Program Officer for Human Rights at Heising-Simons Foundation (flexible/hybrid within GA or NC)
About Heising-Simons 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 science research, enhance the education of our youngest learners, and support human rights for all people. In 2022, the Foundation awarded more than $141 million in grants. The Foundation’s grantmaking is guided by humility, courage, justice, opportunity, sustainability, innovation, relationships, and integrity.
The Foundation’s Human Rights program envisions a society where people can freely live whole, safe, dignified lives. We are far from this vision in the United States because structural racism pervades our society and manifests through punishment systems — mass incarceration and immigrant detention. The result is the criminalization of poor Black, Indigenous, and other people of color (BIPOC), and it is visible all around us: these communities are overrepresented in our country’s jails, prisons, and detention centers, and are under-resourced in our economic, political, and social justice sectors. The Human Rights program focuses on four states: California, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas.
To best challenge mass incarceration, immigrant detention, and the mass criminalization of BIPOC communities, the Human Rights program invests in 1) building the power and capacity of the grassroots; 2) creating healthy justice reform and immigrants’ rights ecosystems that center the grassroots in their work; and 3) advancing reimagined approaches to safety, justice, and accountability. Through these investments, the Human Rights program seeks to contribute to a country where grassroots movements have the power to lead and define change to dismantle the incarceration and immigrant detention systems and create new paradigms of safety, justice, and accountability not appended to the current punishment systems. This is described in the Foundation’s multi-year strategic plan, approved by the Board in 2020.
In 2022, the Human Rights team made grants totaling approximately $30M through the Foundation and $5M through the Heising-Simons Action Fund.
About the Opportunity
The Program Officer (PO) is a strategic and collaborative individual who has demonstrated experience in, and a commitment and passion for, supporting and building the capacity of grassroots organizations to build power, strengthen democracy, and address mass criminalization. This position would lead two of the four states of focus for the program, Georgia and North Carolina, managing C3 and C4 grantmaking.
The PO provides leadership and strategic guidance to the Foundation’s Human Rights team, the Foundation, and the Heising-Simons Action Fund, our 501(c)(4) organization. This position reports to the Director of Human Rights and works collaboratively with the Human Rights team composed of three Program Officers (PO) and two Program Associates (PA). The PO will inherit a portfolio of 40 grantees totaling approximately $10M.
The PO travels regularly, mainly within the U.S., to visit grantees, represent the Foundation at key events and convenings, and to Foundation headquarters in California on a quarterly basis. Specific jurisdictions in this portfolio are Georgia and North Carolina.
Areas of Leadership
To effectively fulfill these responsibilities, Heising-Simons Foundation seeks candidates with most of the following competencies and qualifications.
Human Rights Subject Matter Expertise: Serve as a subject matter expert in the Human Rights team’s grantmaking strategy in North Carolina and Georgia, coordinating with the team’s work in other states. Build and foster ecosystem expertise about criminal and immigrant justice, advocacy, organizing, and civic engagement in North Carolina and Georgia. Help set vision, direction, and strategy for the team’s current and emerging grantmaking. Manage portfolios by making and monitoring grants, conducting learning, reporting, and site visits, and ensuring compliance.
- Key Qualifications:
- Commitment to cross-movement building, i.e., immigration, racial justice, gender justice, economic justice, youth justice, and LGBTQ+.
- Multidimensional perspective on criminalization and justice with an understanding and commitment to racial and gender justice developed through grantmaking, research, organizing, advocacy, direct service, or similar pathways.
- Deep knowledge of criminalization, grassroots organizing, civic engagement, advocacy, and policy-making in the U.S. South.
Field-Building & Partnership Development: Build relationships across team members and Foundation staff, regionally and nationally, with grantees, funders, network partners, and allies. Prioritize relationships and partnerships with impacted communities, advocates, and funders. Navigate divergent viewpoints with people of varying experiences, backgrounds, and opinions.
- Key Qualifications:
- Track record of initiating, building, and fostering relationships with and across networks of grantees and partner communities, advocates, and allies, particularly in the Southern U.S., specifically focusing on North Carolina and Georgia.
- Experience in or knowledge of grassroots organizing, civic engagement, advocacy, and policy-making in the U.S. South.
- History of navigating and managing power dynamics across peers, colleagues, partners and lines of difference.
Leadership in Grantmaking: Manage a C3 and C4 grants portfolio and budget focused on Georgia and North Carolina. Screen proposals and prospective grantees, applying breadth of expertise and a clear understanding of the Foundation’s strategy and interests. Support prospective and existing grantees to develop and submit proposals, budgets, and reports. Provide non-financial support to grantees, including advice concerning capacity building, fund development, project activities, and learning. Actively partner with the Foundation’s grants management and legal teams to ensure grants adhere to internal and external compliance requirements around reporting and policy-setting.
- Key Qualifications:
- Prior experience working in or proximal to philanthropy via non-profit fundraising, with an understanding of the grantmaking process and/or experience assessing organizational capacity and financial health.
- Strong interpersonal skills, with the ability to develop and sustain productive and collaborative relationships with colleagues, grantees, stakeholders, and others in ongoing, multifaceted partnerships.
- Ability to effectively navigate multiple tech platforms, write crisply, and manage multiple tasks and deadlines.
Organization & Team Leadership & Participation: Work collaboratively across the Human Rights team and the Foundation’s other program and operations staff. Support and foster the Foundation’s culture of learning by participating in - and sometimes leading - workshops, discussions, training, onboarding etc. and giving and receiving feedback. Provide thought partnership to colleagues on the Human Rights team and colleagues across the Foundation, sharing ideas and strategies to strengthen the impact of work.
- Key Qualifications
- Experience supporting and collaborating with internal and external stakeholders through growth, strategic pivots, and changes.
- Track record of furthering internal learning through leveraging networks and resources such as training, conferences, workshops, and engagement opportunities.
- Solid organizational skills and the ability to quickly synthesize and convey complex concepts to diverse audiences.
Candidates can come from a range of backgrounds. Experience in philanthropy is highly desirable. This position description is intended to summarize the position's general purpose and essential functions. It may change as circumstances warrant and include other duties deemed necessary by management.
Compensation and Benefits
The starting salary range for candidates living in the South is $135,000 to $155,000 per year, depending on location and experience.
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 2:1 match for employee contributions of up to 8%), commuting assistance, an employee assistance program (EAP), mental health counseling, tuition reimbursement, and a generous professional development budget, matching gifts, fitness reimbursements, fertility & adoption assistance, and identity theft protection. In addition, we allow flexible schedules.
Location and Travel
The PO is expected to be based in Georgia or North Carolina. This position will entail regular travel, mainly within the U.S., including visits to grantees, Foundation headquarters in California on a quarterly basis, and representing the Foundation at key events and convenings.
Heising- Simons Foundation Commitment to Equal Opportunity
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, reproductive health decisions, 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 depends on our ability to build teams that include people with different experiences and expertise who can challenge each other’s assumptions with new viewpoints and bring different perspectives to the team. We encourage women, people of color, formerly incarcerated individuals, immigrants, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and others with diverse perspectives and experiences to apply.