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Program Officer, Climate & Clean Energy

Job Location

Los Altos or San Francisco, CA


Type of Job



$125,000 to $175,000

Published By

Publisher Name

Published Date

Jan 20, 2022

About the job

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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.


The Heising-Simons Foundation is committed to the safety of our staff and to facilitating connection and community with one another and our partners. While we were remote for the large part of 2020 and 2021, we are slowly moving toward a flexible hybrid work arrangement. In 2022, the Foundation is piloting a new flexible hybrid work policy. During the pilot, this position may work remotely and/or from one of our Foundation offices. Staff are required to be on-site for a minimum of 10 days per quarter and as needed to successfully fulfill their responsibilities.


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 2021 the Foundation awarded approximately 60 grants totaling $25 million in CCE grant funding, and the Action Fund awarded approximately 20 grants totaling more than $10 million in CCE grant funding. The program is also increasingly integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into its strategy and grantmaking to mitigate climate change.


Position Summary

The CCE Program Officer plays a key role in shaping the Foundation’s portfolio in response to emerging trends and cutting-edge opportunities. With a focus on clean transportation, the Program Officer identifies and works with prospective and existing grantees, monitors grantee progress, and develops strategies and grantmaking areas for the CCE program. The Program Officer is passionate about advancing climate change solutions that also advance equity, has broad expertise in policy-driven climate mitigation and clean energy opportunities, and thrives in creative team environments. The Program Officer works closely with the other members of the Climate & Clean Energy team to develop strategies and associated grantmaking plans that advance efforts to drive down emissions as fast as possible and at meaningful scale. The Program Officer also partners with staff across the Foundation to collaborate on initiatives that advance the overall goals of the Foundation.


The Program Officer reports to the Director of Climate & Clean Energy. This fulltime, exempt position may be based in either Los Altos, CA or San Francisco, CA as described above.


Primary Responsibilities

Program Management

· Develop strategies and associated grantmaking plans to advance key components of the overall Climate & Clean Energy strategy; author memos on strategies, new subject areas, and/or for new Foundation initiatives.

· Manage the transportation grants portfolio and budget.

· Screen proposals in alignment with the Foundation’s strategy. Work with organizations to solicit proposals for possible funding, develop concise and accurate summaries of funding requests, and answer substantive questions about the proposals. If necessary, develop a complete and coherent rejection rationale for proposals that will not be funded.

· Conduct site visits to current and potential grantees and attend meetings and conferences.



· With a focus on equitable and clean transportation policies, stay abreast of the climate and clean energy policy and advocacy landscape, including emerging trends in the U.S. and other identified geographies.

· Build relationships with grantees, thought leaders, funding partners, and other experts in the field.

· Develop a clear understanding of how organizations fit into the Foundation’s interest in advancing climate and clean energy policy.

· Seek professional development opportunities to deepen skills and broaden knowledge of the program area, philanthropy, and/or the nonprofit sector.


Partnership Development

· Lead thorough collaboration, both inside and outside the Foundation. Plan and host meetings to inform strategy and/or enhance effectiveness of strategy execution.

· Work with the Climate & Clean Energy program team and experts in the field to refine and improve the program’s overall strategy.

· Participate in joint efforts with other foundations and affinity groups of foundations to determine synergies, collaboration opportunities, and/or complementary approach to achieving shared goals.

· Keep abreast of the funding landscape to determine emerging trends, areas of interest, current funding trends, and emerging opportunities.


Evaluation and Learning

· Monitor progress on approved grants and strategies.

· Synthesize information on progress, setbacks, and significant milestones in the field on a regular basis.

· Collaborate with the team to define and prioritize core quantitative and qualitative key performance indicators to support the theory of change.

· Design, create, and maintain an efficient system for tracking core metrics in line with our own goals, as well as board and funder expectations.

· Contribute to both an internal and grantee culture of evidence-based learning.

· Inform Board and management of program developments, including the effectiveness of individual grants, strategies, and opportunities for future improvements.


Foundation-wide Responsibilities

• Participate in Foundation-wide committees and internal culture-building.

• Participate in Foundation-wide training sessions.

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

• Familiarity with the philanthropic sector and appreciation for the structure and stakeholders unique to family foundations.


Learning and Networking

• Attend workshops and conferences to learn more about relevant sector and/or grantmaking topics and trends.

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

• Read and synthesize published literature and web-based resources to increase knowledge of Climate &Clean Energy and/or grantmaking techniques.



· 5+ years of relevant experience in a climate-, transportation-, energy-, and/or policy-focused role

· Demonstrated ability to advance relevant policy through first-hand experience in government, nonprofits, philanthropy, and/or business

· Passion for achieving the goals of the Climate & Clean Energy program

· Strong interest in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion outcomes in grantmaking and internal practices

· Broad and substantive knowledge of transportation and/or energy and climate policy in the U.S. (state, regional, and national); equivalent international or sectoral knowledge a plus

· Familiarity with the climate and clean energy field landscape, as well as advocacy strategies, tactics, and key leverage points to advance policy

· A proactive approach to work, eagerness to learn, and motivation to stay at the forefront of developments in the field

· Demonstrated ability to develop strategies and prioritize resources to maximize impact

· Understanding of the grantmaking process and how foundations function

· Strong research, analysis, synthesis, and written and verbal communications skills

· Detail-orientation with proven organizational and project management skills

· A collegial and diplomatic demeanor, excellent interpersonal skills, and a sense of humor

· A leadership style of facilitation (as opposed to direction) and a genuine desire to work in partnership

· Integrity, solid judgment, and strong strategic thinking skills

· Proficiency in all Microsoft Office applications

· Ability and willingness to travel


Compensation and Benefits

· The starting salary for this position is $125,000 to $175,000 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)


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 following the link below to upload a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements. Please direct any questions to Eileen Ashton at All correspondence will remain confidential.


To apply:

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