Chief Operating Officer

Skoll Foundation | Palo Alto, California


The Skoll Foundation seeks to catalyze transformational social change by investing in, connecting, and championing social entrepreneurs and other change leaders who together advance equitable solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

Job Summary

The Skoll Foundation is seeking a seasoned, experienced executive to be its Chief Operating Officer. This role has principal oversight and strategic leadership for the Skoll Foundation’s financial management, legal matters, regulatory compliance, program-related investments (PRI), grants management, procurement, contracts, and information technology.


The Skoll Foundation is seeking a seasoned, experienced executive to be its Chief Operating Officer. The COO is a key cross-functional leader in the Foundation, a member of the Foundation’s leadership team and a close strategic and operational adviser to the CEO. The COO plays a pivotal role in driving the execution of the Foundation’s mission and strategy. The COO has principal oversight and strategic leadership for the Skoll Foundation’s financial management, legal matters, regulatory compliance, program-related investments (PRI), grants management, procurement, contracts, and information technology, exerting an influential and expert presence with senior management, the Board, and key partners. The COO leads these functions through a team of four direct reports dedicated to providing excellent service, ensuring fiduciary responsibility, and serving as business partners for staff across the Foundation. The successful candidate will have demonstrated success in driving excellence by recruiting, building, and developing individuals who perform as a results-driven team. The COO will be a creative, effective systems thinker who sees how the parts of the organization fit together to perform as an impactful, results-oriented enterprise. In addition, the COO will develop and apply thorough and insightful understanding of the Foundation’s programs, its grantees, and role in driving transformative systems change.

The ideal candidate will have extensive experience in many of the finance and operations functions, drawing on senior management experience in any number of sectors, including nonprofit and/or philanthropy. The Foundation values a mix of skills in its leaders: knowing and doing expertise, combined with creating effective operating models that harmonize best practices, policies, and procedures for effective organizational management. The Foundation seeks a COO with strong leadership and managerial skills, and the ability to approach operations with creativity and a spirit of innovation and experimentation. In doing so, the COO will contribute to the Skoll Foundation’s serving as a model for how foundations can support social entrepreneurship and make real change on critical issues facing today’s world.

Specifically, the COO will:

Executive Leadership

  • In collaboration with the CEO and leadership teams, align and steward organizational resources, policies, structures, and accountability practices to meet agreed-upon goals
  • Play a lead role on the executive management team for operational planning, prioritization, and performance assessment; in other words, helping the team understand the execution implications of strategic ideas and goals
  • Establish multi-year spending plans for the Foundation, weighing choices for current deployment and longer-term stewardship of the Foundation’s invested capital
  • Oversee foundation governance practices, including governing documents, structures, transparency, and conflicts of interest
  • Work in partnership with senior colleagues and others to ensure that the
  • Skoll Foundation and its operations serve as an innovative model for the fields of social entrepreneurship and philanthropy
  • Provide mentorship and leadership for the professional growth of the operations team; design and recruit positions; manage, develop, evaluate, and reward performance and contributions of individuals and teams
  • Work in close partnership with Talent and Culture for people operations, workforce planning, culture, and engagement activities
  • Contribute actively to the creation of the Foundation’s values-based culture
  • Build and nurture strategic partnerships that advance the Foundation’s mission and contribute to its effectiveness; and using exemplary interpersonal and communications skills to establish relationships of trust and influence 

Finance and Investments Leadership

  • Oversee creation and monitoring of financial plans, budgets, and policies; establish and maintain fiscal controls, and safeguard organizational assets
  • Ensure timely and satisfactory completion of audited financial statements, tax and other regulatory filings
  • Provide staff advisory and liaison capacities for the Foundation’s Investment and Audit Committees
  • As the Skoll Treasurer, serve as the primary point of coordination with the Foundation’s investment manager, Capricorn Investment Group, stewarding the Foundation’s investment policy and its execution, ensuring mission alignment
  • Develop and manage a program-related strategy and investment portfolio 

Information Technology

  • Bring vision and project management to an IT structure that will enable the technology function as a strategic enabler of the Foundation’s operating model, processes and goals
  • Champion technology investments and priorities among the Foundation’s leadership team and staff 

Grants Management

  • Ensure a nimble and effective grants management function that advances the Foundation’s mission, and enhances the partnerships with the Skoll Foundation’s grantees and partners
  • Effectively coordinate grant origination, monitoring and evaluation across the organization’s shared purposes 

Legal, Contracts, and Risk Management

  • Ensure exemplary compliance with all private foundation laws and regulations
  • Creating and executing policies and procedures to ensure efficient negotiation, execution and monitoring of grants, contracts, procurement, insurance, ensuring timeliness, quality and compliance and management of risk
  • Apply knowledge of all legal and regulatory requirements pertaining to foundation management, relationships, and transactions, bearing in mind the myriad jurisdictions where the Foundation transacts its business
  • Selecting and managing external parties (vendors, service providers, regulators, external counsel), particularly with an eye on diversity, equity and inclusion
  • Provide expertise and oversight on governance matters, such as authorization agreements, governing documents, Board business, and relationships with related parties 


The Skoll Foundation is committed to diversity, inclusion/belonging, and equity, and seeks to continue to build an inclusive workforce to promote effective work in partnership with all communities. The Foundation seeks a leader with a demonstrated track record of commitment to the power of philanthropy and the common good; strong curiosity and the desire to continue learning; a collegial work style; a sense of humor; and the dedication to work hard toward the Foundation’s mission of promoting philanthropy for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable planet for all.

Within this context, the Skoll Foundation seeks a COO with the following attributes:

  • Minimum of ten years at the senior executive level
  • A commitment to the Skoll Foundation values, mission and vision – evidenced, in part, by exhibiting a high level of personal and professional integrity, humility and humanity
  • A record of significant accomplishment in building and managing effective operating models, with a focus on planning and execution
  • Strong internal service orientation background
  • Experience building an inclusive intercultural environment where staff of all backgrounds and abilities can thrive
  • Extensive background in finance and investments, operations, grants management, and IT
  • Proven track record managing a professional staff and leading change that results in measurable outcomes
  • Analytical skills and orientation toward measurement, outcomes and continuous improvement and learning Receptive to feedback; holding the view that mistakes or challenges are necessary ingredients for development
  • Willingness and ability to challenge the status quo creatively and productively
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with colleagues, encouraging team members and support of others in the performance of their responsibilities
  • Excellent written, verbal, and presentation skills 

Additionally, the successful candidate may also have:

  • Experience in the philanthropic sector combined with nonprofit or business experience

How to Apply

The Skoll Foundation has exclusively retained The 360 Group of San Francisco to assist with this search. Please visit to review the complete position description, which includes detailed application instructions. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis; earlier applicants may receive priority consideration. To be considered, The 360 Group encourages all interested candidates to submit their applications promptly.

Skoll Foundation