Director of Development, Foundations

San Francisco, California, United States Full-time

Common Sense ( is the nation's leading independent nonprofit organization devoted to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology.

Every day, millions of families turn to Common Sense for trusted advice and unbiased ratings. We offer the largest library of independent age-based and educational ratings and reviews for everything your kids want to watch, play, read, and learn. Our movie and TV ratings are available on Comcast, DirecTV, Netflix, and many other partner networks, helping families and kids make smart media choices. Through our schools program, we provide educators with a curriculum that teaches the essential digital citizenship and literacy skills every student needs to succeed. More than 600,000 registered educators and 55,000 schools use our ratings and curriculum and content. We also work with policymakers, industry leaders, and legislators to improve the media, tech, and education landscape for kids, families, and schools.

The director of development, foundations, will ensure the creation and implementation of strategies to identify, cultivate, solicit, and expand a ~$10 million grant portfolio. The director is responsible for cultivating, securing, and stewarding major foundation relationships from the initial introduction through grant approval and management. Additionally, the director manages the foundations pipeline, dashboard, and the grant-funding process, working with a team of three people with support from the vice president of philanthropic partnerships and the chief development and strategy officer. The role includes researching and identifying new foundation prospects and conceptualizing, writing, and reviewing concept papers/proposals as well as developing budgets.

LOCATION: San Francisco, Calif.



  • In collaboration with senior development leadership, develop the overall foundations' strategy and pipeline to ensure that annual foundation goals are met and that current and prospective funders are appropriately cultivated and stewarded.
  • Outline and prepare foundation portfolio projections and progress reports to incorporate into overall development quarterly and annual budget and reporting.
  • Develop and refine internal systems (pipeline, dashboard, others) to track and monitor all funding opportunities from cultivation to stewardship.
  • In collaboration with appropriate internal stakeholders, frame and structure proposals and outline clear program goals, activities, and outcomes aligned with organizational priorities and tailored to foundation focus area(s).
  • Keep abreast of digital media, education, and parent engagement trends and bring competitive challenges and new opportunities to the attention of internal stakeholders.

Foundation relationships and fundraising:

  • Research and identify new funders and trends in corporate and institutional support.
  • Cultivate, secure, and steward ~three to five multiyear foundation grants (>$250K) from start to finish.
  • Provide oversight to the foundations team in stewarding and expanding a grant portfolio of 20–30 funder relationships (focused on grants <$250K).

Responsibilities include:

  • Helping to build and steward relationships, including having introductory meetings to present programs and explore potential fit as well as participating in grant check-in meetings, etc., when necessary.
  • Structuring proposals and program objectives tailored to foundations' priorities.
  • Reviewing and editing (and writing when appropriate) concept papers, proposals, progress reports, and budgets.
  • Act as Common Sense ambassador at events, conferences, etc., to identify and cultivate new and steward existing foundation partners.
  • Oversee periodic updates and communications to current and prospective foundations.
  • Work with foundations team and internal stakeholders to invite new and existing foundation partners to Common Sense events.


  • Supervise a team of two to three foundation managers and/or associates, providing strategic support, oversight, and inspiration to meet the annual revenue goal.


  • A bachelor's degree and a minimum of eight years of work experience, with at least five years in foundation fundraising. Candidates with an education background and master's or doctoral degree in education (M.Ed., Ph.D.) or strategic consulting/fundraising background and M.B.A. or J.D. are strongly encouraged to apply.
  • A track record of success in securing six- and seven-figure foundation grants.
  • Outstanding writing skills and demonstrated excellence in writing proposals, reports, and stewardship communications.
  • Strategic mindset and ability to understand how to connect the program to larger strategic goals and outcomes.
  • Excellent presentation and public-speaking skills and confidence in cultivating and soliciting high-level foundation officers.
  • Strong managerial skills. Proven ability leading effective teams a plus.
  • Ability to build and maintain positive and authentic relationships and a desire to understand the interests and motivation of foundations.
  • A high degree of self-motivation, self-direction, and ingenuity in a highly entrepreneurial environment.
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to prioritize workload in a timely manner to complete assignments when faced with many deadlines and competing requirements.
  • Passion for the mission and goals of Common Sense.
  • Ability and willingness to travel one to two times a month.
  • Knowledge of evolving K–12 education and media and technology trends across a breadth of topics including edtech, STEM, character education, and social-emotional learning a plus.


  • You are energetic, enthusiastic, disciplined, hardworking, and a total team player.
  • You are organized and able to work on multiple projects with overlapping deadlines.
  • You are deeply inspired by the Common Sense Media mission.
  • You have a great sense of humor, even when meeting tough deadlines.


  • The chance to work with talented, passionate professionals.
  • Competitive health and welfare benefits, including medical, dental, vision, and a matching 401(k).
  • An organization that offers work/life balance.
  • The opportunity to really make a difference in the lives of kids and families!

Common Sense values the diversity of its employees and is an equal opportunity employer.