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The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
Program Officer

Explore Company PosterThe William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is seeking an Environment Program Officer.

About the foundation:

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world. For more than 50 years, it has supported efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, improve lives and livelihoods in developing countries, promote the health and economic well-being of women, support vibrant performing arts, and strengthen Bay Area communities. In addition, we also make grants for special projects and to address other timely problems, such as challenges related to cybersecurity. Our newest program focuses on strengthening U.S. democracy. In 2020, the foundation announced a new grantmaking commitment focused on racial justice. The Hewlett Foundation’s assets are more than $10 billion with annual awards of grants totaling more than $450 million. More information about the Hewlett Foundation is available at: www.hewlett.org.

About the position:

Preserving the environment has been a cornerstone of the Hewlett Foundation’s philanthropy since its founding in 1966. To that end, the Environment Program supports organizations working on land, water, climate, and energy issues, including opportunities to engage people on the ground where issues are unfolding. Reflecting the global context of threats and challenges to our sustainability, the Hewlett Foundation’s board is committed to addressing climate change at scale and for an indefinite time. The program’s strategies and climate and energy-related grants are made with an eye to achieving deep decarbonization by 2050. This long time horizon and aggressive target reflects the Hewlett Foundation’s sense of urgency: the opportunity to make a difference in solving global warming is now.

The primary focus of this position will be on decarbonizing transportation at scale, but with recognition that transformational solutions for climate also necessitate rapid decarbonization of power and other end uses like buildings and industry. One promising way to make progress across these sectors simultaneously is to decarbonize power generation while electrifying transportation, buildings, and industry wherever possible. Hence, while the primary focus of this position will be on transportation, innovative solutions should be developed in recognition of this interrelationship. In addition, whatever approaches the Program Officer develops should recognize the need to promote diversity and inclusion while advancing equity.

Hewlett’s climate work is focused in the world’s largest emitting countries and regions—namely, India, China, the United States, and Europe—and the Program Officer’s strategy and grants will be devised to build public and private will to accelerate zero emissions transportation and electricity within and across these geographies. The Environment Program recently released a Zero Emission Transportation Strategy on which the new Program Officer can and will be expected to build.

The Environment Program’s climate team works collaboratively in a matrixed fashion, and each Program Officer oversees work in a region as well as a subject area. In addition to global work on transportation and electrification, the new Program Officer will oversee the Climate Initiative’s strategic grant portfolio in India. India is critical to solving the climate challenge and affords unique opportunities to demonstrate that development goals can be met while decarbonizing the economy. This will require partnering with government, business, and civil society to set meaningful goals and devise pathways to achieve them. The Program Officer will have the opportunity to refresh the Climate Initiative’s India strategy and work with partners to implement it.

The Program Officer will have the following goals and responsibilities:

  • Identify grantmaking opportunities that allow for systemic approaches to electrify the global economy, beginning with transportation and paying due attention to considerations of equity and inclusion.

  • Identify approaches that support a shift in our thinking from near-term and incremental efforts to reduce emissions to identify the longer-term changes needed to mitigate the climate problem.

  • Review and assess grant proposals and support implementing evaluations of grants and program initiatives.

  • Maintain current knowledge of global transportation, electricity, buildings, industry, and economic systems issues.

  • Make site visits, attend conferences, and engage private sector, academic, nonprofit, and policy leaders in exploring integrated perspective on the future of mobility and other economic and energy systems.

Professional qualifications:

This is a senior position that involves representing the foundation externally and working with leaders of prominent organizations. The Program Officer should ideally embody the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

  • At least eight years of work experience in energy and transportation systems from a climate perspective.

  • Deep knowledge of technological, policy, and economic pathways available to mitigate energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and the barriers that inhibit implementation.

  • Experience working on an international level, with a deeper focus on India.

  • Excellent, demonstrated quantitative, analytical, and research skills.

  • Strong interpersonal skills plus proven competency and interest in working in an international environment with a highly diverse employee population.

  • Great organizational and collaboration skills, combined with flexibility and a positive attitude.

  • Demonstrated experience in program development and ability to involve and mobilize interdisciplinary teams. Persuasive oral and written communication skills.

  • Bachelor’s degree in related fields of energy policy, clean transportation, environmental economics, energy systems, etc. required. Master's or higher degree in related fields desired.

Personal attributes:

  • Commitment to the values and mission of the Hewlett Foundation. Commitment to the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

  • Personal creativity and strategic vision, coupled with an ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas – a sense of humility, inquisitiveness, and intellectual curiosity.

  • Ability to generate and deliver clear and persuasive oral and written communications. Ability to inspire trust, to organize people into teams, and to motivate team members to work well together.


Compensation for the Program Officer includes a competitive base salary, and an excellent employee benefits package. The position is based in Menlo Park, California.

Physical demands/work environment:

The physical demands described are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to sit for extended periods of time and to travel via various modes of transportation for extended periods of time. The foundation employees are currently working remotely through September 13, 2021. 

Effective September 13, 2021, the foundation will require all staff, vendors, and visitors accessing our office to be fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

To apply:

Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter responding specifically to the experience and qualifications being sought to: Daniel Sherman, president, Explore Company at resumes@explorecompany.com. Refer to Hewlett/POE in the subject line. No phone inquiries please.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation embraces the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion both internally,
in our hiring process and organizational culture, and externally, in our grantmaking and related practices. We are an
equal opportunity employer and welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, cultures, and experiences.

All correspondence will remain confidential.


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