Development Manager, Foundations

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, curriculum, and content. We also work with policymakers, industry leaders, legislators, and concerned parents and teachers to improve the media, tech, and education landscape for kids, families, and schools. All of our programs are informed by the independent research we conduct and publish, which paints a picture of the role that media and technology play in the lives of kids, families, and schools as well as tracks long-term population-level trends in digital media access and use. Additionally, over the last three years, we've been building a Latino initiative addressing the unique media and tech needs of Latino families in the US with an emphasis on low-income parents and kids. 

The ideal candidate has had strategic design and fundraising experience as part of a previous role(s). Exceptionally strong written and oral communication and presentation skills are critical. 

LOCATION: San Francisco, CA, or New York City, NY


Strategy Development

  • Participate in philanthropic funding strategy discussions.
  • Collaborate with internal stakeholders to develop program briefs, including program goals, impact metrics, activities, and budgets.
  • Keep abreast of digital media, education, and parent engagement trends, and bring competitive challenges and new opportunities to the attention of internal stakeholders.
  • Research and identify key sources and trends in foundation, corporate, and philanthropic support.

Foundation Partnerships

  • Steward and expand a grant portfolio of 10 to 20 funder relationships, with a focus on securing grants of $250K+. Responsibilities include:
    • Building a pipeline of foundation prospects.
    • Conducting introductory phone calls/meetings to present programs and explore potential fits.
    • Preparing Google Slide presentations and other collateral materials.
    • Outlining strategic objectives and talking points for meetings.
    • Writing concept papers and grant proposals, developing budgets, and shepherding the process from start to finish.
    • Working with program teams to track progress against grant deliverables (outputs, outcomes, budgets).
  • Coordinating periodic updates and communications to funders.


  • A bachelor's degree and 3+ years of experience in a nonprofit or education setting.
  • Candidates with a master's degree in education, business, or public policy strongly encouraged to apply.
  • Experience in grant writing/fundraising, strategy, and program development.
  • Outstanding writing skills.
  • Knowledge of evolving early childhood and education and media and technology trends, across a breadth of topics including edtech, STEM, early childhood, character education, and social-emotional learning a plus.
  • Excellent presentation and public-speaking skills and confidence in cultivating and soliciting high-level funder relationships.
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to prioritize workload in a timely manner to complete assignments when faced with many deadlines and competing requirements.
  • Experience in strategy, program, and budget development a plus.
  • Strong research and analytical skills and familiarity with full suite of Microsoft Office, Salesforce, and Google tools.
  • Bilingual and bicultural candidates can be a great fit for this role as it's fast-paced, with ongoing deadlines and your adjustment capabilities will be a fantastic asset to the role.
  • We're seeking a candidate who brings a different and fresh perspective, has an entrepreneurial mindset and can think out-of-the-box to provide solutions to our challenges. 
  • Ability and willingness to travel.


  • A high degree of self-motivation, self-direction, and ingenuity in a highly entrepreneurial environment.
  • A collaborative mindset. You have a knack for working effectively across work spectrums.
  • A strategic mindset and ability to understand how to connect programs to larger strategic goals and outcomes.
  • An ability to build and maintain positive and authentic relationships and a desire to understand the interests and motivations of funders.
  • An ability to work effectively as part of a team.
  • Knowledge of evolving kids, media, and technology trends.
  • A passion for the mission and goals of Common Sense!


  • 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 Media values the diversity of its employees and is an equal opportunity employer.