Presidential search

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation initiated the search for its next president in November 2023. The foundation has retained Spencer Stuart as our partner for the presidential search. If you wish to submit application materials or nominate someone to serve in this role, please email:

Our Search Committee

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation presidential search committee members:

Position and Candidate Specification

About the organization

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation invests in creative thinkers and problem-solvers working to ensure that people, communities, and the planet can flourish. Together with our partners, we are harnessing society’s collective capacity to solve our toughest problems—from the existential threat of climate change to persistent and pervasive inequities and attacks on democracy itself. An independent, nonpartisan philanthropy with assets of $12.8 billion, the Hewlett Foundation has made grants in the U.S. and globally for nearly six decades based on an approach that emphasizes longterm support, collaboration, outcomes, and trust.

History and values

Established in 1966, with strong roots in the West Coast, the Hewlett Foundation was created through the personal generosity of engineer and entrepreneur Bill Hewlett and his wife, Flora. The Hewletts approached philanthropy with a humanistic philosophy based on faith in the capacity of people to do good and belief in the importance of healthy institutions as a means for doing so. That ethos continues to guide the foundation today: We believe all people, no matter who they are or where they come from, should have the opportunity to thrive, and that a thriving society requires mutual respect and a commitment to shared well-being. Many of the foundation’s longstanding areas of giving, from education and environment, to performing arts and women’s reproductive equity, flow directly from the interests of our founders. Similarly, the foundation’s philanthropic approach–emphasizing patience, collaboration, and long-term support for healthy institutions–are rooted in the values of our founders and in what we have learned about effective philanthropy over nearly sixty years.

Learn more about the Hewlett family and foundation history and about our guiding principles.

Programs and people

In 2022, the foundation awarded more than $550 million in grant funds across a number of program areas, many of which we have supported for decades. We invest in thinkers who imagine a better future and in problem-solvers who turn ideas into action. We promote constructive dialogue across difference, and we provide reliable, responsive, and strategic support to our partners.

Globally–including in the U.S.–we make grants to reduce the growing threat of climate change and to advance gender equity and governance. Our U.S. efforts prioritize strengthening democracy, advancing education for all, and supporting community-led conservation in the North American West. Locally, we make grants to support meaningful artistic experiences in communities across the Bay Area and support regional foundations working on critical issues such as housing. We also address emerging challenges through time-limited initiatives, such as our current effort to reimagine capitalism. Across all of our programs, we invest in advancing racial justice and in strengthening the effectiveness of philanthropy itself.

The Hewlett Foundation depends on a cooperative working relationship between our president, board, and staff. Our board of directors includes four members of the Hewlett family and between five and 11 other leaders drawn from philanthropy, government, business, education, and civil society. Based in the Bay Area, we have approximately 130 employees working together to advance the foundation’s mission and support our grantees.

Learn more about our programs and initiatives, our grants, and our staff.

Position Summary

Reporting to the foundation’s board of directors, the next president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is responsible for ensuring that the foundation delivers on its philanthropic mission and adheres to its guiding principles. The foundation is seeking a leader who is both rigorous and empathetic, who can provide both organizational and thought leadership, who can reinforce Hewlett’s learning–and purpose-driven culture, and who can do so with authenticity, a sense of humility and respect, intellectual honesty, and in collaboration with others.

The next president will be expected to embrace Hewlett’s commitment to a pragmatic, non-partisan approach, to exhibit open-mindedness and humility in their partnerships with both internal and external collaborators, and to ensure that the foundation’s operational practices support its work, its people, and its values. The next president will work in partnership with an engaged board and an ambitious, mission-oriented staff to drive Hewlett’s programmatic investments, make ongoing resource allocation decisions, explore new areas of work, cultivate reciprocal partnerships, ensure the foundation’s long-term financial capacity to support transformative work, and expand the foundation’s voice, impact, and influence.

Key relationships

Reports to

  • Board of Directors

Current direct reports

  • Program Directors (8)
  • Leaders of Operational and Administrative Functions (5)
  • Chief Communications Officer and Senior Adviser to the President
  • Chief Financial Officer
  • General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
  • Vice President and Chief Investment Officer

Other key relationships

  • Grantees and other organizations operating in Hewlett’s programmatic areas
  • Foundations and other funders operating in similar or adjacent fields
  • Thought leaders and policy makers

