Program Officer, Climate & Clean Energy

Heising-Simons Foundation
Closing Date: 
Sat, 03/30/2019

Heising-Simons Foundation

Program Officer, Climate & Clean Energy

Los Altos or San Francisco, CA

Full Time


About the Foundation

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. In 2018, the Foundation awarded more than $95 million. Since its first grant in 2007, the Foundation has awarded more than $400 million.


The Climate & Clean Energy Program

The goal of the Foundation’s Climate & Clean Energy 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. We aim to help make energy clean, affordable, safe, and reliable for all. The program’s grantmaking supports organizations that help advance policies to spur large-scale progress curbing pollution and ensure that a low-carbon future is a prosperous one for the most vulnerable communities. We do that by funding efforts primarily in the U.S. focused on four strategic areas: advancing climate policy to limit greenhouse gas emissions; transforming the energy sectors that are the primary source of pollution; cutting the most potent pollutants, such as methane; and seizing time-sensitive opportunities to achieve large-scale emission reductions. The Climate & Clean Energy program’s strategy will evolve as needed to ensure our funding supports the best opportunities to achieve systemic change. The program has awarded more than $18 million in grants so far in 2018.


Program Officer, Climate & Clean Energy

A new role within the Foundation’s growing team, the Climate & Clean Energy Program Officer will play a key role in shaping the Foundation’s portfolio in response to emerging trends and cutting-edge opportunities. The Program Officer will identify and work with prospective and existing grantees, monitor grantee progress, and develop strategies and grantmaking areas for the Climate & Clean Energy program. The Heising-Simons team is seeking a candidate who is passionate about advancing climate change solutions, has broad expertise in policy-driven climate mitigation and clean energy opportunities, and thrives in creative team environments. The Program Officer will work closely with the three 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. The Program Officer will also partner with staff across the Foundation to collaborate on initiatives that advance the overall goals of the Foundation. The Program Officer will report to the Director of Climate & Clean Energy.


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 a 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.
  • Work with the Climate & Clean Energy program team on grant and budget management.



  • 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 through 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. Keep abreast of the funding landscape.


Evaluation and Learning

  • Synthesize information on progress, setbacks, and significant milestones in the field regularly.
  • Monitor progress on approved grants and strategies. Keep the Board and management informed throughout the year about developments within the program area, including the effectiveness of individual grants and strategies and opportunities for future improvements.


Desired Qualifications

  • 5+ years of relevant experience in a climate-, energy-, and/or policy-focused role
  • First-hand experience advancing policy whether through a role in government, nonprofits, philanthropy, or business
  • Passion for achieving the goal of the Climate & Clean Energy program
  • Broad and substantive knowledge of energy and climate policy in the U.S. (state, regional, and national)—equivalent international or sectoral knowledge a plus
  • Familiarity with the landscape of organizations involved in the climate and clean energy field, 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 (not 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 Foundation offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience. The Program Officer will be based out of the Foundation’s offices either in Los Altos or San Francisco, CA, and will travel regularly, mostly within the U.S., to visit grantees and represent the Foundation at key events and convenings.


To Apply

CEA Recruiting is assisting the Heising-Simons Foundation with this search. To be considered for this position, please follow the link below to submit your resume, cover letter, and salary requirements through CEA’s job portal. Please direct all applications and inquiries to CEA Recruiting. CEA will begin reviewing applications in January; this position will remain open until filled.


Apply here:


The Heising-Simons Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. We welcome a diverse pool of applicants and make employment decisions on the basis of 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.


CEA Recruiting works with leading environmental nonprofits, foundations, and businesses to recruit top talent and design effective organizational staffing strategies. For more information, visit