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Executive Director

Executive Director
Job Description: 

About the Fleishhacker Foundation:

The Fleishhacker Foundation works to improve the quality of life in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Foundation makes grants to local, community-based organizations through two main programs: Arts & Culture and Precollegiate Education.

In its arts grantmaking, the Foundation currently focuses on smaller and mid-sized arts organizations which exemplify the Bay Area’s vibrant arts culture, with an emphasis on funding innovative artistic voices and under-served and under-represented communities. Special Arts Grants award between $10,000 and $25,000 and Small Arts Grants tend to average around $5,000.

The Foundation also funds individual visual artists through the Eureka Fellowship Program. Artists are nominated by local nonprofit arts organizations to qualify and fellows are awarded $25,000. The program has been a cornerstone of the Foundation for over 30 years.

In its education grantmaking, the Foundation currently focuses on local nonprofit organizations providing literacy support services to disadvantaged K-5 students. Grants aim to address the current issues endemic to public education including stretched budgets, limited access to outside resources, and a pervasive educational achievement gap between higher and lower income populations. Education Grants award between $10,000 and $20,000.

Including discretionary grants, approximately $800,000 is awarded each year. The Foundation’s corpus is approximately $20,000,000.

The Foundation’s programs serve the San Francisco Bay Area (San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz Counties).

Founded in 1947 by Mortimer Fleishhacker Sr., today the Fleishhacker Foundation is a San Francisco based family foundation. The current Board is comprised of the 3rd, 4th and 5th generations (of the founding donor), and one non-family Board member. There are three standing committees of the Board: Finance, Governance, and Executive. Additional committees are added when required to oversee special projects and initiatives.

For more information, please visit the Foundation’s website here.

The Opportunity:

The Fleishhacker Foundation seeks an Executive Director to partner with the Board and manage the Foundation’s grantmaking. As the Foundation’s areas of focus have changed over time, the Board will look to the next Executive Director to solidify and evolve the Foundation’s ongoing grantmaking programs.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director is responsible for all aspects of the operations of the Foundation. S/he represents the Foundation in the community and as an active member of professional philanthropic organizations.

The Executive Director is expected to have the highest ethical standards, remain approachable and engaged with applicants and grantees, speak honestly with the Board, foster a learning culture, and keep the best interests of the Foundation in mind at all times. The Executive Director’s leadership is key in helping the Board shape the Foundation’s policies and programs.

With the ability to work independently and to set his/her own schedule, specific responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Collaborating with Board members to ensure the philanthropic initiatives of the Foundation are impactful and successful;
  • Leading the Foundation into a new phase with particular emphasis on integrating the newer and younger generation of the Board ranging in age from 21 – 30;
  • Acting as a thought leader in the Foundation’s grantmaking areas in the Bay Area. Such roles include presenting at conferences, engaging in collaborations to leverage the Foundation’s impact, and serving on boards and philanthropic affinity groups;
  • Reviewing, assessing, and summarizing grant proposals for Board review at its bi-annual meetings;
  • Managing the part-time Program Associate and other vendors, including outsourced tax professionals and financial advisors;
  • Overseeing all aspects of the Foundation’s finances and operations, including creating and managing the budget; monitoring expenditures and submitting financial reports to the Finance Committee and Board, and working closely with the asset management firm to ensure cash needs are met efficiently;
  • Communicating effectively with the Board and other constituents;
  • Staying abreast of policy issues in the field of philanthropy and nonprofit governance, bringing recommendations to the Board for strategic planning and policy-setting discussions;
  • Developing and deepening relationships with current and future grantees and other local nonprofits; and
  • Representing the Foundation and the family in San Francisco and beyond.

Candidate Profile:

The ideal candidate will have the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

A Passion for the Mission

The Executive Director will be knowledgeable about the Foundation’s mission, specifically the arts and education in the Bay Area. Although professional experience in the arts and education is not a requirement, a demonstrated interest is a must. In service to the Foundation’s Board of Directors, the Executive Director will establish strong relationships and strive to meet the Board’s philanthropic goals. S/he will be passionate about helping to improve the quality of life in the Bay Area. Moreover, the ideal candidate is an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics, and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

A Relationship Builder and Facilitator

The Executive Director will be skilled at building effective relationships across a range of stakeholders. With a high level of emotional intelligence, s/he will be able to build trust to develop productive and fulfilling relationships with a tight-knit and familial Board. With excellent written and oral communication skills, the Executive Director will be a strong facilitator, communicator, and collaborator who is skilled at listening to, and learning from, constituents. In service to the mission, s/he will not be afraid to share insights and opinions and will be highly sensitive to the demands of working in close partnership with the Board. The Executive Director will understand the crucial role s/he plays in maintaining the Foundation’s reputation and the family’s good name.

A Leader in the Field

Seen as a thought leader in the Bay Area, the Executive Director will be a strong partner to the Foundation’s grantees and other collaborators. Serving as the Board’s “eyes and ears on the ground,” s/he will be a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors in the Bay Area, seeking appropriate collaborations and learning opportunities to leverage the Foundation’s impact. The Board views the Executive Director as a resource to the Bay Area nonprofit sector and s/he will enthusiastically embrace this aspect of the role. S/he will participate in community activities to represent the Foundation, learn about issues in the fields the Foundation funds, and explore larger issues of concern in the nonprofit and grantmaking sectors. With the judgement to know when to consult the Board and when to take the lead, the Executive Director will be autonomous, agile, organized, entrepreneurial, resilient, and innovative.

A Strategic and Tactical Leader

The Executive Director will have a demonstrated results orientation. With strong attention to detail and the ability to work with minimal supervision, s/he will be analytical and objective. The Executive Director will be a self-starter, operating successfully in a lean organization and designating resources appropriately. S/he will be able to ask and answer tough questions and push back on assumptions. The Executive Director will be skilled at putting processes in place that support the right level of collaboration and communication between the Foundation and grantees and between the Executive Director and the Board. With the ability to lead through influence, the Executive Director will be skilled at building and managing budgets, finances, grant processes, the Program Associate, governance policies, and the Board.


Koya Leadership Partners, the national executive search firm that works exclusively with mission-driven clients, has been retained for this search. Alexandra Corvin and Ally Johnson are leading the engagement.

To make recommendations, or to express your interest in this role, please email Koya directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.