Program Officer, Performing Arts - William and Flora Hewlett Foundation


Located in the San Francisco Bay Area, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (The Hewlett Foundation) is a nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that, for more than 50 years, has advanced ideas and supported institutions to promote a better world. The Hewlett Foundation supports efforts to advance education for all, preserve the environment, strengthen U.S. democracy, support vibrant performing arts, serve Bay Area communities, make the philanthropy sector more effective, and foster gender equity and responsive governance around the world. Additionally, the Hewlett Foundation also makes grants for special projects and to address other timely present-day problems, such as challenges related to cybersecurity. In 2020, the foundation announced a new grantmaking commitment focused on racial justice.

Founded in 1966 by William and Flora Hewlett, the foundation’s approach and core areas of programming remain connected to the issues and principles of its founders. During its first decade, the Hewlett Foundation provided $15.3 million in grants to organizations in education, environment, health, performing arts, population, and vital services in the Bay Area. During a period of rapid growth in the 1990s, the foundation’s grantmaking budget grew from $35 million in 1993 to $84 million in 1998. The foundation’s efforts expanded, including scaling its environmental focus from California to the Western United States and Canada. Today, the Hewlett Foundation is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the United States, awarding over $516 million in grants to organizations across the globe in 2021.

The Performing Arts Program supports meaningful artistic experiences for communities throughout the San Francisco Bay area by making grants that can make the most difference, particularly for those that have been overlooked and underfunded in the past. The program’s grantmaking embraces a range of aesthetic and artistic practices that give the Bay Area its unique character. Its work is guided by a strategic framework that focuses on Communities, Artists, and Youth, as well as four values that reflect the Hewlett Foundation's guiding principles: the expansive power of the arts, community self-determination, equity and justice, and leadership. In addition, the program manages the $8 million Hewlett 50 Arts Commissions initiative launched in 2017 to celebrate the foundation’s 50th anniversary.

In 2021, the Performing Arts Program awarded 92 grants totaling $22 million, and maintained relationships with more than 190 active grantees. Recent grants were awarded to Golden Thread Productions, Living Jazz, Joe Goode Performance Group, Social Good Fund for Peacock Rebellion, Youth Speaks, and Center for Cultural Innovation. Both the scale of the Hewlett Foundation’s funding and commitment to providing multiyear general operating support make it a key investor in Bay Area cultural life. In response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Performing Arts Program reduced reporting burdens for grantees, provided flexibility in how grant funds could be used, launched the Bay Area Crisis Navigator to share resources for arts workers and small enterprises in the region, and awarded an additional $17 million to 32 organizations

The foundation has a 12-member Board of Directors led by Chair Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar and Larry D. Kramer serves as president. The staff of more than 120 are based in Menlo Park. For the fiscal year ending December 31, 2021, The Hewlett Foundation reported assets of $14.8 billion, total reported revenue of $1.1 billion, and total reported expenses and disbursements of more than $617 million.


Regional Community

The Hewlett Foundation is located on the homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone people, better known as the San Francisco Peninsula. The greater San Francisco Bay Area is California’s second largest metropolitan area and home to more 7.7 million residents. The region’s main cities are San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. The Bay Area is one of the largest hubs for art, culture, and technology in the United States. It is home to many arts and cultural organizations and movements that reflect the diversity of its residents. The region is also noted for its racial and ethnic diversity; spirit of activism and innovation; and the presence of startup and major technology, software, and internet companies.


Position Summary

The Program Officer, Performing Arts (Program Officer) will advance the Hewlett Foundation’s commitment to support meaningful artistic experiences for Communities, Artists, and Youth throughout the Bay Area. They will work seamlessly across aspects of the role—strategy, implementation, evaluation, and administration—and serve as the primary relationship manager for a large and diverse portfolio of grantee organizations, to effectively shape and implement the program’s strategic framework. In addition, they will lead the program’s Youth Policy and Advocacy sub strategy, including leading an evaluation and update of the sub strategy, to further equitable access to high-quality sequential arts education for all California students. The Program Officer will report to the Program Director, Performing Arts and work collaboratively with the seven-person Performing Arts team, as well as relevant foundation staff, in fulfilling their role.

A strategic thinker and an active collaborator, they will be integral in the implementation of the program’s strategic framework, serving as the primary contact for approximately one-third of the program's grant portfolio. The Program Officer will actively engage a broad and diverse group of partners related to the regional arts ecosystem, state and national issues in art, culture, and policy/advocacy; and participate in program planning and special initiatives, including preparation for an evaluation and update to the program’s strategic framework in 2026. This is a full-time position that carries an 8-year term limit.


