Staff at The San Diego Foundation address the region’s most pressing challenges and identify opportunities by working with donors and partners to improve the quality of life for all San Diegans.

Thank you for your interest in the work of The San Diego Foundation. To learn more about our work and inquire about joining our team, contact



The San Diego region is set in a unique environment with a world-renowned climate which supports many aspects of our region’s quality of life and economy. As such, people throughout the County have a long and rich history of local community pride and protection of our region’s clean air and water, natural resources and quality of life. But our region faces significant challenges, like others throughout the world, from the impacts of climate change on the health and well-being of today’s communities and future generations.

We also know from Our Greater San Diego Vision that San Diegans value future growth in our region that ensures that nature is accessible, connected and protected for people to enjoy, with access to parks and open space, canyons and mountains, clean beaches and bays. They also want our region to grow up, not out, with convenient transportation options and neighborhood centers that are safe, vibrant and convenient, all aspects of a community that is resilient to climate change.

The purpose of this position is to lead the Foundation’s efforts to engage cross-sector partners– donors, government, business, academia and community organizations– to create, implement and collaborate on solutions to address the region’s most pressing environmental challenges.  Building on The San Diego Foundation’s track record in environmental research and initiatives, the Director, Environment Initiatives will work as part of the Community Impact department, to implement multi-pronged environmental initiatives.  The Climate, Thrive Outside, Opening the Outdoors and Water initiatives help achieve The San Diego Foundation’s overarching mission to improve the quality of life in all of our communities by providing leadership for effective philanthropy that builds enduring assets and by promoting community solutions through research, convenings and actions that advance the common good.


  • Provide strategic leadership of the environmental initiatives to facilitate donors, nonprofits, government, academia, business and other strategic partners working together to leverage resources and collectively drive toward growing a vibrant region.
  • Raise funding for environmental grantmaking and operations by developing and stewarding relationships with national, state and local foundations as well as individual donors.
  • Lead strategic grantmaking to invest funds raised and those held at The Foundation to create measurable results toward the region’s most pressing regional environmental issues.
  • Maintain a broad understanding of the San Diego community and environmental needs and use this knowledge to create data-driven action.
  • Create strategic partnerships with funders, donors, nonprofits, academia, business, or other civic organizations and leaders to meet environmental initiative goals beyond grantmaking, through research, convenings, public awareness, and other actions.
  • Represent The Foundation in the community, in media appearances, on relevant external Boards or Committees, in public speaking engagements, and as needed in presentations to the Board of Governors.


Lead The Foundation’s environmental efforts to engage donors/foundation partners, community partners and volunteers to advance strategic and effective environmental initiatives that contribute to the protection of our region’s air, land and water resources and a high quality of life for all San Diegans. Responsibilities include:

  • Provide strategic direction for four environmental initiatives (Opening the Outdoors, Thrive Outside, Climate and Water) and two funds (Balboa Park Endowment and San Diego Regional Disaster).
  • Serve on relevant funder affinity groups to build relationships with external funders and build knowledge among funders about climate-related and environmental equity needs in San Diego (for example, Smart Growth California, Clean Energy, The Funders Network, San Diego Grantmakers)
  • Work with relevant internal and external stakeholders to identify where philanthropy can make the greatest impact with limited resources to address critical environmental needs of the region; identify initiative gaps that require attention and work collaboratively to fill those gaps.
  • Fundraise/secure external funding and manage donor relations for environment portfolio in coordination with organizational fundraising efforts.
  • Manage approximately $1 million in grants and charitable expenses annually, as well as associated budget, contracts and grant agreements.
  • Work with TSDF senior leadership and Community Impact Directors in department-wide strategy, reporting, communications and initiatives implementation.
  • Oversee relevant grant advisory committees including recruiting donors and volunteers and develop effective and efficient grantmaking approach based on philanthropic best practices and organizational alignment.
  • Ensure timely, efficient and effective grants management that meets donor intent by working with Grants Manager and relevant systems (i.e. Smarter Select, Blackbaud).
  • Work with Communications to lead communications about environment and disaster initiatives through media, blogs, and other written communications.
  • Conceptualize and facilitate results-oriented convenings to inform environmental initiatives and educate stakeholders about local and regional needs.
  • Leverage Foundation efforts by linking with relevant environmental public policy
  • Establish clear metrics for midterm and year-end benchmarks.
  • Seek and manage collaboration with other departments to meet shared goals (especially Communications, Development & Stewardship and Regional Affiliates).
  • Participate with other supervising managers at the Foundation in providing leadership and insights as requested on key organization planning issues that impact The Foundation’s goals, plans, and policies, as well as activities and operations and recommended courses of action.
  • Evaluate and secure consulting expertise when funded and appropriate.


Environment portfolio, Thrive Outside Manager and Fellow


Reports to the President & CEO or designee


  • Five to seven years of experience in a private or community foundation, or management position in a corporate, government or non-profit organizations, and/or environment sector companies
  • Demonstrated leadership and organizational skills, able to engage and convene, facilitate meetings and build collaboration with diverse constituents
  • Broad knowledge of the range of issues facing San Diego’s environment, nonprofit, as well as San Diego’s diverse communities, and solutions to meet those challenges
  • Demonstrated success with fund development and grants management, including knowledge of and success in attracting foundation and corporate grants; ability to collaborate with other departments to identify, steward and solicit individual donors
  • Proven track record managing and leading complex projects, meeting deliverables and timelines
  • Initiative to recognize and anticipate problems, then solve them.
  • Supervisory or management experience
  • Interdisciplinary, analytical, innovative and critical thinking
  • Strong interpersonal skills including the ability to foster and encourage teamwork
  • Ability to inspire and motivate, and effectively manage conflict
  • Volunteer management experience preferred
  • Strong ability to persuade and influence
  • Outstanding written and oral communications skills
  • Computer literate, Microsoft Office Suite


  • Bachelor’s degree in related field
  • Advanced degree in relevant field preferred


  • Ability to read, write and speak English fluently
  • Spanish fluency preferred


  • Use of good judgment and own initiative
  • Professional attitude and demeanor
  • Demonstrated ability to accomplish objectives with minimal guidance

At The San Diego Foundation, we value our diverse and experienced staff that are committed to our mission of improving the quality of life within all of San Diego’s communities. We strive to be an employer of choice, offering a competitive compensation package, and a professional and vibrant work environment for those who have a passion for our mission that is carried out every day by providing leadership for effective philanthropy and promoting community solutions.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please submit the following to

    • Cover Letter
    • Resume
    • Indicate in the Subject line: Director, Environment Initiatives