Director of Operations | Open Philanthropy Project

Update March 2018: We are no longer accepting applications for this position.

The Open Philanthropy Project is looking for a Director of Operations to help us build a sustainable, scalable organization as we increase our giving in the coming years. We are currently a ~20-person organization giving away over $100 million per year, and partnering with GiveWell for basic operations needs. We plan to grow both giving and staff substantially, in line with our current funders’ goal of giving away the vast majority of their wealth within their lifetimes. We also aspire to become a key source of giving recommendations - and a role model organization - for other major philanthropists.

The Director of Operations will be responsible for significantly expanding our current grants management team and building out our own finance, budgeting, HR, IT, office management, and legal teams. As we grow, the Director of Operations will also help us maintain a strong culture that prioritizes truth-seeking and honesty, a drive for constant improvement, ambition paired with skeptical inquiry, diversity and inclusion, active listening to grantees and other partners, and attentive and dedicated management at all levels of the organization. The ideal candidate is passionate about building a great organization, and comfortable with a fluid role in a dynamic environment.

About the Open Philanthropy Project

The Open Philanthropy Project identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results, and publishes our findings. Our main funders are Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook and Asana.

We aim to do as much good as possible with the resources we have. Rather than choose focus areas based on funders’ personal passions, we stress openness to many possibilities and have chosen our focus areas based on importance, neglectedness and tractability. We’re particularly interested in high-risk, high-reward giving that may be too unconventional or long-term for other funders. Our current giving areas include global health and development, scientific research, criminal justice reform, farm animal welfare, biosecurity and pandemic preparedness, and potential risks from advanced artificial intelligence.

Growth plans

Prior to becoming an independent organization in June 2017, the Open Philanthropy Project was operated as a partnership between Cari and Dustin’s foundation, Good Ventures, and the charity evaluator GiveWell (more). In 2017, we became an independent organization. We currently share office space and multiple operations functions with GiveWell (including HR, IT and finance), and the Director of Operations will be responsible for building out independent teams for these functions.

We expect our staff size to at least double in the coming years, but we don’t have a particular target in mind. Staff and operational expansion will be driven by the goal of increasing our annual giving. We expect our giving to be, at peak, equal to that of some of the largest U.S. foundations. Over time, we also aspire to become a key source of giving recommendations - and a role model organization - for other major philanthropists.

The role

The Director of Operations will report to our Executive Director, Holden Karnofsky. This is a high-autonomy, high-responsibility role whose duties include:

  • Building our own finance, budgeting, HR, IT, and office management teams so that we are no longer reliant on our partnership with GiveWell for these functions.
  • Working with (or potentially hiring) a general counsel to ensure that we can quickly and efficiently review all compliance issues raised by potential grants.
  • Expanding our grants management team and improving our grants management processes so that we can disburse grants quickly, track their progress efficiently, and improve our practices for actively listening to grantees.
  • Strengthening our existing practices for training and assessing managers. We prize attentive and dedicated management, and it is important that we maintain this quality at all levels of the organization as we grow.
  • Maintaining and continually strengthening our organizational commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Being a leader and key maintainer of our organizational culture. Our culture prioritizes truth-seeking and honesty, a drive for constant improvement, and risk tolerance paired with skeptical inquiry, all in service of doing the most good we can.
  • Proactively addressing anything else needed to maintain a great organization.

Desired skills and experience

  • Significant work experience with a variety of operational responsibilities. The ideal candidate has been a substantial part of at least one excellent organization’s development.
  • Track record of being an excellent personnel manager.
  • Some experience with quantitative, data-driven analysis of operational or other issues.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, especially the ability to explain one’s views clearly.
  • Curiosity about and ability to rapidly acquire knowledge in areas beyond current expertise.
  • The ideal candidate would have hands-on experience with finance, budgeting, HR, IT, and legal compliance, but no single one of these is required.

Personal characteristics we look for

  • Passion for the Open Philanthropy Project’s core values of impact maximization and openness.
  • Strong self-direction and self-motivation.
  • Directness and openness in giving and receiving feedback.
  • Comfort with intense discussion and debate, including challenging one’s manager.
  • A drive to question and improve everything about the organization rather than taking it as given.
  • Comfort explaining and discussing decisions using clear, systematic frameworks.
  • Comfort with getting things done either via delegation or directly, depending on what the situation calls for.
  • Comfort seeking unconventional solutions and accepting a degree of risk.
  • Flexibility and adaptability. We don’t hesitate to radically change course if doing so is the best way to further our mission.

Additional information

This will be a full-time position in San Francisco, where Open Philanthropy is based. This is an office-based job that can partly be done remotely.

We will consider sponsoring applications for work authorization for exceptional candidates.

As part of our dedication to equal employment opportunity and the diversity of our staff, the Open Philanthropy Project does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, gender, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local law. We especially encourage applications from women and minorities.

Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider for employment qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records.

If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, you may contact us at jobs@openphilanthropy.org.

To apply

Update March 2018: We are no longer accepting applications for this position.