Career Opportunities with The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

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Program Officer

Department: Gender Equity and Governance
Location: Menlo Park, CA

About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world. For more than 50 years, it has supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries, promote the health and economic well-being of women, support vibrant performing arts, and strengthen Bay Area communities.

In addition, we also make grants for special projects and address other timely problems, such as challenges related to cybersecurity. Our newest program focuses on strengthening U.S. democracy. In 2020, the Foundation announced a new ten-year grantmaking commitment focused on racial justice. The Hewlett Foundation's assets are more than $11 billion, with annual awards of grants totaling more than $450 million. More information about the Hewlett Foundation is available at:

About the Gender Equity and Governance Program 

The Gender Equity and Governance Program makes grants to improve the well-being of people. 
Our grantmaking focuses on:

    Women's empowerment including expanding access to high-quality reproductive healthcare and economic opportunities; and
    Contributing to improved government effectiveness by increasing the responsiveness of governments to their citizens' needs and creating the conditions for evidence-informed policymaking.

The Program has a geographic focus on East and West African countries. Many of our grantees also work at a regional or global level to create norms and standards and support advocacy and collective action across sectors and geographies. In the United States, the Foundation pursues an agenda to improve women's ability to exercise reproductive choice and rights, and a portion of our Transparency, Participation, and Accountability work is in Mexico. The Gender Equity and Governance Program team consists of around 18 staff, including nine program officers.

Program Officer, Evidence-Informed Policymaking (EIP) Role Profile 

The Gender Equity and Governance Program (GEG) seeks a  Program Officer (PO) to work on our Evidence-Informed Policymaking strategy (EIP). This position will advance our work to create conditions for governments in our geographic areas of focus to be more effective and evidence based. The Program Officer reports to the Program Director, GEG.

The Program Officer will join the GEG team at a time of strategy evolution.  The EIP team is engaged in deep learning about progress to date and is preparing to refresh its grantmaking strategy in 2022. This program officer will work with the EIP teams to administer and support a large portfolio of existing grants, and over time, transition and evolve our grantmaking to effectively implement an updated and refreshed strategy.  As the Program Officer becomes more familiar with the Hewlett Foundation's approach to Outcome-Focused Philanthropy, the Program Officer will play a critical role in implementing the new EIP strategy both through grantmaking and other "beyond the grant dollars work."  Our beyond the grant dollars work typically includes learning from, coordinating with, and influencing other funders in the field by participating in donor collaboratives and other partnerships; making connections and promoting learning among grantees; amplifying grantees' voices by sharing their stories and connecting them with other funders and practitioners; and capturing and sharing what we are learning from our grantmaking through blogs, speaking opportunities, and other forms of knowledge sharing and influencing.  

In addition, the Program Officer will coordinate internal EIP team processes. In 2021 and 2022, the Program Officer will facilitate team alignment on a refreshed strategy. This work includes managing strategy and evaluation consultants who will support that process. Throughout his or her term, the Program Officer will facilitate ongoing team-wide learning, decision-making, and administrative tasks. That includes coordinating teamwork to track progress, engage with the Foundation's board of directors,  and manage the budget. inc

A key part of a Program Officers' role is developing and maintaining strong and trusted relationships with grantees, funders, and other actors in their fields of work, and often fostering collaboration and collective action among them. In line with the Hewlett Foundation's guiding principles of working with grantees in collaborative, mutually respectful ways, the Program Officer identifies and supports creative solutions to ensure the success of individual grantees on an ongoing basis as well as through formal grant proposal review, due diligence, and assessment. Meanwhile, the Program Officer identifies gaps and opportunities in the field, which can lead to developing new lines of grantmaking, fostering new collaborations, or commissioning research, learning, and evaluative work to better understand and advance governments' effectiveness and use of evidence to improve decision-making.

The Program Officer contributes to the Foundation's interest in and practice of outcome-focused philanthropy, developing and updating strategies, identifying benchmarks and milestones to assess progress against these strategies, and planning and commissioning evaluations to contribute to learning and better understanding the Foundation's and grantees' contribution to impact. A key aspect of this work is to stay abreast of trends in theory and practice in evidence-informed policy making and government effectiveness. The Program Officer will also work with other colleagues across  GEG to identify opportunities for cross-strategy and cross-sector collaboration and work with colleagues across the Foundation to promote cross-foundation learning, contribute to the overall culture of the organization, and promote and put into practice the Foundation's values and practices of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Ideal Profile

The Foundation seeks an innovative and strategic thinker and resourceful self-starter who is passionate about promoting government effectiveness and evidence-informed decision making in Africa. Much of the Foundation's work involves building strong institutions, strengthening the field, and contributing to changes in government systems.  This work is upstream from our goal of improving social and economic policies, and ultimately people's well-being.
We seek a strategic thinker who can help us select and advance upstream work that has strong long-term potential to contribute to our ultimate goal and make a meaningful impact on people's lives.

