Chief Financial Officer

Lifeline Logo


Our Mission: to build self-reliance among youth, adults, and families through high-quality, community-based services.

Our Vision: to foster both long-lasting personal growth and systemic change to improve the adverse social conditions impacting youth, adults, and families. Lifeline seeks to build resiliency within those we serve, thereby empowering them to reach their highest potential.

Our Core Values: 

  • Prevention: to provide the earliest intervention to reduce system involvement.
  • Quality: to pursue excellence in client intervention and clinical oversight.
  • Collaboration: to build mutually beneficial partnerships to increase impact.

For 50 years Lifeline Community Services (Lifeline) has been helping low-income youth and families achieve self-reliance. With more than 165 full-time staff members and 215 dedicated volunteers, we offer over 25 unique programs across our five focus areas: youth development, child abuse and domestic violence, housing and self-sufficiency, behavioral health, and human trafficking. With a current annual operating budget of $16.5M, we are continuing to grow as an organization and expand our services region-wide. From our original base in Vista, we now operate nine sites across the county including Oceanside, San Marcos, Vista, Escondido, and San Diego. Last year we served 4,304 clients through intensive case management, coaching, and clinical interventions, and 27,259 with educational outreach services and referrals. Our clients are predominately low to extremely low-income from communities across San Diego County. The vast majority of our programs are clinically based, with a focus on integrating services across the organization to break down programmatic silos and apply a true wrap-around approach for the individuals and families we serve.


Lifeline is a highly trusted partner, recognized as a backbone organization of the community. We are a key service provider, convener, and collaborator. Our work is guided by an engaged and committed board of 18 community leaders from across the region. We are extremely proud of our reputation for fostering a supportive team culture and being an outstanding place to work and grow. Staff members shared some thoughts on the organization’s leadership and culture at a recent focus group:

  • “Everyone jumps in to help each other out.”
  • “Our leadership is highly visible and accessible.”
  • “Staff are empowered and trusted to use their autonomy as professionals.”
  • “Communication is great at all levels. Team members actively collaborate within and across programs.”

We feel this inclusive and supportive culture is the foundation of our success, with some of our team members celebrating 10, 15, and even 25 years of service at Lifeline.

This is an exciting time in our organization’s history as we recently celebrated our 50th anniversary and welcomed our new CEO, Lisette Islas. An extremely experienced and accomplished nonprofit leader, Lisette succeeds Don Stump, who recently retired after 15 years of CEO service at Lifeline. Prior to joining Lifeline, Lisette served as Executive Vice President for another powerhouse human services agency, MAAC. During her time at MAAC, Lisette helped grow the organization from $36M to $70M in operating revenue, and invested heavily in people and culture, ultimately expanding the team from 325 to 590 members across 40 sites. Since joining Lifeline, Lisette has initiated major investments in the organization’s capacity and capabilities, creating several new leadership positions, including the new CFO role.


  • Salary – $140,000 – $180,000
  • Medical, dental, vision, chiropractic, acupuncture, and life insurance
  • Matched 403b retirement plan
  • PTO: 0-2 years: 120 hours (15) paid days off, 48 hours (6) paid days off, 14 paid holidays
  • Employee assistance program
  • Employee incentives and award programs
  • Training and education assistance
  • Flexible spending account
  • Menu of optional benefits, including short-term disability, critical illness, accident, hospitalization, and cancer policy


This is a hybrid role with an office at 3890 Murphy Canyon Rd. #250, San Diego, CA 92123.


The Chief Financial Officer will be one of the most high-profile leaders within the organization, ensuring both financial excellence and sustainability, aligned with our mission to nurture and empower the community. They will lead a team of six direct reports: two Senior Accountants and three Staff Accountants. This executive role will oversee all financial operations, including accounting, budgeting, and investments, ensuring financial health and strategic use of resources to drive community impact. As a key member of the executive team, the CFO will advocate for and implement financial strategies that embody our core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Lifeline has built a solid reputation with all our key partners, funders, local government agencies, and clients. We are excited to welcome our new CFO who will help us build upon our incredible 50-year legacy of service!

