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

Environment & Thomas Murphy Fellowship Opportunity


Do you have a passion for improving San Diego’s environment? This two-year fellowship may be your chance to dig into important environmental issues for our region, and help The San Diego Foundation effectively partner with nonprofits, governments, businesses and donors working to address critical environmental needs across the region.

How, for example, are local nonprofits creating an interconnected network of natural areas throughout San Diego County?  How can we better engage the next generation in San Diego’s great outdoors to help ensure long term stewardship of our region’s natural areas?  Which communities lack access to green space, and what are timely policy and funding opportunities to help bridge disparities? How can philanthropy catalyze collaboration among government, nonprofits and business to reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions? What additional efforts can be made to ensure our region is prepared for the likely impacts of climate change, including a more water-constrained future? If you are curious about these and other regional issues and wish to put your analytical, management and networking skills to work, this fellowship will interest you.


Founded in 1975, The San Diego Foundation’s (The Foundation) vision is a community where generosity and civic engagement are valued and practiced by all people in service to the common good.  As part of its service in San Diego County, The Foundation works to identify current and emerging needs of our region, and responds by partnering with the region’s philanthropists, nonprofits, governments and businesses to advance innovative community solutions to regional challenges.  We focus on supporting the region in perpetuity, promoting opportunities for San Diegans to give together, convene civic-minded individuals for education and collective impact and strengthen the capacity for local nonprofits.

The Foundation relies on data, research, community engagement and outreach to assess the changing needs of our community and identify opportunities to maximize the impact of philanthropic investment.  This Environment & Thomas Murphy Fellowship is an opportunity for a recent graduate student who is curious, imaginative and a problem solver to dig into important local issues, research the work and impact of local agencies in these areas and help build The Foundation’s base of community knowledge that informs philanthropic investments and partnerships. The Environment & Thomas Murphy Fellow will be based out of the Community Impact Department in support of our Environment Initiatives.

The San Diego Foundation is also committed to advancing philanthropy’s diversity, equity and inclusion through its work.  As our communities become increasingly diverse, we need to understand and reflect their rich variety of perspectives in order to achieve greater impact.  The Foundation’s Fellowship Program aims to engage students recent graduate students that have come through the region’s community colleges on their academic journey.  While The San Diego Foundation will accept, and entertain applications from all interested and viable candidates, applicants who have attended a local community college on their path towards graduate studies, are first-generation college students and/or a member of an under-represented group in higher education are strongly encouraged to apply.

Environment & Thomas Murphy Fellowship Details

At The San Diego Foundation, we work to maximize the impact of philanthropic investment around community priorities that emerged from Our Greater San Diego Vision and form the basis for our WELL (Work, Enjoy, Live and Learn) framework.  The Community Impact Department is charged with putting the community vision into action, an aspect of which includes investing in solutions to address pressing environmental challenges within our region.

Our current Environment Initiatives include:

  • Climate Initiative to deepen public awareness about the local impacts of climate change and spur regional action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for local impacts.
  • Opening the Outdoors Initiative focused on protecting and connecting natural lands and increasing outdoors access for communities throughout San Diego County.

This fellowship will bring value and capacity to the Community Impact Department’s work by:

  • Supporting grantmaking processes of our Climate and Opening the Outdoors Initiatives
  • Conducting outreach, engagement and ongoing marketing support for Get Outside San Diego, a tool created by a Foundation partner to engage youth in the outdoors.
  • Conducting high-quality research into current and future trends and the policy environment impacting regional environmental issues and opportunities for collaborative giving efforts with Foundation donors and community partners.
  • Conducting research on the programs, outcomes and impact of nonprofit organizations throughout the San Diego region.
  • Crafting reports to donors and other stakeholders, deliver presentations, develop targeted literature reviews, and document data collection in other ways.
  • Support the priorities and efforts of the Environment Initiatives and Community Impact department in other meaningful ways.

In turn, Fellows will:

  • Enrich their understanding of philanthropy and dynamic community collaboration as it relates to the environment, Our Greater San Diego Vision and the focus areas of WELL – Work/Enjoy/Live/Learn.
  • Be exposed to educational and networking opportunities within The Foundation that will give a broadened perspective on the nonprofit sector, philanthropy and the San Diego community.
  • Participate in an enriching professional experience that will augment their academic and professional skillset.

The fellowship is paid at an hourly rate of $21.65/hour and includes a benefit package. It is expected the fellow will work 40 hours a week for a two-year commitment.

To be considered for the fellowship, a candidate must be a recent graduate student in San Diego County.  In our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, applicants who have attended a local community college on their path towards graduate studies, are a first-generation college student or from an under-represented group are encouraged to apply.

Selection Process

Candidates must have:

  • Strong people skills critical for working with a variety of constituents from nonprofits, donors, volunteers, local governments, academia and business
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to summarize and present compelling information in various written, graphic and social media formats (writing sample required)
  • Statistical skills that lend well to evaluation and impact analysis
  • Knowledge of the region’s philanthropic and nonprofit landscape, preferred
  • Excellent problem-solving skills and a strong desire to learn
  • Fluency in Microsoft programs, including Outlook is preferred
  • An energetic, motivated and flexible attitude, willing to complete a range of tasks from administrative to analytical

Candidates must submit the following:

  • A resume
  • One recent writing sample (keep in mind the types of writing you are most likely to complete here are concise, data-driven memos, blogs, grant applications, etc.)
  • One page cover letter: how do your skills and plans for your career align to make you an ideal candidate for the position
  • Please provide a minimum of two professional references

Apply Today

Please submit your application materials as soon as possible electronically to Jill Brower, at The San Diego Foundation. This position is open as of early October 2017 and the posting will remain open until the position is filled. If you have any questions, please contact Jill Brower at the above listed e-mail or by telephone at (619) 814-1369.