Program Director, Democracy (HJF)

About the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund

The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund (HJF) works to advance equality and justice so every person can thrive and to live life with dignity and hope. Rooted in the Bay Area, the Haas, Jr. Fund is guided by an enduring set of core values. These values reflect the founders’ vision and shape everything HJF does.

  • Inclusion: HJF celebrates the rich differences in human identity and embraces the perspectives of all people.
  • Respect: The Haas, Jr. Fund is guided by the wisdom and voices of people and communities working for change.
  • Collaboration: HJF believes in the transformative power of working together to advance a shared vision.
  • Courage: The Haas, Jr. Fund takes a stand to make a deep and lasting difference on urgent social issues.

HJF focuses on a set of issues it believes are at the core of advancing equality and opportunity in its home state of California and the broader society: Democracy, College Success, Immigrant Rights and LGBT Equality.

The Haas, Jr. Fund aspires to build a culture that’s inclusive and allows all of us to live and breathe our values and lean into the Fund’s core strengths. It believes deeply in its staff and works to develop their skills and help them grow. The Haas, Jr. Fund collaborates to lift up good ideas and diverse perspectives, they take care of each other, and embrace innovative solutions to the challenges at the core of their work. 

The Haas, Jr. Fund has a full-time staff of about 20 professionals and assets of approximately $450 million. Located in downtown San Francisco, it has awarded over $600 million in grants since its founding in 1953. For more information, visit us online at

For more information, visit us online at

The Opportunity

The Program Director for Democracy will lead the Haas, Jr. Fund’s efforts to advance fair and representative democracy through increasing civic engagement of historically marginalized populations and removing structural barriers to ensure every person has an equal opportunity to positively shape the future of California and the nation.

Democracy in the U.S., California and locally is at a crossroads due to a range of issues, which include consistently low civic participation and voter suppression; outsized influence of special interests and dark money; persistent barriers to achieving representative leadership; and rampant misinformation. The Haas, Jr. Fund is seeking a Program Director who can work creatively to respond to challenges and capitalize on opportunities in partnership with civic advocates, community leaders and other partners to advance fair and inclusive civic values and policies.

At this critical time for the health our nation’s democracy, the Program Director will have an opportunity to build on the Haas, Jr. Fund’s past accomplishments, reputation, and strengths to implement a bold vision for a new program. This unique opportunity is suited for an ambitious leader who is willing to take risks, exhibits strategic agility, and thrives by continually learning from successes and setbacks.

The Program Director for Democracy reports to the Vice President of Programs and is responsible for:

Strategic Grantmaking and Partnership

  • Providing strategic partnership and supporting the efforts to achieve a fair and representative democracy at the local, state, and national levels as thought leader, alliance builder, strategist, and fundraiser;
  • Directing the development and implementation of the Fund’s democracy program priorities, identifying levers for impact, establishing goals and objectives, and directing grantmaking;
  • Playing an influential role beyond grantmaking by providing grantee partners, civic advocates, foundation representatives, and allies with strategic advising, resource connections, and additional supports;
  • Collaborating with foundations and additional partners to develop initiatives, leverage resources, and engage in cross-movement efforts;
  • Preparing grant and strategy recommendations, and educating the Board of Directors, staff, and other stakeholders on challenges and opportunities for advancing fair and representative democracy;
  • Managing the democracy program grants portfolio, including due diligence, financial reviews, site visits, compliance with applicable rules and regulations, and evaluation; and
  • Providing mentorship to staff assigned to support and advance the Fund’s democracy program by providing ongoing direction, coaching, and professional development support.

Field Knowledge and External Relations

  • A high level of knowledge about US and California’s democracy field including structural barriers to fair and representative democracy, laws and policies, grassroots civic engagement practices, and trends;
  • Understanding of the ecosystem of democracy influencers that span grassroots campaign leaders as well as structural reform proponents;
  • Providing an active leadership role in fundraising and attracting other funders to the fair and representative democracy movement;
  • Participating in the philanthropic sector and represent the Fund in public arenas and forums to advance the program strategy, including affinity groups and funder collaboratives; and
  • Helping deepen partnerships with public, nonprofit, and other sectors and leaders to advance mutual goals.

Candidate Profile

The Haas, Jr. Fund seeks an accomplished and visionary leader who is passionate about having impact and committed to justice and equity. The Fund seeks a leader who will bring the richness, passion, and wisdom that comes from being grounded in the lives of the marginalized communities they serve, gained either through personal lived experience or through work at community-based nonprofits. The ideal candidate will feel the “fierce urgency of now” and have the following professional and personal skills, qualities, and characteristics:

Strategic Initiative and Policy & Advocacy Experience

The Program Director will have a demonstrated track record of success moving a strategic policy or project initiative from vision to impact in partnership with community leaders. They will have direct experience in issue focused movements and an ability to advance social change agendas, showing progressively greater leadership responsibility and impact in the democracy and civic engagement field. The Program Director will have a deep understanding of the experience of populations historically marginalized from the democratic process and leadership, including lower income communities, people of color, immigrants, women and youth, particularly in California. They will have a demonstrated ability to bring people together across differences to focus on common goals such as shaping an electorate reflective of the population or removing structural barriers to participation. With a solid understanding of philanthropy, the Program Director will bring substantial experience working in a nonprofit or similar environment.

Relationship Building and Communication Skills

The Program Director will have excellent writing skills, with an ability to write clearly, succinctly, analytically, and persuasively in a jargon-free and inspiring way. They will possess strong research and analytical skills, and able to synthesize complex information in a way that appeals to broad groups. With a track record of building good working relationships across a diverse team, they will have a nuanced awareness of the complexities of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity and orientation. The Program Director will have excellent public speaking skills and ability to engage different sectors and audiences such as board members, other foundations, public sector leaders, and nonprofit and movement leaders. They will embody humility, with an emphasis on getting the work done and leading from behind. Comfortable operating in times of ambiguity, the Program Director will be highly organized with ability to manage a high workload and move many projects forward simultaneously. They will be committed to continuous improvement and technical learning.

Passion for the Mission and Values

The Program Director will embrace and contribute to the Fund’s mission and values, including a deep commitment to advancing equality and justice for all, while professionally representing the Haas family and the Fund. The Program Director will embody compassion, a sense of humor and joy, and a commitment to doing the highest quality work. They will also be an effective team member, contributing to the effectiveness of colleagues and positively contributing to organizational culture.

Excellent Judgment

The Program Director will have the maturity and sound judgment required to act thoughtfully and lead effectively. They will have keen analytical skills and the ability to think critically, evaluate risk, make sound decisions, solve problems, and explain and justify recommendations to diverse audiences. The Program Director will be creative and be able to think about age old problems in new ways. They will be politically astute and exercise good judgment in a range of situations.

Additional Desirable Attributes

Candidates can come from a range of backgrounds. Experience in philanthropy with impactful grantmaking is highly desirable. Leadership elsewhere in the nonprofit, government, or private sectors would also be attractive.  

Connections to, and an understanding of, the Bay Area and California is desirable, but is not a requirement. Fluency in a second language and experience living, studying, working, or volunteering abroad is also desirable.

Compensation & Benefits

The salary range for this position is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience. The Haas, Jr. Fund offers an excellent benefits package including generous medical, dental, and vision plans; paid time off and other paid leave policies; a substantial employer contribution to pension; transit subsidy; and volunteer and matching grant support.

To Apply

Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Alex Corvin and Ally Johnson are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link here or email [email protected]. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit

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  • Reed Young
    published this page in Job Board 2020-11-17 16:13:34 -0500