Program Associate for Human Rights (HSF)

About Us

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 Program Associate (PA) is a member of the Foundation’s Human Rights team. The Human Rights grantmaking portfolio works toward achieving a more just world where people are equally valued regardless of gender, race, class, or citizenship. The program has an intersectional approach to the work, with a focus on immigrant communities and people impacted by the justice system in the U.S. The Human Rights program grantees serve communities directly and build power to improve lives. The program currently funds a mix of established and emerging organizations.

The Human Rights team is currently staffed by one PA, three program officers (POs), and the Program Director (PD). In 2018, the Human Rights team made a total of 51 grants totaling over $12M in grant funding. In 2019, the team is projected to grant more than $17M. This role will work in partnership with the current PA to provide support to the team’s POs and PD.

This position is an opportunity to learn about the U.S. Human Rights field, particularly the immigrant rights and criminal justice fields, and philanthropy. Candidates are not expected to have experience in all areas listed in the job posting.

The primary responsibilities of the PA are to:

  • Serve as the first point of contact for grantees and grant seekers.
  • Work closely with the Grants Management team to ensure that grantmaking adheres to the Foundation’s grantmaking and contracting policies, procedures, and deadlines.
  • Provide administrative support to the entire team, ranging from calendaring to research.

The PA position will report to the Human Rights PD with support from the current PA. This full-time (37.5 hours per week), nonexempt (hourly) position can work in either our Los Altos or San Francisco, CA office.

Primary Responsibilities

Provide grants administration support to two POs.

  • Be a point of contact for grantees and grant seekers and offer technical assistance to support the successful completion and submission of grant proposals and reports. 
  • Track grant start and end dates, due dates for deliverables and reports, and changes to grant timelines and scopes of work. Ensure team members and grantees are aware of upcoming deadlines.
  • Keep grant files and contacts current by entering and updating grant information in the Foundation database.
  • Conduct research to inform the program’s grantmaking, including, (1) Reviewing organizations’ websites for information about their mission, staff, board members, and recent projects or accomplishments; (2) Reviewing organizations’ financials to conduct an initial assessment of financial stability; and (3) Reviewing reports, products, and press to gather background information on prospective grantees. 
  • Work with team members to draft, format, and proofread written materials for grants, including grant summaries, budgets, and overview memos.

Provide administrative support to the Human Rights team.

  • Manage calendars and meeting requests daily and make travel and other logistical arrangements, as needed.
  • Arrange and attend meetings and phone/video conferences, and plan logistics of convenings ranging from 2 to 50 attendees. 
  • Plan and attend grantee site visits, when team members visit grantees to learn more about their work. 
  • Work with team members to draft, format, and proofread materials, including memos, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and other documents.
  • Help to track manage the program’s workflow and deadlines.
  • Support the management of contracts by monitoring expenditures and submitting invoices and authorized expenses to the Director of Finance for payment. 

Support the Human Rights program’s strategy implementation, learning, and evaluation

  • Communicate the Human Rights program’s strategy and grantmaking guidelines to internal colleagues and in external meetings. 
  • Communicate the Foundation’s history, values, and programs in external meetings. 
  • Support strategic implementation activities, including collating historical grants data and other information and contributing to strategies and presentations.
  • Conduct research, analyze data, and prepare reports, as guided by the POs and PD.
  • Track current research, policy changes, and trends in the areas of human rights and philanthropy by reviewing news and professional publications and by attending related conferences, meetings, and other events. 

Support the Foundation’s organizational evolution.

  • Help the Foundation promote and maintain environmentally friendly office practices. 
  • Pitch-in across the Foundation, as important deadlines or events approach, and participate in Foundation-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion work, internal culture-building, and process-improvement activities and initiatives.
  • Pursue ongoing professional development opportunities and participate in Foundation-wide training sessions.


  • Relevant work experience or a related college degree.
  • Committed to the Foundation’s Human Rights program values, goals, and strategies.
  • Experience with and passion for social justice issues and/or movements (preferred).
  • Able to manage and prioritize a large volume of tasks and deadlines with attention to detail.
  • Able to read, write, and produce professional written materials.
  • Able to communicate and work effectively with people of different backgrounds, internally and externally, to achieve shared goals.
  • Reliable, resourceful, proactive, and motivated to find creative solutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Able and willing to quickly learn and use new systems of technology, such as Microsoft Office applications, Salesforce, Zoom, and Box. Experience developing presentations in PowerPoint and maintaining databases is a plus. 
  • Committed to living the Foundation-wide values.

Compensation and Benefits

The target starting salary for this position is $60,000-70,000, depending on 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.

Application Process

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 complete our online application, including a letter of interest and your resume.

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