Chief Executive Officer


The San Diego Foundation maximizes the impact of charitable giving. We manage and invest donor-advised funds for individuals, families, businesses and agencies. Through philanthropic leadership and strategic grantmaking, we support nonprofit organizations strengthening our communities. We collaborate with donors and partners to address the most pressing challenges in the San Diego region.

Our history is rooted in the collaborative action of thousands of caring individuals and committed organizations. For 43 years, we have worked side by side with donors, community leaders, local and regional government, academia, nonprofit organizations and businesses to facilitate positive social change.

Since our founding in 1975, The San Diego Foundation and our donors have granted more than $1.1 billion towards creating a vibrant San Diego region. The San Diego Foundation currently has a staff of 49 team members, over 460 volunteers, an operating budget of $10 million, and assets of $875 million under management.

In FY 2018 , we made history with our highest level ever of granting to the nonprofit community. The Foundation awarded a record $67.4 million across 5,871 grants to 1,755 organizations supporting our regional needs. Our funding areas include: Education 31.7%, Health & Human Services 16.8%, Civil Society 25.3%, Arts & Culture 9.9%, Youth Development 5.9% and the Environment 5.1%.

The San Diego Foundation has adopted nine strategic priorities that mobilize resources to advance a vibrant quality of life; maximize the impact of social investment; and champion civic engagement.

Our work is made possible through close partnerships, including our 8 regional affiliates across the San Diego region, and our supporting organizations, including the San Diego Women’s Foundation and the San Diego Regional Disaster Fund.

The San Diego Foundation mission is to improve the quality of life in all our communities. We do this by providing leadership for effective philanthropy that builds enduring assets, convenes talent and resources, and develops effective partnerships for action in advance of the common good. To this end, TSDF embraces the following values for itself and for the community that it serves:

  • Stewardship: TSDF holds itself in the public trust, maintaining the highest standards of integrity in donor relations, community service, institutional governance and fiscal management;
  • Community: TSDF values its unique capacity to provide an inclusive forum for civic engagement that promotes responsible and impactful philanthropy and collective community action informed by shared values and diverse beliefs;
  • Collaboration: TSDF partners with volunteers, community leaders and civic and nonprofit organizations to provide high-impact programs, services and knowledge that benefit the broadest possible constituency
  • Inclusion & Equity: TSDF respects and values the contributions and experiences of all members of the community in the work of the Foundation;
  • Service: TSDF engages in action that promotes the common good and commits to fully embracing that calling for as long as the need exists; and
  • Legacy: TSDF honors the contributions of those who have worked tirelessly in the past to ensure the well-being of the San Diego region, and pledges to support those who will carry on that legacy.

Please visit to learn more about our community foundation and read about our recent impact at



Reporting to an 18-member Board of Governors, the CEO will work collaboratively with Board members to evolve the strategic direction of The Foundation and build on TSDF’s past successes. The CEO will 1) develop and manage relationships with a wide range of stakeholders and 2) have overall responsibility for the operating health and well-being of the organization, including strategic planning, fundraising, fiscal management, marketing, programs and grantmaking operations. The CEO’s specific responsibilities include:

