Jobs / Director of Philanthropy

Director of Philanthropy



OST is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating progress towards a healthy and productive ocean future for  California. Created by state legislation, OST bridges the gap between cutting-edge scientific research and sound ocean management.

OST’s strength lies in its nimble response to state priorities and horizon-scanning to foster science solutions to the challenges facing coastal communities and ocean ecosystems in California. On evolving topics as diverse as climate adaptation, plastic pollution, renewable energy, and aquaculture, OST leverages public and private funding to forge novel interdisciplinary science partnerships, encourage science co-production with communities, and build research capacity focused on California’s priorities. It brings solution-focused science guidance to executive branch agencies and to California lawmakers and their staff. OST supports and provides graduate education opportunities at the nexus of science and policy, towards a vision of a more diverse, equitable and inclusive future workforce.

OST sees opportunity to create and innovate in initiatives that foster the science-policy workforce of the future, sustainable blue economy advancement, and the development of science solutions for equitable climate change adaptation along California’s coast and ocean.

Serving one of the most diverse states in the country, OST sees diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and access as central values to its organizational philosophy and imperative to our mission. OST is committed to cultivating a work environment where staff from all backgrounds and identities feel a sense of belonging and can thrive.

For more information, please visit


In a newly visioned position for the organization, the Director of Philanthropy will design and lead implementation of all fundraising goals and strategies, with a focus on science, education, and ocean-focused foundations, and public ocean science funders. Through a unique landscape position with built-in accountability to the state, bolstered by an agile and innovative culture, Ocean Science Trust is emerging from the COVID pandemic reaffirming the value proposition of a vibrant relationship between science and decision-makers.

The ideal candidate is inspired by the potential for philanthropy to build organizational sustainability and impact, and simultaneously advance OST’s legislative mandate to draw funding to actionable, solutions-oriented ocean science in California. OST seeks someone who is motivated by partnerships and the durable outcomes that can be realized when the public (including academic science, legislature, and government agencies) and private sectors invest in co-creating science solutions to coastal and ocean challenges.

This is an exciting opportunity for a values-driven, proven development professional to take fundraising to the next level. Building on, and expanding, OST’s current portfolio of funding partners to design and build the organizational infrastructure and support for effective fund raising, that recognizes both its small nonprofit status and unique position and reach in California’s public universities and with government decisionmakers/funders.

Ocean Science Trust is headquartered in Sacramento, but staff work remotely and are based throughout California. OST’s small team values the flexibility of remote work and is dedicated to effective remote team collaboration. Some travel within California will be required.


The position reports to the Executive Director. Currently the position has no managerial responsibilities. OST is a strongly collaborative and laterally structured team, and the Director of Philanthropy will work alongside peer Directors leading organizational programmatic work, finance, and administration, and will provide support to science staff pursuing project funding opportunities to advance mission-driven work.


  • Create and implement a comprehensive fund development plan that increases annual and long-term financial support and sustainability.
  • Evaluate all possible avenues for revenue generation including annual mid-level giving, individual major gifts, planned giving, corporate and foundation support, in addition to government grants and events.
  • Identify and pursue opportunities for public-private partnerships to advance mission-driven work, including the potential for the organization to serve as a financial trust and science innovation/workforce development funder.
  • Create and implement a strategy to grow sustainable revenue streams that provide core support to the organization to deliver on our mission as expressed in our founding legislation.
  • Identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward public and private foundations for annual and multi-year gifts and grants, and sponsorships.
  • Engage philanthropists and thought leaders through intimate gatherings to discuss science-informed ocean and coastal policy.
  • Provide guidance and direction to science staff in advancing contracts with state agencies and departments to deliver science services including peer reviews, scientific analysis, and syntheses, and expert convenings.
  • Develop and grow an individual major gifts portfolio (OST conducted its maiden individual giving campaign in 2021).
  • Design, build and maintain the organizational infrastructure and workflows for effective moves management.
  • Support, research and make recommendations to the Executive Director and Board for potential new Board members.
  • Work with Board members as appropriate to leverage relationships, train and manage solicitations.
  • Evaluate potential CR Ms to be purchased and used for donor /prospect management.


  • Seven years or more experience of progressively challenging fund raising positions
  • Bachelor’s degree required, graduate degree or advanced fund raising certification preferred
  • Demonstrated success operating in a multi-faceted fundraising organization with proven ability and success in identifying, cultivating, and closing grants and gifts
  • Experience presenting to and communicating with internal and external audiences including powerful industry, policy, and philanthropy leaders
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, with ability to work as a team member within an established collaborative team structure
  • Demonstrates an understanding of and sensitivity to identity, race, and biases, and the dynamics they create in addressing the needs and priorities of diverse communities and people.
  • Knowledge and use of database applications for moves management, reports, and list segmentation
  • Strong facility with Salesforce, Google platform and Slack
  • Strong research, planning, analytical, problem solving and organization skills
  • Understanding of California, Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and other key California markets – their mindset and innovation culture
  • Superior written and verbal communication, active listening, and critical thinking skills
  • Experience in a science-based organization, a plus
  • Experience working in a policy-based organization, a plus
  • Experience fund raising in a university or college, a plus
  • Passion for the mission and vision of Ocean Science Trust


The salary range for this position is $125,000 to $135,000 plus benefits including:

  • Healthcare (OST pays 95% of the base rate of the Kaiser Silver plan for employees only)
  • Dental and vision insurance (OST pays 100% for employees only)
  • Short- and long-term disability and basic life insurance (OST pays 100% for employees only)
  • A 403{b)-retirement plan
  • OST contributes a match of up to 3.5% of the employee salary after one (1) year of service
  • Ten (10) days of paid vacation per year for the first two years, then exponential growth after milestone years of service
  • Twelve (12) days of paid sick time
  • Twelve (12) paid holidays per year
  • OST is closed between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day each year; business days that occur during this week are additional paid days off.
  • Family-friendly flexible schedules.
  • Monthly cell phone/internet reimbursement stipend.


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. Applicants must be authorized to work in the US and be a current resident of California or willing to relocate if hired.


California Ocean Science Trust
Victoria Silverman
Remote/Sacramento, CA