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Director of Communications

New Venture Fund Project Name: Science Philanthropy Alliance (Alliance)

Sector: Philanthropy

Position: Director of Communications

Location: Palo Alto, CA (remote optional)

Status:  Full time, Exempt

Reports to: President, Science Philanthropy Alliance



The mission of Science Philanthropy Alliance is to increase philanthropic support for basic scientific research.

Since its inception in 2015, the philanthropic community has shown broad interest and support for the Alliance’s mission. Membership has grown to include over thirty high-impact national and international foundations, and the Alliance is on track to once again influence significant funding for basic science in 2020. Valerie Conn is the new President and is now leading the development of the organization’s first formal strategic plan. The Alliance is at an exciting juncture in its organizational history, having transitioned from its start-up phase to a well-respected leader in the non-profit sector. Joining the Alliance team is an incredible opportunity for someone who believes in the fundamental importance of basic science research and desires to be part of a growing organization making a significant philanthropic impact.


The Science Philanthropy Alliance is a group of funders that have come together to increase philanthropic support for basic scientific research to accelerate scientific discovery in the twenty-first century. We accomplish this by understanding the opportunities and complexities philanthropists face in their quest to fund basic science. We provide advice and learning opportunities for individuals and foundations so they can help answer scientific questions, solve big problems, and further our knowledge about the natural world. We empower them to advance their own science interests and priorities. We do this by utilizing our deep connections in the worlds of science and philanthropy. By serving as impartial advisers to philanthropists, promoting collaboration among those who are interested in this vital stage of scientific discovery, and bringing together donors and top scientists, the Alliance aims to substantially increase philanthropic funding for fundamental research and to create a community of funders for discovery-driven scientific inquiry.


The Director of Communications reports to the President and serves as an integral member of the senior management team. In this role, you will work side-by-side with the Alliance staff, esteemed Senior Science Advisors and Board of Directors as the organization guides investment decisions across the science sector and building cohorts of funders interested in areas such as civic science, climate science, infectious disease, neuroscience and ocean science.

You will be accountable for supporting our mission through all aspects of communication, internal and external, and to the broad community of science funders and researchers. You will be responsible for the design and execution of our communications strategy, including establishing and guiding the Alliance’s brand for all communications, website, social media, and public relations efforts. You will also be critical in building the community of Alliance members through high-touch consistent communications.

You are a proactive leader when it comes to owning all content and communications shared both internally and externally; studious when it comes to translating the value of basic science research into everyday anecdotes and stories. You are someone who feels accountable for the quality and efficiency of the organization’s communications.

The ideal candidate is both strategic and tactical, a self-starter able to translate creative and bold ideas into a communications plan – and able to execute on that plan while maintaining the agility to change direction as needed. You have led, or been part of, a team that has achieved something difficult, notable or special. Your previous experiences include helping high-impact people, science, nonprofits or tech companies to advance or better achieve their mission. Importantly, you bring a sharp focus of equity and inclusion to all your work.


  • In consultation with the President, develop and implement an integrated strategic communications plan to advance the Alliance’s goals, including building the Alliance’s public presence across the philanthropic community.
  • Lead, create and manage content development, cadence, and distribution of communications assets, including, but not limited to website, grant updates, Board/Member communications, collateral, newsletters, social media and video projects.
  • Forge strong alliances with internal partners, including executives, to uncover unique stories that advance the Alliance’s narrative.
  • Identify, manage, and collaborate with external consultants and vendors as needed, including social media consultants, web developers, graphic designers, photographers, etc.
  • Define, establish and utilize key metrics to track the level of engagement over time.
  • Write/prepare/review speeches, press releases, emails messages, and other communications as needed for the President, Board of Directors, Senior Science Advisors, and Alliance team.
  • Maintain updated visual and editorial style guides.
  • Lead publicity and media outreach for the Alliance as needed.


  • Minimum 8-10 years communications experience, preferably in a leadership role at a mid-size foundation or philanthropic organization.
  • Experience leading a strategy development and implementation process to support a multi-year communications plan that works across platforms, targets diverse audiences, and leverages key partnerships.
  • Experience providing counsel to high profile leaders in science, nonprofits or technologies to help them achieve their mission.
  • Extensive writing and editing experience in a variety of print and online communications media. Candidates with strong science writing proficiency highly preferred.
  • Excellent verbal communication skills – persuasive communicator.
  • Comfortable operating in a fast-paced environment, often with ambiguity, and managing multiple stakeholders while ensuring high quality deliverables and strong relationships.
  • Mastered the ability to assemble and interpret metrics, create executive summaries and deliver meaningful business insights.
  • Team player who effectively engages a diverse team of colleagues internally and externally to achieve the goals of the organization.
  • Experienced project manager.
  • Collaborative, flexible perspective, with patience and commitment to collecting diverse input.
  • Ability to operate both as an effective strategic and tactical thinker.
  • Ability to make decisions in a changing environment and anticipate future needs.
  • Knowledgeable about and creative in the use of web communications, social media and similar tools and have proven experience in their use.
  • Interested in the use of multi-media communications and in engaging multiple existing networks to communicate major Alliance themes and messages.
  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communications, or related field required – advanced degree preferred.
  • Interest in continuous learning both in personal and professional growth with a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


  • Experience working with thought leaders in science or philanthropy.
  • Media/public relations experience.
  • Proficient in common software programs (Microsoft Office), Salesforce, Social media platforms. Experience working with various website platforms.


The Alliance offers a robust compensation and benefits package including a competitive salary, full medical/dental/disability/life insurance benefits, retirement plan participation and flexible spending accounts, vacation, personal and volunteer leave benefits. The salary range for this position is $150,000 – $175,000.


Please send your resume, a cover letter detailing how your experience aligns with the requirements of the position, and one relevant professional writing sample to careers@sciphil.org by August 10, 2020. Please indicate Director of Communications in the subject line of your email. First round interviews will be conducted late August.

Please note that effective 9/14, though we will still accept new applications, they will not be reviewed until we have completed our review of applications received by the initial deadline. We will send a status communication by the end of September. Thank you.

Download position description.


Science Philanthropy Alliance is a project of New Venture Fund (NVF), a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. NVF is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. NVF’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.