Senior Director, Foundation Partnerships

Senior Director, Foundation Partnerships

Senior Director, Foundation Partnerships 150 150 CookSilvermanSearch
Common Sense Media
November 19, 2021
San Francisco
Job Type



Since 2003, Common Sense has been the leading source of entertainment and technology recommendations for families and schools.  Every day, millions of parents and educators trust Common Sense reviews and advice to help them navigate the digital world with their kids.  Together with policymakers, industry leaders, and global media and non-profit partners, we’re building a digital world that works better for kids, their families, and their communities.

Common Sense is an independent voice for kids, families, and communities everywhere.  We combine original research with game-changing advocacy efforts to create a healthier and more equitable digital world for all kids.  Our advocacy work highlights legislation related to technology and identifies solutions that protect consumer privacy, advance digital equity for students and families, and hold tech companies accountable to ensure a healthy internet for all.

Common Sense Media rates movies, TV shows, books, games, apps, and more so parents can feel good about the entertainment choices they make for and with their kids.  We offer the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based ratings and reviews.  Our timely parenting advice supports families as they navigate the challenges and possibilities of raising kids in the digital age.  Learn how we rate and review and see our founding editors’ 10 Beliefs. Our vision:  families taking charge of their digital choices.

Common Sense Education supports K-12 schools with everything educators need to empower the next generation of digital citizens.  Our innovative,  award-winning Digital Literacy and Citizenship Curriculum prepares students with lifelong habits and skills, supports teachers with training and recognition, and engages families and communities with helpful tips and tools.  Over 1 million educators in 100,000 schools around the globe rely on our free curriculum, expert advice, and ed tech ratings to help kids harness the power of technology for learning and life.  Our vision:  Students thriving as learners, leaders, and citizens in the digital age.

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Reporting to the Chief Strategy and Development Officer, the Senior Director, Foundation Partnerships will drive strategies and lead execution to expand a $15 million grant portfolio to support Common Sense’s next phase of growth.  The Senior Director is responsible for cultivating, securing, and stewarding major foundation relationships from initial introduction through grant approval and management.  Additionally, the Senior Director manages the foundation pipeline, dashboard and grant- funding process, and leads a team of two-three grant writers/managers.


Chief Strategy Development Officer and supervises a team of two-three grant writers/managers.



  • Develop the overall foundation fundraising strategy to grow and support the organization’s new strategic plan and  its  award-winning K-12 education program, advocacy initiatives, and family and community engagement programs
  • Work with program teams to frame and structure compelling proposals with clear goals, activities, and impact outcomes aligned with organizational priorities
  • Prepare foundation portfolio projections and progress reports to incorporate into overall strategic and annual planning
  • Keep abreast of trends relevant to Common Sense’s mission and programs and bring competitive challenges and new opportunities to attention of internal stakeholders
  • Stay current on foundation giving best practices and share knowledge with colleagues

Fundraising and Foundation Relationships:

  • Lead foundations team to cultivate, solicit, renew and expand a $20 million annual grant portfolio
  • Research, identify and secure introductory meetings with new foundation funders to ensure a strong and expanding foundations pipeline.
  • Directly manage a portfolio of top foundations relationships of large multi-year grants ($1M+ annually)
  • Collaborate with Chief Development Officer, executive leadership and Board to raise  foundation funding for  “big bet” initiatives
  • Seek funding  that aligns with and supports our commitment to DEI
  • Ensure high quality team execution to meet strategic plans and revenue goals
  • Review, edit, and write (when appropriate) concept papers, proposals, progress reports and budgets
  • Act as an ambassador to present organization’s mission and work  to  external audiences

Management and Administration:

  • Supervise, nurture and support a team of two to three foundation fundraising managers and/or associates, providing strategic leadership, oversight, and coaching to support a collaborative and high performing team
  • Oversee internal information systems  (Salesforce) to assure integrity of data
  • Collaborate with Finance to refine systems and reconcile revenue reports


  • Bachelor’s degree and 8+ years of experience in foundation fundraising or grantmaking, ideally focused on funding education, social policy, or children and family programs.
  • 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
  • Strong finance knowledge and ability to construct a project budget
  • Strategic mindset and ability to connect the program to larger strategic goals and outcomes and build compelling cases for support
  • Superior relationship building skills and the ability to inspire confidence and excitement from foundation executives and program officers
  • Excellent presentation and public-speaking skills and confidence in cultivating and soliciting high-level foundation officers
  • Deep understanding and commitment to DEI
  • Confidence and proven ability to build strong relationships with foundation executives and program officers
  • Ability to connect priority programs to foundation strategic priorities and  build a compelling case for support
  • Ability to build and maintain positive and authentic relationships and a desire to understand the interests and motivation of foundations
  • Strong managerial skills.  Proven ability in leading effective teams
  • Contributes to recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining a diverse and inclusive team
  • Ability to manage  and lead a diverse team  with emotional intelligence and cultural sensitivity
  • A high degree of self-motivation, self-direction, and ingenuity in a highly entrepreneurial environment.
  • Proficiency with donor databases and office technology systems (including Google Suite and Salesforce, preferred)
  • Ability to thrive in a flexible, fast-paced, growth-oriented environment
  • Ability and willingness to travel (1-2 times per month)
  • Being bilingual in English and Spanish a plus
  • Passion for Common Sense’s mission


The salary range for this position is $140,000 - $150,000 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 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. Common Sense Media is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All employees of Common Sense Media are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

How To Apply

Send a resume and cover letter in PDF format to