Senior Program Officer

The James Irvine Foundation
October 4, 2021
One Bush Street Suite 800, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Job Type


Vacancy announcement


Position Title:                                      Senior Program Officer

Location:                                               Los Angeles or San Francisco

Reports To:                                           TBD

Status:                                                    Exempt

Application Deadline:                      October 8, 2021.


Foundation overview

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 Senior Program Officer (SPO) role requires a professional with strong analytical abilities, a high degree of initiative, and proven collaborative skills. Reporting to a member of the Program Management Team, this SPO will work in partnership with the Foundation’s program staff and others on the Better Careers Initiative to advance Irvine’s vision of a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically. The ideal candidate has experience in  public and private sector workforce development, strategy development and implementation, grantmaking, developing partnerships with diverse stakeholders, managing projects, and strong interpersonal, writing, and communication skills.


Senior Program Officers also regularly serve as an Advisor to other staff and provide professional development coaching, performance assessments, and oversight.  Irvine has a progressive Work Location Policy and offers  generous retirement, leave, and benefit plans .



Strategy Development and Implementation

  • Lead a workstream within an initiative or grantmaking body of work
  • Substantively inform strategy development within an initiative and/or body of work
  • In partnership with colleagues, assess risk, impact, and implications of grantmaking decisions within an initiative or body of work
  • Consult and coordinate with other Irvine program staff in exploring new grantmaking opportunities within initiatives and/or outside current initiatives
  • Actively participate in assessment and learning activities that inform initiative strategy and continuous improvement and engage in the ongoing refinement of Irvine’s initiatives
  • Remain well informed of current research, activities, and trends in the issues addressed by grantees and initiative/body of work


Grantee Partnership and Support

  • In partnership with the Initiative Director or relevant team leads, identify organizations with strong potential for partnership, conduct due diligence, and assess grantee partners for effective track records, internal capacity, and strategic skills
  • Monitor the performance of a set of grants and coach and advise grantees, including the negotiation of performance milestones to support grantee partner success
  • As appropriate, and in partnership with other Irvine staff, convene grantees and others in the field to advance collective action, networking, and learning opportunities


Managing Projects

  • Demonstrate strong project management capacity and ability to manage several significant projects simultaneously
  • Independently manage outside contractors and stakeholders beyond grantee relationships



  • Collaborate with other staff to coordinate with and contribute to projects and relationships that connect to broader Foundation efforts
  • Maintain a working knowledge of other Foundation efforts
  • Partner effectively across Foundation departments
  • Display strong group facilitation skills and practices

Education and experience

  • A strong desire to contribute to the mission of The James Irvine Foundation
  • Experience in workforce development
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience and background related to the role
  • Experience in strategy development and implementation, managing projects, grantmaking, or project execution focused on benefitting target communities or populations, which could be in the public, nonprofit, or private sectors
  • A strong understanding of issues impacting low-income communities
  • A commitment to and track record of working with underserved communities



  • Ability to learn and work on new content areas quickly
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, listening skills, and judgment in communicating within a variety of settings
  • Demonstrated ability to plan and think strategically, set and achieve realistic goals and objectives, and balance multiple priorities
  • Strong ability to assess the leadership, track record, and capacity of social sector organizations and collaboratives
  • Demonstrate respect for diverse perspectives
  • Personal presence to represent the Foundation in diverse forums and relationships
  • Experience in positively contributing to a culture of learning
  • Excellent attention to detail and follow through
  • A desire to work collaboratively in a dynamic team-oriented environment


Please see the Foundation’s website for a complete position description:

Application Process

Interested applicants should submit their cover letter and resume to:

Email: [email protected]


The James Irvine Foundation

Human Resources Department

One Bush Street, Suite 800

San Francisco, CA 94104

Application deadline: October 8, 2021.

The James Irvine Foundation offers an attractive benefits package. The Foundation is an Equal Opportunity Employer, and we encourage applicants who reflect the diversity of California. Qualified applicants with criminal histories will be considered pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (“FCO”).

The Foundation greatly appreciates all expressed interest.