The San Diego Foundation is excited to announce Brian Zumbano as our new Vice President of Development & Stewardship. His expertise and leadership will help grow charitable giving in the region while providing donors with the highest level of service, community knowledge and philanthropic counsel.
We sat down with Brian to ask him about his passion for philanthropy and working with generous San Diegans. Below are highlights from our conversation.
How did you first get involved in philanthropy?
Early in my career, I worked as a financial advisor in Manhattan. While I enjoyed the relationships I built, the work wasn’t as fulfilling or impactful as I wanted. My long-term plan was to shift my career into a more meaningful direction.
I remember sitting at a wedding in Massachusetts with my friend’s father. He talked to me about his role as a development officer for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Cape Cod and asked me what I loved most about my work. We spoke about relationship building and helping others, and he noted the parallels between a financial advisor and a development officer.
That conversation was a significant catalyst for my career in philanthropy, and helped steer me toward the purpose-driven work I was looking for.
What inspires you about working with so many generous San Diegans?
The more philanthropists I meet and have the opportunity to work with, the more encouraged I am about the future of our region.
Philanthropy is deeply ingrained in the culture of our society here. You can see the complete history and evolution of philanthropy in San Diego. Many of the earliest and most notable philanthropists are still living here today and continue to make an impact in the region.
How do you live out the mission of The San Diego Foundation?
Five years ago, my wife and I made the decision to move our family to San Diego to raise our children here. Since then, we have been involved in our community through our work and our activities. Whether it is by supporting our local YMCA or helping others deepen their impact through charitable giving, we always make a point to help lift our community.
What is one thing our donors and partners should know about you?
As an Italian American, family and cooking are two of my biggest passions. On weekends, you will find me cooking for my family or teaching my children about new cuisines. This is something I was taught early on, and I want to pass that on to my kids. Cooking is my way to communicate and show my love for my family and friends.