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 Julia Grant, Director of Development.

Interview with Julia Grant

Julia, what do you enjoy most about partnering with donors and philanthropists?

I love learning about the different causes and charities our donors are passionate about supporting. I am looking forward to meeting with our donors in person again!

How did you get started working in the nonprofit sector?

In college and graduate school, I had jobs in the development office. I had some terrific mentors early in my career.

In my first development job, I worked with a senior fundraiser who took me along on donor calls. He certainly did not have to take a 25-year-old along with him on these visits, but he could see that I was interested in learning. I got the opportunity to witness how he built relationships with alumni and corporate partners.  

What is your favorite part about working at The San Diego Foundation (TSDF)?

I enjoy working at a community foundation because we are not limited to fundraising for a single cause or organization. At TSDF, we don’t care where you give. We just want to help you give.

What social impact area matters most to you?

Access to education. I’m the daughter of a college professor and worked as a university fundraiser. I am incredibly proud that TSDF has the largest scholarship program in San Diego County outside of the university systems. We help over 1,000 college students and adult learners each year further their education.

When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?

I love exploring Liberty Public Market and cannot wait until we get back to our offices at Liberty Station!

What’s your favorite spot in your neighborhood?

I’m a short drive from Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and I enjoy hiking there. Whenever I see the Pacific Ocean views, I still can’t believe I get to live in such a beautiful place!

What’s your favorite outdoor activity?

I enjoy playing golf. When I moved here from Chicago I was determined to learn, and it’s been a great way to meet people. San Diego is blessed with terrific municipal courses. One day I hope to be good enough to play at Torrey Pines without embarrassing myself!

What is your favorite destination outside of San Diego?

I have been visiting the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina since I was a teenager.  The Blue Ridge Parkway is one of my favorite scenic drives.

What is your favorite book?

I tend to gravitate to nonfiction and memoirs. Real life is almost always more interesting than fiction to me. I’m currently reading Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe. I also recommend the powerful memoir Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody.

Who is your role model?

Health care workers. Until the pandemic, I don’t think I properly appreciated the sacrifices they make to keep us healthy. My mother has dementia, and her caregivers are all heroes in my book.

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

Earlier in my career, I attended a seminar where a key message was ‚ “It’s not about you.” That applies to many areas of life, but especially as a development professional. My focus is on the donor and what’s best for them.