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Executive Director

Executive Director
Job Description: 

Gilroy Foundation (Foundation) is seeking nominations and applications for the position of Executive Director. The transformative work of Gilroy Foundation is grounded in a vision for the role that a strong, local philanthropic partner can play in supporting prosperity in the community of Gilroy through strengthening relationships, mobilizing funds, and directing them to critical community needs. Founded in 1980, Gilroy Foundation dedicated its early efforts to help meet the needs of the community in the specific areas of Agriculture, Health, Education, Recreation, Technology, Culture, and Civic Services. In more recent years, the Foundation has funded important community projects and individual scholarships in addition to organizing powerful community response to crisis and providing fiscal infrastructure to emergent nonprofit organizations serving community needs. The Gilroy community continues to thrive because of the Foundation’s relationship with residents, its grants and facilitation of pass-through grants that fund nonprofit organizations providing vital programs and services to meet the ever-changing needs of the community, and its strategic partnerships that unite those who share a common commitment to the well-being of the community. Gilroy Foundation has awarded $16.3M in grants and scholarships since its founding, making a positive and powerful difference in every sphere of life in the community.

Long-serving Executive Director, Donna Pray, announced her retirement late last year after a long and successful tenure. Through her excellence in donor and partner stewardship, establishment of a Fund Development Committee, and development of a Strategic Plan, the endowment of the Foundation grew from $280K to $15M in total assets in under 25 years. With that growth, the Foundation has awarded $6M in total scholarships since 1999; created a Youth Board in 2008 to encourage students to learn about philanthropy; provided critical infrastructure and fiscal sponsorship to emergent and growing mission-aligned organizations like the Latino Family Fund de Gilroy, and funded significant community projects including the Salvation Army Shower Project, Gilroy Center for the Arts, Don Christopher Sports Complex, dog park improvements, Gilroy High School and Christopher High School van donations, and Gilroy High School Chromebook donations.

The legacy of Gilroy Foundation and its commitment to the future of Gilroy has depended largely upon the building of an endowment that will last into perpetuity and pass-through grants from donors. However, Gilroy Foundation’s coordinated responses to more recent and tragic events have demonstrated that the Foundation is assuming a larger community leadership role and has become an example for other communities responding to crisis. On July 28, 2019, the community of Gilroy was forever changed by a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. With an initial $10K donation from Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Gilroy Foundation established the Gilroy Garlic Festival Victims Relief Fund and mobilized the entire community and unexpected partners nationwide to help victims and heal. Ultimately, the Foundation collected $1,934,472.51. Of that, $1,678,917.47 went to the 22 shooting victims and their families. $255,555.04 went to 98 hardship victims. Every dollar collected went to the victims. In 2020, Gilroy Foundation also mobilized COVID relief efforts through the funding of Revenue for Restaurants, Meals for Heroes, and PPE programs.

At a critical moment of continued and sustained transformation, Gilroy Foundation seeks a dynamic, entrepreneurial, and community-driven leader as its next Executive Director (ED). The ideal candidate will be an inclusive community leader and strong fundraiser with deep knowledge of and commitment to community needs, who will leverage relationships with the public, private, philanthropic, and nonprofit sectors to support Gilroy Foundation’s sustained success. The ideal candidate will be familiar with the Gilroy community, adept at listening to local needs, and able to identify critical resources to address community priorities and goals. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the ED will work closely with board and staff to articulate the next strategic direction for the Foundation’s work. The position requires a strong vision for the role of community-based philanthropic organizations as agents of purposefully disruptive community change as well as an understanding of, and appreciation for, other key public and private partners who can offer additional resources to further advance the Foundation’s mission.


The Executive Director should expect to engage in the following leadership opportunities in the next 12-18 months:

Leadership & Vision

The ED will be deeply committed to the Gilroy community and knowledgeable about best practices and strategies in place-based funding. The ED will bring a cohesive leadership vision that centers inclusivity and neighborhood empowerment in the work that aligns staff, board, community, and partners toward its shared north star. This work will include engaging community members, securing funding, managing partnerships, building new partnerships, and ensuring implementation of new programs that build upon the traditions of the Foundation and meets community needs and vision in housing, mental health, homelessness, affordable sports, job skills, regional transportation, youth services, and beyond.

Aligned with Gilroy Foundation’s mission and vision, the ED will have an opportunity to review, validate, and revise the Foundation’s strategic plan. The ED will model what it means to nurture honest, authentic, and accountable relationships with all stakeholders. This includes building strong relationships with individuals across the Gilroy community and with public, private, and nonprofit partners who directly address community needs. A successful ED will embody and actualize an organization-wide commitment to deep listening as well as working with and learning from community members and partners.

Board Engagement

The ED will harness and mobilize the support of one of the foundation’s strongest assets – a passionate and engaged board, to ensure transparency and accountability in organizational governance, financial health, and compliance. The ED will foster a culture of ongoing learning, engagement, and influence among board members to drive the sustained leadership of the Foundation. The ideal candidate will have strong board-facing experience and foundational knowledge of nonprofit governance to support organizational effectiveness.

