
  • Create and execute on annual and long-term operational plans, including budget forecasting and goal setting, to prioritize and resource high impact funding activities.
  • Regularly evaluate philanthropic impact and effectiveness of funding activities, leveraging storytelling, data analysis, and research from the broader field.
  • Educate and advise on democracy and climate topics to further the learning and strategic alignment of work streams across the Crankstart organization, including presentations to the Board.
  • Scope and drive special projects and opportunities to innovate and accelerate progress toward community-level outcomes based on the unique needs and input of our target populations.
  • Work with other senior leaders to advance their work via a collective spirit and one aimed at improving the lives of residents in San Francisco and Oakland.

Grantmaking and Relationship Management (35%)

  • Appropriately task and support other program officers in the execution of funding activities, grants management, and impact evaluation.
  • Identify and research nonprofit and community organizations that would be strong grantees for our funding priorities.
  • Write and present funding recommendations to the team and to the Board, answering key questions about why we should support a local nonprofit or community organization.
  • Communicate funding decisions to prospective, current, and past grantees with authenticity and diplomacy.
  • Regularly check in with grantees through email, video calls, site visits and phone calls to understand their needs and identify patterns across portfolios.
  • Cultivate relationships with stakeholders and leaders across the democracy and climate ecosystem, including peer funders, elected and non-elected public officials, business leaders, academics, etc. to strengthen Crankstart’s work and drive towards change at scale.

Team Development (15%)

  • Provide mentorship and guidance to direct and indirect reports, including recommending professional development opportunities, making connections and introductions, advocating to other senior leaders on their behalf, etc.
  • Manage the performance of direct reports and/or team within the expectations and structures of Crankstart’s talent development approach.


  • You are hungry to make a difference and recognize that big and small tasks alike add value.
  • You are passionate about supporting and uplifting the work of nonprofit and community leaders in San Francisco and Oakland.
  • You have 10+ years of professional experience in various roles across the voting, criminal justice, immigration and/or climate ecosystem and across sectors (e.g., nonprofit, public, private, etc.).
  • You have 2+ years of experience in a senior leadership role, including managing teams.
  • You have a track record of improving outcomes for historically marginalized communities— from setting clear goals to monitoring progress to attaining ambitious targets.
  • You show up authentically, with an orientation toward collaboration, learning and deep commitment to our work.
  • You have experience with end-to-end organizational strategic and operational planning processes, including goal setting and budget forecasting.
  • You are a strategic thinker and do not shy away from prioritization.
  • You have demonstrated the ability to influence and advise senior leaders at an organization, including founders and Board members.
  • You have excellent verbal and written communication skills with a focus on being able to synthesize complex concepts, information, and your point of view to make decisions.
  • You have experience working on complex, long-term projects that involve a diverse range of stakeholders and types of people, both internal and external to an organization.
  • You thrive in a dynamic, startup environment–you can shift gears quickly to adapt to changing priorities, and you enjoy doing a little bit of everything.


  • You have the demonstrated ability to build genuine, productive, trusting relationships with a diverse array of stakeholders and partners. Lived experience as a person who carries a marginalized identity or identities is highly desirable.
  • You have experience working on campaigns and/or within and across political systems working to improve immigration, criminal justice and/or climate outcomes.

Compensation and Benefits
The target starting salary for this position is $200,000 – $220,000. Crankstart offers a competitive salary based on experience and a benefits package including medical, dental, a 15% 401k match, generous vacation and paid holidays, and a generous Employee Giving Alignment Program.

Work Environment

The SPO is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and a remote option is not available. The Crankstart team currently works from a co-working space in San Francisco on Mondays and offers use of a coworking space 5 days a week from 9am-7pm. The SPO must have the ability to travel to our San Francisco office at least 3x a week, and occasionally travel throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to build relationships with partners and grantees. We will eventually move into a permanent office location in San Francisco while continuing to have a hybrid work model.


We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our employees and partners. Crankstart requires that all employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, except as required by law. Any employment offer will be contingent upon satisfactory proof that you are fully vaccinated from COVID-19, subject to reasonable accommodations for medical or religious reasons, and/or as otherwise required by applicable law.

Application Process

Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC, in strategic partnership with Gumbs + Partners, has been retained to conduct this search. Interested and qualified candidates should apply by sending a cover letter, resume and salary requirements by email to All correspondence will remain confidential.

Crankstart is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, mental or physical disability, veteran status, age, or any other legally protected status. Crankstart also prohibits harassment of applicants or employees in any of these protected categories.

How To Apply

Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC, in strategic partnership with Gumbs + Partners, has been retained to conduct this search. Interested and qualified candidates should apply by sending a cover letter, resume and salary requirements by email to All correspondence will remain confidential.

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