Skip to content


Senior Associate, Operations

San Francisco

About the Foundation

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California. The Foundation’s current focus is a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided more than $2.2 billion in grants to organizations throughout California. The Foundation ended 2021 with more than $3.8 billion in assets and provided $128.9 million in grants. We have about 80 staff in our San Francisco and Los Angeles offices. The Irvine Foundation is committed, internally and externally, to the values of accountability, curiosity, empathy, equity, nimbleness, partnership, and transparency.

About the role

The Senior Associate, Operations will serve as an important facilitator, collaborator, and project manager across the Foundation, working on a range of cross-departmental issues and efforts that strengthen and enhance key operational and administrative functions. Successful candidates for this role will possess the skills and abilities to comfortably work independently and across teams, leveraging clear communication and thoughtful relationship management to implement work in an organization that expects partnership and collaboration.

The Senior Associate, Operations will balance big-picture thinking with an eye for detail, leveraging their ability to conduct qualitative and quantitative research and analysis in support of planning, facilitating, and executing key projects; preparing clear planning agendas, drafting concise and compelling memos, reports, and presentation materials; and supporting the development and implementation of policies, procedures, and operational approaches that enable the Foundation to successfully achieve its mission.

Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer, the Senior Associate, Operations will also work closely with the Chief of Staff and Planning, operational department leads (Communications, Facilities and Administration, Finance, Grants, Talent, and Technology), and staff across the Foundation.

Your responsibilities will include

  • Conduct qualitative and quantitative research and analysis
    • Examples could include developing and compiling staff feedback through surveys/focus groups, reviewing and synthesizing secondary research, engaging in primary interviews and summarizing results, or developing policies and procedures
  • Provide project management leadership by both leading and participating in the planning and execution of projects, including facilitating cross-functional teams
  • Prepare clear and compelling memos, reports, and presentation materials for the Executive and Leadership Teams, and for the board of directors and related committees. Presents findings in a concise and engaging manner to various internal and external constituents.
  • Completes administrative and operational tasks across all operational functional areas as needed, including vendor research/selection, contract development/management, and invoice processing
  • Maintain a thorough knowledge of the Foundation’s operations and strategic priorities, to support the planning, triage, and execution of projects
  • Coordinate cross-departmental projects and initiatives to improve operational approaches, centering staff engagement and feedback in support of strengthening culture and enabling a thoughtful hybrid work environment

Who you are

  • A Team Player. Nothing is beneath or above you. You are quick to always lend a hand, or two! You are able to earn influence without authority and naturally seek to support both small projects and large strategic goals.
  • A Do-er: You are solutions-oriented, a problem-solver looking for the best solution to whatever challenge you’re confronted with. You don’t wait for instruction. Instead, you proactively look for ways to offer support and be of use. You are a master organizer and planner and consistently look ahead and anticipate needs before they arise.
  • Emotionally Intelligent: You are self-aware and perceptive. You nurture relationships and can work and communicate well with all kinds of people. You are optimistic, empathetic, flexible, curious, and well-respected by all who work with you, irrespective of title. You are able to handle stressful situations professionally.
  • A Collaborator. Working across cultural lines on a dispersed team, you easily gain trust and set others up for success. You know you don’t have all the answers and take pride in knowing everyone’s sweet spots, bringing them in at just the right time.

What you’ll need

  • Relevant Experience. 5+ years of professional experience (we are background agnostic and are excited by candidates with unique and different work histories).
  • Excellent Judgement. You excel at resolving divergent opinions of various stakeholders through prioritization and savvy decision-making. The Operations Officer role will function at the nexus of many stakeholders, with the ability to manage up, down, and across the organization to advance work as desired.
  • An Operations Mindset. A combination of experience and passion for operations, with the ability to think big picture while holding the details front and center. You experience joy from improving processes that further organizational impact, leveraging a design-thinking mindset that balances operational effectiveness with a positive user experience.
  • Communications Dexterity. The ability to translate complex topics into simple language. Can participate appropriately in executive settings and tailor communications to a range of internal colleagues.
  • Technical Prowess. Demonstrated technical skills in data collection, synthesis, analysis, and interpretation, including expert facility with PowerPoint and Excel modeling.
  • Project Management Pro. Deep project management experience with both cross-functional internal teams and external partners.
  • An Abundance Mindset. You believe that we are living in a world of abundant resources and that the right team of partners can make incredible things happen. You bring relentless curiosity and creativity to every task, project, and engagement.
  • A Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion. You’re always asking: “whose voice is not at the table?” You have experience working with diverse teams and successfully navigating cross-cultural communication in either local or global contexts, and you deeply value creating a workplace that is supportive of difference.

Why this role is compelling

Working directly with the COO, Casey Budesilich, you will experience first-hand what it means to support a well-run, growing organization toward a particular vision. You will be exposed to an unusually wide range of people and issues in the philanthropic sector, as well as the internal infrastructure and operations of a visionary organization.

A successful candidate will develop and grow a broad set of professional skills, honing them to the level of excellence in a demanding and fast-paced environment. You will work with, learn from, and grow alongside a high-performing and diverse team in which each individual is committed to the rapid development of themselves and others.

This role has the option to serve as a leadership development path for the right candidate, especially if you want to be a COO yourself one day. There is a high potential for the role to evolve within three years based on the particular strengths that you bring to the team, making this an invaluable opportunity to expand your career in the impact sector.

Compensation and location

The James Irvine Foundation’s compensation philosophy is reflected in its Talent Advancement Program, which was created to assure equity in staff compensation. While every staff member is assigned a Tier based on demonstration of competencies, the Foundation looks to outcomes as criteria for advancement through the program’s Tiers.

The salary for this position starts at $101,000 plus benefits, though there is significant flexibility for more experienced candidates.

The James Irvine Foundation offers an attractive benefits package, highlights include comprehensive insurance coverage, 5+ months of paid family leave for new parents, and a very generous 401K contribution (10%!).

This position is full-time, and you must be already based in, or be willing to relocate to, the Bay Area. The expectation for this role will be in the office 40% of the time. More details on our hybrid work arrangement can be found here. Since we are living through a global pandemic, we can be flexible on relocation timelines and may be able to offer a small amount of relocation assistance. At this point, all staff are required to be fully vaccinated with one of the FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines.

The application process

The James Irvine Foundation has engaged Equitable Hiring Group to support this hiring process. To apply, please complete the short form at Equitable Hiring Group‘s website.

Individuals who apply by Tuesday, October 18 will be given priority; therefore, we encourage you to submit yours soon!

When you apply, we kindly ask you to remove your schools from your resume. There is no need to reformat your resume and leave your degree as is; simplify it to “B.A. Economics” for example. Just remember to remove any undergraduate and graduate school name references where possible. This “bias-reduced” process is aimed at opening this opportunity to more candidates, reviewing applicants on performance assessments instead of resume proxies (e.g., where you went to school).

This evaluation process will follow practices shown to reduce bias in decision-making and may be different from other application processes you have experienced.

The overall evaluation process will look to follow this anticipated timeline:

  • Mid-October: Select candidates asked to complete short answer questions
  • Late October: Initial interview with Foundation staff
  • Early November: Finalist candidates will be asked to complete a timed trial assignment
  • Mid-November: Finalists will participate in a multi-team member panel interview
    • Candidate references will also be checked at this step
  • Late November: Offer extended

If you have any questions about the opportunity, please feel free to email

Position Details

Reports to: Chief Operating Officer

Location: San Francisco

Status: Exempt

Application Deadline: Open Until Filled