The ideal candidate has the ability to thrive in a role with autonomy within an environment that is also highly collaborative, communicative, and team-oriented. Success in the role requires curiosity, the ability to identify, absorb and use information from a variety of sources and to apply it in decision making, an enthusiasm to share learning about grantmaking practices and grantees' activities, and the ability to collaborate with people with different perspectives and styles. The ideal candidate will be an agile and rigorous thinker and be comfortable engaging in collegial debates about the future direction of programming. Excellent listening and facilitation skills, confidence, candor, curiosity, a sense of humor, humility, energy, and a commitment to the Foundation's guiding principles are all essential characteristics for the role.

To manage and evolve a relatively large portfolio of grantees, the Program Officer will have to apply a combination of sound judgment, creativity, and qualitative and basic quantitative analysis skills. A commitment to fiscal stewardship in both grantmaking and administrative activities is also essential. The Foundation seeks a Program Officer who is comfortable operating with broad strategic parameters and exploring opportunities that can lead to bold and unconventional approaches.

Qualifications and Experience

  • The Foundation welcomes candidates from a variety of professional backgrounds and experience, which provide the following essential qualifications:

  • Ten or more years working in and with extensive knowledge of social and economic development, policy, research, program implementation, or advocacy, particularly in Africa. 

  • Has held positions inside and/or outside of government that allowed the candidate to develop: experience advancing governments' use of evidence;  a track record of fostering engagement among government and non-governmental actors; a deep understanding of policy formulation and implementation processes and of the roles non-governmental actors can play in these processes; and empathy for governments' constraints, opportunities, and authorizing environments. 

  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically and to translate ideas into practical actions, including through: development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies; management of a portfolio of projects and/or grantmaking; ability to use data, evidence, and quantitative/qualitative analytics to develop a strategy, allocate resources, and assess progress; and ability to work seamlessly across strategic, substantive, and administrative . aspects of work. The candidate should demonstrate a record of prioritizing and contributing to maximizing for impact on people's well-being, including in the context of work on structural or systems change that might be several steps removed from direct impact for people. 

  • Ability to work with and foster collaboration across diverse stakeholders, including through: bridging and building relationships and inspiring collaboration across sectors such as the public sector, civil society, academia, funding agencies, international organizations, private sector, or the media; and ability to listen attentively and synthesize ideas from across disciplines. Facilitation skills, including leading convenings, driving groups forward, promoting learning.

  • Strong communications and representational skills including: capacity to communicate clearly with diverse audiences, including grantees, colleagues, boards of directors, policymakers, and other donors (government and private); and demonstrated experience/skills in representing or acting as a spokesperson for an organization to external audiences, such as public speaking, appearing on or moderating expert panels, facilitating peer-to-peer dialogue, or sharing and influencing ideas through external communications platforms. 

  • Strong and demonstrated track record of pursuing a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) agenda in prior work environments. 

  • Long-term experience (i.e., 2-plus years) living and working in low income, lower-middle-income, or middle-income countries, with a preference for experience working in Africa 

  • Ability to travel domestically and internationally, as needed, around 25%-35% of time (once global health conditions allow it).

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications for daily use (Word, Excel, Outlook Calendar).

  • Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience; expertise in one or more disciplines relevant to improved government performance and effectiveness e.g., gender and development studies, anthropology, economics, master's degree in business, public administration, political science, public policy, sociology, etc. a plus.

Desirable qualifications include:

  • Experience working to improve national or sub-national government performance and effectiveness, or performance and effectiveness of an international institution, with a cross-sectoral emphasis. This experience could occur through direct work inside a government or international institution or indirectly (e.g., through technical assistance or grantmaking).
  • Knowledge of and strong existing relationships within the evidence-informed policy field 
  • Professional experience related to multilateral or regional and global institutions, including through working within, conducting research on, or influencing policymaking processes of such institutions.  Experience working with African regional and national agencies and/or European donors is a plus.
  • Proficiency in French.
  • Expertise in one or more disciplines relevant to improved government performance and effectiveness, e.g. gender and development studies, anthropology, economics, master's degree in business, public administration, political science, public policy, sociology, etc. 

Physical Demands/Work Environment

The physical demands described are representative of those that an employee must meet to perform the essential functions of this position successfully. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to sit for extended periods of time and travel via various modes of transportation for extended periods. The foundation employees are currently working remotely through mid-September 2021. When we do return to the office, it will begin with a phased and voluntary approach.

Terms of Appointment

This is a full-time position, with the successful candidate being contracted for a maximum of eight years. Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. A pension plan, life, and medical insurances are included in the benefits package.

Location: Menlo Park, CA, USA.

How to Apply

If you wish to be considered for this position, please complete the Application Form on the SRI website on or before 4 August 2021. In Addition, we encourage you to please attach a copy of the most recent English version of your CV in Word format. 

All information will be treated in the strictest confidence as we pride ourselves on our professional service.

If you have an initial query rather than an application, kindly email us at

SRI Executive is exclusively retained by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to undertake this assignment.

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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