Job Title: Learning and Evaluation Director
Salary range: $125,000 - $145,000
Location: Denver, CO
Work environment: Hybrid (at least two days per week in the office)
Gates Family Foundation celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2021. Since its creation, the Foundation has distributed more than $500 million in grants, with another nearly $50 million committed to impact investments in recent years. Representing a partnership of family and community representatives, the Foundation maintains a strong commitment through its grantmaking and other strategic efforts to four key areas:
- Education: Expanding access to educational opportunity for all children in Colorado.
- Natural Resources: Supporting land and water conservation, management, and protection of Colorado’s natural resources.
- Community Development: Addressing the root causes of economic inequality and inequitable community development.
- Informed Communities: Ensuring all Coloradans have access to trustworthy, rigorous, fact-based local news and information about important civic issues.
In recent years, the Foundation has sought to increase its impact through more creative approaches to grantmaking, an expanded impact investing program, increases in staffing and expertise, and an increased focus on convening, partnering, and where appropriate, leading in the community. Climate impact has become a lens through which all Foundation grantmaking, investments, and activity are viewed, and since 2018, the Foundation has made an intentional commitment to advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts internally and through its grantmaking and impact investing.
To learn more about the Gates Family Foundation and its programs, visit our website at www.gatesfamilyfoundation.org.
The Foundation is seeking to hire our first Learning and Evaluation Director. This position will support our teams to develop the strategies and structures we need to answer strategic questions about our funding approaches, to assess the impact of our work and to capture, codify and share learnings with our key stakeholders. The Learning and Evaluation Director will help staff move beyond basic “accountability” approaches to engage our partners and create feedback loops that can inform the Foundation’s approaches going forward. This position will report to the Foundation’s President and will join a team of 12 staff members across our program teams, finance/administration, impact investing, strategic communications, and grants management. Job responsibilities for this role will include:
Team Coaching and Advising
- Building and maintaining strong trust-based relationships with Foundation team members
- Functioning as an effective coach and thought partner for all team members with respect to learning and evaluation objectives
- Helping each team develop a learning agenda and associated structures, including learning questions, internal research agendas, and methods of data collection, synthesis and analysis
- Working with staff and grantees to develop appropriate metrics for investments and to assess progress on grant-specific or project/initiative-specific goals with quantitative and qualitative data
- Facilitating the development of learning questions, developing internal research agendas, helping teams synthesize data and insights, and guiding teams toward action based on new insights
- Supporting teams to create opportunities for real-time learning and to listen/learn from people closest to the work
Foundation-Wide Learning & Evaluation Strategies
- Contributing to the development and implementation of Foundation-wide strategic learning processes and tools, including building more consistent feedback loops across program areas
- Designing and leading structured learning and reflection engagements with staff
- Working with staff to refine existing tools (grantee proposal formats, evaluations and reporting, end of year reporting, etc.) across all program areas to ensure these tools serve their intended purposes effectively and efficiently
- Creating a plan to help the Foundation evaluate its progress towards its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, both internally and through grant and impact investments and other forms of partner support
- Building and managing internal communications structures to increase knowledge sharing
- As needed, participate in supporting the Foundation’s responsive capital grantmaking program (staffed by all Foundation staff regardless of role) and where appropriate, assist with due diligence and structuring of Program Related and Mission Related Investments
Consolidating and Communicating Learnings
- Working with staff to produce internal and external products summarizing findings and insights from learning activities
- Assisting in the development and presentation of Foundation-wide information to leadership and the Foundation board of trustees
- Supporting external communications in coordination with the Vice President for Strategic Communications and Informed Communities to share learnings and insights gained from the work with peers, partners, and other stakeholders
- Demonstrated commitment to the mission of the Foundation
- Experience leading social impact-related data, research, and/or evaluation efforts at a philanthropic organization, policy organization, consulting firm, public institution, or nonprofit organization. Prior experience with one or more of our key issue areas (K-12 education, natural resources, community development, or media) or impact investing program is a plus
- Experience building an organizational function from scratch, including developing strategy, building systems and structures, and facilitating change management processes
- Demonstrated success playing a coaching and advising role to internal and/or external stakeholders and decision-makers
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including experience distilling quantitative and qualitative data to highlight insights and tell a story
- Familiarity with grantmaking processes
- Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially as they relate to learning and evaluation approaches
Desired Mindsets and Orientations
- A commitment to Colorado, ideally including a working knowledge of the state and a never-ending curiosity regarding the challenges and opportunities the state faces
- Experience and comfort working in an environment that requires generating new ideas and approaches, handling shifting priorities, working autonomously, and adapting to rapid change
- A team player who loves learning, seeks feedback, collaborates, coaches, and supports other teammates
- A strategic thinker and designer, able to devise elegant solutions and build purposeful processes that achieve impact while maintaining ease, values-alignment, and efficiency for all stakeholders
- Grantee- and partner-centered orientation with the goal of strengthening the Foundation’s relationships with its partners and grantees and a commitment to supporting their success
- Brings new and varied perspectives and experiences to the team that are reflective of Colorado’s diverse communities
Working at Gates Family Foundation
Currently, staff is expected to be in our downtown Denver office on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The balance of the week is flexible and each team and team member is free to decide what approach is optimal. This position is expected to require travel within the state (roughly 1-2 trips per quarter), as well as occasional out-of-state travel (approximately 1-2 out of state trips per year).
Gates Family Foundation offers a comprehensive benefits package and paid parental leave. Our work environment is characterized by a culture of collaboration, a commitment to continuous learning, and an inclusive environment that empowers staff to bring their unique perspectives and skills to the work. We place heavy emphasis on the following values:
• Respect – We seek out diverse perspectives and listen with humility and a spirit of learning.
• Creativity – We harness all resources to find new approaches, support experimentation, and drive systemic, lasting solutions.
• Engagement – We partner, convene, collaborate, and lead to catalyze transformative change.
• Place – We are deeply rooted in Colorado, with a long-term commitment to its people, communities, and civic capacity.
• Equity – We prioritize individuals and communities that have been historically marginalized by addressing systemic barriers and creating pathways to opportunity.
To apply, please complete our online application. The application asks for a resume and, in place of a cover letter, brief responses to the following questions:
- What compels you about the work of Gates Family Foundation, and about the Learning & Evaluation Director position specifically?
- What past experiences have best prepared you for this role?
- What professional values are most important to you? How have those values shaped your behavior and decisions in your career so far?
The Gates Family Foundation believes that diverse teams lead to better solutions, creative thinking, and greater depth in experiences and perspectives. We strive in our hiring to ensure that our candidate pool is diverse in terms of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, lived experience, socioeconomic background, physical or mental ability, origin, and religion.
Research suggests that women and BIPOC individuals are more likely to self-select out of opportunities if they don’t meet 100% of the job requirements. We encourage anyone who believes they have the skills and the drive necessary to succeed here to apply for this role.