Senior Impact Assessment and Learning Officer

The James Irvine Foundation
October 25, 2021
One Bush Street Suite 800, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Job Type


Senior Impact Assessment & Learning Officer
San Francisco, CA
The James Irvine Foundation (“Foundation”) seeks a curious, adaptive, and highly collaborative learning strategist to serve as its next Senior Impact Assessment & Learning Officer. Guided by the foundation’s Impact Assessment and Learning Framework and working across different teams, the new Senior IA&L Officer will help facilitate cross-departmental and strategic learning efforts to inform grantee, staff, and board insights and decision-making. This is an attractive opportunity for an accomplished and dynamic learning professional to play a key role in strengthening strategic and comprehensive impact efforts as the foundation grows its staff and programmatic portfolio.
The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California. The Foundation’s vision is a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided more than $2.09 billion in grants to organizations throughout California. The Foundation ended 2020 with more than $3 billion in assets and provided $109 million in grants. We have about 60 staff across our San Francisco and Los Angeles offices. The Irvine Foundation is committed, internally and externally, to the values of accountability, curiosity, empathy, equity, nimbleness, partnership, and transparency.
The Foundation’s programmatic efforts are focused on three major, multi-year initiatives: Better Careers, Fair Work, and Priority Communities with additional initiatives on the way. Since the Foundation is ever-evolving, adjusting for social relevance and policy shifts in both its current initiatives as well as piloting new ones, investments in program development, implementation, and learning are highly integrated. With a significant expansion of staff and grantmaking resources underway, there is a corresponding opportunity to bring new capacity to the Impact Assessment and Learning team. IA&L at the Foundation supports assessment and learning efforts to guide strategy and enhance impact; advance accountability and transparency about what the Foundation is doing and learning as well as how that learning is being applied; and, where relevant, uplift these experiences so that they can be leveraged by others. We seek to ensure that evaluation is done equitably and in service of equity with those we seek to serve at the center of our work. To accomplish this, the Senior IA&L Officer will collaborate with others to build multiple spaces and modalities for Foundation staff, grantees, and partners to interrogate and evolve their practices, determine how/if they align with evolving foci and principles, identify next steps, and provide strategic tools and resources to advance their work.
Reporting to the Director of Impact Assessment & Learning, Kim Ammann Howard but working closely and collaboratively with other IA&L team members, program staff, and foundation leadership, the Senior IA&L Officer will be a close partner and strategist around institutional learning and impact. As each Initiative manages its respective programmatic evaluation efforts, the Senior IA&L Officer will be charged with advising Initiative Directors and their teams at key points along their learning journey and pulling out salient learning themes that may be applied in other areas across the Foundation. They will understand and navigate both the potential and challenges presented by the Foundation’s projected growth, working to facilitate learning by building capacity, providing a suite of learning tools and methodologies tailored
to each situation, and possess the organizational acumen to work deftly with a range of personality and professional types. In this sense, they will serve as a learning concierge for Foundation constituencies – helping to select resources and facilitate learning in each appropriate context. As a result, it will be important that, more than a tolerance for ambiguity, the Senior IA&L Officer possess a keen appetite for creativity and the ability to support the curiosity of others.
Ideal candidates will have a strong understanding of organizational and systems-level change management and evaluative practices that drive learning and reflection. They will also bring an extensive amount of experience in applied social science activities, which preferably includes philanthropic contexts. Compelling candidates for this position must be highly motivated, capable of self-directed work, detail-oriented, and able to work collaboratively across teams and departments. Incumbents must exhibit a keen sense of responsibility and enjoy working with multiple demands, shifting priorities, and ongoing change. While an understanding of current evaluation and learning concepts, norms, and practices is important, formal education in evaluation or experience as a professional evaluator is not required. Candidates must have experience facilitating convenings, workshops, and peer learning across issues; a history of working with an explicit focus on anti-racism, equity, and inclusion; and proficiency in developing learning agendas, materials and other products that advance learning and adaptation. An understanding of the principles, strategies, and mindsets required to organize individuals to influence institutions and a broader field is critical.
