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Board of Directors, Tides

The Client

Tides is a philanthropic partner and nonprofit accelerator dedicated to building a world of shared prosperity and social justice. Tides works at the nexus of funders, changemakers, and policy to solve society’s toughest problems: equality and human rights; sustainable environment; healthy individuals and communities; and quality education.

Tides impact solutions include philanthropic giving and grant making, impact investing, fiscal sponsorship for social ventures, collaborative workspaces, and policy initiatives. Our extensive tools and know-how give our partners the freedom to hit the ground running and drive change faster than they can on their own.

In 2016, Tides granted over $225 million to nonprofits nationwide and in over 110 countries. In addition, Tides is currently home to over 140 social ventures operating in over 25 states. Tides San Francisco and New York collaborative spaces includes over 150,000 square feet of space, home to over 80 impact providers located in the Presidio.

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The Vision

Tides envisions a world of shared prosperity and social justice founded on equality and human rights; a sustainable environment; healthy individuals and communities; and quality education for all.

The Mission

Tides accelerates the pace of social change, working with innovative partners to solve society’s toughest problems.

The Approach

  • We cross boundaries and link sectors, communities, and cultures.
  • We act with empathy and respect.
  • We engage with those whose lives are affected.
  • We embrace risk.
  • We prioritize ideas that can scale.

Tides is comprised of six legal entities:

Charitable Giving, Grantmaking, & Advising

Tides designs and implements philanthropic programs to help donors, institutions, and corporations achieve meaningful results and streamline the process for both grantees and funders. Tides provides donor advised funds, collective action funds, and many other charitable giving vehicles that support donors in driving impact.

Social Ventures: Fiscal Sponsorship & Management Services

Tides provides sophisticated management services so leaders can focus on their missions. Backbone services and expertise are available in areas such as financial management, legal compliance, grants management, human resources, payroll, and benefits.

Collaborative Space

Tides’ multi-tenant centers in San Francisco and New York City offer high quality environments for social ventures, nonprofits, and innovators to work, learn, and grow together, amplifying their efforts to solve our world’s most complex social and environmental problems.

Social Impact Consulting

Tides offers highly customized expertise to meet each client’s needs in pursuit of social impact. Tides can assist in designing philanthropic giving programs, managing grant application processes, structuring charitable investments in innovative social ventures, and much more.

Impact Investing

Tides offers partners a robust set of socially responsible investment options such as socially screened funds, mission-related investments (MRIs), fossil fuel-free funds, and high-growth, venture-backed funds, making it easy for clients to align their investments with their impact goals.

Tides Innovation Lab

Tides Innovation Lab coordinates our efforts to experiment, iterate, and continually improve our own programs, share learning about the spectrum of Tides’ services and beyond, and shape the landscape for other organizations working for positive social change.

The Advocacy Fund

Tides’ Advocacy Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization, provides a unique opportunity for organizations, initiatives, and grantmakers to lobby for a cause, give money to an advocacy group, or impact legislative activity to advance their missions.

Tides 2016 Financial Summary

Tides’ total revenue in 2016 was $394 million, of which 82% was distributed in grants or expended in programs. Overall, of the over $225 million that Tides has granted in 2016, 20% of total grants and 29% of dollars went beyond its borders, to a total of 106 countries. In addition, Tides is currently home to over 140 social ventures operating in over 25 states. Tides San Francisco and New York collaborative spaces includes over 150,000 square feet of space, home to over 80 impact providers.

Tides History

In 1976, Tides was founded by Drummond Pike, a visionary, social entrepreneur and one of the originators of the concept of donor-advised funds. Over the years the organization has evolved from a great idea into a multi-entity social enterprise. Drummond served as President and CEO from 1976 until 2010. Tides Foundation was started out of a need to facilitate the giving of philanthropists who were concerned with building a better future for individuals and communities all over the world. In the late ’70’s, Tides Foundation founded a Projects Program that nurtured new nonprofit activities and the program became legally incorporated as The Tides Center in 1996.

Through the 1980s, Tides grew slowly as it defined its role as a values-based infrastructure service for progressive nonprofit work. The 1990’s was a time of exponential growth for Tides. It opened the Thoreau Center for Sustainability – a twelve building complex in San Francisco’s Presidio National Park dedicated to nonprofits and social ventures concerned about social and environmental sustainability; and in 1999, it founded to facilitate online giving to progressive groups.

