Jobs Board

Director of Program Development (The James Irvine Foundation)

Company Name

The James Irvine Foundation

Company City

San Francisco/Los Angeles

Company State


Job Location


Company Information

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California. The Foundation’s current focus 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. There are about 60 staff members across their 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.

For more information on The James Irvine Foundation, please visit their website.

Job Description

The Opportunity
Committed to a future where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically in California, The James Irvine Foundation is seeking a new Director of Program Development (“DPD”) to help advance this singular goal. The DPD will join a mission-driven and collaborative team dedicated to identifying and developing new initiatives that help low-income workers have the power to advance economically.

The Program Development function conducts research, assesses ideas, builds partnerships (with business, labor, nonprofit, and public sector leaders), and develops plans to pursue innovative opportunities in support of the Foundation’s overarching goal and current grantmaking initiatives. The program development team, led by the Vice President for Program Development, works directly with the CEO, has significant interaction with the Foundation’s Board of Directors, and partners with portfolio team colleagues to develop new work.

The role will provide continuous opportunities for professional development and growth as well as meaningful collaboration with thought leaders in both the private and public sectors. This is an ideal opportunity for a passionate individual to join a growing Foundation and develop high impact strategy for the allocation of significant resources in order to expand opportunity for the people of California.

Principal Role and Responsibilities
The Director of Program Development role reports to the Vice President for Program Development, who guides, mentors, and oversees the work. The DPD interacts frequently with the CEO, who provides overall leadership for the exploration of new opportunities for impact. The DPD partners with Directors of Program Development, the VP for Program Implementation, and Initiative Directors and team leads on the Program Team to assess, plan, integrate, and implement new impact opportunities. The DPD is responsible for managing a grantmaking portfolio. This role supervises the work of an analyst who will structure and execute analyses to support assessment and development of opportunities. The Director of Program Development:

  • Identifies opportunities for new projects and initiatives and facilitates cross-portfolio learning, utilizing multisector partnerships, grantmaking, and other Foundation assets, to advance Irvine’s singular focus on a California where all low-wage workers have the power to advance economically
  • Builds relationships with leaders in other organizations (labor, private, public, and nonprofit) to develop opportunities into executable project/initiative pilot plans
  • Assesses those opportunities, using rigorous data analysis, to determine their potential for impact, their alignment with the Foundation’s strategy, approach, and existing initiatives, among other criteria
  • May lead pilots to understand potential impact of the opportunity, the partners, and the implementation challenges, including making grants to partner organizations
  • Designs and facilitates multi-stakeholder sessions to develop new ideas and/or integrate and collaborate with program staff
  • Works with the VP for Program Development, other senior staff (including the CEO), and the board, to determine whether and how to pursue opportunities
  • Develops implementation plans when it makes sense to do so, in concert with the VP for Program Implementation and team members drawn from across the Foundation (as needed)
  • Synthesizes information and develops written summaries of new concepts and plans
    As part of the portfolio team, works in partnership with other grantmaking staff to integrate new opportunities into the overall grantmaking portfolio
  • Serves as an Advisor for program staff to aid in their professional development

Job Qualifications

Candidate Profile
The Director of Program Development of The James Irvine Foundation will possess the following attributes and competencies:

Passion for the Mission

The Director of Program Development will have passion, commitment to, and urgency for the mission of The James Irvine Foundation. This individual will possess or have the capacity to quickly gain content expertise aligned with the Foundation’s work and strategy, including knowledge of small businesses, workforce development, organizational development, and capacity building. The DPD will have experience and comfort with applying a racial equity lens to their work, including acknowledging persistent, pervasive racism in institutions and systems that must be eliminated if we are to improve outcomes for all Californians.

Strategic Mindset

The Director of Program Development will excel at high level strategy development and will serve as a creative thought partner, with other DPDs and various stakeholders, to create, oversee, and implement The James Irvine Foundation’s strategic vision. Possessing the ability to lead hypothesis- and data-driven issue analyses, the DPD will create strategy processes and products that are organized, and compelling. Drawing on deep project management experience with cross-functional teams and external partners, this individual will ensure stakeholder engagement and insights are advanced across all phases of strategy development. The DPD will possess the ability to think long-term, while drawing on their operational management experience to oversee day-to-day responsibilities.

Critical Thinker & Excellent Judgement

The Director of Program Development will have the critical thinking skills necessary to design, analyze, and evaluate pilot projects to maximize impact. Possessing their own point of view and excellent judgment, this individual will excel at resolving the conflicting opinions of various stakeholders through prioritization and savvy decision-making. The DPD will function as the nexus of many stakeholders, with the ability to manage up, down, and across the organization in order to advance work in development.

Relationship Savvy: Builder & Connector

The Director of Program Development will have a sincere passion for collaboration and co-leading. The DPD will be able to build trusting relationships with colleagues across bodies of work to move internal strategy forward and drive implementation. Possessing extraordinary emotional intelligence, the DPD will excel at advancing work while navigating diverse and sometimes conflicting opinions. This individual will be comfortable leading on their own, as well as supporting their peers and others and acting in an advisory capacity.

A credible and humble communicator, the DPD will also have the ability to build authentic relationships and work closely with diverse external stakeholders across public, private, foundation, and nonprofit sectors in order to advance strategy. Possessing superlative presentation, facilitation, and communication skills, the DPD will be comfortable representing The James Irvine Foundation externally to grantees, labor groups, businesses, and partner institutions.

Continuous & Flexible Learner

The Director of Program Development will be intellectually curious and a lifelong learner. This individual will eagerly gather insights from colleagues and external stakeholders in order to advance strategy, as well as their own professional development. Adaptable and flexible, the DPD will excel at working across multiple priorities and managing strategy as it evolves under the direction of the Board, the CEO, and Program leadership. The DPD will value innovation and risk-taking, and will possess a zest for learning from failure. Bringing experience with change management, this courageous individual will deftly lead internal and external stakeholders in new directions when necessary to increase the Foundation’s impact.

Compensation & Benefits
The James Irvine Foundation’s compensation philosophy is reflected in its Talent Advancement Program, which was created to assure equity in staff compensation. While every staff member is assigned a Tier based on demonstration of competencies, the Foundation looks to outcomes as criteria for advancement through the program’s Tiers. The positions are benchmarked against relative industry and occupational groups and reviewed each year, with the goal to deliver compensation equitably throughout the organization. For more information, please review Compensation Practices at Irvine.

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”).

How to Apply

Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Michelle Bonoan, Medelene Beasley, and Jennifer Smith are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role, please visit here or email , , and . All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

The James Irvine Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. The James Irvine Foundation seeks diversity in its community and affords equal employment and advancement opportunities to all qualified individuals without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, citizenship status, medical condition, or any other legally protected status.

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