Strategic priorities for this position include:

  • Relationships: become deeply familiar with our programs and get to know our staff as individuals; meet with the accounting and finance contacts of our funder and partner organizations.
  • Systems: analyze Lifeline’s current finance and accounting systems, including technology, policies, and procedures; recommend opportunities for streamlining and modernization; support systems implementation.
  • Board Relations: serve as the finance contact for Lifeline’s board members, attend meetings, create reports and make presentations to the board as needed.
  • Strategy: partner with our CEO to assist in the development and execution of our strategic plan.
  • Contracting: prepare Lifeline for new CalAIM contracting requirements as the County follows the State of California’s shift from cost recovery to fixed price contract models.
  • Revenue: assist the CEO to diversify and grow funding streams, particularly outside our core government programs.
  • Technology: work with our IT Director to move our finance and accounting operations to the cloud and ensure we have the right technology infrastructure to support our needs.
  • Workflow: partner with our CEO to conduct a top-to-bottom review of our systems and procedures to streamline workflows and reduce administrative burdens on staff wherever possible.
  • Facilities: Assist our CEO in developing a long-term facilities plan to support our future growth.


  • Ensure adherence to the highest ethical standards, driving financial and operational accountability and compliance with all relevant legal guidelines and best practices.
  • Lead a multifunctional team including finance, payroll, and support staff. Foster an environment of professional growth, accountability, and continuous improvement through hands-on coaching and mentoring.
  • Collaborate with the CEO and the Finance Committee to formulate and execute comprehensive financial strategies and plans that ensure long-term sustainability and support organizational growth objectives.
  • Develop and maintain rigorous financial controls, policies, and procedures to uphold the highest standards of financial integrity and compliance with all statutory requirements.
  • Oversee the production of monthly and quarterly financial reports, manage the annual audit process, and ensure a robust system of internal financial controls is in place.
  • Lead the Investment Committee in managing the organization’s portfolio in accordance with the approved investment policies and objectives.
  • Partner closely with Executive Leadership and Senior Management to cultivate and manage relationships with donors, foundations, and other financial supporters. Oversee fund development planning and execution to align with donor intentions and organizational priorities.
  • Partner closely with Executive Leadership and Senior Management to align financial resource allocation with organizational strategies and objectives, enhancing the impact of community programs and investments.
  • Design and manage comprehensive risk management policies and procedures, including maintaining appropriate insurance coverages to protect the organization and its assets.


  • Passion for and commitment to Lifeline’s mission to build self-reliance among youth, adults, and families through high-quality, community-based services.
  • Ethical, transparent, and committed to Lifeline’s values; a proactive and thoughtful leader who is adaptable, culturally sensitive, and inclusive.
  • At least 10 years of financial management experience in a leadership role, preferably within a non-profit or similar community-oriented organization.
  • Experience working within a multi-faceted organization with complex funding sources, including government contracts, with a strong preference for experience working with contracts from the County of San Diego.
  • Additional experience managing pay-for-performance contracts, demonstrating an ability to manage and optimize outcomes-based funding agreements.
  • Expertise in financial and accounting software systems; comprehensive knowledge of GAAP and nonprofit financial regulations; strong strategic thinking, leadership, and communication skills.
  • Demonstrates the capacity to lead broad financial strategy with a forward-thinking approach, anticipating future challenges and opportunities.
  • Excels in a collaborative environment, engaging with other senior leaders to foster a cohesive strategy across all areas of the organization.
  • Committed to leading through diversity, actively promoting and integrating principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion within all financial practices and team interactions.
  • Superb people skills, with exceptionally well-developed listening and communication skills, and the ability to connect with and inspire confidence among a wide range of stakeholders.
  • Highly empathetic, exhibiting sound judgment, tact, and diplomacy when dealing with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated success in helping to drive organizational growth, leveraging data to help inform both strategic and tactical decision making.
  • A solid fundamental understanding of fiscal management with experience developing and managing budgets.



  • Pursuant to Lifeline’s COVID-19 mitigation protocols, individuals must be fully vaccinated, subject to legally required exemptions.
  • Background check and compliance with pre-employment screening, including drug tests.
  • Flexibility to occasionally work outside of traditional business hours as needed to meet organizational priorities.


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