Career Opportunities with The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

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Careers At The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

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Director, Grantmaking, Learning, and Operations

Department: Grantmaking Learning & Ops
Location: Menlo Park, CA

Director, Grantmaking, Learning, and Operations

About the 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, the foundation has supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, support vibrant performing arts, strengthen Bay Area communities, make the philanthropy sector more effective, and foster gender equity and responsive governance around the world.

Today, it is one of the largest philanthropic institutions in the United States, awarding over $465 million in grants in 2020 to organizations across the globe to help people build better lives. A fourteen-member board of directors provides overall direction for the foundation.

The Hewlett Foundation has approximately 120 employees in programmatic, operational, and investment roles located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Across the organization, our employees are challenged with meaningful work, have the resources for ongoing professional development and learning, and contribute to a collegial and engaging environment where they can thrive.

For more information about the Hewlett Foundation, please visit its website at

About Grantmaking, Learning, and Operations at the Hewlett Foundation

The Grantmaking, Learning, and Operations (GLO) team focuses on maximizing the impact and effectiveness of, and learning from, grantmaking at the Hewlett Foundation. The department has a unique vantage point across the organization: it partners with program teams and collaborates closely across administrative functions to facilitate the grantmaking process and achieve foundation goals. They also engage across the foundation by leading cross-organization trainings, committees, and initiatives, effectively engaging at all levels in the organization.

From developing tools and processes to implementing systems and advancing best practices through training, the GLO team plays a pivotal role in all grantmaking activities and has a valued voice in all aspects of the foundationís work. The team designs systems to interact with grantees, manages the grant lifecycle, aggregates information, analyzes data, and shares learning and best practices. Working on every program and on every grant, the GLO team is a critical partner and respected resource in the management and implementation of program strategies, serving as thought partners and catalysts for innovation.

The Hewlett Foundation plays a leading role in the field of grants management. Its model is unique in its approach, uniting grant operations with insights and organizational learning. The teamís cross foundation view gives it a distinct understanding of the interconnectedness of roles, goals, organizations, systems, and people. They prioritize and value authenticity, equity, growth, and learning as core pillars of their work together and with others. The structure allows for alignment of values with grant practices and contributes to greater collaboration and sharing of insights, knowledge, reflection, and learning at all levels of the organization.  

The Grantmaking, Learning, and Operations team is currently led by a Director with five grants officers deployed towards specific program, administrative, and project assignments. Also on the team is an Organizational Learning Officer who facilitates opportunities for learning across the foundation and supports programs in monitoring their strategies.

About the Director Position

The Director of Grantmaking, Learning, and Operations serves as a key organizational leader, reporting to the President and as a member of the foundationís senior staff.  The role is extremely collaborative and offers the opportunity to stimulate creative and innovative capacity within a mission- and value-driven organization. The Director will work closely with key internal partners:

  • Chief Equity and Culture OfficerĖ ensure learning, data, and practice agendas are fully aligned and support goals for equity and culture
  • Human Resources teamĖ ensure learning, training, and orientation approaches are aligned with and mutually support HR work on talent development and new employee orientation
  • Effective Philanthropy teamĖ ensure learning and data approaches align with and support internal consulting work and execution of strategies, evaluation, implementation markers, and organizational effectiveness program
  • Program and Initiative directorsĖ important partners and leaders to guide priorities and areas   
  • of attention by the team for practice, learning, and insight

As the leader of the GLO department, the Director:

  • Ensures the foundationís grantmaking practices and approaches are consistent with the foundationís goals and values, as well as consider the trends and changes in philanthropy and importantly, reflect and center the grantee experience
  • Provides strategic leadership to the Hewlett Foundationís staff, grantees, and peer organizations and the field at large regarding grantmaking practice, knowledge, and operations
  • Is responsible for all operational areas of grants management, maximizing the impact and effectiveness of grantmaking at the foundation
  • Leads and develops the team staff of five grants officers and one Organizational Learning Officer with additional support from a half-time Executive Assistant

Key Priorities and Responsibilities


  • Articulate and align connection between Hewlett values and its practice of philanthropy
  • in grantmaking implementation and process (how we work, how we communicate, touchpoints with grantees)
  • Collaborate with foundation President and senior management in making critical assessments and decisions for the foundation; recommend institutional practices and contribute to institutional strategic planning and culture-building processes to build cohesiveness cross-organizationally
  • Continually stay abreast of new developments in philanthropic technologies and best practices, and their applicability to the needs of the foundation. Lead planning, evaluation, and improvement efforts for grantmaking system and technology
  • Represent the foundation externally, gathering and sharing knowledge that will inform foundation and the broader fieldís grantmaking practices

