Program Officer for Western Conservation (Environment Program)

Menlo Park, CA, US

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation seeks to recruit a Program Officer for Western Conservation, Environment Program.

About the Foundation

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (Foundation) has been making grants since 1967 to help solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development and population, performing arts, and philanthropy, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Foundation’s assets are approximately $9 billion, with annual grant awards totaling more than $400 million. A fourteen-member Board of Directors provides overall direction for the Foundation. For more information about the Foundation, please visit their website at

About the Environment Program

Preserving the environment has been a cornerstone of the Hewlett Foundation’s grant making from the very beginning. To that end, the Environment Program supports groups working on land, water, and energy issues, and looks for opportunities to engage people on the ground where particular issues are unfolding. Today, the commitment is expressed through the Foundation’s investments to mitigate the most severe effects of climate change, to preserve ecological diversity in the North American West, and to enhance opportunities for Bay Area youth to experience nature and the outdoors.  Through its grant making, the Environment Program pursues three goals designed to protect the environment for future generations:

  • Avoid the worst effects of climate change and promote prosperity and health by dramatically cutting greenhouse gas pollution and ultimately meeting all energy demand from clean and renewable energy sources.
  • Conserve the ecological integrity of the western United States and Canada for people and wildlife.
  • Reduce environmental problems that disproportionately affect disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Program Officer – Western Conservation

Western conservation has been one of the pillars of the Hewlett Foundation’s work for more than four decades. Over the last several years, the Foundation has invested approximately $25-30 million annually to preserve the vast open spaces of the American West as an unspoiled landscape where wildlife thrives, world class recreational opportunities abound, diverse communities flourish, and western ranchers and landowners maintain their history of stewardship. The Foundation’s support has played a crucial role in protecting the West’s biodiversity, achieving important successes in land and water protection, and reducing the impact of fossil energy development on sensitive lands.

Now, new opportunities are emerging for the Foundation’s Environment Program to build on its past successes. Key elements are in place for major policy victories across the West—from protecting public lands from damaging energy development to saving the planet’s largest intact temperate forest. Yet, the conservation movement is only beginning to gear up to gather the strength it needs to win more consistently. In 2013, the Foundation refreshed its Western Conservation Strategy.  The refreshed strategy establishes a vision for ecological integrity in which western ecosystems and species are protected within a mosaic of open lands and natural waters for the benefit of both people and wildlife. The Program understands that the grandeur, diversity, and integrity of the natural landscapes of the West play a critical role in the vitality and economic health of the communities of the region and the well-being of the entire nation; and that, likewise, the communities and landowners of the West play an integral role in sustaining its habitats. The goal is to ensure that a healthy and economically vibrant North American West is passed on to future generations.

In addition, the West program includes two special initiatives.  The first supports efforts in Canada to permanently protect half of its 1.2 billion acre boreal forest and ensure the remainder is managed sustainably.  The second is a three-year initiative to modernize state water policy in California to better respond to a less predictable water future. The Program has also helped pioneer development of next-generation organizations that take the country’s most effective advocacy strategies and apply them to conservation. These new organizations have demonstrated the power of sophisticated policy advocacy both by catalyzing policy wins and by providing tactic that provide support to established groups.  Many of these approaches are now being adopted by other West grantees. Finally, the strategy recognizes that our nation is becoming increasingly diverse and that, without broadening the base of support for conservation, we will not achieve our policy aspirations.  Thus, the strategy envisions investments in a broad cross-section of interests that have a stake in the future of the West’s land, water, and energy.

Professional Qualifications

The Program Officer should ideally embody the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

  • Demonstrated leadership experience in natural resource management, policy or advocacy, with strong understanding of the issues impacting the West.
  • Demonstrated experience in program development and ability to involve and mobilize interdisciplinary teams.
  • Demonstrated experience developing and driving issue-based campaigns at the state and national level.
  • Intellectual agility and the ability to analyze, think critically, and understand emerging issues that are directly relevant to the Western Region.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills and ability to relate to many different public policy, private sector, nonprofit and community leaders.

Personal Attributes:

  • Passionate commitment to the values and mission of the Hewlett Foundation.
  • Personal creativity and strategic vision, coupled with an ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas – a sense of inquisitiveness and intellectual curiosity.
  • Ability to generate and deliver clear and persuasive oral and written communications.
  • Ability to inspire trust, to organize people into teams and to motivate team members to work well together.
  • Unquestionable ethics and personal integrity.
  • Comfortable serving in a philanthropic enterprise and acting in accordance with the values of the Foundation.
  • Willingness to undertake substantial travel.


Compensation for the Program Officer includes a competitive base salary, and an excellent employee benefits package. The position is based in Menlo Park, California.

Physical Demands/Work Environment

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

While performing the duties of this position, the employee is regularly required to sit for extended periods of time and to travel via various modes of transportation for extended periods of time.

To Apply:

Interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter responding specifically to the experience and qualifications being sought to: Daniel Sherman, President, Explore Company at [email protected].  Refer to Hewlett/POWC in the subject line.  No phone inquiries please.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply.

All correspondence will remain confidential.