Job Opportunity: President and CEO, San Diego Grantmakers

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

About San Diego Grantmakers

San Diego Grantmakers (“SDG”) is a network of people and organizations working to make our region better through philanthropy. We are a 501(c)3 association that provides unique services in support of organizations and individuals who are strategic about philanthropy and provide significant funding to multiple nonprofits.

Founded in 1976 as a network of grantmakers, SDG has grown into the leading learning, networking, and collaboration force for philanthropy in San Diego. Our membership currently includes more than 115 foundations, corporate philanthropy programs, giving circles, donor advised funds, grantmaking public charities, government funders, philanthropy advisors, and individual philanthropists who support a wide range of issues and causes in a variety of ways.

  • Our MISSION is to connect and activate funders to learn, lead and invest in our community.
  • Our VISION is an equitable, collaborative, and impactful social change ecosystem that improves the lives of all residents in our region.
  • Our VALUES guide us in everything we believe deeply in: learning, collaboration, equity, future-focused, impact and courageous leadership.

For more information on San Diego Grantmakers, please visit

The Opportunity

This is an exciting opportunity for a visionary and innovative leader to build on SDG’s 42 years of impact in the philanthropic sector as its new President and CEO. Guided by SDG’s new mission, vision, values, key work areas and goals for organizational excellence as described in the 2020 Strategic Framework, the President and CEO will be a chief visionary, spokesperson, and external relations builder while providing oversight to the management of daily operations in pursuit of our goals to positively impact our region.

The President and CEO must have the experience and drive necessary to propel SDG into its next phase of development in SDG’s 5 key work areas:

  • Strengthen Effective Philanthropy
  • Facilitate Funder and Cross Sector Collaboration
  • Champion Equity and Opportunity
  • Catalyze Impact Investing
  • Support New Forms of Giving

This exciting stage in SDG’s trajectory provides a unique, entrepreneurial opportunity for a dynamic leader to develop a plan for the organization’s next chapter that will continue to move the sector towards greater equity while deepening SDG’s position as a thought leader in the field of social justice.

The President and CEO will be a highly visible face of the organization. This seasoned leader will represent SDG to its membership, the broader philanthropic sector, and the San Diego community. Managing a staff of 10, the President and CEO will also have operational responsibility for SDG’s programs, publications, fundraising, conferences, events, advocacy efforts, and finances. The President and CEO will be instrumental in helping SDG continue to strengthen its position as a leader in the sector and bring a new vision for SDG to life in the coming years.

Key Responsibilities

Furthering the Strategic Agenda and Contributing to Positive Community Change Through Leadership, Innovation, and Collaboration

  • Provide creative and collaborative leadership and direction to the staff and advice to the Board of Directors in order to develop and implement the organizational vision through programs, member services and communication with stakeholders.
  • Provide a high degree of community visibility, to serve as the chief spokesperson for SDG with all external stakeholders; to be an active and spirited communicator in the advancement of the SDG mission; to advocate for excellence, integrity and innovation in philanthropy and social change.
  • Build and strengthen relationships and partnerships with relevant philanthropic, nonprofit, government agencies, academic and business institutions locally, across the state and nation.
  • Work closely with the Chair of the Board of Directors, the Chair Elect or Past Chair to ensure excellence in governance and clear organizational alignment of Board and staff in fulfillment of the mission.
  • Encourage connections, relationship building and collective efforts among the membership to further philanthropic impact—particularly when it comes to collaboration among funders and across sectors.

Ensuring Operational Excellence Through Management, Human Resources, and Fiscal Responsibilities

  • Develop strong organizational capacity and financial sustainability to implement the strategic plan; to manage the organization in a fiscally responsible manner within the Board of Directors approved budget, ensuring that policies and systems that support financial control and effectiveness are in place and fully functioning.
  • Provide clear direction, leadership and motivation to the current staff of 10, encouraging an organizational culture characterized by continuous learning and exploration, promotion of health and wellbeing, collaboration, excellent service and equity.
  • Establish effective administrative management aspects of SDG with respect to structure, personnel, business operations, risk management, and physical environment.
  • Lead and oversee efforts in revenue generation including grants, sponsorships, earned income, membership dues, and other strategic initiatives in partnership with the Board of Directors.

Ensuring Excellence in Programs and Member Services

  • Create an inviting, meaningful and stimulating environment that engages current members and cultivates new members – leading to a more networked, integrated and impactful philanthropic and social change ecosystem.
  • Inspire connection and relationship building among the membership to strengthen the funder network and further social change impact. Engage and interact, on a personal and ongoing basis, with individual members.
  • Communicate the value of SDG membership to current and prospective members through services, information and networking.
  • Lead the organization to be inventive in the exploration of new programming opportunities and service delivery options; to ensure that SDG is at the leading edge of best practices and engaged in local, state and national conversations about trends and outcomes in philanthropy, equity, and impact investing that leads to social change.

Core Competencies

The President and CEO will be highly-energetic and passionate, with a track record of achievement in previous leadership roles, a commitment to equity and social justice, established networks and relationships within the philanthropic and nonprofit community, and demonstrated business acumen.

