Communications Officer, Heising-Simons Foundation

Heising-Simons Foundation
Los Altos, California or San Francisco,. CA
$115,000 - 145,000
Feb 23, 2021
Mar 25, 2021
Position Type
Full Time
Degree Level
Willingness to Travel
up to 25%
Experience Level

The Foundation
The Heising-Simons Foundation is a family foundation based in Los Altos and San Francisco, California. The Heising-Simons Action Fund is an affiliated 501(c)(4) organization. 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 2020, the Foundation awarded more than $127.7 million. Since its first grant in 2007, the Foundation has awarded more than $653 million. The Foundation’s grantmaking is guided by the values of humility, courage, justice, opportunity, sustainability, innovation, relationships, and integrity.

The Opportunity

The Heising-Simons Foundation is seeking a strategic communications professional to serve as a new Communications Officer. The Communication Officer works to advance Foundation and programmatic goals using strategic communications, as well as participates 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 team’s approach encompasses three areas of work:

  • institutional communications;
  • programmatic communications, in which communications is used, as a strategic tool to advance specific programmatic goals, in partnership with program colleagues; and
  • grantee communications, in which the Communications team works with grantee partners to improve their own communications and communications capacity.

This new role provides a chance for a self-starter to help grow and expand the Communications work and define new opportunities. The Communications Officer reports to the Director of Communications. This is a full-time (37.5 hours per week), exempt (salaried) position. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all Heising-Simons Foundation staff are working remotely. The Foundation will re-evaluate workplace flexibility when offices reopen later in 2021.


  • Proactively design communication strategies, by helping define and map out goals, audiences, tactics, barriers, and messages, as well as monitor and track success.
  • Serve as a point of contact, and lead implementation and management of communication approaches and tactics, for at least two program areas, with an understanding of determinants of impact and success.
  • Take the initiative to contact and serve as a thought partner to program officers and grantees, helping see opportunities and barriers.
  • Understanding and working with 501(c)(4) organizations and communications.
  • Draft and edit content and messaging, both at a high-level and on Foundation materials including Foundation blog posts.
  • Manage multiple communications projects and initiatives concurrently.
  • Provide critical thinking and communications support to advocacy work.
  • Effectively lead 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.
  • Support internal communications as needed.
  • Serve as a supportive, creative, and flexible team member.
  • Understand the Foundation’s history, values, and current funding initiatives.

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

Compensation and Benefits

The target starting salary for this position is $115,000-$145,000, 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 assistance, mental health counseling, and identity theft protection. In addition, we allow schedule flexibility and telecommuting, with manager’s approval.

Paid time off includes:

  • Vacation: starts with three weeks/year, with increases based on tenure.
  • Sick: 12 days/year
  • Personal Days: two days/year
  • Family Medical Leave
  • Parental Leave
  • Holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day (and the day after), Year-End Break (Christmas Eve through New Year’s Day)

To Apply

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

Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC has been retained for this search. Interested and qualified candidates should apply by sending a cover letter, resume and salary requirements by email to

All correspondence will remain confidential.

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