Fistula Foundation–Vice President of Business and Partnership Development–Completed

Fistula Foundation

Vice President of Business and Partnership Development

Position Description

Painter Executive Search is supporting the Fistula Foundation in their search for an entrepreneurial Vice President of Business and Partnership Development to help ideate, explore, and develop new connections and collaborations to increase visibility and support to the Foundation and grow its capacity in service to its global mission to end the suffering of women with fistula.

The Fistula Foundation, (Foundation) headquartered in San Jose, California was founded in 2000 and dramatically expanded its mission to fight fistula globally in 2009. Today it supports fistula treatment in 33 countries in Africa and Asia. The Foundation funds more obstetric fistula surgeries globally than any other organization.

An estimated one million women in Africa and Asia still suffer from obstetric fistula, a debilitating childbirth injury that leaves a woman incontinent, and as a result, too often abandoned by her family and shunned by her community. The Foundation focuses on ending this needless suffering. Fistula robs a woman of her physical and often her mental health. The ripple effect on her family can be profound and her ability to contribute to her community severely limited. A fistula surgery can radically alter that trajectory giving a woman not just her continence, but her future back. Surgery is the only cure. Providing funding for this transformational surgery is the primary focus of the Foundation.

The culture of the Foundation reflects its Silicon Valley location—focused, iterative, and growth-oriented. It takes pride in being a successful, financially disciplined nonprofit organization where the bottom line is measured in the number of women treated. It focuses on where the need is greatest and deploys efficiencies that enable them to serve more women with fewer resources. It aspires to the values of the Effective Altruism movement which calls for using evidence and careful analysis to determine how to use resources to help others the most. Acting as a significant fundraising partner, the Foundation engages qualified and vetted partners to perform needed surgeries. Working on this partnership model, the Foundation links its fundraising efforts to direct impact on the ground in Africa and Asia. 

Working with the dynamism of a lean start-up team combined with the stability of a mature organization, the Foundation has built a $15M reserve (including a nearly $11.5M endowment) so that it can consistently meet its commitment to partners no matter the instability in the world at the moment. The highly competent and motivated staff team includes experienced program leaders with significant in-country experience as well as a sophisticated communications and fundraising team. This new leader will help broaden and expand the network of partners and donors that support this important work.



The Vice President of Business and Partnership Development (VP) works both collaboratively and independently to grow the Foundation’s financial support and visibility. A core skill will be the ability generate new ideas and act upon the best of them in order to increase the Foundation’s capacity. The VP will be part of a team (with the CEO and other senior staff) that exercises blue sky thinking and considers the operational impact and potential return on investment of those ideas. The VP must be able to cultivate, build, and maintain strong and authentic donor and stakeholder relationships while holding a deep passion and humility in the face of the profound need for these life-changing surgeries. The VP must be a highly credible and respected representative of the Foundation. A person who is able to engage comfortably around a difficult subject with a wide range of people, organizations, and cultures. The VP will have well-honed communication skills including public speaking, written communications, and knowledge of marketing, public relations, social and traditional media, and the ability to use those skills in an optimistic way and remain undaunted in service to the mission.

Additional Background

The Foundation has emerged as the global leader in fistula treatment, treating more women in more places than even the United Nations or the US government. Global funding for fistula surgery is woefully inadequate. The immutable fact is fistula is a symptom of deep intractable problems as a result of poverty and gender discrimination. Patients are usually extremely poor having developed a fistula simply because they lacked access to basic obstetric care when trying to deliver their child.

Unfortunately, over the last decade the funds to support treatment of fistula globally have fallen dramatically. Through careful consideration, the Foundation began to expand its partnerships to develop ways to continue to treat fistula outside of the former USAID and UN structures. The result has been dramatic growth in capacity which needs to be matched with the funds to support the work.

The Foundation’s current strategy calls for strengthening local capacity at individual hospitals in Africa and Asia. Rather than working through intermediaries, it partners directly with established, in-country hospitals and surgical teams who understand how best to serve women in their communities. In addition to granting funds for the direct costs of fistula repair surgery, the Foundation also strengthens the efforts of these local experts, equips hospitals to provide high-quality fistula care, and uses grassroots community outreach to reach as many suffering women as possible. While the primary aim is to help hospitals provide regular, continuous fistula services, in extreme cases where conditions on the ground do not permit this, the Foundation covers the cost of a visiting surgeon.