  • Strategic Leadership: Oversee strategic planning that will define the future of TSDF and increase impact on the San Diego community; Stay ahead of the competitive landscape.
  • Fundraising: Serve as an effective, high-profile philanthropic leader for the region; Implement world-class donor stewardship strategies and ensure TSDF provides a strong voice for donors’ interests; Identify, develop and grow new donor relationships and financial resources.
  • Relationship Building: Represent TSDF across the community, serving as chief spokesperson and advocate for the organization’s mission and goals; Build new partnerships, coalitions, and collaborations with external groups and organizations throughout the San Diego region.
  • Philanthropic Leadership: Knowledge and experience of the philanthropy field; Strong desire to stay abreast of current and future trends, developments and best-practices; Serve as a convener and thought leader to help drive the field forward; Ensure philanthropy has both a voice and presence across key sectors such as business, academia, government and other civic institutions.
  • Board Partnership: Work closely with the Board of Governors to set and manage the organization’s strategic vision; Implement an effective working relationship based on trust, respect and performance.
  • Operational and Organizational Management: Provide guidance and leadership on all internal, operational, staff development, and financial matters; Assess the Foundation’s current organizational structures, policies and procedures to ensure they best serve TSDF’s strategic goals and reflect its values; Embrace a collaborative and transparent culture and work environment in which staff are engaged, productive and thriving. Grantmaking and discretionary fund oversight.
  • Community Impact: Oversee strategy for the programmatic direction of the Foundation and collaborate with the program staff to build upon TSDF’s commitment to the San Diego community; Work closely with TSDF’s Community Impact team to drive both grant seeking and partnership development efforts; Encourage an entrepreneurial and creative approach to philanthropy that meets the needs of diverse constituents.
  • Communications and Marketing: Increase TSDF’s visibility and stature in state, local, and national communities; Align the strategic focus of development, marketing, and communications to better highlight the work of the Foundation and inform current and potential donors, partners, and stakeholders.

The CEO oversees a senior management team of 6 comprised of the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Investment Officer, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Development & Stewardship Officer, and the Board Liaison. The position reports directly to TSDF’s Board of Governors, with a competitive base salary and an additional performance incentive of up to 15%.



  • Senior leadership experience – preferably as a CEO of a major nonprofit organization (corporate experience also helpful), and/or demonstration of voluntary civic leadership, governance and community engagement experience at the regional level.
  • 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 the regional, state and national levels.
  • Operations – exceptional business acumen and change management skills.
  • 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.
  • Connectivity to San Diego (highly desired) – experience working within and across the region, with a deep understanding of the local history and environment, as well as a strong reputation as a community and relationship builder.
  • Coaching and mentoring – ability to engage staff and develop each team member to their fullest potential.
  • Culture – prior experience creating work environments that are inclusive, productive, healthy and positive; ensure that TSDF’s culture fully aligns with our mission and outcomes. Experience leading and developing an effective, collaborative and diverse management team.
  • 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 large 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 TSDF’s impact in the community.
  • Managing complexity – demonstrated success working in a complex organization with multiple stakeholder groups (i.e. board, staff, donors, affiliates, volunteers, elected officials and partner organizations).
  • 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.
  • Communication skills – written and oral, including strong listening skills and the ability to connect with and inspire a wide range of partners and stakeholders.
  • Compliance and QA – experience ensuring organizational compliance with federal, state, and local regulations, standards and best practices.



  • Clear passion for community engagement.
  • Demonstrated capability to effectively lead and manage staff.
  • High emotional intelligence.
  • Listens, absorbs and reflects before acting.
  • Demonstrates professionalism and executive presence at all times.
  • 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.
  • Skilled at having tough conversations when necessary.
  • Puts the needs of the communities we serve and our staff at the core of everything they do.
  • Promotes a supportive workplace culture, with a high level of staff engagement.
  • Skilled at staff development – enjoys being a coach and mentor.
  • Transparent and open to feedback and constructive criticism.
  • Demonstrates tact and diplomacy at all times.



  • Knowledge of nonprofit governance, regulatory requirements and business practices.
  • Brings a sound moral and ethical compass, demonstrating integrity, maintaining confidentiality, and exercising discretion at all times.
  • Possesses a strong spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Ability to create and drive high-level strategy.
  • Charismatic, driven, and able to naturally inspire and motivate.
  • Patient and savvy relationship builder.
  • Articulate, poised and comfortable speaking both on and off camera.
  • Maintains an upbeat and enthusiastic attitude, even under pressure.
  • Willingness to jump in and assist colleagues across the organization.
  • Excellent organizational, time management, multi-tasking, and planning skills.
  • Comfortable working evenings and weekends as required for donor events.
  • Experience at or business model familiarity with a community foundation preferred.


For more information or to apply, please contact:

Trevor Blair, Principal
Blair Search Partners LLC
550 West B Street, 4th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101