Roles and Responsibilities

Grantmaking and Knowledge Building

  • Manage a large and diverse portfolio of approximately 80 grantee organizations; exercise sound judgement, creativity, and quantitative and qualitative analyses to assess organizational finances, policies, plans, and effectiveness; and transition and evolve grantmaking.
  • Learn from and provide feedback to staff and board leaders of organizations from a wide range of backgrounds and identities, aesthetics, and organizational structures and approaches; identify and support opportunities for grantees to engage in capacity-building.
  • Contribute ideas to implement the strategic framework, facilitating learning, driving innovation, and greater effectiveness in support of the program’s strategies, including through the development of new initiatives.
  • Establish and maintain effective relationships with current and prospective grantees, peer funders, and other partners in the field participating in funders’ groups, conferences, speaking opportunities, and commissioning research.
  • Identify, commission, and manage opportunities for research, evaluation, and collaboration.
  • Write, review, and edit written materials for internal and external audiences, including summaries of grants, blogs posts, and memos.

Planning and Strategy

  • Collaborate with the program director and program team to evaluate, refresh, and implement strategies significant to achieving program goals.
  • Invite, review, and respond to inquiries and proposals, offering consultative advice and to potential grantees, researchers, and others in the field.
  • Provide guidance to grantees, as appropriate, to help refine their strategies and approaches, and effectively use available resources while fulfilling program goals.
  • Engage with consultants to develop briefing papers and program-related reports that broaden the foundation’s understanding of new approaches, promising practices, and issues relating to the performing arts.
  • Organize and coordinate foundation-sponsored meetings of grantees and field experts.
  • Represent the foundation at appropriate external meetings, conferences, and site visits.

Foundation Support

  • Actively engage with foundation peers on internal committees and share lessons that will strengthen the foundation’s practices.
  • Advance the foundation’s culture, values, and plans, including foundation-wide and program-specific diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice efforts.
  • Participate fully as a member of the Performing Arts program, collaborating with other team members and supporting team-wide activities.


Traits and Characteristics

The Program Officer, Performing Arts will be a strategic thinker and passionate advocate for the performing arts and arts education. This individual will value frequent interaction with people to understand the needs of and issues across the sector and related fields, and the unique challenges within individual organizations. A diplomatic leader and strong communicator, they will use their commitment to the foundation’s goals and values to build open and collegial relationships with the community and organizations with a common goal. Mission-focused and collaborative by nature, they will value cooperative work. They will stay abreast of the trends and issues in the field, with an eye toward innovation, and be open to new ideas and ways of doing things within the strategic framework. The Program Officer will be able to adapt to situations with ease and demonstrate persistence in the timely delivery of outcomes.

Other key competencies include the following:

  • Teamwork and Self-Starting – The capability to unite people, working toward consensus when team decisions are required, and the skillfulness and initiative to do what it takes to achieve objectives while demonstrating a strong work ethic.
  • Diplomacy and Interpersonal Skills – The dexterity to connect with a diverse array of people and personalities, while effectively communicating, building rapport, and relating well to all kinds of people.
  • Time and Priority Management – The clarity to prioritize and complete tasks to deliver desired outcomes within allotted time frames.
  • Flexibility and Problem Solving – The flexibility to readily modify, respond, and adapt to change and the ability to anticipate, identify, analyze, and diagnose key components of a problem to formulate a solution, making consistently sound and timely decisions.



A bachelor’s degree and a minimum of seven years of related work experience in the nonprofit arts and/or philanthropic sector (private or public) is required; a relevant master’s degree is a plus. Experience working in an arts or cultural organization is preferred. Excellent interpersonal skills and demonstrated cultural competency to effectively engage diverse constituencies is essential. Exceptional analytical skills, excellent written and oral communications, and computer and technology skills are critical. Knowledge of the San Francisco Bay Area arts sector is preferred.


Compensation and Benefits

The Hewlett Foundation is committed to providing competitive compensation within the philanthropic sector. A generous total compensation package is offered that emphasizes both base salary and comprehensive benefits. The salary range for this role is between $190,000 and $215,000. Offers are based on the candidate's years of experience and the foundation’s practice of maintaining salary equity within the organization.


Physical Demands and Work Environment

The physical demands described must be met by an employee to successfully perform in this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

The position is based in Menlo Park, California. The staff is working in a hybrid environment and is currently expected to work from the Hewlett Foundation office at least 2-3 times per week. While performing the duties of this position, the employee is required to spend extended periods of time at a computer. The Foundation requires all staff, vendors, and visitors that access the office to be fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 (including boosters when eligible).

As the primary relationship manager with a portfolio of diverse foundation grantees, this position requires frequent local travel (20%), including attendance at performing arts events during evening and weekend hours. Occasional travel to national conferences is also required (5%).


Applications and Inquiries

To submit a letter and resume with a summary of demonstrable accomplishments (electronic submissions preferred), please click here or visit Applications will be reviewed as they are received; we encourage interested candidates to submit their materials as early as possible. For questions or general inquiries about this job opportunity, please contact:


Wyona Lynch-McWhite, Senior Vice President

268 Bush Street, Suite 4100

San Francisco, CA 94104

Tel       (888) 234.4236 Ext. 225



The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation embraces the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, both internally in our hiring process and organizational culture, and externally, in our grantmaking and related practices. We are an equal opportunity employer, and welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, cultures, and experiences.

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