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Director of Operations, Science Philanthropy Alliance

Position: Director of Operations

Location: Palo Alto, CA

Status:  Full time, Exempt

Reports to: President


About the Science Philanthropy Alliance

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 21st century. We accomplish this by understanding the opportunities and complexities philanthropists face in the daunting 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 create a community of funders for discovery-driven scientific inquiry.

Director of Operations

Reporting to the president, the Director of Operations primary role will be to manage the staff and operational activities of the organization. The successful candidate will bring staff management and significant budget management experience, familiarity with philanthropy, and excellent people and project management skills. The Director of Operations will be tasked with establishing norms to cultivate an inclusive, focused, metrics and outcomes-oriented team.

The Director of Operations will work closely with the president on strategic planning, and preparation for board meetings. The Director of Operations will establish and track organizational and individual performance metrics to track progress and build accountability. Finally, the Director of Operations will complement the work of the president and all advising staff and activities to build the community of basic science research funders.


  • Supporting and advising the President on matters of strategic importance to the organization
  • Supporting work with the board
  • Managing or overseeing all of the operational staff
  • Working closely with the advising team
  • Managing budget and financial planning
  • Overseeing membership recruitment and retention, and grants management
  • Managing recruiting, hiring and training of new staff
  • Overseeing the advising portfolio management and the weekly strategy meetings
  • Overseeing the production of timely reports, including financial, board (organizational metrics), advising metrics and staff performance
  • Ensure that events and communications support both members and advising activities
  • Overseeing data management to support organizational metrics
  • Overseeing office management and team meetings
  • Liaison to New Venture Fund
  • Overseeing establishment of administrative procedures, policies, and organizational norms
  • Knowledge of diverse groups, working with a multicultural workforce, and sensitivity to and appreciation for cultural differences
  • Travel as needed
  • Completing timesheets as required by NVF

Skills and Experience

The successful candidate will have many of the following qualifications and attributes:

  • Experience managing and empowering a team
  • Experience managing the budget of an operation the size of the Alliance
  • Developing and analyzing reports that allow for strategic decision making
  • Experience in and knowledge of university systems, fundraising campaigns and/or strategic planning
  • Excellent organizational and analytical skills
  • Compelling communication, consensus building, and facilitation skills required
  • Ability to manage multiple concurrent projects and prioritize accordingly
  • Well organized, a consensus builder, and adept in creating effective interpersonal relationships
  • Ability to construct plans and adhere to deadlines; attention to detail required
  • Excellent written skills

Additional Professional Requirements

  • 7+ years in a university or non-profit setting
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution required, and an advanced degree preferred

Direct Reports

  • Communications Manager
  • Budget and Data Manager
  • Administrative Assistant


To apply for this position, please send your cover letter and resume to careers@sciphil.org.

Download the position description.

New Venture Fund Careers

Science Philanthropy Alliance is a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. The New Venture Fund 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. The New Venture Fund’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.