Senior Director of Philanthropy – Jewish Family Service of San Diego

Major Gifts Officer - JFSMersky, Jaffe & Associates, a national executive search and consulting firm, has been engaged to conduct a search for a Senior Director of Philanthropy for Jewish Family Service of San Diego.

Jewish Family Service of San Diego is a client-centered, impact-driven organization working to build a stronger, healthier, more resilient community.

Founded in 1918, JFS is one of San Diego’s most impactful non-profit human services agencies – making a difference in the lives of more than 20,000 San Diegans every year. Our broad network of staff, volunteers, supporters, and community partners are committed to the pursuit of one shared goal: helping individuals and families in San Diego move forward.

JFS is a home for people in search of better lives and for those seeking to make better lives possible. Many people first turn to JFS with a specific need, like hunger. That first contact often leads to a wide range of integrated services that address their financial, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. In partnership with the community of clients and supporters, JFS is Moving Forward Together.

JFS provides essential services to people regardless of religion, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, ability, gender identity/expression, or sexual orientation.


  • WE’RE A DIVERSE TEAM united by our passion for helping people transform their lives.
  • WE’RE ENERGIZED by big questions and complex challenges.
  • WE’RE COMMITTED to continuous learning, effective collaboration, and innovative thinking.
  • WE’RE DEVOTED to helping our clients and community Move Forward.

JFS has consistently demonstrated good governance and fiscal responsibility, as evidenced by its 10th consecutive year of a 4-star rating from the independent reviewer Charity Navigator. Nationally, only 1% of all charities rated have achieved this “exceptional” rating, distinguishing JFS as a responsible steward of the public trust.

Jewish Family Service is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonsectarian human service agency and an equal opportunity employer.

Fund Development at JFS

JFS has an annual operating budget of $20 Million, of which $15 Million is secured by the Fund Development Team from contracts, grants, and individual philanthropy. This year, JFS will raise more than $5 Million from individual donations and gifts from family foundations.

JFS is currently in the midst of a successful $50 Million matching endowment campaign, which will end in 2023.

Position Overview

The Senior Director of Philanthropy is an integral member of Jewish Family Service’s dynamic Fund Development Team, which works out of the state-of-the art Joan & Irwin Jacobs Campus to raise the funds needed to meet the needs of more than 20,000 clients who receive life-changing services from JFS each year.

Reporting to the Chief Philanthropy Office (CPO), the Senior Director of Philanthropy will supervise the Directors of Philanthropy, Planned Giving, Signature Events, and the Donor Database Manager. The Senior Director will be responsible for leading and growing the agency’s major gifts program and managing relationships with donors capable of making significant gifts to further the mission of JFS over the long-term.  The ideal candidate will be passionate about the work of JFS, and able to effectively communicate the agency’s case for giving.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • Execute Major Gift Strategic Plan to significantly grow JFS’s Major Gifts program over the next three years.
  • Develop custom stewardship plan for all major gift donors and ensure the execution of each plan through coordination with CPO and CEO.
  • Oversee and refine processes for major gift research for current and prospective donors rated as having potential for annual gifts of $10,000-$1,000,000.
  • Oversee preparation of donor briefings, funding requests, and acknowledgements.
  • Assume responsibility for cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of 125 current and prospective major donors per year.
  • Maintain an active schedule of donor engagement visits, and attendance at community events.
  • Coordinate annual Major Gifts reception, and other special events and group engagement opportunities for major donors as needed.
  • Partner with and accompany the Chief Philanthropy Officer or CEO on major gift solicitations.
  • Ensure accurate tracking and reporting of all donor and prospect interactions using the Raisers Edge NXT database.
  • Maintain effective communications with leadership and staff.
  • Attend meetings and support ongoing activity of the Development Committee and other relevant JFS committees, as assigned.
  • Supervise Directors of Philanthropy & Signature Events to ensure successful achievement of revenue goals and annual fund campaign and events.
  • Supervise Director of Planned Giving and coordination of Jewish Family Service’s Planned Giving Program.
  • Supervise Donor Database Manager to ensure accurate and up-to-date record keeping and data base management of donors and prospects including timely gift processing and acknowledgements.

The successful candidate will:

  • be a senior professional with a minimum of five years direct fundraising responsibility in a major gifts environment.
  • have significant and successful experience performing personal solicitations of gifts in excess of $10,000 and managing a portfolio of at least 125 donors and prospects.
  • be a hands-on implementer of a major gifts management process with experience utilizing Moves Management.
  • be a sophisticated, outgoing individual able to communicate the mission and the case for support with believable passion and sensitivity.
  • have prior supervisory experience and be a strong manager who is a self-starter, pays attention to details and follows through.
  • have excellent interpersonal, verbal/presentation, and written communication skills, with the ability to manage several projects simultaneously in a fast-paced environment.
  • manifest a strong sense of fundraising ethics and respect for confidentiality of donor information.
  • be familiar with planned giving vehicles.
  • analyze and present data for measuring results.
  • will be adept at Microsoft Office products and experience with Raiser’s Edge.
  • have knowledge of San Diego’s Jewish donor community (would be helpful but is not required).

While an undergraduate degree is required, an advanced degree in business administration or a related area, or equivalent experience is preferred.

If you, or anyone you know, might be a suitable candidate for this unique position, please forward the person’s name, cover letter, resume, salary requirements and contact information to Lori Fodale at