Communications Officer (HSF)


The Heising-Simons Foundation is a family foundation with offices in Los Altos and San Francisco. 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 $100 million. Since its first grant in 2007, the Foundation has awarded more than $500 million.

Position Summary

The Communications Officer works with the Communications team to advance Foundation and programmatic goals using strategic communications, as well participating in select strategic communications work for the Heising-Simons Action Fund, a sister 501(c)(4) organization to the Foundation.

The Communications team is currently composed of a Director of Communications and two Communications Officers. The Communications Officer’s work relates to:

  1. institutional communications on behalf of the Foundation as an organization; 
  2. programmatic communications in which communications is used, in partnership with program colleagues, as a strategic tool to advance programmatic goals; and 
  3. grantee-focused communications, in which the Communications team works with grantee partners to improve their own communications and communications capacity.

The Communications Officer is also responsible for drafting and editing content and messaging, understanding and working with 501(c)(4) organizations and communications, helping manage consultants, and serving as an active thought partner to the rest of the Communications team and the Foundations’ Program Officers.

The Communications Officer reports to the Director of Communications. This full-time (37.5 hours per week), exempt (salaried) position is based in our Los Altos office, with one day each week in our San Francisco, CA office.

Candidates are not expected to have experience in all areas listed in the job posting.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Proactively design communication strategies, including leading implementation and management of communication approaches and tactics for several program areas, with an understanding of determinants of impact and success.
  • Manage multiple communications projects and initiatives concurrently. 
  • Provide critical thinking and communications support to advocacy work.
  • Serve as a thought partner to program officers and grantees, helping define communications goals, audiences, tactics, and message development.
  • Effectively lead teams and manage relationships with communications professionals including consultants and partners.
  • Contribute to, and edit, Foundation written materials that help achieve programmatic and organizational goals and that encourage transparency.
  • Ensure that the organization’s identity and values are reflected consistently.
  • Monitor news and information related to the Heising-Simons organizations, its program areas, and grantees.
  • Serve as a supportive, creative, and flexible team member.

Foundation-wide responsibilities

  • Participate in Foundation-wide committees; diversity, equity, and inclusion work; and internal culture-building.
  • Pursue ongoing professional development opportunities and participate in Foundation-wide training sessions.


  • Excellent analytic and critical thinking skills, with the ability to see the bigger picture and map a road towards completing goals.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with the ability to foster trust and build relationships.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with the ability to translate complex concepts into digestible language for multiple audiences.
  • Successful track record developing communication strategies and campaigns.
  • Experience with rapid response communications.
  • Non-profit and/or advocacy communications experience. 
  • Relevant work experience as a communications officer or a related college degree.
  • Highly organized, creative, and flexible, with the ability to manage multiple projects, plan and prioritize work, and meet deadlines.
  • Intellectual curiosity, passion, and hunger to develop, learn, and try new things.
  • Track record of working with a high functioning team.
  • Technologically savvy, with proficiency in all Microsoft Office applications.
  • Sense of teamwork, community, humor, and integrity.
  • Interest and belief in the Foundation’s programmatic goals and values.

Compensation and Benefits

  • The target starting salary for this position is $115,000-125,000, depending on skills 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 matching contribution of up to 16%), commuting assistance, an employee assistance program (EAP), tuition reimbursement and a generous professional development budget, matching gifts, fitness reimbursements, fertility and adoption assistance, and identity theft protection. In addition, we allow some schedule flexibility and occasional telecommuting, with manager’s approval.
  • Paid time off includes: Vacation Time (starting at 3 weeks per year); Sick Time (12 days per year); Personal Time (2 days per year); Family Medical Leave; Parental Leave; and Holidays.

To Apply

Our success is dependent on our ability to build teams that include people with different experiences who can challenge each other’s assumptions with new perspectives. We encourage people of color, from under-resourced communities, immigrants, LGBTQ+, and others with diverse perspectives and experiences to apply.


Please submit a letter of interest and your resume for consideration. Please apply online here:

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