The California Wellness Foundation is seeking a highly
relational and strategic connector, communicator, and thinker as
Director of Government Relations to lead strategy development and
external relations activities on policy issues related to the
foundation’s mission and work. The Director serves as a
spokesperson for the Foundation, a senior manager in the Public
Affairs Department, and a strategic advisor to staff and Board on
government relations and public policy activities. The Director
will be a collaborative leader in setting a policy agenda for the
foundation; refining policy monitoring and reporting processes;
building internal capacity to understand and engage on strategic
issues with government stakeholders; and mapping existing and
desired relationships with government decision-makers to take
government relations to a new level of impact. The Director will be
an adept people and project manager, supervising one full-time
staff member, as well as external consultants and vendors. The
ideal candidate will possess deep understanding and direct
experience in how government works; be passionate about the
Foundation’s mission, vision and values; be willing to bring and
leverage their existing government relationships; and have
excellent networking skills and a spirit of curiosity to make new
connections on behalf of the Foundation in Sacramento and across
the State, including in rural areas.
THE CALIFORNIA WELLNESS FOUNDATION
The California Wellness Foundation (Cal Wellness) is a private,
independent foundation established in 1992 with a mission to
protect and improve the health and wellness of the people of
California. As one of the largest health-focused foundations in
California, with over $1 billion in assets, Cal Wellness is a
nationally recognized leader for its strategic core operating
support for grantees; public policy grantmaking; and a focus on
violence as a public health issue. It is Cal Wellness’ desire to
promote equity and level the playing field so that everyone has
access to good-paying jobs; healthy and safe neighborhoods; and
quality health care services.
The foundation’s current Advancing Wellness grantmaking strategy
includes four interrelated portfolios. Since its founding, Cal
Wellness has awarded nearly 9,000 grants totaling more than $1
billion. As the foundation looks to the future, it is pursuing new
and innovative strategies beyond its core grantmaking to advance
its mission, including implementation of new technology systems,
development of its public affairs capacity, and establishing
mission- and program-related investment portfolios.
Cal Wellness has a diverse staff of approximately 45 located in
its Los Angeles and Oakland offices and a diverse 13-member Board
located throughout the state of California. The foundation’s work
underscores a belief that wellness requires social justice, a deep
commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and sustained
efforts to eliminate systemic barriers that prevent access to
health care, education, employment, and safety.
Please visit http://www.calwellness.org for
THE PUBLIC AFFAIRS DEPARTMENT
The Director will join Call Wellness’ diverse and highly
collaborative 6-person Public Affairs team headed by and reporting
directly to the Executive Vice President, who manages the
department. Public Affairs leads communications, community
relations, and public policy strategies and supports
organization-wide learning and innovation. The Director will bring
expertise and strategic thinking to help anchor Cal Wellness’
public policy work more deeply in strong external relationships
with government, working closely with one direct report (Public
Policy Officer). The Director also will work in close collaboration
with two other department directors (Communications and Learning
& Innovation) to ensure a cohesive and compelling overarching
public affairs strategy. The Director also will engage and interact
regularly with the CEO, the executive management team, Program
Directors, and the Board of Directors.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Build and sustain a government relations program addressing
local (e.g., city and county), regional, state, and federal issues
- Develop and manage relationships with elected and appointed
officials’ offices, their staff, or committee staff, serving as the
Foundation’s representative across the state.
- Coordinate foundation advocacy efforts in partnership with
community partners, funding partners, and other stakeholders.
- Serve as a senior ambassador and spokesperson, speaking and
writing on behalf of the Foundation; ensure foundation presence and
visibility in Sacramento, Washington, DC, and key regions of
California, including Los Angeles, the Bay Area and the Central
- Partner with Programs staff, executive management and the Board
to identify and pursue opportunities to leverage Cal Wellness
investments and existing relationships to further the Foundation’s
mission and work with government partners.
- Ensure compliance with IRS and state regulations for foundation
advocacy, in consultation with legal counsel as needed.
- Develop and lead process for regular review of public policy
issues and establish priorities for foundation engagement in
consultation with staff, management, and the Board.
- Develop strategies for influence and lead efforts to engage on
established public policy priorities and vet opportunities related
to emerging issues.
- Provide strategic guidance on foundation investments to advance
public policy issues, including grantmaking and mission-related
- Work with Foundation leadership and staff to articulate
positions on policy issues and develop and draft policy statements
on issues as needed.
- Establish and maintain systems to monitor, analyze, and report
out to staff on local, state, and national policies and their
impact on California, including tracking legislation in a timely
manner to support awareness, learning, and action.
