Senior Director, Foundation Relations

Location: San Diego, CA
Reports to: Vice President, Philanthropy
Compensation: $135,000 – $150,000 DOE/Neg

Blair Search Partners has been retained by the Rady Children’s Hospital Foundation to manage this search engagement.

Our Story

Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego is the only hospital in the San Diego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric healthcare, and the region’s only designated trauma center and institution delivering tertiary and quaternary pediatric care. Rady Children’s is ranked in all 10 pediatric specialties surveyed by U.S. News & World Report and has achieved Magnet® designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center, recognized as the gold standard in nursing excellence. As a nonprofit organization, Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego relies on the fundraising efforts of its Foundation team to support the mission and vision of delivering consistently excellent care and being a destination of choice nationwide through selectively distinctive institutes. The Senior Director of Foundation Relations position is based within the Foundation. For more information, visit

Position Summary

The Senior Director of Foundation Relations (SDFR) will plan, build and manage a high-level grants program focused on developing funding relationships with major national foundations. In collaboration with Foundation and Hospital staff, the SDFR will strengthen existing foundation relationships and develop new prospects amongst the nation’s leading funders. Managing a portfolio of 80-100 local, regional, and national grant prospects, the SDFR will serve as a frontline fundraiser, responsible for soliciting private foundations with significant grant making capacity. They will be actively engaged in prospecting potential funders, with a keen awareness of the various stages of identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship. Working closely with both the Vice President of Philanthropy and Deputy Executive Director, the SDFR will enhance the RCHSD Foundation’s grants program in all areas including, research, prospecting, writing, submissions, stewardship and financial reporting.

This is a newly created position, requiring a highly creative, visionary and experienced philanthropy executive. The SDFR will have an opportunity to build a high-performing team, to include the additional positions of Foundation Relations Gift Officer and Grant Writer. Under the SDFR’s leadership, the Foundation Relations team will collaborate closely with the Corporate and Community Giving Team, to develop institutional relationships with corporate foundations, identify funding opportunities, and draft grant submissions at various levels.

Primary focus areas for this position include:

  • Provide strategic and operational leadership to build and manage a world-class grants program.
  • Partner with Foundation and Hospital leaders to respond to emerging organizational priorities, matching strategic initiatives with appropriate foundations.
  • Manage and execute creative, innovative, and customized donor strategies for a portfolio of donors and prospects with capacity at the $500,000 level and above.
  • Identify, cultivate and solicit foundation prospects capable of making major and principal gifts, building and managing an active portfolio of 80-100 prospect and donor relationships. Utilize data to define strategic plans for solicitation of prospects.
  • Collaborate with RCSHD Foundation and Hospital leaders to present formal fundraising proposals to donors and prospects; prepare senior leadership for individual and formal presentations.

Core Responsibilities

Portfolio Management:

  • Proactively maintain a robust portfolio of local, regional and national foundations and other funding organizations capable of contributing major gifts/grants.
  • Build and manage a pipeline of prospects and funders in various stages of identification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship.
  • Work closely with senior leadership to move funders through the various cycles of giving.

Strategic Planning:

  • Respond to organizational priorities, matching strategic initiatives with appropriate foundations.
  • Devise strategies and timetables for the successful solicitation of private foundations and funding organizations.
  • Develop giving opportunities and communication strategies with prospective/existing funders.
  • Become thoroughly familiar with hospital priorities in order to develop accurate and compelling case statements, gift opportunities and proposals with prospective funders.
  • Work with senior leadership to achieve philanthropic goals and solicitation metrics.
  • Identify, collect and analyze appropriate data for critical decision-making.

Donor Relations & Solicitation:

  • Coordinate stewardship initiatives and cultivation strategies to ensure regular contact with funders through scheduled grant reports/updates, personal visits and other communications.
  • Create vehicles for continued awareness on the part of donors of current needs and objectives that encourage continued giving.
  • Deliver excellent customer service to donors, colleagues, clinical partners, volunteers and hospital leadership.
  • Work closely with the Special Projects and Legal teams to meet submission protocols.

Internal and External Communications:

  • Advance a culture of philanthropy, collaboration, ethics and accountability.
  • Leverage exceptional communication skills to articulate the mission and fundraising goals of RCHSD; make persuasive oral presentations.
  • Advocate for RCHSD in a variety of public and private functions regarding the importance of philanthropy to achieve organizational goals.
  • Write compelling grant proposals, applications, letters, memos, reports, and other cultivation, solicitation and stewardship materials.
  • Coordinate follow-up reporting with departments to track and meet grant/application guidelines.

Required Skills, Education & Experience

  • Education – BA/BS degree, MA/MS preferred.
  • Fundraising experience – minimum 7 years of nonprofit fundraising experience, with a strong understanding of relationship development strategies and tactics.
  • Industry experience – prior fundraising work in the fields of healthcare and/or academia a plus.
  • Foundation relations – experience creating and implementing a comprehensive foundation relations program, and successfully establishing new funding models and partnerships.
  • Business acumen – strong understanding of and experience guiding data flow, work processes, and project management.
  • Interpersonal skills – ability to listen to, connect with, and inspire a wide range of stakeholders such as donors, sponsors, volunteers, and program partners.
  • Administration – high attention to detail, with organization skills.
  • Time management – ability to work efficiently under pressure, prioritizing tasks and responsibilities accordingly.
  • Technology – knowledgeable of Blackbaud nonprofit applications.
  • Location – can make trips by personal vehicle as external meetings may require, and willing to travel to meet with local and national foundations.
  • Schedule – ability to work evenings and weekends as needed for donor meetings and events.

Attributes & Work Style

  • Growth mindset – interested in growing and developing with the organization; hungry to learn.
  • People-centric – natural relationship builder with a warm and genuine approach.
  • Donor-centric – promotes a culture of superior customer service.
  • Team player – fosters a respectful, transparent, and collaborative work environment.
  • Leader – enjoys coaching, mentoring and building teams, and enhancing workplace culture.
  • Communicative – articulate, poised, and possesses exceptional written and verbal skills.
  • Detail-oriented – extremely organized and produces polished, meticulous work.
  • Entrepreneurial – incorporates innovation, strategic thinking and calculated risk taking.
  • Driven – possesses a business development focus.
  • Perseverant – a self-starter who demonstrates strong personal initiative and the ability to drive projects through to completion.
  • Creative – enjoys finding new solutions to existing opportunities; welcomes new ideas.
  • Mediator – ability to identify and resolve problems in a timely manner.
  • Analytical – strong critical thinking skills; adept at synthesizing complex or diverse information.
  • Data-driven – enjoys working with data and performance metrics to support business outcomes.

For more information or to apply, please contact:

Trevor Blair
CEO, Blair Search Partners
1855 1st Ave., Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101