Executive Director

May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust | Corte Madera, California


Located in Corte Madera in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Trust is a private foundation that stewards the charitable intentions of Mr. and Mrs. Smith beyond their lifetimes, and aims to focus, deepen and enhance efforts to achieve significant, lasting, positive changes that promote well-being for individuals and communities. The Trust supports organizations that offer opportunities to Adults and Transitioning Youth with DisabilitiesEldersFoster Youth, and Veterans and Military Families primarily in the 14 Western states and British Columbia. The Board, Executive Director and staff are guided in all activities and grantmaking by the values and beliefs of Respect, Humility, Interdependence, Stewardship and the Dignity and Potential of every individual.

The Trust has awarded over $340 million in grants since its founding in 1989, including 165 grants in 2019 totaling $21 million. The Trust pivoted quickly to provide emergency support during the COVID-19 pandemic and in previous crises, and is viewed by grantees as being a supportive, engaged, respectful partner. Modeled on the Smiths’ giving style, the Trust does not seek publicity or recognition for its work, thereby respecting and acknowledging the expertise of its grantees and emphasizing their efforts and success.

Job Summary

The Executive Director serves as a link between staff, applicants, professional advisors, the broader philanthropic field and the board. The board seeks a leader with strong experience in grantmaking, grant solicitation and philanthropic planning, and a background in one or more of the Trust’s areas of focus, to evolve the Trust’s leadership, governance and programmatic strategies. The Executive Director will be strategic, operational and support the development of and improvements to grantmaking, and within the context of the strategic plan, will offer guidance on the types of grants made. The complete position description can be found here.

Reports To

Board of Trustees


  • Understand and monitor the 2019-2023 strategic plan; work with trustees and staff to define, communicate, and implement the Trust’s vision and mission; support trustees in the development of grantmaking strategies and governance policies, maintaining frequent and open communication.
  • Recruit, develop and retain a high-performing team whose experience and sensibilities align to Trust’s values and mission; ensure HR policies and procedures are current and serve the needs of employees; provide for staff development and opportunities to interact with other subject matter experts.
  • Ensure operational workflow consistency within and across program areas, and support team toward achieving operating and grantmaking goals.
  • Monitor day-to-day financial, accounting and investment activities with support from outsourced providers, including maintenance of general ledger, cash management, reconciliations, accounts payable, payroll and benefits, and grant payments; prepare quarterly financial reports for Trustees; provide information to outside lawyers and accountants to assist in preparation of policies, tax returns, audits and annual financial statements; maintain productive relationships with professional advisors.
  • Evaluate grant recommendations to be presented to Trustees; on an ongoing basis, keep Trustees apprised of significant issues concerning the Trust.
  • Increase the Trust’s knowledge and networks within its geographic and program areas; engage in formal and informal partnerships, networks, and collaborations to leverage its own and others’ knowledge, experience, resources, and impact.
  • Ensure that all externally-facing materials and communications are reflective of the Trust’s mission and values.
  • Remain current in issues and trends in philanthropy and in specific program areas of interest to the Trust.



The Executive Director should have the following types of experiences and qualifications:

  • A mission-driven individual with a belief in and commitment to the Trust’s mission, values, areas of focus and grantees.
  • Seven or more years’ experience as a grantmaker or grantee in one or more of the Trust’s interest areas (or similar interest area) and equivalent financial and administrative experience; ability to address and analyze financial issues.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively motivate and manage a high-performing team of subject matter experts; commitment to continuous improvement of self and organization.
  • In-depth knowledge of grantmaking best practices, legal, accounting and regulatory requirements; understanding of IRS nonprofit regulations; one who is sought for expertise and breadth of experience; strong planning, administrative and organizational skills.
  • Data-driven; an appreciation for measurement, evaluation, and grantee feedback to ensure the continuous improvement in effective philanthropy.
  • Excellent written, verbal, analytical and interpersonal skills.  Computer proficiency in Word, Excel and QuickBooks. Ability to learn and utilize Fluxx grants management software.
  • Graduate degree in public policy, social policy, public health, nonprofit management, or a relevant area.


The successful candidate should be:

  • An individual who respects the knowledge and talents of a skilled team, cultivates trust, and encourages creative thinking, and who understands the subtleties of motivating and directing a diverse group with different work styles; a professional demeanor demonstrating respect, integrity, discretion, judgment, maturity and flexibility.
  • A well-organized individual with a keen eye for details, accuracy, and deadlines, and the ability to set realistic goals and objectives, and balance multiple priorities; a “doer” with a willingness to work hands-on in developing and executing a variety of process and grantmaking activities
  • A champion for innovation within the Trust’s program areas, with the diplomacy and sensitivity to negotiate or ameliorate fears or limitations.
  • Intrepid yet tactful; determined yet respectful of others’ concerns; someone with the flexibility and creativity needed to find alternative ways to reach objectives when barriers arise; a skilled negotiator who does not drive self or others into a corner.
  • A good listener and strategist; comfortable receiving input from many sources, and able to analyze and formulate disparate information into a sound, well-organized plan.
  • Reflective, with strong conceptual, critical, and creative thinking abilities.
  • Committed to professional development for the team, self and the organization.
  • Emotionally mature with a sense of humor; able to maintain balance and perspective.

How to Apply

Lisa Grossman
(650) 323-3565 or lisag@moppenheim.com

Mark Oppenheim

(415) 762-2640 or marko@moppenheim.com


m/Oppenheim Executive Search  

1009 General Kennedy Avenue

San Francisco, CA  94109-0242

May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust

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Organization: Foundations