Vice President of Institutional advancement

Who we are

Balboa Park is the crown jewel of San Diego. A National Historic Landmark since 1977, the park spans 1,200 acres, with more than 60 miles of trails, 20 gardens, and home to 29 major arts and culture organizations. The park also hosts an array of multicultural events throughout the year, attracting more than 4 million visitors annually. In 2021, two prominent Balboa Park nonprofit organizations, Friends of Balboa Park, and the Balboa Park Conservancy merged to form Forever Balboa Park. Building on the legacy and foundation of its predecessors, Forever Balboa Park works in partnership with the City of San Diego and other organizations to ensure the sustainability and accessibility of Balboa Park, through fundraising, facilities and infrastructure improvements, a visitor center, volunteer programs and public engagement across the park. Through the collaborative efforts of staff, community partners, and more than 340 volunteers, Forever Balboa Park is making significant progress toward fulfilling its vision of ensuring that Balboa Park is a sustainable, world-class destination, where all who visit are welcomed, inspired, engaged, and enriched. For more information, please visit:


As a member of the senior leadership team, the Vice President of Institutional Advancement will report to President & CEO, Elizabeth C. Babcock, Ph.D., who joined the organization in April 2022 as Forever Balboa Park’s first CEO. A passionate, inclusive, and transparent leader, Elizabeth is an experienced museum executive, user experience researcher and designer, educator, and anthropologist. Elizabeth has received several awards, including the 2022 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring for the California Academy of Science’s Career in Science internship program, and was recognized in 2013 as a White House Champion of Change by the Obama Administration and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The new VP will join a team of 33 exceptionally talented staff working collaboratively to achieve organizational success. Our culture is based on a shared commitment to and passion for preserving and enhancing this amazing cultural and environmental asset for all generations and the diverse communities of the region. This includes a strong dedication to open communication supporting the growth and development of each individual team member.


  • Salary – $125,000 – $140,000 DOE/NEG
  • Medical, dental, and vision Insurance
  • Long-term disability and life insurance
  • 403(b) retirement plan with a 5% employer match
  • 15 vacation days
  • 5 paid holidays


Forever Balboa Park is based in the House of Hospitality, an historic building within the park, located at 1549 El Prado, Suite 1, San Diego, CA 92101. The VP will work onsite a minimum of three days per week, including Tuesdays and Thursdays, but with the expectation onsite work could require up to five days per week some weeks, depending on team and donor cultivation needs.


The Vice President of Institutional Advancement will play an important role in the organization’s growth and evolution. Reporting to the President and CEO, the VP will lead a dynamic team, supervising the Annual Giving and Stewardship Specialist, Database and Donor Relationship Specialist, and Communications Specialist, as well as a campaign consultant. As a member of the senior leadership team, this is a high-profile role, working in partnership with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders in the park, City of San Diego Parks and Recreation department, and the business and philanthropic community. The VP will oversee all contributed revenue for Forever Balboa Park, raising $850K for the annual operating budget and additional funds for a multi-year capital campaign. Balboa Park is an exceptional, historic, and beloved regional asset, and Forever Balboa Park has a long legacy and successful track record in the achievements of its predecessor organizations. Yet the organization also has the advantage of being in the early stages of its evolution. As such, the new VP will have an amazing opportunity to build something and make it their own, working in partnership with a CEO who is committed to, and passionate about fundraising. Strategic priorities for the VP include:

Advancement (70%):

  1. Capital Campaign: lead our $10M capital campaign to reimagine the Botanical Buildingand Gardens, one of the park’s most iconic structures. Work closely with the CEO, Campaign Cabinet, and consultant(s) on campaign strategy and execution.
  2. Annual Fund: help us rethink and relaunch efforts around pipeline development, donor circles, special events, affinity groups and annual giving. Own our initial annual goal of $850K.
  3. Innovation: explore new membership models and other potential revenue streams.
  4. Foundation Relations & Corporate Giving: define a strategy and hire a team to focus on this area.
  5. Culture: build a culture of philanthropy across the organization, educating every team member, volunteer and stakeholder how they can play a role in supporting contributed revenue goals.

Marketing & Communications (30%):

  1. Awareness: advance Balboa Park’s brand as one of the region’s top attractions and historical sites, and Forever Balboa Park’s role in enhancing the park.
  2. Branding: execute on our Forever Balboa Parkbrand, ensuring consistency and reach through ongoing channels, and special events.
  3. Storytelling: shift the narrative from what we do, to our impact in the community.
  4. Annual Fund: design and execute the communications strategy for the fall and spring annual fund drives.
  5. Campaign: develop messaging and strategies to support the capital campaign through both the quiet and public phases.


  • Serve as a member of the senior leadership team, contributing to the overall strategic direction of the organization.
  • Create a culture of philanthropy within the organization, ensuring every staff member is equipped to support our fundraising
  • Build a comprehensive development plan for an early-stage organization, focusing on individual, foundation,and corporate giving.
  • Create an annual giving stewardship plan, moving donors to higher giving levels.
  • Coach, develop, and mentor staff members.
  • Serve as the strategist and staff lead on the $10M Capital Campaign to revitalize Balboa Park’s Botanical Building and Gardens.
  • Oversee development and execution of a communications plan for the capital campaign.
  • Continue organizational branding initiatives, increasing awareness of the organization throughout Balboa Park and the community.


Forever Balboa Park has a mandatory vaccine policy and requires proof of vaccination. If you are not already vaccinated, you will be required to become fully vaccinated or apply for an exemption.


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