Vice President of Philanthropy, Monarch School Project

Compensation: $125,000 – $140,000 DOE/neg.
Locations: San Diego, CA
Direct Reports: 3 (Development Director, Development Manager, Communications Manager).
Reports To: CEO

Our Story: teaching students the skills and tools they need to beat the odds.

Founded over 30 years ago, the Monarch School is the largest and most comprehensive K-12 program of its kind for homeless students in the country. Our school serves up to 300 students daily and is a public-private partnership between the nonprofit Monarch School Project (MSP) a 501(c)(3) corporation, and the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE). The Monarch School provides accredited education, counseling, afterschool programs, and college and career preparation, as well as wrap-around programs and services ensuring access to basic needs such as food, clothing, and mental and physical health care. Four pillars of student success guide our commitment to addressing the holistic needs of youth experiencing homelessness:

  1. Academic Growth:To accelerate student learning, Monarch provides trauma-informed and student-centered instruction.
  2. Emotional Support:Monarch delivers comprehensive wraparound services that address students’ basic needs, emotional and mental health, and family well-being.
  3. Social Growth:Monarch offers clubs, events, athletics, and creative arts programs that enable students to explore their passions and engage with their school community.
  4. Life Skills: Through internships, coursework, coaching, and mentorship, Monarch provides life skills training focused on college and career readiness.

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Position Summary

In partnership with the President and CEO, the Vice President of Philanthropy will re-imagine the giving culture of MSP, shaping the future of the organization’s philanthropy programs. Priorities and responsibilities for this position fall under two main areas, which are highly interconnected:

  1. Fundraising: meet or exceed our 2021 philanthropy goal of $3.8M by strengthening current funding from public and private sources; be relentless in developing new and more diverse sources of revenue, emphasizing major gifts.
  2. Communications: cultivate the brand recognition of MSP within the community in an effort to attract new support for current and evolving programs.

Despite an extremely challenging operating environment, 2020 was one of our best fundraising years ever. To continue building on this momentum we expanded our executive team by creating a new Vice President of Philanthropy position. This leader will own the strategic design and implementation of MSP’s fundraising program, serving as a primary spokesperson for the organization and as a critical member of the Senior Leadership Team.

The Vice President will oversee existing and evolving fundraising operations including foundation partnerships, individual donor cultivation and acquisition, annual campaign strategies and events. In addition to our fundraising activities, the VP will provide executive oversight for marketing, communications, and brand positioning activities. This includes responsibility for promoting a culture of giving in which board and staff members are fully equipped as ambassadors, embracing their roles as an integral part of MSP’s philanthropy efforts.

Focus areas for year 1:

  • Systems building: ensure MSP’s Development Team has the skills and resources to achieve our fundraising goals.
  • Review and augment MSP’s overall development plan as-needed.
  • Analyze the structure and strategy currently in place around each of our revenue streams, make recommendations for upgrades as required.
  • Staff the Board’s Development Committee and develop relationships with each member.
  • Begin laying the foundation for expanding MSP’s base of fundraising support in years 2-5.

Focus areas for years 2-5:

  • Start moving donor relationships from being financial supporters to being passionate advocates and ambassadors for our work.
  • Assist the CEO in expanding the organization’s reach, both online and physical.
  • Assist in formulating replication strategies for MSP and strategies for funding them.

Duties & Responsibilities


  • Assemble and manage a strong team with a focus on effective coaching, leadership development, goal orientation and a commitment to respecting culture and valuing equity, justice and inclusion.
  • Serve as a role model for our students by setting the highest standards of professional and personal conduct, honesty, integrity and ethical behavior.
  • Set the overarching fundraising direction, establish and achieve annual performance metrics.
  • Monitor fundraising progress and donor stewardship; provide reports to senior leaders, the CEO, and the Board.
  • Review and enhance the capacity of the staff and infrastructure for the purposes of achieving greater market penetration.
  • Lead the staff in the execution of events, fundraising activities, and campaign planning.
  • Support a culture of integration across all departments.
  • Ensure compliance and reporting adherence for public and private grants.
  • Build a culture of continuous improvement by using data to drive decisions and make course corrections when necessary.
  • Monitor key fundraising trends and issues and communicate their implications to the CEO, colleagues and board where appropriate.