Community Engagement & Relationship Building

Aligned with Gilroy Foundation’s mission and vision, the ED will spend time to get to know and build strong, trusting relationships with the residents of Gilroy. The ED will bring emotional intelligence and multi-cultural fluency to their presence both in times of challenge for the community and in times of joy and championship for community successes. The ED will embody and actualize an organizational-wide commitment to listening to, working with, and learning from all community members and partners in order to translate that learning into well-resourced programs and projects that reflect the immediate and long-term needs of the community in next level strategic planning. The ED will understand and continue the long-standing commitment to community leadership and will co-create together with the community a next level vision for the work ahead. The ED will have knowledge of investment strategies to share with current and potential new donors.

External Relationships & Fundraising

The ED will authentically and passionately represent Gilroy Foundation externally to the community, funders, partners, the media, and government leaders to share and build support for Gilroy Foundation’s strategic and transformative vision for sustaining the prosperity of Gilroy. The ED will work closely with the board to strengthen relationships with foundations, individuals, and corporate donors to diversify and grow funding sources and to enhance strategic mission-related investments. This work will include developing a customized fundraising strategy for Gilroy Foundation’s growing work in housing, mental health, homelessness, affordable sports, job skills, regional transportation, youth services, and beyond. The ED will work effectively with the Foundation’s investment manager to manage funds and fiduciary reports. Finally, the ED will nurture existing strong alliances with other funders like the Silicon Valley Community Foundation as well as establish new collaborations with other mission-aligned funders.

Organizational Management

The new ED will manage all aspects of the Foundation’s operations and finance, including a small but dedicated team in support of fundraising and effective grantmaking. The ED will advance effective business operations, which includes aligning growth with mission, planning for sustainability, and advancing grantmaking practices that are aligned with the organization’s core values to advance equity. The financial management and fiscal integrity of Gilroy Foundation will be held by the ED who will also serve on the Finance Committee. The ED will also provide critical mentorship, operational, and fundraising support to Latino Family Fund de Gilroy and its Executive Director to attain long-term sustainability of the Fund and its goals. The ED will have deep knowledge of financial documents such as Budgets, Profit & Loss Statements, and Balance Sheets.


The ideal candidate will be a caring community leader who is driven by mission, understands and demonstrates a commitment to inclusivity, and has lived experience in the communities that Gilroy Foundation serves. This person will be inspirational, collaborative, and of the highest integrity. Success in this role will require an innovative and energetic leader with an expert ability to work with a clear focus on the community, as well as lead with listening, effective community engagement, and the resolve needed to deliver inclusive impact.

While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

Connection to the Mission

  • Passion for supporting and empowering the children, families, and vibrant community of Gilroy. Familiarity with Gilroy and experience, existing relationships, and networks based in Santa County highly desired.
  • Deep experience in transformative approaches to youth development, community development, and economic development with knowledge, understanding of, and experience in community development strategies.
  • A nuanced and well-honed analysis of the interplay of race, place, and socioeconomic status in the work to transform communities, particularly those that are predominantly demographically Latino/a and people of color.

Organizational & Operational Leadership

  • Demonstrated ability to build trust and being a team leader and player who motivates and educates other team members and understands the value of interpersonal relationship building.
  • Demonstrated experience in operations, organizational design, management; a willingness to rethink or improve upon established systems and processes.
  • Demonstrated track record in providing leadership for the development and execution of strategic vision.
  • Demonstrated ability to establish priorities that align with a strategic plan and manage multiple agendas and partners effectively.
  • Leadership style that uses informal influence and non-positional leadership to accomplish work, demonstrating the ability to build trust, and being a team leader and player who motivates and educates other team members and understands the value of interpersonal relationship building.
  • Past success in engaging and managing strategic external and internal partnerships that work to transform communities, particularly those that are predominantly demographically people of color.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, including experience speaking publicly in diverse forums. Bilingual language skills in Spanish preferred.
  • Strong presentation skills and demonstrated poise and confidence with small and large audiences including the Foundation’s board, media, conferences, etc.

Values & Management Style

  • Servant leadership approach, humility, with deeply honed experience building relationships with community members, residents, and community partners.
  • Ability to establish trust, engage partners and community, and act with intentionality and accountability.
  • Powerful communicator one on one, in small group settings, and with large audiences. Ability to authentically share the mission of Gilroy Foundation that draws in others.
  • Collaborative leadership style and commitment to community driven leadership; internal management style that breaks down silos and fosters mutual learning and cross team collaboration.

The salary range for this position has been set at a total compensation between $110K and $120K, commensurate with experience.


More information about Gilroy Foundation may be found at:
This search is being led by Katherine Jacobs and Sharon Gerstman of NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website.
Gilroy Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.