To date, Tides has managed project and grant making activities totaling more than $3 billion. It has fiscally sponsored more than 800 projects, and helped launch a number of important organizations such as Conservation International, Environmental Working Group, the Garden Conservancy, The Story of Stuff, and the League of Young Voters Education Fund. Its growth is a testament to the joint commitment among its partners and staff to supporting positive social change.

When Tides moved into the 21st century, the organization did not adapt swiftly enough to the changing eco-system, increased competition or the drains on the organization’s business model.  Hence, 2005 – 2014, were challenging times for the organization. Between 2010 and 2014, the organization had four CEO’s beginning with the founder of thirty-five years leaving. A new CEO was hired in 2014 and is working to transform the organization into a thriving social enterprise that is truly leading with a 21st century vision, strategies, mindsets and tools that drive impact nationally and internationally.  This is an exciting time to be part of an organization’s revitalization.

Board of Directors

Tides Network currently has 13 Board Directors, with plans to expand the Board to 19 members over the next three years. This is an opportunity for engaged and committed candidates to play a board leadership role in defining strategic direction and evolution of a large social enterprise. The ideal candidate will help bring on talented new members and assist with board building and development.

Duties & Responsibilities of a Board Member

Tides Board members are the guardians of the organization’s mission and resources, bringing to the organization a variety of skills, knowledge, experience and perspectives. They are tasked with guiding the organization’s mission through policy development and oversight, serving as a resource on Board committees, participating as donors and fundraisers to the organization, and acting as ambassadors for Tides and the interests of its supporters.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Attendance at three Board meetings annually, typically one in San Francisco, one in New York, and one virtual.
  • Active participation on at least one Tides Network subsidiary Board. These include the Tides Foundation and The Tides Center. These Boards meet over the same two day period as the Tides Network Board. In addition, each Board member is expected to serve on at least one standing committee – currently, these include the Executive, Financial Capital, Audit, External Relations, and Human Capital, which typically meet two to three times per year by phone.
  • Contributing to Tides is an expectation of Board service. As a social enterprise there are multiple ways to contribute, board members are expected to make Tides a philanthropic priority with a meaningful personal gift, as well as diligent efforts to bring support to the organization from others within their circle of influence.  Give or get requirements for the new directors are expected to be in the $15,000 – $30,000 range.  Tides understands that each member is in a unique situation and works accordingly to set clear expectations.

After an orientation and the assignment of a mentor Board member, newly elected Directors serve an initial three-year term. Directors may then serve up to two (2) additional three-year terms.

Professional Requirements

Tides is seeking a diverse group of qualified and experienced professionals with a variety of skills, experience and perspectives to steward the continued growth and viability of the organization.  Financial acumen, Foundation leadership, and multi-stakeholder collaboration skills are desired.

The ideal candidate will be a family foundation executive, an entrepreneur, corporate executive, business owner, civic leader, public official or other professional of stature with strong links to a broad and expansive network.  We are particularly interested in broadening Tides’ geographic diversity with board members from the Mid-Western or Southern areas of the U.S.  Experience, as a Board Member with a not-for-profit institution and a track record of effective participation is a must.

Personal Characteristics

Candidates must have a compelling interest in the vision, mission and approach of Tides. The skills to meaningful contribute to an organization at times of change is a must.  Individuals who have worked within organizations or on boards during times of strategic transition will find this an exciting opportunity to lead in a meaningful way.

Openness to innovation and a willingness to embrace change is important. Belief in community and strengthening people’s ability to achieve their individual and collective goals is core to Tides’ mission.  Honesty and transparency are highly valued, and the humility to learn from others and continually improve performance are deep-seated cultural values that we are seeking in a successful candidate.

Finally, candidates should demonstrate innate leadership, management and interpersonal skills, patience and good humor, and must be able to participate in and sustain collaborative group efforts.  People of color and bi-cultural, bi-lingual candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.


This opportunity is a meaningful and rewarding leadership challenge with an organization that has been in the forefront of social change for nearly 40 years.  It is a chance to be part of building the future of a leading social enterprise that works with partners to create lasting social impact for a more just, equitable and sustainable world.


If you are interested in exploring a relationship with Tides, please submit a brief cover letter and résumé or biography as attachments via e-mail to:

Joseph A. McCormack, Managing Partner


Tel 323.549.9200



All inquiries or referrals will be held in strict confidence.

McCormack+Kristel works only with Equal Employment Opportunity Employers.