Grant Operations, Systems, and Processes

  • Ensure operational systems and processes for grants management are effective and support the people using them in service to program and organizational goals, vision, and values
  • Design and manage overall grant workflow and processes, ensuring:
    • Proposal and reporting structures are established and met
    • Grant agreements are executed properly
    • Board, finance, legal, and program approval processes use established criteria before execution
  • Create and design frameworks and processes for effective due diligence of grantees and potential grantees in consultation with program staff
  • Develop and manage a framework for grant monitoring and associated data collection
  • Advise and support programs in areas of:
    • Planning (budget, portfolio, workload, timing)
    • Practice (due diligence, application and reporting, approaches to finding and selecting grantees, monitoring and reporting, grant types/terms, equitable practices)
    • Collection and use of data (data sources, data needs, data quality) for their own learning as well as understanding and advancement of their strategic goals
  • Lead short- and long-term planning, including development of annual project and budget plans; monitor pipeline and budget throughout the fiscal year to ensure the appropriate allocation of funds and resources

Data and Insights

  • Promote and implement use of information systems and tools to support research, knowledge, and transparency
  • Partner with programs on data sources and data needs within their fields and areas of work. Advise on grants, grantees, and areas of work related to data, research, and evidence within their field
  • Direct the design and use of data systems that support foundation goals for learning and monitoring; ensure systems include the full scope of data collection, storage, analysis, transparency, use, and reporting of grants-based data
  • Provide internal consulting regarding data collection and data use for learning and planning, including supporting data needs for strategy refresh and other activities
  • Remain abreast of and utilize new developments in philanthropic and field-based technologies and best practices to support data and knowledge management

Organizational Learning

  • Promote and create a culture of strategic learning and knowledge sharing regarding grants and grant practices, both internally and externally
  • Lead organization-wide programs and develop curriculum for staff at all levels and experience to engage in continuous learning
  • Ensure grant data systems support foundation goals for learning and monitoring; strengthen links between knowledge sharing and information systems and tools
  • Establish and nurture internal and external communities of practice, including coordinating workshops, one-on-one guidance, and troubleshooting. Share and cross-pollinate learning and knowledge across communities of practice

Staff Development and Management

  • Determine department reporting structure and oversee development and management of staff, including hiring, training, performance management, professional development, and compensation decisions
  • Cultivate a team that is diverse and inclusive with a deep understanding of equitable practices in grantmaking.  Develop a team culture of clarity, learning, and results. Balance priorities and needs of individual team members, overall team culture, and organization as a whole
  • Support the foundationís goal of fostering an intellectually dynamic and productive workforce

Ideal Candidate 

The ideal candidate is recognized in the field for their commitment and expertise in grants administration. They are inspired by the reach and impact of the foundationís work and driven to contribute their skills to a team at the forefront of philanthropic grants management practices. Their systems orientation and high-level understanding of grants processes allow them to improve and enhance tools and processes, develop new solutions, and stay well-informed of new and emerging options. They are knowledgeable regarding best practices, current issues, and trends in the philanthropic sector.

Known for a collaborative approach, the ideal candidate has an established track record of straightforward, productive relationships grounded in respect for different perspectives and opinions. Working across all levels of the organization and in close partnership with other senior leaders on learning and cross cutting initiatives, the Director needs to bring diplomacy, professionalism, and a desire to listen to and learn from their interactions, be a consensus builder and excellent communicator, and be able to explain complex concepts in a way that generates clarity and inspires action. Candidates for the role should be comfortable managing change and skilled as facilitators.

The role requires effective navigation in a decentralized and matrixed organization. The Director will need to gather broad and balanced input, analyze issues and problems systematically, draw sound conclusions, and translate those into timely decisions and actions. The ability to make decisions despite ambiguity, synthesize large amounts of information (technical, legal, financial, and anecdotal) and determine the most important issues and themes of any project or problem is essential.

We are looking for candidates who have proven themselves as effective team managers, supporting prioritization and goal setting, planning, time-management skills, and professional development. Personally, candidates should be self-motivated and proactive, with the confidence to express their expertise and point of view.


  • A deep understanding of grants processes and related financial and compliance issues as demonstrated by senior leadership role(s) in grants management/administration, ideally in private foundation-related grantmaking
  • Strong systems orientation, with a track record of improving and enhancing existing approaches, developing new solutions, and a willingness to use new and emerging tools
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and implement complex projects and/or formulate institutional-level policy and practice, preferably within a philanthropic, large research-intensive, or social sector institution
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, with experience presenting complex materials in an understandable manner to a variety of audiences

While staff are currently working remotely, the Director role will be based in Menlo Park, CA at the foundationís office when it reopens in what will be a hybrid work environment.

Effective September 13, 2021, the foundation will require all staff, vendors, and visitors accessing our office to be fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Compensation and Benefits

The Hewlett Foundation is committed to providing compensation that is competitive within the philanthropic sector. We offer a generous total compensation package that emphasizes both base salary and comprehensive benefits. The salary range for this role starts at $208,250.  Offers are based on the candidate's years of experience and our practice of maintaining salary equity within the foundation.

To Be Considered

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.

Please submit your resume and cover letter expressing your interest and experience for the position here.

This search is being assisted by GoodCitizen:

Melissa Merritt, Managing Director

Mollie Smith, Associate

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