Chief Executive Officer

Who We Are

Within the world of international philanthropy and community impact, ICF is a visionary groundbreaker. We are not just funders: we are both part of the solution and part of the communities we serve, with an approach centered on strengthening nonprofit organizations through collaborative partnerships. As a nimble, entrepreneurial funder, ICF is not afraid of the inherent risk associated with pushing philanthropic boundaries. To this end, we have developed a more flexible and inclusive model of giving, leveraging new and complex tools and financing models. This allows ICF to respond to immediate needs such as disaster relief while simultaneously deploying patient capital towards longer-term strategic projects. Our focus areas include health, education, environment/climate change, border issues, food systems, human rights and disaster relief/emergency response.

We are a growing organization committed to expanding charitable giving in Mexico and Latin America. Although our office is in San Diego, CA the majority of our donors are from outside the region, and we have multiple team members residing in Mexico. Since our founding in 1990, ICF has granted over USD $100 million to a range of education, health and environmental initiatives across Latin America. While 70% of current grants portfolio is within the Baja California region, ICF funds initiatives in 14 different countries. Our total asset base of USD $30 million is comprised of 275 individual funds, allowing ICF to have both an immediate and a long-term positive impact on the communities where we work. 2020 was one of our most successful years ever, during which we granted over $17 million to organizations working on COVID-19 emergency response, U.S.-Mexico border issues, human rights and migration, and environmental initiatives.

While we have grown tremendously, we still provide our donors with a high-touch, boutique experience, paired with a unique international perspective and funding capability. Our core strengths include:

  • 30-year track record of success and on-the-ground impact in multiple countries.
  • Culturally fluid, bilingual, team with extensive field experience.
  • Respected expert in international grantmaking and philanthropy services.
  • Known as a go-to organization for programming needs in Latin America, including border and migration issues and disaster response.
  • Ability to provide extensive research, analysis, and implementation services.
  • Deep knowledge and commitment to the environment, human rights and social justice philanthropy.
  • Loyal, long-term donors and partners.

Please visit https://icfdn.org/ to learn more about our organization and our impact.

Position Overview

We seek an experienced philanthropy executive to lead the continuing evolution of ICF’s innovative model and build on our rich history and track record of  community impact. This will be guided by our 2021-23 Strategic Pillars:

Sustainable Coastal Cities: supporting sustainable options for healthier lives, conservation, and improved quality of life for local residents through investments in:

  • Air and water quality.
  • Smart growth and alternative livelihoods.
  • Protection of nearshore fisheries and habitats, including removal of plastics from the ocean.
  • Local art and culture.

Human Rights and Migration: address crisis issues including hunger, unemployment, climate change, and violence, which are manifestations of the underlying  issues that cause movement and displacement. This includes investments in:

  • Human rights protection.
  • Workforce development.
  • Coalition-building and multi-country interventions.

Institutional Reform & Civil Society Resilience: to enact fundamental change in policy, governance, civil rights, transparency/accountability, and environmental law, ICF will provide:

  • Litigation and advocacy support.
  • Convenings, data sharing and communications/publication.
  • Capacity-building and general support for partner organizations.

Testing Creative Ideas: ICF will help ensure viable communities in the future by taking on challenges that others are not. This includes:

  • Food and water security.
  • Impact investing to deploy risk-tolerant and patient capital to emerging businesses and ideas.
  • Cross-border environmental mitigation banks.
  • Circular economy investments.
  • Building financial instruments and links to the venture financing community.

World Class Philanthropy: ICF will work tirelessly to:

  • Bring donors the best opportunities for philanthropic investment and financial returns.
  • Build platforms for donor-grantee conversations that level the playing field.
  • Carry out efficient and effective due diligence and governance.
  • Secure long-term support for ICF and its mission.

Reporting to a 13-member Board of Governors, the President & CEO will work collaboratively with the Board, team members, donors and program partners. Working within the framework of our Strategic Pillars, they will focus on:

  • Raising ICF’s profile nationally and internationally and serving as a highly visible leader in philanthropy and chief spokesperson to advance ICF’s overall  mission, vision and specific agendas in public forums.
  • Developing key partnerships, alliances and coalitions with leaders in business, government, nonprofits and with other thought leaders.
  • Expanding our funder portfolio in terms of both size and geography; increasing ICF’s assets and endowment to support the implementation of our Strategic  Pillars framework.
  • Diversifying our board with more representation at the regional and international levels.
  • Building on our unique position and strategic advantage of cross-border philanthropy and impact.
  • Managing ICF’s partnership with Olivewood Gardens, serving on the Board of Directors and continuing to assess opportunities for financial and  programming synergies.
  • Deepening ICF’s relationships with the professional advisor community, ensuring that prospective donors are aware of the Foundation and its philanthropic  services and impact.

The CEO oversees a team of 13 professionals, including 4 direct reports: Vice President of Programs, Director, Nonprofit Innovation & Performance, Senior  Development Officer and Executive Assistant. They must be able to travel internationally up to several times a year to Mexico and other locations across Latin  America to ensure ICF has a strong presence on the ground with the communities and donors we serve. While our headquarters is in San Diego, CA, given the  nature of our work, it is conceivable that our CEO could be based outside the region, or even internationally, based on the candidate ultimately selected for the role.

