Director of Grants Management

Energy Foundation ChinaSan Francisco, CA/Flexible

The Organization

With a view to assisting China in coping with development, energy, environment, and climate challenges, EF China supports policy and standard research, capacity building, and international cooperation across seven fields: power, industry, transportation, cities, environmental management, low carbon economic growth, and strategic communications. In addition to the sector-by-sector work, the Foundation also contributes to crosscutting and integrated issues that have big impacts on China’s decarbonized development through six task forces: Long-Term Strategy for Decarbonization, Belt and Road Initiative, Track II Cooperation, Electrification, Air Quality, and Urbanization.

Previously known as the China Sustainable Energy Program, EF China was initiated in 1999 with funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as part of the Energy Foundation US (EFUS). EF China has achieved steady growth due to increasing commitments from a number of funders, reaching cumulative grantmaking through 2019 of more than US $330 million for 2,893 projects operated by over 760 grantees, including leading policy research institutes, academies, industry associations, local energy efficiency institutions, and NGOs in China and abroad. As part of this growth trajectory, EF China now operates as an independent organization while maintaining strong ties to its sister organization, EFUS. A majority of EF China’s nearly 50 staff sit in Beijing, with a small team sharing the EFUS office in San Francisco, CA.

To learn more about EF China, visit their website.

The Opportunity

Energy Foundation China seeks a US-based Director of Grants Management to serve as a key business partner to EF China’s Beijing teams. Reporting to the Chief Operating Officer in Beijing, the incoming Director will provide both strategic direction and tactical grants management support. As a US-registered intermediary foundation with primarily US-based funding partners, EF China requires this Director of Grants Management to manage and oversee the grants-related legal compliance in the States. Until mid-2020, EF China’s grants management support had been provided by EF China’s sister organization, Energy Foundation US. Recently, a third-party vendor was onboarded to work closely with EF China’s Beijing team to deliver grants management services.

Moving forward, the new Director will develop EF China’s own Grants Management team, seizing on this transition as an opportunity to ensure the systems and processes are customized to meet the unique needs and complexities of grantmaking in China. Working with and across teams, the Director will set the overall grants management strategy and processes, while helping to manage the day to day execution of the grants lifecycle in partnership with Program, Finance, and Strategic Partnerships staff.

The mandate of this new team is to ensure best-in-class grants management services to EF China staff, funders, and grantees and to uphold the utmost levels of compliance and oversight for reporting and regulations that are unique to the US, while tailoring to various needs of grantmaking in China.

Compliance and Policies

  • Partner with the COO and cross-functional leaders to set Foundation-wide policies and procedures on grant making to fulfill the IRS requirements, including expenditure responsibility
  • With an informed and experienced perspective on grantmaking best practices, define and implement grantmaking processes that ensure compliance but also take into consideration the nuances of partnering with China-based grantees
  • Oversee the entire grants management workflow, review key grants as needed, and sign grant agreements on behalf of EF China
  • Resolve issues identified by the third party vendor/Grants Management team or raised by the Program team, referring special cases or defined areas of risk to the legal counsel to work towards resolution

Systems and Processes

  • Conduct internal audit and analysis to make informed recommendations on systems upgrades tailored to the complexities of EF China’s grantmaking needs
  • Identify and lead the implementation of new systems in partnership with relevant vendors and the EF China IT team
  • Partner cross-functionally to ensure that the grants management system integrates with other organizational systems to streamline workflows, where appropriate
  • Continuously review systems and processes with an eye towards scalability and increased efficiency, proactively tracking industry best practices and incorporating stakeholder feedback to ensure grantmaking objectives are met

Training and Reporting

  • Identify gaps in staff knowledge and design relevant trainings on compliance requirements and grant making processes and systems
  • Lead and deliver trainings to staff as needed, including new hire on-boarding training
  • Collaborate with the Strategic Partnerships team to provide grants related reports to donors as well as to the Board, conducting analysis on grants data and synthesizing insights to share out
  • In partnership with the Finance team, support the organization’s grantmaking reporting requirements for audit and compliance purposes

The Ideal Candidate

EF China seeks a grants management professional who leads with a deep understanding of grantmaking compliance, systems, and processes in an international context. Candidates must have a practical understanding of 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and how public charities are regulated in the United States – particularly grant-making and grant-receiving organizations – and be able to incorporate these regulations into EF China’s operations as an intermediary foundation.

While Mandarin language skills and an understanding of Chinese culture are preferred but not required, experience with international grantmaking in cross-cultural contexts is essential. The ideal candidate must bring deep experience overseeing complex international grantmaking involving considerations such as expenditure responsibility. Critical to success is an understanding of how to balance strict compliance with US laws and regulations with the realities of grantmaking abroad.

The ideal candidate is a self-driven individual who excels at delivering on strategic and tactical levels, while demonstrating the agility to seamlessly navigate substantial change. Leading through influence and with a client-service orientation, this individual will thrive in an autonomous role in a cross-cultural environment, bringing the emotional intelligence to skillfully collaborate across offices. A proactive leader, this individual will demonstrate the capacity to apply a systems level, holistic viewpoint to institute changes and refinements that support increased organizational efficiency and success across a myriad of teams, systems, and objectives.

The incoming Director will have the intellectual drive to build a dynamic Grants Management team in support of broader organizational goals. Decisions and recommendations must be based on concrete data, rigorous analysis, and industry best practices. Successful candidates will have a proven track record of designing, planning, and implementing policies and process improvement initiatives, along with a collaborative approach to problem-solving. Paired with an analytical mindset, the ideal candidate will bring a natural proclivity for training and educating colleagues on both the technical and contextual aspects of grants management. The goals of such trainings include ensuring alignment, garnering buy-in, and building grants management capacity amongst the Beijing Program team.

Minimum Qualifications

Candidates must have a minimum of 10 years of grants management experience within a grantmaking institution. Strong understanding of compliance, business processes, and systems related to grantmaking is essential. Experience conducting business across cultures is required.

The Director of Grants Management will ideally be located in San Francisco, but other EFUS offices in Washington DC, Raleigh, Chicago, and Las Vegas will be considered. This position may require occasional international travel and the ability to flex hours to work across time zones.

To Be Considered

Energy Foundation China is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. To be considered, please submit your resume and a cover letter expressing your passion for the mission and fit for the role.

The search for a Director of Grants Management is being assisted by a team from GoodCitizen: 

Alison Kaneko
Search Director
Direct: 415.678.5001

Celene Haque
Senior Associate
Direct: 206.462.6189