Management & Supervision:
- Supervise Public Policy Officer, providing guidance on policy
monitoring and reporting responsibilities, community relations
activities, professional development opportunities, and coaching
- Manage consultant and vendor relationships and oversee budget
for activities related to public policy and government relations
- Serve as a senior manager in the Public Affairs Department,
facilitating team meetings and serving as internal point of contact
in the department as needed.
The ideal candidates will be aligned with our mission and
values; demonstrate exceptional networking, relationship-building,
and connecting skills with proven aptitude to respectfully develop
genuine connections with internal team members and government
constituencies; bring analytical skills relating to policy
development and reporting; and embody, through lived experience,
applying a commitment to justice, equity, diversity and inclusion
to our work. Key experiences, expertise, and interests that will
contribute to success in this role include:
- Work in government, business, philanthropy, and/or
community-based nonprofits leading public policy and/or government
- Expertise in municipal, county, state and/or federal policy
issues related to the Foundation’s mission and work.
- Understanding of how municipal, county, state and/or federal
government operates and how to be an effective partner within those
- Team leadership experience in staff supervision, project
management, and budgeting.
- Skills and experience in managing vendor and consultant
- High level of flexibility and adaptability, with demonstrated
ability to lead in a dynamic environment and work effectively
across teams and at all levels of an organization.
- Excellent strategic and critical thinking skills and the
ability to take a broad perspective in the analysis and evaluation
- Excellent communication, interpersonal, and diplomacy skills,
including exceptional presentation and facilitation skills, with
the ability to interact with and mobilize diverse audiences.
- Demonstrated ability to coach and develop others in content and
context in preparation for policy- and government-related
briefings, hearings and convenings.
- Demonstrated ability to work both collaboratively and
independently; prioritize duties and balance multiple competing
demands; and follow through with diligence on strategies, tactics,
The ideal candidate will embody Cal Wellness’ core
- Live our Core Values: Respect, Integrity, Accountability,
Equity, Stewardship, Excellence, Learning, and Trust.
- Drive Towards Innovation: Be bold. Experiment and learn from
both successes and failures.
- Make a Difference: Yes, we can. Own our responsibilities and
our ability to make positive change.
- Contribute to One Team: We’re in this together. Our success is
a collective effort.
- Show Courage: Be thoughtful but act on your convictions. Be
open to feedback.
LOCATION & TRAVEL
Cal Wellness operates with a hybrid work model that supports
in-office and remote work. In-office attendance will typically be
required Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Travel will be required to attend
meetings, hearings, and convenings in Sacramento and across the
State, as well as to have a regular presence at our Los Angeles
headquarters and our Oakland office. Travel is estimated at 40%.
This position may be based in Los Angeles, Oakland or
COVID VACCINE REQUIREMENT
All Foundation employees must be fully vaccinated as a condition
of employment unless they have been approved for an exemption from
the vaccination requirement as a reasonable accommodation for a
medical condition or restriction or sincerely held religious
COMPENSATION & BENEFITS
The target starting annual salary for the newly hired Director
of Government Relations is $170,000. The full salary grade for the
role is $160,800 to $241,000 per year. Highlights from our benefit
package include: a variety of health plans (we pay 90-95% of the
premiums), a generous 401(k) retirement savings plan (with a 16%
employer contribution), flexible paid time off, tuition
reimbursement (up to $5,250 per year), professional development
opportunities, matching gifts (for every $1 you give to an eligible
organization, we’ll match $2), and the opportunity to work at a
mission and values driven organization.
Please upload a cover letter, resume, and list of three
references (candidates will be notified in advance of any outreach
to references) by 5:00 pm PT on Friday, June 17, 2022.
The link to apply is here.
Resume review begins immediately. Those selected for advancement
may be asked to participate in several rounds of interviews
(virtual and/or in-person) and complete a writing assignment. If
you require a reasonable accommodation to participate in our
application process, please let us know.
The California Wellness Foundation is partnering
with Walker and Associates Consulting -
a Black- and woman-owned strategic management consulting and search
firm located in Oakland - for this search. Questions or
Nominations? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The California Wellness Foundation is an equal
opportunity employer and welcomes a diverse candidate pool.
Additionally, we are a fair chance employer and welcome candidates
with living experience with the criminal justice
The above job description is intended to describe the
general nature and level of work performed and is not intended to
limit the scope of potential work assignments. This is only a
summary of the typical functions of the job and duties may differ
from those as outlined above.