Year 1 priorities:

  • Develop a deep understanding and appreciation for ICF’s history, programs, donors and impact.
  • Analyze our current funding base and begin laying the foundation for further growth through new donor relationships and diversification of revenue streams.
  • Become familiar with the Mexican philanthropic system, donor culture, and nonprofit laws.
  • Conduct a top-to-bottom workflow analysis to ensure the organization is staffed and structured appropriately to support our growth and strategic vision.
  • Launch the new branding and marketing strategy around ICF’s 5 Strategic Pillars; ensure branding and messaging are fully honed.
  • Continue investing in the ICF team including compensation reviews and professional development opportunities.
  • Coach, mentor and develop staff, empower them and provide opportunities for them to lead and grow in their respective positions.
  • Conduct a strategic review of ICF’s technology platforms (donor management, gift tracking, finance and accounting) to ensure they will meet our future  needs.

Year 2 – 5 priorities:

  • Position ICF as a major philanthropic player at the national and international levels.
  • Add more strategic partnerships with major philanthropic institutions.
  • Develop more donor relationships internationally, particularly in Mexico.
  • Begin planning for ICF’s first major capital campaign.
  • Build ICF’s financial capacity to support disaster relief through longer-term commitments from large donors.
  • Identify ways to streamline the CEO role to minimize administrative and HR-related duties, freeing up more bandwidth for focus at the strategic level.
  • Review ICF’s fee structure and consider ways for simplification.
  • Success metrics: in addition to dollars raised, quantify and communicate ICF’s impact on the ground in the communities we serve.

Candidate Profile: Skills & Experience

  • Leadership experience – preferably within a foundation or nonprofit organization working on complex, strategic initiatives and partnering closely with a  board of directors.
  • Fundraising – deep experience in effective nonprofit funding strategies, with a track record of developing new and innovative funding sources and expanding  donor bases. Experience working with funders at all levels.
  • Language & communication skills – written and oral in both English and Spanish, including strong listening skills and the ability to connect with and inspire  a wide range of partners and stakeholders.
  • Bicultural Experience – deep binational and bicultural experience at both the personal and professional levels; ability to move effortlessly between Latin  American and US cultures.
  • Strategic planning – demonstrated track record of working closely with the Board in all areas of strategic planning, including managing large organizations  through growth and change, with the ability to plan and act ahead of potential impacts. Brings sound risk management skills.
  • Operations – exceptional business acumen and change management skills.
  • Coaching and mentoring – ability to engage staff and develop each team member to their fullest potential; experience developing effective, collaborative and  diverse management teams.
  • Culture Building – prior experience creating work environments that are inclusive, productive, healthy and positive; ensure that ICF’s culture fully aligns  with our mission and outcomes.
  • Donor stewardship – demonstrated track record of effectively representing donor interests and deepening existing funding relationships.
  • Collaboration – proven ability to create lasting and impactful cross-sector relationships/partnerships with a wide array of organizations in nonprofit services,  government, business, academia, funders and community organizations.
  • Board relations – experience working with and reporting to a board of highly engaged leaders, including reporting, advising and collaborating at a strategic  level.
  • Finances – experience managing financial plans, forecasts, budgets, and oversight.
  • Branding and communications – ability to drive innovative marketing and communications strategies to build awareness and highlight ICF’s impact in the communities we serve.
  • Managing complexity – demonstrated success working in a complex organization with multiple stakeholder groups.
  • Public speaking and media relations – excellent public speaking and presentation skills; ability to passionately and effectively tell our story and inspire others to action. Enjoys public events.
  • Compliance and QA – experience ensuring organizational compliance with federal, state, and local regulations, standards and best practices.

Leadership & Management Style

  • Focus on innovation and expanding boundaries; a visionary with the ability to see the future and make it happen.
  • Puts the needs of the communities we serve and our staff at the core of everything they do.
  • High emotional intelligence: listens, absorbs and reflects before acting; actively seeks input and welcomes difference of opinions.
  • Demonstrates professionalism and executive presence at all times.
  • An inclusive, consensus-building leadership style both in and out of the public spotlight.
  • Highly developed change management skills.
  • Exceptional follow-through and attention to detail.
  • Warm and personable, with a commitment to inclusive leadership.
  • A natural relationship builder; a connector of people and ideas with a proven track record for developing partnerships.
  • Transparent and open to feedback and constructive criticism; skilled at having tough conversations when necessary.
  • Demonstrates tact and diplomacy at all times.

Additional Qualifications

  • Bilingual and bicultural preferred, with a global perspective and strong understanding of the border region and Latin America.
  • Executive level leadership experience in the nonprofit and/or philanthropic sectors, ideally with an international focus.
  • Brings a broad network of relationships at the national and international levels including program partners, funders and subject matter experts in the areas of philanthropy, cross border/cultural initiatives and nonprofit management.
  • Extensive knowledge of nonprofit governance, regulatory requirements and business practices.
  • Clear passion for community impact and engagement at the international and local levels.
  • Unshakable moral and ethical compass, demonstrating integrity, maintaining confidentiality, and exercising discretion at all times.
  • Possesses a strong spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Maintains an upbeat and enthusiastic attitude, even under pressure.
  • Willingness to jump in and assist colleagues across the organization and across sectors.
  • Excellent organizational, time management, multi-tasking, and planning skills.
  • Comfortable working evenings and weekends as required for donor events.
  • Prior experience working with or within a community foundation preferred.
  • Appreciation for local issues, culture and context of community building and impact work.
  • Highly aware and sensitive to DEI and social justice issues that can arise in the relationship between funder and the funded.

For more information or to apply, please contact:

Tia Anzellotti, Director
Blair Search Partners
1855 First Ave., Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92101
tia@blairsearchpartners.com