Donor Cultivation and Stewardship

  • Lead and participate in solicitation efforts for targeted individuals and corporations. Exercise diplomatic persistence in the cultivation of donors. Demonstrate the ability to close the deal.
  • In collaboration with the CEO and board sub-committee, set the strategy, work plan and tone for fundraising, emphasizing the implementation of innovative and creative ideas for securing private donations.
  • Work closely with the Board to inspire greater participation in advancement efforts while capitalizing on board member’s individual resources, talents and networks.
  • Effectively cultivate and steward authentic relationships with current and prospective donors.
  • Develop a strategy to collaborate with key staff so that every staff member is engaged in raising funds and elevating the profile of MSP.
  • Partner closely with program staff to make certain that fundraising requests match program needs.

Community & Media Relations

  • Develop and implement a communications plan for MSP to build greater visibility through digital communications, social media and other cultivation tools.
  • Oversee vendor partnerships related to external PR, event planning and related areas.
  • Raise MSP’s profile and strengthen its reputation among donors, constituents, volunteers, organizational partners, other key stakeholders and the general public.
  • Represent the organization at community events, including presentations, appearances and speaking opportunities.
  • Select exposure opportunities appropriate for the organization.
  • Work with the media to manage the press experience, ensure the organization is reflected in the most accurate and positive way and messaging is in-line with established messaging.

Attributes & Work Style

  • Passionate: A social advocate who is genuinely motivated to achieve systems change for students in the Black and Brown community through education and access to opportunity.
  • Visionary: A strategic thinker who can drive the vision for MSP’s fundraising efforts.
  • Servant-Leader:Leads with humility, empathy and awareness; actively contributes to employees’ ability to reach their goals and thrive at MSP.
  • Collaborative:Fosters a respectful, transparent, and collaborative work environment.
  • Community-minded:Skilled at connecting with individuals across all socio-economic, ethnic, cultural, and professional backgrounds in the community.
  • Proactive & Perseverant:A self-starter who demonstrates strong personal initiative and the ability to drive projects through to completion.
  • Positive:Charismatic, warm and welcoming; a true “people-person.”
  • Growth Mindset:Says “yes” to appropriate, new opportunities and ideas for GSSD.
  • Analytical: Ability to carefully study issues, identify trends and formulate new ideas.
  • Metrics-Driven:An innovative thinker, pairing ideas with solutions and measurable outcomes.
  • Adaptive:Comfortable with multi-tasking; able to work both independently and in teams.
  • Reflective:Skilled at receiving and giving feedback and performance critiques.
  • Tact & Diplomacy:Patient, willing and able to have the difficult conversations as required.
  • Communicative:Strong written and oral communication skills. An effective public speaker and representative of the organization.
  • Flexible: Ability to work evenings and weekends as required.

Education & Experience

  • Prior leadership experience within a mission-driven organization, ideally with a focus on advocacy and systems change.
  • 10+ years of professional experience in nonprofit fundraising (full cycle), with proven results and achievement in campaign development and major/principal gifts.
  • Complete end-to-end understanding of fundraising strategies, systems, and processes.
  • Bachelor’s preferred; Certificate in Fund Raising Management preferred.
  • Experienced in constructing, articulating and implementing a strategic development plan.
  • Prior direct responsibility for cultivating, soliciting and stewarding gifts of $10,000 or more.
  • Experience developing and managing budgets over $2M.
  • Strong leadership skills to mentor and motivate development staff to reach development goals.
  • A history of working directly with board members in support of fundraising efforts.
  • Strong analytical skills and use of data to drive fundraising, partnership decisions and forecasting.
  • An expert storyteller who can channel personal connection to MSP’s mission.

For more information or to apply, please contact:

Sarah Thompson, Director, Blair Search Partners
1855 1st Ave., Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101