Key objectives

  • Ensure the foundation remains true to its founding mission, guiding principles, and core programs while also driving the development of innovative, sophisticated strategies to promote its ongoing impact and influence.
  • Build on Hewlett’s organizational strengths, specifically its ability to attract and retain top talent, foster a strong and resilient culture of learning and mutual respect, create conditions that allow people to do their best work, and foster collaboration, accountability, and equity across the organization.
  • Engage substantively with staff across the foundation’s programmatic areas with an eye toward identifying distinctive ways to create impact; proactively build funding coalitions with a wide range of partners.
  • Champion the foundation’s mission and the work of its grantees and partners.
  • Maintain a strong and successful relationship with Hewlett’s board, working together to ensure that Hewlett remains a standard bearer for good governance in the sector.
  • Work effectively with Hewlett’s chief investment officer, investment team, and financial staff to administer the foundation’s resources prudently and maintain its long-term capacity to support transformative work.
  • Identify, anticipate, and develop strategies and/or programmatic priorities to address changes in the philanthropic sector and social, political, and economic landscape that may impact Hewlett, its programs, and its priorities down the road.

Candidate profile

Ideal experience

  • Strong record of collaborative and impactful engagement across a broad range of subjects, disciplines, and issues related to one or more of the foundation’s core programs and its philanthropic mission more broadly.
  • Demonstrated executive leadership skills at both the strategic and operational level, including a track record of ethical leadership that aligns organizational values, strategy, structures, systems, and norms and sustains a healthy, collaborative, and well-defined culture that supports the organization’s internal, and external objectives.
  • Authentic commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, with evidenced success in supporting action and progress both within an organization and in the broader world.
  • A track record that indicates both an ability, and an inclination, to develop institutional partnerships and funding coalitions.
  • Consistent success in recruiting, retaining, and developing talent.
  • Ability to represent an organization and its priorities to a wide range of audiences.
  • Extensive experience working in the U.S. context, coupled with a global perspective.
  • Demonstrated financial literacy sufficient to engage with Hewlett’s investment and financial staff and to fully appreciate the short- and long-term consequences of resource allocation decisions.
  • Demonstrated ability to work constructively and collaboratively with a board or other type of governing body.

Critical leadership capabilities

Acting strategically

Hewlett is committed to honoring the values of its founders and remaining engaged in key areas that have been programmatic priorities for decades, while at the same time recognizing that the world is a dynamic place, where evolution and adaptation are essential to maintaining a leadership position. Thus, the foundation’s leader must be a strong, system-level thinker who brings both creativity and intellectual rigor to the development of a coherent organizational strategy, coupled with the priority decision-making and risk-management abilities required to execute against that strategy. They must be able to align and deploy organizational assets—particularly financial and intellectual capital—against strategic priorities in innovative ways.

Collaborating and Influencing

As larger players enter the philanthropic sector, Hewlett’s ability to “punch above its weight” and influence other actors in the field will become increasingly important. The ability of the president to leverage Hewlett’s stature and the respect it carries, build coalitions, and engage in meaningful dialogue with a wide range of funders, grantees, policymakers, and thought leaders will be essential to advancing the foundation’s programmatic agenda. The next leader must have the ability to define and amplify Hewlett’s voice, articulating its values and priorities while at the same time creating a “big tent” that brings more resources and attention to the issues and solutions that Hewlett and its grantees seek to advance.

Organizational Capacity Building

Hewlett prides itself on providing talented people with high levels of autonomy and maintaining a lean staffing model. While the benefits of both are clear, they do come with costs. To help mitigate those costs, the next leader will need to be skilled at working with a team to design and implement structures, systems, and processes that minimize unnecessary complexity, foster synergies across programs, create well-understood expectations, and support equity and accountability at all levels of the organization. The goal of these efforts will be to ensure that Hewlett remains an employer of choice in an increasingly competitive talent market and a developer and seeder of talent that benefits the entire sector.

Other personal characteristics

  • A down to earth, pragmatic leadership style that reflects humility, transparency, and empathy.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
  • Intellectually curious with a love of learning.
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal.
  • Able to fully embrace living and working in the Bay Area.


The estimated annual base salary range for this position is $800,000 to $950,000, but the final base salary will be dependent on the individual’s skills, experience, abilities, and qualifications. In addition to the annual salary, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation offers a strong benefits package.

Applications and nominations

If you wish to submit application materials or nominate someone to serve as the next president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, please email:


The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation embraces the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging both internally in our hiring process and organizational culture, and externally in our grantmaking and related practices. We are an equal opportunity employer and welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, cultures, and experiences.

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.

The position is based in Menlo Park, California. Staff are working in a hybrid environment and currently expected to work from the Hewlett Foundation office at least two-to-three times per week. While performing the duties of this position, the employee is required to spend extended periods of time at a computer. The foundation requires all staff, vendors, and visitors accessing the office to be fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

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