The President and CEO will embrace the mission and vision of SDG and invest themselves fully in the vision and goals of the organization. This effective and creative leader will be capable of providing strategic direction, building on the firm foundation and strong legacy of the past, while embracing opportunities for new initiatives and entrepreneurial development.

A seasoned manager, the ideal candidate will have experience leading effective, high-performing teams and will be able to execute on strategy through active collaboration. This individual also will have an entrepreneurial outlook and the willingness to roll up their sleeves to get things done and see SDG’s strategic objectives through.

In addition, ideal candidates will have the following professional competencies and personal characteristics:

Strategic and Visionary Leadership: The President and CEO will be a strategic and results-oriented leader who is experienced at articulating and implementing a plan for increased impact in an organization’s next chapter. This thought leader in the field of philanthropy will understand the full potential, power, and impact of SDG to shape the philanthropic sector and will identify transformative pathways to achieving positive social change through new forms of giving, equity and impact investing.

This individual will have a sophisticated understanding of the complex national, state, and local political and public policy dynamics that affect philanthropy and the issues that SDG members fund. Dedicated to the needs of SDG’s membership and the greater philanthropic community, the President and CEO will have the enthusiasm to remain at the forefront of the sector and to develop new and unique opportunities to serve the mission.

The President and CEO will be able to inspire the staff, Board of Directors, and the SDG membership to see where the sector should be going and push the membership forward in an inclusive and collaborative manner. This executive will be an explorer, a person who naturally looks past the horizon, and will promote the value of thinking creatively in order to position SDG as a leading social change agent.

The President and CEO will bring change management experience to an organization that has recently experienced rapid growth. This calm and affirming leader will provide stability and a unifying vision of where SDG and the philanthropic sector more broadly are headed.

Expertise in Fundraising and Revenue Development: The President and CEO will have a measurable track record of success in and genuine enthusiasm for development, and the expertise and mindset to build strong relationships with current and potential donors and the Board of Directors. This confident executive will bring a network of potential institutional and individual funders and the desire and ability to develop and nurture new relationships with local, statewide, and national funders.

The President and CEO will be a flexible, self-motivated team player who will offer insight as appropriate to the Board of Directors in identifying and devising development strategies for diversifying and strengthening SDG’s resource base. This outside of the box thinker will have the experience and knowledge necessary to go beyond traditional fund development to creatively examine SDG’s current business model with an eye on how to sustain and grow the organization and venture into new areas. This will include a focus on alternative ways to diversify revenue including but not limited to: sponsorships, collaboration service, and other revenue-producing business lines.

Exceptional Communication; Collaboration and Relationship-Building: A natural bridge- and coalition-builder, the President and CEO will have the ability and sophistication to inspire trust and confidence with a diverse range of stakeholders, including members, funders, staff, the Board of Directors, and the San Diego community, and will build connections amongst them. An experienced convener, this individual will know how to bring SDG’s varied constituencies together with constructive conversation and civil discourse to effect social change. This energetic and positive individual will be experienced in successfully establishing strong working relationships and partnerships in furtherance of the organization’s mission.

The President and CEO will be a high-energy, charismatic leader who will serve as the chief spokesperson and a public face for SDG. This individual will be a confident public speaker who inherently enjoys the external side of the role and will be able to thoughtfully and strategically articulate SDG’s mission, vision, and value as a social change agent. The President and CEO will be immersed in the San Diego community and will be seen as an authentic and credible leader in the social change movement.

Operations Management/Business Acumen: The President and CEO will have a track record of success in organizational management and development. This individual will have strong financial and operational experience to continually improve SDG’s programs and outcomes. This executive will understand and implement best-in-class nonprofit management practices, ensuring that overall day-to-day operations are streamlined and aligned with strategic goals. The President and CEO will ensure fiduciary responsibility and sound financial management practices and accountability are maintained across the organization. This financially savvy leader will have a thorough understanding of impact investing and will be comfortable guiding and expanding SDG’s efforts to utilize this method for creating social change.

The President and CEO will have an inspiring, collaborative and inclusive leadership style with a successful track record of creating collaborative and high performing work environments. This individual will be a strong manager who engenders trust in the staff and holds people accountable. The President and CEO will have demonstrated success in attracting, managing and retaining top-tier staff with a diverse set of skills and providing them with a productive work environment and professional growth opportunities. A thorough and transparent communicator, this individual will demonstrate the ability to provide clear expectations and accountability measures for staff deliverables while encouraging innovation and initiative.

Passion for the Mission: The President and CEO will have a true passion for the philanthropic, nonprofit and impact investing sectors and their potential for addressing pressing community issues – particularly those rooted in inequity and systemic injustice. Possessing a genuine spirit of customer service and commitment to SDG’s membership, the President and CEO will display an understanding of how to lift up and support members individually and collectively to address community issues. This executive will embody humility, wisdom and strength of character.

Contact and How to Apply

San Diego Grantmakers has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. This search is being led by Michelle Bonoan and Nicole McElroy. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here, or email Michelle or Nicole at the following:

Michelle R.S. Bonoan, Managing Director | [email protected]
Nicole McElroy, Contract Consultant | [email protected]

About Koya Leadership Partners

San Diego Grantmakers is an equal opportunity employer.  We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or any other status protected by law.  Women, people of color, and LGBTQI candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital-consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them.

For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit

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