Program Manager

About Blue Shield of California Foundation

Blue Shield of California Foundation (the Foundation) is one of the largest healthcare grantmaking organizations in California. The mission of the Foundation is to improve the lives of all Californians, particularly the underserved, by making health care accessible, effective and affordable, and by ending domestic violence. In 2017, the Foundation will award over $25 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, and conduct strategic research and program development.

Position Description

Program Managers are responsible for finalizing and overseeing a defined portfolio of grants and contracts and providing project management support for large social change initiatives.  Program Managers partner with the Chief Program Director, Policy Director, and Senior Program Officers who develop grantmaking and contracting strategies for the Program Manager to implement.  Program Managers perform these responsibilities as part of the Program Support team consisting of a Sr. Program Manager and two team coordinators and participate on other cross-disciplinary teams.  Program Managers are adept at using Foundation systems to ensure grant data is accurately entered and coded in our systems and grants are processed appropriately.  Program Managers report directly to the Chief Program Director.   

Specific Responsibilities Include:

  • Grantmaking: Works collaboratively with the Policy Director and/or Senior Program Officers to conduct research, identify potential grant partners, support the development of project plans, assess proposals, and develop grant objectives and evaluation criteria. Reviews all grant reports to ensure grant requirements are met and address any deficiencies. Analyzes grant reports to identify trends, lessons learned, insights and progress against goals and outcomes. Prepares memos and shares appropriately in support of Foundation evaluation and learning activities.
  • Managing portfolio of grants: Leads and executes grantmaking activities as part of a multi-disciplinary team, including due diligence and processing of grants. Works with internal and external stakeholders to manage the flow of information and due diligence documents to ensure grants are processed appropriately and information is accurately recorded in our systems. Proactively solves and overcomes obstacles to execute grants, contracts and amendments, including seeking legal opinions. Drafts grant recommendations for the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
  • Project Manager: Acts as the project manager for large-scale social change initiatives. In partnership with the Chief Program Director, Director of Policy and/or Sr. Program Officers develops project plans to implement multi-year social change initiatives. Project plans include evaluation criteria for grants that are aligned with goals and outcomes. Supports the work of the Program Team in identifying, retaining, and managing consultants. Acts as the primary point of contact for grantees and responds to questions appropriately and timely to ensure a positive relationship between grantees and the Foundation. Acts creatively and uses strong inter-personal skills to address and resolve problems or issues with consultants or grantees.
  • Communications: Collaborates with the Foundation's Public Affairs Team, providing content information, and serves as a subject matter expert for Foundation publications, and events, press releases, Web site updates, conference presentations and public announcements of funding. 
  • Internal engagement and collaboration: Works collaboratively and participates on cross-disciplinary teams with colleagues at the Foundation.  Demonstrates flexibility and adaptability to work in a matrixed organization.
  • Fiscal oversight: Oversees the grantee budget and expenditures. Approves any deviations from approved plans and budgets, and ensures that such changes are documented. Collaborates with staff to provide information about budget projections, budget deviations, and payout expectations.
  • Organizational knowledge: Maintains an in-depth knowledge of the priorities, strategies, and selection criteria for the Foundation’s programs. 


Minimum Education & Experience Requirements:
  • A bachelor’s degree is required.
  • A minimum of of three to four years of program management experience with nonprofit organizations, community based or philanthropic organizations, or public institutions.
  • A minimum of two to three years of active grantmaking experience and knowledge of due diligence requirements.  
  • Limited travel required.


  • Master's degree or equivalent experience preferred; bachelor’s degree is required, with a preference for a degree in public health, public affairs or public policy.
  • Grantmaking experience as part of a private and/or corporate foundation. 

Knowledge and Skills:

  • Passion for the Foundation’s mission is essential.
  • Demonstrated strategic and critical thinking skills and strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills to be able to interface effectively with a broad range of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Ability to represent the Foundation in diverse forums and maintain broad organizational relationships.
  • Ability to assess the leadership, track record, fiscal health, and capacity of a nonprofit organization to lead a proposed program or project.
  • Demonstrated ability to balance multiple complex projects and priorities.
  • Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail.
  • Strong sense of professional integrity.
  • Creative, enthusiastic, and independent; demonstrates a high degree of initiative; productive and results-oriented. 
  • Demonstrated ability to participate on cross-disciplinary teams. 
  • Ability to be flexible and adaptable to work in a matrixed organization.
  • Demonstrated ability to thrive in a rapidly changing internal and external landscape.

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