Previous experience working in a complex organization is highly desired, as is the ability to hold space for others, understand multi-directional power flow and experience working in collaboration with a kaleidoscope of organizations, consultants, and sector leaders with different missions. The successful candidate will be a strong relationship builder. Excellent organizational and interpersonal skills are necessary. Strong verbal and written communications skills are absolute musts. Most importantly, a personal and professional commitment to anti-racism, equity and inclusiveness is vital to advancing the work, including the understanding of how one’s own identity and lived experiences inform their work.
The Senior Impact Assessment & Learning Officer – Impact Strategist and Learning Concierge
The Senior IA&L Officer will work closely with the Director of IA&L as a strategic thought partner to help lead the Foundation’s assessment and learning activities, including contributing to a culture of shared learning that increases staff, grantees, and partner impact, and supports ongoing improvement and adaptation. This position is part of an IA&L team at the Foundation that has recently evolved to meet shifting organizational needs. Reporting to the Director of IA&L, the Senior IA&L Officer will play a key role in the management of IA&L activities, including coordinating with IA&L team members and other Foundation staff. This will involve collaborating with, seeking guidance and input from, and creating relationships of trust across Foundation staff.
Core Responsibilities
• Help lead cross-Foundation learning efforts by partnering with others to create the learning infrastructure and support a culture of curiosity aimed at uplifting through-lines of the work across the portfolio;
• Advise on the implementation of IA&L plans for grantmaking programs and initiatives and related measurement, data collection, and feedback systems that support strategy, grantmaking, and ongoing learning and adaptation;
• Lead planning, facilitation, and documentation of internal reflection and learning events;
• Inform assessment and learning activities by researching, synthesizing, and presenting best practices and innovations in the field;
• Support efforts to build the IA&L capacity of Irvine’s staff and grantees (e.g., through group training, outside workshops, identifying and curating key resources);
• Collaborate with program and communications staff to synthesize lessons and findings of research, evaluations, and other relevant assessments for sharing with the field;
• Actively identify and facilitate opportunities for learning and improving the Foundation’s work within assigned projects.
Qualifications and Experiences of the Ideal Candidate
• While this role requires the abilities often associated with people with bachelor’s and, ideally, master’s degrees, the totality of candidate’s academic, professional, and lived experiences will be taken into account, including equivalent work experience in a related field, such as social science, change management, organizational development, capacity-building, racial equity consulting and training, public policy, etc.;
• At least 10 years of demonstrated hands-on experience supporting the design and implementation of evaluation and strategic learning efforts that utilize a wide range of approaches and methodologies;
• Experience working in or with a variety of types of nonprofit organizations and/or foundations that focus on program, policy and/or community change efforts;
• An organizational learning and effectiveness orientation, with experience developing and implementing processes that advance rigor and learning across an organization and team;
• Experience, comfort, and flexibility to apply different learning approaches and take on a variety of roles (e.g., managing a team, being a coach, upfront role, and behind-the-scenes support), depending on needs, timeframes, and resources;
• Strong interpersonal, facilitation, and group process skills, including the ability to work collaboratively with individuals and teams representing different interests and needs;
• Strong project management and organizational skills, self-directed with excellent follow through and the ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously;
• Good judgment with a high degree of attention to detail and accuracy;
• Excellent written and oral communication, including the ability to distill and explain complex concepts;
• A personal style characterized by humility, flexibility, self-awareness, accessibility, curiosity, a sense of humor, and the ability to work with grace under pressure;
• Excellent computer skills, including intermediary proficiency in PowerPoint and Excel, and the ability to learn and use web-based platforms and databases.
Compensation is set by the hiring manager and human resources, dependent on the experience of the new Senior IA&L Officer, but the base annual salary is starting at an initial target of $155,000 for this role. The James Irvine Foundation offers a competitive benefits package, including comprehensive medical and retirement options, a summary which can be found here. While many Foundation staff continue to work remotely through COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, there will be a shift to a hybrid in-person/remote work arrangement at both San Francisco and Los Angeles offices when it is deemed safe to do so. At this
point, all Foundation staff will be required to have received fully vaccination by one of the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines.
How to Apply
Talent Citizen, a national executive search and consulting firm focused on the pursuit of positive social impact with equity at its center, is partnering with the Irvine Foundation on this search. President Tracy Welsh and Senior Associate Connor Daley are leading this engagement. Additional questions and nominations should be directed to Connor ([email protected]).
Interested parties should please send an updated resume, cover letter, and how you learned of the position to [email protected]