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Program Officer, Democracy & Climate

Crankstart Foundation

Crankstart Foundation

San Francisco, CA, USA
165,000 – 175,000 USD per year
Posted on Tuesday, February 6, 2024

About Crankstart:

Crankstart envisions a vibrant, thriving Bay Area, where our region’s prosperity is shared, strengthened, and realized by all who live here. We are a family foundation, based in San Francisco, working with others to address social issues and their underlying causes. Our main interests are education; a thriving democracy; economic mobility; housing security; the environment; and the basic sciences. In 2022, we made over $200m in grants, with 60% going to nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area. Crankstart is very much a startup and consists of 11 core team members of diverse backgrounds. We value authenticity, collaboration, learning, commitment, and hope.

The Opportunity:

Crankstart is currently hiring for a Program Officer to support our philanthropic and community engagement efforts related to Democracy and Environment.

The Program Officer manages multiple grant portfolios within the Democracy and Environment strategy areas, which include criminal justice, immigrant justice, voting, and the environment. You lead ongoing development, prioritization, and implementation of discrete funding activities to further the impact of our giving. You identify and meet with organizations to do due diligence and make funding recommendations to your team and the Board while demonstrating our values and remaining grantee-centered. You ensure the impact of Crankstart’s investments is being appropriately measured, analyzed, and reported to senior foundation staff and the Board.

You collaborate with other programmatic staff to maintain strategic and organizational alignment across issue areas and drive projects focused on ensuring our grantmaking processes are running smoothly for everyone involved. You ensure the voices, inputs, and lived experiences of our grantee partners, community leaders, and grantee beneficiaries (e.g., students, clients, residents, etc.) are at the center of our decisions and practices.

We are looking for an individual who is passionate about advancing social justice; is knowledgeable about one or more of the following areas: criminal justice, immigrant justice, voting, and environment; has experience with collective impact efforts and efforts to advance policy priorities or other forms of structural change; is excited to move quickly and learn; is excellent at managing multiple projects; and is enthusiastic about being part of a small, dynamic team.

This position is a hybrid role based in San Francisco and reports to the Senior Program Officer – Democracy & Environment.

Key Responsibilities:

Grantmaking and Relationship Management (40%)

  • Identify and research nonprofit and community organizations that would be strong grantees for our funding priorities, including reviewing and analyzing proposals and reports.
  • Coordinate and facilitate conversations with prospective and current grantees to learn more about their work and invite their feedback on Crankstart’s work.
  • Write and present funding recommendations to the team and the Board, answering key questions about why we should support a local nonprofit or community organization.
  • Communicate funding decisions to prospective, current, and past grantees with authenticity and diplomacy.
  • Plan and coordinate check-ins with grantees and other key partners (e.g., peer funders, local elected officials, etc.) through email, video calls, site visits, and phone calls to understand their needs and identify patterns across portfolios.
  • Serve as the primary point of contact for grantees.
  • Scope and drive special grant projects with multiple stakeholder groups (e.g., a Request for Proposals, grantee convening, etc.) in collaboration with other program team members at Crankstart.
  • Independently organize, allocate, and distribute resources within a portfolio in response to emerging needs or opportunities.

Measurement, Evaluation and Learning (40%)

  • Ensure information is being collected so that Crankstart can evaluate the impact of our investments and how we can further support strategic priorities.
  • Monitor, analyze, and present outcome data in a way that conveys the successes and challenges of our investments.
  • Drive strategic alignment across portfolios by proactively surfacing needs, insights, and trends across the Democracy and Environment ecosystems that may impact grantmaking strategy and practice.
  • Scope and lead strategic learning and evaluation projects to evaluate philanthropic impact and effectiveness of funding activities, using historical data from Crankstart’s grants to date and research from the field.
  • Participate in and occasionally facilitate annual strategic planning processes to support team understanding of the Democracy and Environment issue areas.

Team Operations (20%)

  • Update and maintain the information systems that support the Democracy and Environment team’s work.
  • Be a team player as needed, supporting Crankstart’s broader strategies and team and nurturing professional skills in others.


  • You have 6+ years of professional experience, with at least 3-5+ years of direct professional experience in various roles across the Democracy (criminal justice, immigrant justice, voting) and/or Environment ecosystem, and across segments (e.g. nonprofit, public, private, etc.)
  • You are passionate about advancing social justice.
  • You have experience working on complex, long-term projects that involve a diverse range of stakeholders and types of people, both internal and external to an organization.
  • You thrive in a dynamic startup environment - you can shift gears quickly to adapt to changing priorities and enjoy doing a little bit of everything.
  • You have participated in end-to-end organizational strategic and operational planning processes, including goal setting and budget forecasting.
  • You are hungry to make a difference and recognize that big and small tasks alike add value.
  • You possess lived experience with California’s racially and economically diverse communities.


This is a hybrid role. Candidates must be able to travel to Crankstart’s San Francisco office at least 3x a week and occasionally travel nationally to build relationships with partners and grantees.


The starting salary for this role is $165,000 - $175,000. Crankstart offers a competitive salary based on experience and a benefits package including medical and dental, a 15% 401k match, generous vacation and paid holidays, and an Employee Giving Alignment Program.

Equal Opportunity Statement:

Crankstart is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, mental or physical disability, veteran status, age, or any other legally protected status. Crankstart also prohibits harassment of applicants or employees in any of these protected categories. We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our employees and partners. Consistent with that commitment and in light of the substantial and growing body of evidence that vaccinations remain the most effective protection against the spread of COVID-19, we require that members of our workforce be fully vaccinated.

To Apply:

Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC has been retained to conduct this search. Interested and qualified candidates should apply by emailing a resume and substantive cover letter to search@marthamontagbrown.com. All correspondence will remain confidential.

Crankstart Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.