Director of Philanthropy & Impact

Our Story

Since its founding in 1981, Rancho Santa Fe Foundation (RSFF) has provided exceptional stewardship of the funds invested with us to ensure great community impact. Ranking among the top 20 community foundations in California, with $160M in assets under management, we are committed to supporting the charitable giving of donors and nonprofit organizations. Our work is built on four core values:

  • Service to Donors– We nurture relationships built on integrity and trust as we help donors achieve their philanthropic goals.
  • Stewardship – We provide exceptional organizational governance of the Foundation and fiscal management of the funds entrusted to us.
  • Collaboration– We promote partnerships among stakeholders and leverage diverse perspectives for the greatest impact on community needs.
  • Community Leadership – We advance the philanthropic work of our donors and community to address significant issues.

Through our grants and programs, we make strategic investments to address unmet or emerging community needs. To date, we have awarded more than $120 million in grants to nonprofit organizations globally. As we grow and look to the future of San Diego County, we continue to envision and implement ways to build community in our region.

Leadership & Culture

Rancho Santa Fe Foundation is led by a dynamic leadership team dedicated to fostering a culture of autonomy, inclusivity, and growth. The Director of Philanthropy & Impact will report to our CEO, Chris Sichel. With over 25 years of nonprofit CEO experience, Chris is known as a culture-setting executive whose career has been marked by year-over-year mission-focused organizational growth, building strong boards and leaders, and long-tenured dedicated staff and volunteers. The Director of Philanthropy & Impact will join an energetic and talented team of seven staff working collaboratively to connect donors with regional and global needs through visionary community leadership, personalized service, and effective grantmaking.

Benefits & Features

  • Salary:  $120,000 – $140,000 DOE/NG
  • Medical, dental, vision coverage
  • 12 paid days off (increasing to 24 days after 3 years of service)
  • 12 paid holidays
  • 401(k) Match
  • 4 hours per month of paid volunteer time


This is a hybrid role with an office located at 162 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road, Encinitas, CA 92024. Employees work onsite a minimum of two days a week. To ensure that RSFF staff have collaborative time together, all staff are onsite every Monday.

Position Summary

The Director of Philanthropy & Impact is a newly created and highly collaborative role. Reporting to the CEO, the Director will be a force multiplier, partnering with the CEO, Board of Directors, and staff to create and implement innovative and efficient development strategies to increase RSFF’s assets, enhance grantmaking, and market RSFF’s services to a variety of stakeholders, including current and prospective donors, foundations, and professional advisors. They will serve as a thought partner and active contributor to RSFF’s organizational planning, development, and assessment activities. This is an exciting time to join RSFF as we are in the process of reimagining our impact areas. The Director will have the latitude to reimagine our donor ecosystem and fundraising strategies for community impact. This position provides an excellent opportunity for a dynamic, charismatic, leader to play a significant role in supporting purposeful philanthropy for our region and beyond.

Duties & Responsibilities

Resource Development Leadership

  • Develop and implement a comprehensive fund development plan, including strategic goals and objectives to ensure appropriate, organizationally effective, and timely growth and the furtherance of the RSFF’s mission.
  • Develop and implement a resource development strategy for individuals, agencies, and foundations, including major prospect cultivation, planned giving, and resource development events.
  • Communicates a positive image of RSFF that builds confidence and trust with stakeholders and the public.
  • Develop and maintain support for RSFF at the highest levels through collaborative partnerships and visible leadership.
  • Collaborate with the chair of the Professional Advisors Council to develop agendas for committee meetings and inspire committee members, and the board, to be knowledgeable, effective ambassadors for RSFF.
  • Develop and maintain advanced prospect management and analysis systems.
  • Identifies new major prospects in order to increase funds, expand RSFF’s pool of discretionary funds, and diversify the relationship base throughout the county.
  • Collaborates with board members, the President/CEO, and professional advisors to cultivate major prospects and solicit current or planned gifts.
  • Serve as a liaison with estate planning attorneys, CPAs, CFPs, trust departments, wealth managers, stockbrokers, and other advisors, communicating the benefits of utilizing RSFF.
  • Represent RSFF at meetings of the local fundraising associations and estate planning councils, public events, and lead presentations to donor groups, civic groups, and other special events.
  • Oversee RSFF’s planned giving program, developing and maintaining a deep understanding of planned giving instruments, including bequests, charitable remainder trusts, and charitable gift annuities.
  • Participates in ongoing training and professional development, including staying abreast of industry trends and their appropriateness for the Foundation’s philanthropic services practice.

Philanthropic Services

  • Manages a portfolio of existing funds and fundholders, providing ongoing philanthropic services and using innovative strategies to increase donor engagement.
  • Develop and maintain comprehensive and accurate information regarding donor advisor interests and preferences.
  • Participate in orientation meetings with new donor advisors to understand their interests and intentions.
  • Schedule annual reviews with existing donor advisors.
  • Plan and implement philanthropic educational programs and activities to develop relationships with donor advisors and prospects.
  • Provide individualized philanthropic services as requested by fund holders.
  • Facilitate family philanthropy meetings.
  • Serve as a contact for fund holders, answering questions about their funds and the Foundation’s work in general.
  • Maintain cross-functional working relationships with other departments to ensure timely and full-service philanthropic support to fund holders.
  • Provide leadership for special event planning, including securing sponsorships.
  • Assist in the maintenance of donor database records and oversees prospect research to assist the CEO in identifying new prospects.

Background Profile

  • Proven major gifts and planned giving success
  • Successful nonprofit fundraising experience; solid understanding of fundraising strategies; experience soliciting current and prospective major gifts.
  • Strong organization and prioritization skills with the ability to manage several projects simultaneously, with exceptional attention to detail; initiative-taking; motivated, with a positive personality and excellent follow-through.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, written and oral; ability to work effectively with a variety of stakeholders.

COVID-19 Vaccination Policy

To help prevent the infection and spread of COVID-19, RSFF requires that all its employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We make accommodations for eligible medical and religious exemptions.

For more information or to apply, please contact:

Sarah Thompson, Director, Blair Search Partners
1855 First Avenue, Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101