Meet our Giving Team: Brian Zumbano

Brian Zumbano
As Vice President, Chief Development & Stewardship Officer, Brian leads the Development and Stewardship Division, overseeing The San Diego Foundation donor engagement and fundraising activities.

The San Diego Foundation Development & Stewardship Team is here to help you by delivering world-class philanthropy and service, and promptly responding to your needs.

In this Meet our Giving Team blog series, we’re interviewing each of our team members so you can learn more about the individuals – both professionally and personally – who are helping you give confidently to make the most social impact.

In today’s post, meet Brian Zumbano, Vice President, Chief Development and Stewardship Officer.


Interview with Brian Zumbano

Brian, how did you first learn about The San Diego Foundation (TSDF)?

When I first came to San Diego in 2013, I learned about the leaders in the nonprofit community, which obviously included my predecessor at TSDF, Adrienne Vargas.

Like all San Diego nonprofit professionals, I greatly respected and admired the amazing impact Adrienne and her team had at TSDF and in our community. Our current Giving Team strives to live up to the standard Adrienne and her team set for our work.

What do you enjoy most about partnering with donors and philanthropists?

Helping them realize the impact of their giving. San Diegans are amazingly generous and philanthropic. The more we can support their charitable goals, the more we can realize our vision of building just, equitable, and resilient communities throughout our region.

How would you describe your team?

It’s a privilege to work with such passionate and dedicated professionals. Their commitment and collaborative approach to supporting our community makes me want to get up and get to work every day. And they’re fun to hang out with, too!

When you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you like to do?

Cooking. It’s a passion of mine, and it reminds me of my family growing up. Coming from an Italian family from back East, I have the fondest memories of bustling kitchens and large family dinners. Any free time we have as a family, we try to do the same.

What’s a favorite spot in your neighborhood?

During COVID-19, it’s been so important, yet challenging, to get outside and exercise. There’s a little trail off a hill nearby that is on my route I take while jogging. I’ve found myself stopping there a lot during the last year to quietly think and clear my mind. I haven’t told anyone else where it is.

What inspires you?

My wife. As a nurse, my wife has dedicated her career to helping others, and her selfless approach to her career, family, friends, and others inspires me to be a better person every day. She’s my hero.

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

Hiking. California has such gorgeous trails and geography. We love to go hiking, get exercise, and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

What is your favorite destination outside of San Diego?

Thailand. I’ve been there a couple of times, including my honeymoon, and the kindness of the people, the historic culture, and amazing food makes it a place to which I can’t wait to return!

How do you make time for work/life balance?

My kids don’t give me any other choice! When you have an 11-year old and an 8-year old in the house, spending time with them and being present as a parent becomes more of a priority than anything else in life.

Why do you think San Diego is such a generous city?

Because we all know it can be the best place on Earth to live, but we also know too many of our fellow San Diegans don’t have equitable access to the things that make our region such a wonderful place.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

“If you love your job, you’ll never work another day in your life.” I never take for granted how lucky I am to live that out at TSDF.