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Interview: Getting to Know CFO Jim Howell

Just a few short weeks ago, The San Diego Foundation (TSDF) named Jim Howell Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. His responsibilities include oversight of the accounting, finance, and information technology roles at The Foundation.

With more than 25 years of experience across finance, accounting, information technology and strategic planning disciplines, Jim is returning to a position of nonprofit leadership for the first time since his role as Chief Investment Officer at The Scripps Research Institute from 2007-2012.

Recently, we sat down with Jim to ask him a few questions about his personal life and his new role at TSDF.

Jim Howell Interview

San Diego Foundation: Why did you want to return to a leadership role in the nonprofit sector?
Jim Howell: Following six years at The Scripps Research Institute as CIO and Director of Finance, I knew there was more work to be done for my career in the nonprofit sector. Earlier in my career at the United Postal Service, I enjoyed interaction with the Annie E. Casey Foundation staff. I can recall lessons from Jim Casey, a founder at UPS, saying that “determined people working together can do anything” and “one measure of success is the degree to which you build others up who work with you”. It’s clear how those lessons carry over to TSDF, where the entire staff focuses on the common purpose of improving the quality of life in our community.

SDF: What attracted you to TSDF?
JH: [TSDF President and CEO] Kathlyn Mead and I had worked on the Alliance Healthcare Foundation Finance Committee together for over five years. She is a real driving force behind the future at TSDF.

It has really been a great start here. And I’m excited about executing the mission and vision with the Board of Governors, CEO, Leadership Team and staff.

SDF: What do you think makes the San Diego community special?
JH: I was raised in a suburb of Boston, resided for 21 years in Atlanta and have lived on the west coast since 2006. While I miss many aspects of the northeast (except the five feet of recent snowfall!) and the southeast, there’s nothing like the spirit and dedication of people within the San Diego community.

We’re fortunate to have so many community leaders and volunteers who devote their time and expertise to TSDF and a donor community that relishes arts, culture, education, healthcare, sciences, etc… Together, we’ll make a difference.

I look forward to contributing to that effort and our results.

SDF: Fill in the blank: If you really knew me, you’d know ____________.
JH: My wife, Pam, my four children (Jimmy, Ryan, Alex and Ashlyn) and I are residents of the 4SRanch-Del Sur area. Also, I’m an avid golfer, and baseball and hockey fan. I’m looking forward to the Padres season and Ducks AHL program coming to San Diego this fall.

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TSDF is proud to stand as San Diego’s premiere resource for information about charitable giving and community needs. Our entire team is committed to improving the quality of life in all communities throughout our region.

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