Vice President of Philanthropy, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired/Cook Silverman Search

  • Cook Silverman Search
  • San Francisco, CA, USA
Full Time Fundraising

Job Description


Founded in 1902, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired provides skills, resources, and community for the advancement of all individuals who are blind or have low vision. Their innovative programs have been featured in 60 Minutes, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal and beyond. The blind community comes to LightHouse to learn how to travel independently with a white cane, to rejoin the workforce, use accessible technology, and meet a community of mentors and peers. From unique tactile maps to an unparalleled camp for blind campers, to a world prize for blind ambition, LightHouse offers programs unavailable elsewhere.

LightHouse has an audacious mission – to transform the lives of the 40,000-blind people in the greater Bay Area and beyond. LightHouse does this through tech design, disability advocacy, consultation, classes, and community formation in San Francisco, and four satellite offices and Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa. LightHouse is a fun, fascinating, widely diverse, warm, and friendly community. Their downtown San Francisco in a 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art workspace renowned for its universal design, steps from Civic Center BART. LightHouse is working for nothing less than to change the future for blind people and the wider community.

For more information, please visit


The Vice President of Philanthropy (VP) has overall responsibility for general agency fundraising, planned giving, and a new capital campaign for our Enchanted Hills camp. In conjunction with the Communications department, the VP of Development creates external marketing and jointly develops agency brand standards.


The VP will serve on the LightHouse’s Executive Leadership Team and report to the CEO. They will lead a seven-person Development department and work particularly closely with LightHouse’s Communications and outreach teams.


  • Oversee and implement a strategic and inclusive fundraising program to support the mission and programs of Lighthouse, including major gifts, planned giving, annual giving, corporate and foundation giving, events and capital campaign.
  • In conjunction with outside Campaign Counsel and the Capital Campaign Director, lead the Development team in the implementation and completion of a $13 million capital campaign for the expansion and reimagination of Enchanted Hills Camp.
  • Manage individual and corporate giving through on-line and traditional means, including appeals, sponsorships, moves management, stewardship, and reporting.
  • Manage a major gift portfolio; develop and maintain productive relationships with key donors and institutions including in-person meetings, when possible.
  • Facilitate donor relationships with the CEO and key LightHouse executives and volunteers.
  • Oversee grant management to maximize private and public (“contract”) grant funding, including development of proposals, timely and accurate narratives, pre-and post-surveys, and required financial reporting.
  • Manage LightHouse’s Legacy Society and create and implement a marketing strategy to increase participation in various vehicles including bequests, CRTs, annuities, stocks, and more.
  • Oversee Development events hosted by LightHouse or third parties.
  • Develop innovative and compelling materials, both printed and electronic, and on social media.
  • Utilize storytelling and social media to engage donors and prospects.
  • Serve as primary staff coordinator of the Board Development committee and work closely with directors individually and as a group to create strategies to advance their fundraising portfolios.
  • Develop and oversee department budget - communicate regularly with the finance department on budget issues, trends, and analyses.
  • Develop a and lead a strategy for optimal database use assuring the integrity of data in LightHouse’s Raiser’s Edge NXT database.
  • As part of LightHouse’s Executive Leadership team, collaborate with all vice-presidents on agency goals, initiatives, and help guide long-term strategic priorities.
  • Oversee writing of the agency Annual Report, seasonal fundraising appeals, special-purpose event communications and development content for LightHouse Weekly.
  • Participate in the Holman Prize team, providing corporate and individual support for an ongoing world prize for blind ambition.
  • Keep abreast of current fundraising best practices and implement in all activities.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Seven or more years of progressively challenging experience in a lead fundraising position, including creation and implementation of fundraising plans
  • Three or more years of experience directly supervising a development staff
  • Bachelor’s degree and fundraising certification (CFRE) or advanced coursework preferred
  • Senior level experience managing or working with a $5M plus capital campaign
  • Visionary leader and inspirational decision-maker
  • Experience working with people who are blind or have other disabilities is a plus
  • Highly effective communicator, both written and oral
  • Proven success at securing $2 million or more annually from individual donors, foundations, and corporations, major donor solicitation of six-figure gifts
  • Experience working with planned giving donors and prospects including basic knowledge of planned giving vehicles
  • Proven success with high-visibility fundraising events
  • Ability to work with members of a Board of Directors to lead, coach, and inspire them to engage directly in donor relationships
  • Proven success at conceptualizing, writing, and implementing campaigns for general support, restricted funds, and capital projects
  • Ability to develop and manage donor cultivation from high-volume new donor acquisition through moves management and long-term retention
  • Experience managing, inspiring, and nurturing a team of talented fundraising staff
  • Technologically savvy including functional skills and understanding of Raiser's Edge NXT, and Blackbaud products and applications, including Wealth Engine and other prospecting tools
  • Extensive experience in developing meaningful analytics and reports to track and analyze ROI of strategies
  • Experience with digital fundraising strategies and social media as a means of acquiring new donors
  • Knowledge of and extensive experience fundraising within Bay Area philanthropic community including with extensive knowledge of and relationships with local institutional and individual funders
  • Passion for and dedication to the mission of LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired


The target salary for this position is $190,000 plus full benefits.

To demonstrate our commitment to equity and equal pay for all, Cook Silverman Search will continue to post salary ranges on all of its job descriptions moving forward. The practice of not posting salaries perpetuates the gender wage gap and discriminates against people of color by causing individuals to negotiate from a disadvantaged starting point.


 To apply for this position, or for additional information on the opportunity, please send a copy of your resume with a cover letter to Victoria Silverman at

All applications and inquiries will receive a response and be kept strictly confidential.  All resumes and cover letters need to be delivered in MS Word format for accessibility.

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is an Equal Opportunity Employer.




Education Requirements

Bachelor's Degree