Administration, Environment and Conservation, Foundations and Philanthropy, Health, Nonprofit and Social Impact

Special Initiatives Director

  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Los Altos, CA

This position has been filled.

About The David Lucile & Packard Foundation

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children, families, and communities—and restoring and protecting our planet. Guided by the principles of our founders, we think big and serve with humility.

Our grantees are making positive change all over the world and in our own backyard. We are known for our work protecting the climate, oceans, and land and for advancing reproductive health and rights. We also work hard to ensure that all children and families have what they need to succeed. Our capacity-building projects help non-profit leaders build more powerful and impactful organizations and movements.

People join the Packard Foundation because they believe in our mission. They stay for the community of talented and thoughtful colleagues who care deeply about making a meaningful impact. Advancing diversity, equity and inclusion is central to all our endeavors. We are committed to continually improving our efforts to lift up diverse voices, to advocate for justice and to foster inclusivity –both within the Foundation and in our grantmaking.

The organization lives the values it supports. Our green headquarters is net zero energy and LEED® Platinum. Our bathrooms are gender neutral. Employees get a full week of paid time each year to volunteer with a non-profit of their choice. The Foundation also has a generous donation matching program for staff.

There is much work to do in the world and our local communities. At the Packard Foundation, we are committed to doing it with the highest levels of integrity, effectiveness and caring.

For more information on the Packard Foundation, please visit website.

Department Overview

The President’s Office provides leadership for the Foundation, overseeing all operational, administrative, and programmatic work with the Board of Directors. The President’s Office supports the Foundation’s programmatic goals and objectives and serves as liaison between the Foundation and the Board of Trustees, as well as representing the Foundation in the philanthropic world. Internally, the President’s Office coordinates and creates board and committee materials and organizes board meetings.

The Special Initiatives team is a modification of the past grantmaking structure for the Directed Grantmaking funds, which have previously been managed by the Organization Effectiveness Director and the President’s Office together. This new team manages the three funds that make up the Special Initiatives portfolio: the President’s Fund, Special Opportunities Fund, and the Agility Fund. The SI portfolio makes investments in organizations and projects that lie outside of the Foundation’s established program strategies or budgets, directed by the CEO and Board of Trustees. The Foundation has typically made between $40-$60 million available for this type of grantmaking annually.

The SI team also supports the operational aspects of grantmaking for the Racial Justice and Equity program and Democracy, Rights and Governance grantmaking at the Foundation. The team works collaboratively with each other, Foundation program teams, and other partners.

The Opportunity

This is a unique opportunity for a creative thinker who brings a high level of authenticity and personal maturity to elevate the responsiveness and the impact of the Foundation at this critical time.  The Special Initiatives Director will build and lead the SI grantmaking team, working closely with the President & CEO and Trustees to make critical grants and maximize the impact of the funds in the SI portfolio. There is tremendous opportunity for impact within the scope of this position through catalytic and responsive grantmaking.

The ideal candidate is a strong manager and a team leader who brings experience in grantmaking and is eager and curious to explore new topics and approaches.  They will welcome a fast pace of work and changing cadences, consider themselves a versatile generalist, be comfortable with ambiguity and possess exceptional interpersonal and relationship-building skills.

Specific Responsibilities:

Oversight of Strategy

  • Working with the President & CEO, the Special Initiatives team, and Foundation leadership and Trustees, ensure that the Special Initiatives resources are used to respond in real time to critical issues of the day and truly drive catalytic change.
  • Supervise all grantmaking for the SI team, overseeing the grantmaking process across the portfolio.
  • Work with the President & CEO and Trustees to manage grantmaking decisions and communicate with the relevant stakeholders throughout the decision-making, monitoring, and reporting process.
  • In cooperation with the Evaluation and Learning team and the Associate Program Officer, set evaluation and learning goals for the SI portfolio, collect data, and regularly reflect on the results and make changes as appropriate.
  • Provide written and verbal communication to President & CEO, Trustees, and other stakeholders about the SI portfolio overall.

Team Leadership and Management

  • Lead the hiring, onboarding, and training for all Special Initiatives staff.
  • Manage the ongoing work of all SI staff by serving as a supervisor, mentor, and coach who encourages collaboration, innovation, excellence, and professional development.
  • Plan and facilitate team meetings.
  • Manage overall team communications.
  • Lead the team in the development and implementation of JEDI goals.


  • Direct all grantmaking for the board-directed Special Opportunities Fund, in close coordination with the Board of Trustees and the Associate Program Officer. Includes assessing grant opportunities, developing recommendations, and managing the portfolio and budget in cooperation with the President and Trustees.
  • Direct grantmaking for the President’s Fund and the Agility Fund, working closely with the Associate Program Officer, contract support and others.
  • Supervise a team that works with stakeholders to identify and cultivate new opportunities for grantmaking; research and conduct analyses in areas of emergent priority.
Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will be a generalist who relishes the opportunity to explore and impact new ideas and issues.  A lifelong learner with a collaborative and flexible approach to their work, they will enjoy making connections, identifying opportunities and will bring both creativity and a positive mindset in their approach.   In addition, they will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:


  • A minimum of eight years of leadership in a people management role; experience in the nonprofit or philanthropic sector highly desirable.
  • A minimum of five years of grantmaking experience; experience with direct work with Trustees across a variety of topics is desirable.
  • Track record of success as a senior leader and program manager within a philanthropic, nonprofit, management consulting, academic, or government context.
  • Advanced degree in a related field or equivalent education or work experience.
  • Administratively self-sufficient.

Passion for the Mission

  • Passion for the work undertaken by the Foundation and its values of integrity, belief in individual leadership, thinking big, respect, effectiveness and equity.
  • Eager to dive into and explore new topics, consider interesting new approaches.
  • Welcomes a fast pace of work and changing cadences; flexible and adaptable.
  • Strong customer-service and servant leadership approach to both internal and external partners.
  • Sense of humor and an ability to bring joy and positivity to the work.

Communication Skillset

  • Skilled communicator with exceptional interpersonal, facilitation, and written and oral communication skills.
  • Able to quickly synthesize information and concisely report out findings.
  • Diplomatic and respectful approach to problem solving; ability to consistently interact with others in a professional and courteous manner, maintain a positive attitude and good working relationships, and work effectively in a team setting.
  • Demonstrated experience in evaluation and learning.
  • Experience in the design and facilitation of meetings and internal processes to achieve team objectives.

Leadership and Teamwork

  • Proven effectiveness as a team leader and manager with a demonstrated ability to demonstrated ability to attract, lead, motivate, and develop team members in alignment with organization values, mission and goals; approachable leader and active listener who adapts to context and treats others with the highest level of respect.
  • Commitment to inclusion and deeply value creating a workplace that is supportive of difference; experience with diverse teams and success at navigating cross-cultural communication.
  • Demonstrated ability to thrive in a team-based and collegial workplace.
  • Devotion to growing one’s own cultural competence and willing to actively participate in the Foundation’s efforts to integrate justice and equity in all facets of its work.

In addition, strong candidates will offer:

  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office products (e.g., Outlook, SharePoint, Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and a willingness to learn and become proficient with Foundation systems.
  • Establishes the operational objectives and grants processes reviewed by the President and the Board of Trustees.
  • Ability to make hiring and management decisions.
  • Ability to make grant recommendation decisions.
Compensation & Benefits

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience.


Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Erin Reedy here. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

The David Lucile and Packard Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ+ applicants.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of 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 Partners, visit

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