POSITION DESCRIPTION, DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS, THE CONRAD PREBYS FOUNDATION San Diego, CA – May 2023
The Conrad Prebys Foundation
The mission of the Conrad Prebys Foundation is to create an inclusive, equitable, and dynamic future for all San Diegans.
The Foundation advances excellence and shared opportunity through investments in groundbreaking institutions, ideas, and people so that in San Diego more people are financially secure, healthy and empowered, communities are more uplifted and connected, and the institutions and systems that serve the region can offer equitable access to opportunity. The Foundation invests in four program areas: visual and performing arts, medical research, healthcare, and youth success, and also pays attention to the impact of its work on climate, the region’s character as a border region and advancing a shared vision for San Diego.
The Foundation is the largest independent private foundation in San Diego County, with $1+B in assets. The Foundation gave $94 million in grants from 2020 – 2022. Over the next two years, the Foundation expects to grant a similar amount and pilot mission-driven impact investments of another $100 million over the next decade.
The Foundation is at a pivotal and exciting point in its evolution and has launched a new impact strategy. The strategy is designed as a three-year learning plan, during which time the Foundation will deepen its relationships in, and understanding of, community across its four program areas and clarify its role and approach to impact. The Foundation’s approach will therefore place a priority on learning and adaptation over the next three years. The Foundation will co‐create grants with partners in the community that align with the Foundation’s issue area goals. This will entail an ongoing grantmaking process rather than set grant cycles. The Foundation will use many different grantmaking tools as appropriate, including open applications, requests for proposals, invitation‐only processes, and community-led grantmaking.
The Foundation currently has a staff of 12, and, as it leans heavily into following the wisdom and expertise within San Diego communities, expects to grow to approximately 22 individuals by December. The organization is expanding its team to engage with the community based on the belief that the best grantmaking emerges from close partnerships and a commitment to shared learning. A robust and grounded team will make those partnerships thrive.
The Conrad Prebys Foundation is seeking an experienced, equity-driven senior grantmaker to serve as its inaugural Director of Programs. The ideal candidate has substantive senior-level experience working in foundation/s developing and leading innovative grantmaking programs. The Director should have: 1) an outstanding track record as an empowering team manager during periods of dynamic growth; 2) strategic, entrepreneurial and highly relational skills; and 3) passion gained through lived experience and/or work with communities served by the Foundation. Experience or knowledge of San Diego’s diverse communities and issues is helpful. Previous experience working directly in grantmaking for a foundation is required. This is a consequential and exciting time to join the Foundation given the launch of a three-year period of learning, growth and evolution as an organization.
The Director will have responsibility for the vision, strategic development and implementation of grantmaking and other impact programs to advance the Foundation’s goals. The Director will serve as a team and organizational leader bringing new perspectives, energy, and approaches to the work of the Foundation. The Director will 1) operationalize the Foundation’s strategy and evolution; 2) design programs and grantmaking initiatives; 3) manage, build and support a growing Programs team to support deeper impact; 4) work in close partnership with the Director of Learning and Director of Communications to implement the grantmaking agenda within the Foundation’s impact strategy; and 5) model the Foundation’s values as a leader, with equity at the center, and ensure these values are translated to practices and cultural norms across the Foundation.
The Director will work in close partnership with and report to the Chief Impact Officer. The position is based at Foundation headquarters in San Diego, CA.
The Director of Program’s key responsibilities are:
Operationalize the Foundation’s Strategic Plan
- Translate the Foundation’s strategic plan into team and initiative strategies and manage the resources required to meet grantmaking objectives.
- Develop a collaborative, cross-functional, and integrated Programs plan at all levels within the Foundation, identifying cross-issue opportunities and ensuring collaboration and synthesis with the Programs team.
- Operationalize the program plan, including staffing, culture, and capacity building.
- Develop a community engagement strategy and guide Program staff’s time and engagement to ensure deep and authentic relationships.
- Support the Chief Impact Officer and Chief Executive Officer’s external presence in the community.
- Support a learning agenda in partnership with the Director of Learning and Chief Impact Officer to deepen the Foundation’s understanding of impact in San Diego and the role it can play.
- Partner with the Chief Impact Officer and Director of Learning to advance Board learning, including identifying networks, individuals, content, and themes.
Build and Grow a Team
- Build the Programs team through effective hiring, coaching, and management to support implementation of the Foundation’s recently approved strategic plan.
- Set priorities, allocate resources, and foster development of needed skills among team members.
- Ensure effective project management of multiple, simultaneous grantmaking initiatives, including timelines and deliverables.
Operationalize Foundation Values in Grantmaking
- Model the Foundation’s values as a leader, with equity at the center, and ensure these are translated to practices and cultural norms across the Foundation, with specific accountability for the Program team.
- Define a Foundation point of view on grantmaking practices; ensure commitment to collaboration; demonstrate appropriate urgency, reflection and learning as the Foundation connects to, amplifies, and provides resources for impactful community efforts.
- Partner with Operations and Finance on developing grantmaking processes – including grants administration, budgeting, and data – that reflect Foundation values.
- Forecast and ensure adequate coverage for strategic grantmaking priorities internally and externally.
The Foundation recognizes that a person’s skills and competencies can be acquired in myriad ways, including via life experience. Key qualifications include:
- Grantmaking leadership and track record. Demonstrated experience developing and implementing effective, equity-oriented grantmaking programs. Deep knowledge of the field of philanthropy with a focus on strategic, trust-based philanthropy and participatory grantmaking.
- Grantmaking operations expertise. A track record of directing and managing grants and program investments in creative and impactful ways and partnering closely with other funders and community organizations. A nuanced understanding and depth of expertise in philanthropic strategy, operations, processes, as well as knowledge of larger issues and trends in the field, is a plus.
- Strategic planning skills. Strong strategic planning skills, intellectual capacity and curiosity. Experience with building impact strategies and programs from the ground up is a plus. Able to listen deeply, develop shared vision and agreed-upon paths forward, and then move ideas to action. Willing to take risks and push the boundaries of philanthropy to meet community needs in creative ways.
- Empowering team builder and leader. A track record as successful team builder and leader, skilled in facilitative and collaborative management; committed to cultivating the growth of individuals and teams; able to provide and take honest feedback and reflection. Experience in change management and organizational development is helpful.
- Intersectional approach and philosophy. Experience using and leading with evidence-based philanthropic practice; applying an intersectional analysis; and utilizing tools to examine processes, practices, policies and structures. Track record of successful project management and stakeholder engagement.
- San Diego knowledge and experience. A deep knowledge of and passion for the institutions, ideas, and people that comprise San Diego’s unique and diverse communities, issues and opportunities is desirable. A track record and credibility in equity-focused community-based work across a broad range of relevant issues. Experience with place-based philanthropy, specifically in San Diego, is a plus.
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent and at least 7 years of relevant professional experience within a nonprofit, philanthropic, strategy consulting or other mission-driven organization. Strong preference for senior leaders with 10+ years of professional experience.
Personal Characteristics and Values
- Excitement around the opportunity to transform philanthropy at large and in San Diego specifically.
- Able to synthesize complex ideas across multiple content areas, with an appreciation for the intersections among issues.
- Able to translate strategic priorities into high-quality deliverables by working both independently and in coordination with team members.
- Able to think and work in an integrated, strategic way across the organization, appreciative of how one’s own function and needs connect to the broader organizational strategy and priorities.
- Able to make decisions and operate successfully in a highly dynamic environment.
- Comfort with emergence, adaptation, ability to hold ideas lightly and pivot when needed.
- High emotional intelligence and excellent listening skills.
- Business maturity, optimistic, joyful and humble.
Compensation and Benefits
Salary is competitive and commensurate with background and experience. Offers are based on the candidate’s years of experience and the Foundation’s practice of upholding salary equity within the Foundation. The salary range for the position is $185,000 to $206,000. Highlights of the Foundation’s excellent benefits package include fully funded health, dental and vision insurance for employees and dependents, and a retirement plan with immediate vesting, 1:1 match and profit sharing, among other benefits.
The Director of Programs position is located in San Diego; the option to be based elsewhere is not available. The Foundation team currently observes a hybrid workplace model with plans to move into a permanent office location in San Diego in the near future.
The Foundation follows all California and San Diego regulations and ordinances related to COVID-19. Further, the Foundation adheres to CDC guidelines in determining in-office and onsite protocols in cases of employee exposure.
The Conrad Prebys Foundation is committed to providing equal employment opportunity for all employees and applicants, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, national origin, ancestry, genetic information, disability, whistleblower status, or any other category protected by state or federal law. The Foundation strongly encourages people with traditionally marginalized identities to apply.
Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC, in strategic partnership with Gumbs + Partners, has been retained to conduct this search. To apply: Please submit a resume and substantive cover letter highlighting interest, relevant experience and values-alignment to: Lauren I. Gumbs, Strategic Partner, Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC, via email, email@example.com