President & CEO

RSF Foundation Logo_New Tagline


For over 40 years, Rancho Santa Fe Foundation (RSFF) has provided a high level of service by developing personal relationships with our donors and providing exceptional stewardship of the funds invested with us to ensure greater community impact for North County San Diego. With nearly $150 million in assets under management, we are committed to informing and supporting the charitable giving of donors and participatory, trust-based giving to nonprofit organizations. These assets support an ever-broadening array of activities that ensure the effectiveness of the Foundation’s mission. Our work is built on five core values:

  • We Believe in Relationships – We deeply value the relationships of our donors, professional staff, volunteers, and nonprofit partners.
  • We Practice Stewardship – We provide exceptional governance, fiscal management, and guidance to our donors and nonprofit partners.
  • We Achieve Excellence Together – Together we are stronger, through collaboration, community leadership, and a shared vision.
  • We Do the Right Thing – Ethical behavior is an essential part of our success.
  • We Care – We are invested in the outcomes and impact to the communities we serve.

Through our grants and programs, we make strategic investments to address unmet and emerging community needs. RSFF manages over 375 funds created by philanthropic-minded individuals and families, along with forward-thinking nonprofit agencies. Since 2000, we have awarded more than $138 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.


Rancho Santa Fe Foundation is a highly trusted organization in the community. Our work is guided by an engaged and committed board of community leaders from across the region who share a passion for giving back. Our dynamic team of seven staff members works in close partnership with our funded partner organizations to build stronger communities and bring to life the philanthropic vision of our generous donors. We value diversity and it is our firm belief that in order to do this work effectively and authentically, people and culture must come first. As we prepared to launch our CEO search, RSFF staff were invited to share their thoughts on the organization’s leadership and culture. Here is what they shared with us:

  • “RSFF is a friendly, caring group of professionals. We trust each other and know we can count on each other to get the job done.”
  • “We are a team of doers – we are worker-bees who all roll up our sleeves.”
  • “Our culture is highly collegial – we are close both professionally and personally.”


  • Salary – $225,000 – 275,000 DOE/Neg.
  • Medical, dental, and vision coverage
  • 401(k) Match
  • PTO: 12 paid days off (increasing to 24 after 3 years of service), 12 paid holidays, 4 paid hours per month of paid volunteer time


RSFF is 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 in the office every Monday.


Rancho Santa Fe Foundation (RSFF) is looking for a strategic and visionary leader to join and lead our team as our new President & Chief Executive Officer. This is an entrepreneurial role, and the ideal candidate will bring and welcome new ideas, a growth mindset, strong and thoughtful leadership, and a passion for transforming our community through philanthropy. This is an opportunity to join a dynamic organization and truly make our region a better place through focused philanthropy in critical issues areas. From fundraising and working to cultivate new donors, to supporting our board, staff, and stakeholders, the new President & CEO will serve as a highly trusted member of the philanthropic community and will ultimately make a lasting impact on our North County San Diego community.

This is a tremendous opportunity to lead one of the top philanthropic organizations in the region. For over 40 years, RSFF has delivered remarkable impact across our community. Reporting directly to the Board Chair, and in close collaboration with our Board of Directors, the President & CEO will leverage our strong reputation and past successes to shape the future growth of RSFF and amplify our impact. RSFF has an exceptional team in place, allowing the President & CEO to focus on strategic areas, such as board development, strategic planning, and donor relations. They will supervise our Chief Operating Officer and our Vice President, Philanthropy & Impact.

Strategic priorities for our CEO include:

  1. Continue the rollout of RSFF’s strategic plan to enhance our impact, including our new Strategic Pillars of advancing education, supporting our heroes, and building healthy communities.
  2. Lead efforts to build awareness of RSFF and share the story of our impact across the region.
  3. Partner with our VP of Philanthropy & Impact to increase giving to and through RSFF, with a focus on increasing discretionary funding available for new and innovative work.
  4. Begin identifying and cultivating new donors, next-generation philanthropists, and other funding sources to engage them in our community of donors and our work.


  • Board Partnership – Forge a close partnership with the Board of Directors, defining and steering the organization’s strategic vision. Cultivate an effective working relationship based on trust, mutual respect, and demonstrable performance. Work closely with the board to identify and cultivate potential new board members.
  • Strategic Leadership – Lead the charge in overseeing our strategic initiatives that will define the future of RSFF and significantly enhance our impact on the North County San Diego region. Stay at the forefront of the competitive landscape.
  • Stewardship – Serve as an influential philanthropic leader for the region, implementing exceptional donor stewardship strategies and ensuring that RSFF serves as a trusted advocate for both our donors’ interests and community needs. Skillfully steward both new and existing donor relationships and financial resources.
  • Fundraising – Play a pivotal role in fundraising, working diligently to secure significant contributions from individual donors, nonprofit organizations, and other funding sources. Grow assets under management to maximize our impact and effectively address complex challenges in the community.
  • Community Relations – Elevate RSFF’s visibility and stature at the local, state, and national levels; represent RSFF across the community. Serve as chief spokesperson and advocate for the organization, forging key relationships and partnerships that advance our mission.
  • Philanthropic Leadership – Maintain the position of RSFF’s President & CEO as a visionary and influential leader in the community. Stay well-informed about current and emerging trends, and best practices, while also serving as a convener and thought leader to help grow philanthropy in our region.
  • Operational and Organizational Management – Provide inspirational leadership, team building, and growth opportunities to the professional staff, while ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the organization’s programs and activities; embrace a collaborative and transparent culture and work environment in which staff are engaged, productive, and thriving.
  • Community Impact – Oversee the strategy for the programmatic direction of RSFF and collaborate with staff to build upon our commitment to North County San Diego. Work closely with the team to drive both grant-seeking and partnership development efforts. Encourage an innovative approach to philanthropy that caters to the diverse needs of our constituents.


  • Passion for and commitment to RSFF’s mission to connect donors with regional and global needs through visionary community leadership, personalized service, and effective grantmaking.
  • Executive leadership experience with community foundations or nonprofits is preferred.
  • Knowledge of investments, donor-advised funds, and planned giving tools is highly desirable.
  • Demonstrated senior leadership and management experience, including strategy development, board engagement, change management, team collaboration, and talent development.
  • Track record of building effective partnerships with diverse constituencies, including businesses, elected officials, government entities, community-based organizations, and individuals.
  • 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 driving organizational growth and creating and implementing innovative programs with a data-driven lens.
  • A solid fundamental understanding of fiscal management with experience developing and managing budgets.
  • Ability to process and translate complex business regulations, such as IRS rules, to donors and key stakeholders.


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