Director of Grants Management and Finance, China

  • The Energy Foundation
  • San Francisco, CA, USA
  • Jun 16, 2020

Job Description

Energy Foundation China’s (EF China) vision is to achieve prosperity and a safe climate through sustainable energy. Its mission is to achieve greenhouse gas emissions neutrality, world-class air quality, energy access, and green growth through transforming energy and optimizing economic structure. They deliver their mission by serving as a grantmaker, facilitator, and strategic advisor.

With a view to assisting China in coping with development, energy, environmental, 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 Energy Foundation U.S. (EFUS). EF China has achieved steady growth due to increasing commitments from a number of funders, reaching cumulative grantmaking through 2019 of more than $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, California.

To learn more about EF China, visit their website.



EF China seeks a U.S.-based Director of Grants Management and Finance 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 and tactical grants management support, while also overseeing the U.S.-based Finance function and staff. EF China is an intermediary foundation registered in the U.S. and a vast majority of its funding partners (both institutional and individual) are based in the U.S. As such, EF China requires a U.S.-based team to manage and oversee financial and legal compliance in the U.S.. To date, EF China’s grants management and finance support has been provided by EF China’s sister organization, Energy Foundation U.S.

Moving forward, the new Director will develop EF China’s own Grants Management and Finance team in the U.S., seizing on this transition as an opportunity to ensure the systems and processes are customized to meet the unique needs of the organization. The Director will be expected to bring an informed perspective on how to best optimize systems and processes to drive impactful change. The mandate of this new team is to ensure best-in-class grants and finance management services to EF China staff, funders, and grantees and uphold the utmost levels of compliance and oversight for IRS, GAAP, and donor reporting regulations that are unique to the U.S. The Director will bring essential expertise in U.S. laws and regulations while partnering with Program and Finance teams in Beijing and the Strategic Partnerships team in the U.S. to provide full-cycle grants management and financial services.

Grants Management

The new Director will have the opportunity to establish an in-house Grants Management team for EF China, taking a consultative approach to build off an existing infrastructure, as managed by EFUS to date, while tailoring the policies, procedures, and systems to meet the needs 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. EF China has plans to bring on a Grants Manager in the near future to provide additional support for this team.

With an eye towards continuous systems and process improvement, the Director will iterate on ways to implement grants management, proactively tracking industry best practices and incorporating stakeholder feedback to ensure grantmaking objectives are met. As part of these efforts, a review of the current grants management systems and processes will be needed, identifying opportunities to refine, improve, and streamline workflows. Successfully integrating grants management across functions will also entail partnering with various teams to manage internal change and facilitating the design of staff trainings on process and systems.


The Director will oversee the incoming US-based Controller and provide thought partnership around strategic finance initiatives. While not expected to participate in the daily management of financial responsibilities, the Director will play a critical role in ensuring adherence to US financial laws and regulations, as well as in providing broader guidance around the build-out of integrated grants management and finance systems and reporting procedures that accommodate needs across China and the US. Working closely with the Beijing Finance team, the Director will partner with the Controller to refine the accounting infrastructure and tailor systems and reporting procedures to meet the needs of numerous legal, audit, and funder requirements. Specifically, the Director will guide the Controller to manage various audits and support the COO to work with the Board audit committee on financial, compliance, and risk management issues, leveraging others’ finance expertise as necessary. The Director will contribute directly to finance work from the grants management perspective, supporting Board and funder reports, as well as providing necessary grants data for financial audits.



EF China seeks a grants management professional who leads with a deep understanding of grants and contracting policies, systems, and processes, and brings past experience working with finance professionals to effectively oversee strategic finance initiatives. 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.

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 and cultural humility to skillfully collaborate across offices to achieve constructive solutions. 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 and streamline a dynamic Grants Management and Finance team in support of broader organizational goals. As such, strong analytical prowess is essential. Decisions and recommendations must be based on concrete data and rigorous analysis. Successful candidates will have a proven track record of designing, planning, and implementing process improvement initiatives, along with a collaborative approach to problem-solving and process design. 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 processes and requirements. In doing so, the selected candidate will possess the communication skills to successfully translate complex and nuanced content into relatable and digestible messaging. The goals of such trainings include ensuring alignment, garnering buy-in, and building grants management capacity amongst the Beijing Program team.

While Mandarin language skills and an understanding of Chinese culture are preferred but not required, experience working internationally or in cross-cultural contexts is essential due to the close collaboration between the Director and colleagues in Beijing. Given the remote nature of the role, this individual will need to be highly comfortable working across time zones and managing work streams accordingly.


Candidates must have a minimum of 10 years of grants management experience within a grantmaking institution. Strong understanding of data systems and business processes related to grantmaking is essential. Familiarity with grants and funder-related finance reporting and budgeting is necessary. Experience conducting business across cultures is required.

The Director of Grants Management and Finance will be located in the EFUS San Francisco office. This position requires occasional international travel and the ability to flex hours to work across time zones.

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