The Heising-Simons Foundation in Los Altos, CA is seeking an Education Program Officer who will manage the Foundation’s Early Education (ages birth to eight years) grantmaking. The Education Program Officer is a key position within the Foundation, and reports to the Education Program Director. The Program Officer identifies and works with prospective and existing grantees, monitors grantee progress, and explores new grantmaking areas. Close collaboration with other program officers is an important part of the work.
The ideal candidate should have: 1) a relevant graduate degree in child development or early childhood education with a focus on ages birth to eight years; 2) a background and deep understanding of early childhood development and education, with a focus on ages birth to eight years, including knowledge of key early childhood education research findings and best practices; 3) 5+ years’ relevant educational or professional work experience in early childhood education with experience in family engagement activities; 4) experience in and knowledge of research and evaluation methods; 5) experience and understanding of California’s early education policy and practice and linkages with K-12 education and prior grantmaking experience are a plus.
The Heising-Simons Foundation is a family foundation based in Los Altos, 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.
Mark Heising and Liz Simons each grew up with a tradition of giving, learning about the importance of the communities that surrounded them, and of the value of philanthropy. They met at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1979. Liz earned her master’s in education from Stanford University, became a Spanish-bilingual teacher, and founded Stretch to Kindergarten, a spring-summer early childhood education program. Mark earned his master’s in electrical engineering and computer sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, became a chip design engineer, and went on to hold six U.S. patents. In 2007, they established the Foundation, and were later joined on the board by their daughter, Caitlin Heising, who graduated from Brown University and works with a nonprofit human rights and strategic philanthropy consultancy.
The Foundation’s board and staff feel incredibly fortunate to work with, and support, great leaders and organizations in vital endeavors.
In 2016, the Foundation awarded more than $54.8 million. Since its first grant in 2007, the Foundation has awarded more than $233 million. Explore the Foundation’s 2016 Year in Review here.
Understand the Foundation’s history, values, and current funding initiatives.
Possess in-depth knowledge of early childhood education (ages birth to eight years), including current research, policy, and practice issues; innovative programs; and key leaders and organizations.
Review proposals for research, evaluation, policy, advocacy, and/or practice.
Work with the Education team to develop strategies for the Foundation’s Early Education grantmaking.
Participate in and support ongoing strategic planning efforts which will include identifying near and long-term objectives, defining strategy targets, and measuring and monitoring progress
Identify and work with prospective and existing grantees, monitor grantee progress, and explore new grantmaking areas.
Work collaboratively with program officers focusing on areas of early childhood policy and systems, early math, family engagement, and dual language learners to coordinate and leverage grantmaking opportunities.
Screen proposals, applying breadth of expertise and a clear understanding of the Foundation’s interests.
Conduct site visits to current and potential grantees.
Write coherent, accurate, and complete summaries of funding requests.
Monitor progress on approved grants, including scheduling and setting standards for, and reviewing, interim and final reports.
Answer substantive questions about individual projects and program areas and assess contributions of these investments towards the Foundation’s strategic objectives.
Provide non-financial support to grantees, including advice concerning capacity building, fund development, project activities, evaluation, and opportunities for collaboration with other Foundation grantees as appropriate.
Work closely with Foundation Communications staff on issues related to early education.
Attend Board Meetings to discuss and support program strategies and grant recommendations.
Provide program information to and interact with the Board throughout the year.
Keep the Education Program Director, the senior leadership team, and the Board informed on developments in the Early Education program area. Prepare senior staff and the Board for meetings, conferences, and grantee visits.
Know the funding landscape, including other funders who support similar projects, and participate in joint efforts with other foundations and foundation affinity groups.
Represent the Foundation professionally by responding to inquiries, attending meetings and conferences, and publishing in appropriate venues.
Develop position papers on new subject areas and new Foundation initiatives, including developing RFPs for funding within assigned areas.
Seek professional development opportunities to broaden knowledge of early education, philanthropy, and the non-profit sector.
Keep current with research findings and advances in methods.
Equal Employment Opportunity
The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome a diverse pool of applicants and make employment decisions based on merit. Foundation policy prohibits the unlawful discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, age, marital or caregiver status, physical disability, mental disability, military service, legally protected medical condition, prior record of arrest or conviction, 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, any special needs at the time of application.
Compensation and Benefits
The Foundation offers an excellent benefits package and salaries that are commensurate with education and experience.
A background and deep understanding of early childhood development and education, with a focus on ages birth to eight years, including knowledge of key early childhood education research findings and best practices.
5+ years’ relevant educational or professional work experience in early childhood education with experience in family engagement activities
Experience in and knowledge of research and evaluation methods.
Experience and understanding of California’s early education policy and practice and linkages with K-12 education would be a plus.
Demonstrated initiative and the ability to plan and think strategically about program design and implementation, manage large projects and budgets, set realistic goals and objectives, effectively balance multiple priorities, and manage time well.
Excellent research, writing, and communication skills, including an ability to synthesize material and to identify major opportunities in a specific area.
A highly self-motivated individual who takes initiative, possesses strong interpersonal skills, and develops productive relationships with colleagues, grantees, and stakeholders as part of multifaceted partnerships.
An understanding of how foundations function and of the grantmaking process. Prior experience in philanthropy or grantmaking organizations preferred.
Excellent communication skills and the ability to represent the Foundation in diverse forums.
Personal motivation to exhibit the Foundation’s values, and support the Foundation’s mission, vision, and goals.
Integrity, solid judgment, and critical thinking skills.
Proficient in all Microsoft Office applications.
Able to travel locally and nationally as needed to achieve the goals of the Education program and the Foundation.
Martha Montag Brown & Associates LLC is a nationally known, full-service executive search practice and one of the few with a unique focus on philanthropy, community affairs, and corporate responsibility.