Program Director, College Success

Crissy Field tidal marsh at sunset

The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund seeks a new Program Director for the College Success Program

About the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund

The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund works to advance equality and justice so every person can thrive and to live life with dignity and hope. Rooted in the Bay Area, the Haas, Jr. Fund is guided by an enduring set of core values: inclusion, respect, collaboration and courage. These values reflect the founders’ vision and shape everything we do.

At the Haas, Jr. Fund, we focus on a set of issues that we believe are at the core of advancing equality and opportunity in our home state of California and the broader society: College Success, Democracy, Immigrant Rights and LGBT Equality. We collaborate to lift up good ideas and diverse perspectives, we take care of each other, and we embrace innovative solutions to the challenges at the core of their work.

The Haas, Jr. Fund has a full-time staff of 20 professionals and assets of approximately $470 million. Located in downtown San Francisco, the Fund has awarded more than $600 million in grants since its founding in 1953. For more information, please see

A Philanthropic Leadership Opportunity

The Haas, Jr. Fund is seeking a dynamic, committed, and passionate education professional to lead the College Success program. Our vision for College Success is that California students with the greatest financial need will have a fair shot at getting to and through college, and will not be saddled with crippling debt as they begin their careers. The College Success program seeks to achieve this objective via three core focus areas:

  • Creating a debt-free pathway to a college degree by increasing eligibility for financial aid and expanding it to cover non-tuition expenses.
  • Strengthening California’s civil rights and consumer protections for student loan borrowers.
  • Encouraging the state’s public higher education systems to adopt innovations that limit the costs they pass on to students and families.

With increasing federal and state interest in improving college affordability and reducing student loan debt, we believe it is an opportune time for this leadership role and the College Success program to inspire a movement for lasting change in California. At this pivotal moment, the Program Director will have an opportunity to build on the Haas, Jr. Fund’s past accomplishments, reputation and strengths to shape bold strategies for the program. This unique opportunity is suited for an ambitious leader who is willing to take risks, exhibits strategic agility, and thrives by continually learning from successes and setbacks.

The Position

The Program Director will bring expertise in one or more aspects of the higher education ecosystem. This could include education administration, policy and advocacy, financial aid, government funding, student loans, as well as innovative educational modalities such as hybrid study and study-from-home.

The Program Director is experienced working with cross sector leaders, such as state education and government representatives, grassroots community advocates and organizers, private sector representatives, and funders of higher education and youth civic engagement. The Program Director is able to bring diverse stakeholders to negotiated consensus and collective action.

The Program Director is a movement builder and savvy with systems reform. The Director has a track record of taking on big challenges, working on policy and systems change, and advancing bold ideas while staying rooted in community. The Program Director will seek game-changing results, with lives transformed, and a new trajectory for college affordability.


The Program Director, College Success reports to the Vice President of Programs and is responsible for:

Strategic Grantmaking and Partnership

  • Provide strategic partnership and support for efforts to improve college access, affordability and completion at local and state levels as thought leader, alliance builder, strategist and fundraiser.
  • Direct and enhance the strategy, development, and implementation of the College Success program priorities, identifying levers for impact, establishing goals and objectives, and directing grantmaking.
  • Play an influential role beyond grantmaking by providing grantee partners, college success advocates, foundation representatives and allies with strategic advising, resource connections and additional supports.
  • Collaborate with foundations and additional partners to develop initiatives, leverage resources, and engage in cross-movement efforts.
  • Prepare grant and strategy recommendations, and educate the Board of Directors, staff and other stakeholders on challenges and opportunities for advancing college success.
  • Manage the College Success program grants portfolio, including due diligence, financial reviews, site visits, compliance with applicable rules and regulations, and evaluation.
  • Provide mentorship to staff assigned to support and advance the College Success program by providing ongoing direction, coaching, and professional development support.

Field Knowledge and External Relations

  • A high level of knowledge about what drives success in higher education at the local, state, and national level, including structural barriers to affordability and completion success; regulations and policies; grassroots education engagement practices; and trends.
  • Understanding of the ecosystem of college access, affordability, and completion influencers that span grassroots education leaders and advocates as well as affordability reform proponents.
  • Provide active leadership in fundraising and attracting other funders to the college success and affordability movement.
  • Participate in the philanthropic sector and represent the Fund in public arenas and forums to advance the college success program strategy, including affinity groups and funder collaboratives.
  • Deepen partnerships with public, private, nonprofit, and philanthropic leaders to advance shared goals.

Candidate Qualifications/Experience/Attributes

Education: A degree in a related field such as education, public policy, law, public finance; or a commensurate level of experience.

Experience: A well-qualified candidate will bring experience and perspective in the following areas:

  • Demonstrated track record of success moving a strategic policy or project initiative from vision to impact in partnership with community leaders.
  • Direct experience in issue-focused movements and ability to advance social change agendas.
  • Ten years or more experience demonstrating progressively greater leadership responsibility and impact in the field of higher education. Experience working on education affordability, finance, administration, policy, or systems change would be ideal.
  • A deep understanding of the experience of students who have struggled with college success, including affordability, financing, completion, and technology resources, including lower income communities and students of color, particularly in California.
  • A demonstrated ability to bring people together with different sector-based perspectives to focus on common goals of college success, such as removing structural barriers to affordability and completion, or achieving desired policy and systems change.
  • An appreciation of how the college success and affordability movement intersects with other movements, including economic development, immigrant rights, racial equity, and youth civic empowerment.
  • High aptitude for learning the power of philanthropy and the role of foundations in the nonprofit sector, with substantial experience working in a nonprofit or public sector environment.

The successful candidate will be:

  • Embracing of the Fund’s mission and values, including a deep commitment to advancing equality and justice for all, and to professionally represent the Haas family.
  • Capable of building good working relationships across a diverse team, including awareness of the complexities of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity and orientation.
  • Effective adapting to change, working flexibly and dealing with ambiguity.
  • Comfortable working in a generative space, contributing ideas and creativity.
  • Well organized with ability to multitask and move many projects forward simultaneously.
  • Solutions-oriented: offers ideas as well as critique and takes ownership of tasks through to completion.
  • Attuned to staff needs and aspire to help build strong collegial partnerships.
  • Committed to continuous improvement and technical learning.
  • An effective team member, contributing to the effectiveness of colleagues, and positively contributing to organizational culture.

The successful candidate will have:

  • Excellent writing skills, including the ability to write clearly, succinctly, analytically, and persuasively in a jargon-free and inspiring way.
  • Strong research and analysis skills. Ability to identify levers for change within complex systems (“see the forest for the trees”) and operate at a high conceptual level.
  • Proficiency in maintaining high standards of integrity and confidentiality in all relationships with board members, staff, grantees, colleagues, grant applicants and other audiences.
  • Exemplary public speaking skills and ability to engage different sectors and audiences such as board members, other foundations, public sector leaders, nonprofit and movement leaders, and grassroots leaders from diverse communities.
  • Humility, with an emphasis on getting the work done and leading from behind rather than getting credit.
  • Compassion, a sense of humor and joy, and a commitment to doing the highest quality work.
  • Creativity and able to think about systemic disparities and problems in new ways.

Compensation and Benefits

The Haas, Jr. Fund has set the minimum salary for the Program Director position as described above at $170,000; actual salary amount is commensurate with experience. The Fund provides an excellent benefits package including generous medical, dental, and vision plans; paid time off and other paid leave policies; a substantial employer contribution to pension; transit subsidy; as well as volunteer and matching grant support.

For additional information or to apply, please send a cover letter and resume to: