The Conrad Prebys Foundation
Hybrid – San Diego, CA
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 learning and evaluation leader with outstanding strategic, facilitation and relational skills to serve as the inaugural Director of Learning. Learning and evaluation and understanding community priorities will inform decision-making across the Foundation. The Foundation is also committed to applying an equity lens throughout its work. 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 ideal candidate is a strategic, experienced and highly relational expert in learning and evaluation with a track record of building and supporting learning organizations within foundations. The Director should have a sophisticated understanding of best practices for learning and evaluation in the field and sector, an internal consultant orientation, outstanding facilitation skills and prior experience working collaboratively with community groups and stakeholders. Previous experience working in foundations is strongly preferred.
The Director of Learning will have responsibility for the vision, strategic development and implementation of the Foundation’s approach to learning and evaluation 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 as it relates to learning; 2) ensure the Foundation has an understanding of new and best practices and innovations in learning for the Foundation and within the philanthropic sector; 3) manage, build and support the Learning team to support deeper impact; 4) work in close partnership with the Director of Programs and Director of Communications to implement the learning 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 Learning’s key responsibilities are:
Operationalize the Foundation’s Strategic Plan
▪ Provide leadership and work collaboratively with the Chief Impact Officer and Director of Programs to develop, refine, and implement a learning and evaluation approach that is aligned with the Foundation’s newly approved mission and grounded in its strategic plan.
▪ Support translating the Foundation’s strategic plan into team and initiative strategies and manage the resources required to meet learning objectives.
▪ Develop an integrated learning and evaluation plan to collaboratively define outcomes and develop quantitative and qualitative assessment plans for initiatives, identify cross-issue opportunities, and ensure collaboration and synthesis across the Learning and Program teams.
▪ Serve as an in-house consultant on individual program strategies to ensure alignment of impact and outcomes and to identify and leverage intersections across program areas.
Build and Grow a Team
▪ Build the Learning team through effective hiring, coaching, and management.
▪ Set priorities, allocate resources, and foster development of needed skills among team members.
▪ Ensure effective project management of multiple learning initiatives, including the development of timelines, deliverables, and mechanisms to assess key organizational objectives.
Support a Learning Organization
▪ Create and drive a learning orientation within the Foundation in partnership with the Director of Programs and the Chief Impact Officer.
▪ Develop and support the operationalization of a collaborative, cross-functional, and integrated learning and evaluation plan within the Foundation, including staffing, culture, and capacity building.
▪ Share insights and evidence-based findings with staff and Board to help guide and prioritize activities.
▪ Work with the Chief Impact Officer to design and manage Board learning across programmatic and Foundation priorities.
▪ Build and maintain relationships with consultants to support commissioned evaluation efforts grounded in the Foundation’s values.
Share Learnings from the Foundation’s Impact Strategy Externally
▪ Work in close partnership with the Chief Impact Officer, Director of Programs, and Director of Communications to assess Program strategies and activities and draw out insights to disseminate across the organization and beyond.
▪ Establish the exchange of knowledge, insights and lessons and ensure thoughtful engagement with multiple constituencies to support effective communications and community relationships.
▪ Support the Chief Impact Officer and Chief Executive Officer’s external presence in the community, including working with Communications to inform storytelling about the Foundation’s journey and impact.
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 Learning position is located in San Diego; the option to be based elsewhere is not available. The Foundation team is currently observing 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.
The Foundation recognizes that a person’s skills and competencies can be acquired in myriad ways, including via life experience. Key qualifications include:
▪ Learning and evaluation expertise. Knowledgeable and experienced with equity-oriented approaches to learning and evaluation, with an awareness of and appreciation for the different ways in which knowledge manifests in group design, learning, and evaluative practice. Experience building, learning and evaluating strategies and programs from the ground up is a plus.
▪ Track record as internal consultant and thought partner. A successful track record of providing nuanced, tailored information and insights to team members on key learning issues.
▪ Outstanding facilitation skills. A highly skilled facilitator of internal and external meetings, dialogues and working sessions. Ability to identify patterns, make connections, capture and distill information, implement and assess long-term strategic goals.
▪ Strategic skills. Ability to translate strategic priorities into high-quality deliverables, by working both independently and in coordination with team members. Flexibility and agility working across content areas with an appreciation for the intersections among issues.
▪ Project management expertise. Strong project management experience; able to simultaneously facilitate the work of multiple teams. Demonstrated ability to manage a diverse and demanding workload in a fast-paced environment.
▪ Communication skills. High emotional intelligence, interpersonal awareness, excellent listening skills and outstanding written and verbal communication skills. Ability to clearly articulate concepts, findings, data interpretations, as well as the implications of these analyses for the Foundation’s work.
▪ Empowering team builder and leader. A track record as a successful team builder and leader, skilled in facilitative and collaborative management; committed to cultivating the growth of individuals and teams; able to provide and receive honest feedback and reflection. Experience in change management and organizational development is helpful.
▪ Bachelor’s degree 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.
▪ Orientation to early assessments in order to gut check direction.
▪ 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.
How to Apply
Martha Montag Brown & Associates, LLC, in strategic partnership with Gumbs + Partners, has been retained to conduct this search. 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