The longer-term goal is to eradicate the scourge of fistula globally. The Foundation’s proven countrywide treatment network model addresses the need on a country-by-country basis. The model utilizes the power of local stakeholders to develop a strong network of well-equipped hospitals across the country. These facilities are staffed by well-trained surgeons and nurses, sharing the resources and best practices needed to provide free, year-round fistula care. The Foundation collaborates with local grassroots organizations and government agencies to provide local health workers and outreach teams with the resources they need to educate communities about fistula and refer patients to a hospital in the network. With access to more treatment centers in more places, women are no longer put on a waiting list for surgery or forced to travel long distances to receive high-quality fistula care. The Foundation’s countrywide network model also helps “build the bench” by training more fistula surgeons to internationally accredited standards, and helps women build a new life after fistula with psychological counseling and economic empowerment.

Today this model is successful and thriving in Kenya and Zambia. The Foundation is looking to continue this work and expand the funding to implement the model to new countries in Africa and Asia. There continues to be countries where there is a high unmet need for fistula treatment and where surgery providers are available leaving the primary barrier to ending fistula as the funds to support this work. 

The Foundation is highly focused on funding surgery. While there are a variety of worthy efforts that could contribute to reducing fistula globally (such as midwifery training, contraceptive provision, girls’ education, eliminating child marriage, and medical research) the path to focus solely on curative fistula surgery offers critical advantages. This laser focus acknowledges that the unmet need for treatment is profound, the difference surgery can provide is truly life-changing, and the outcomes can be tracked and improved allowing for a clear story of transformation and overall progress.

Vice President of Business and Partnership Development



  • Work together with the CEO and senior staff to maximize opportunities to highlight the work of the Foundation and build funding for it;
  • Bring new ideas, partners, donors, and other opportunities forward to create growth and build efficiencies for the Foundation;
  • Participate and support an internal culture of high performance that values continuous learning, improvement, and a commitment to quality;
  • Represent the Foundation by effectively communicating the organization’s mission, vision and program priorities to major donors and prospects, for profit, nonprofit and foundation partners, as well as the public at large;
  • Create and maintain strong relationships with organizations and leaders engaged in women’s health; increase knowledge, expertise, and credibility in support of the work;
  • Learn the issues and impacts of global women’s health particularly as they relate to fistula; understand the Foundation’s program needs, requirements and growth potential;
  • Elevate the level of leadership, influence, and recognition of the Foundation within the United States, around the world and in places where fistula is a significant and persistent reality;
  • Support the CEO in further developing the Board and other critical relationships;
  • Contribute to the senior leadership team’s overall decision-making and organizational planning.

Fundraising and Partnership Development

  • Be a valuable voice for the Foundation and its work; become an excellent storyteller of the impact and urgency of this work;
  • Actively work to raise the visibility of the Foundation throughout the country, particularly with new and emerging partners and donor prospects;
  • Personally work with advisors and donors to support their philanthropic considerations and encourage investments in the Foundation’s impacts;
  • Advise on donor programs and communications and suggest improvements and extensions to build a broader audience; seeking to increase ROI and strategic acquisition of new donors;
  • Embrace technology and introduce new tools and methods to increase efficiency.

Internal and External Collaboration and Contribution

  • Build and maintain a high level of knowledge on issues applicable to charitable giving, trends in women’s health and international programs and funding;
  • Provide and enable outstanding service and responsiveness to donors; ensure donors receive meaningful, personal, and timely acknowledgments and reports on their investment in the Foundation’s work;
  • Partner with the leadership and communications teams to co-create and execute integrated, multi-channel campaigns;
  • Participate in events and external engagements including educational and advocacy initiatives, conferences, speaking opportunities, panel discussions, and other related outreach or brand-raising activities;
  • In coordination with the CEO, attend North American and global events, functions, and initiatives relevant to and on behalf of the Foundation.


A successful VP candidate will likely have:

  • Demonstrated success in building deeply productive relationships internally and with funders or partners;
  • A history of bringing insights and new ideas to the table while creating collaborative and inclusive assessment and execution;
  • Experience as the face of an organization; well-developed interpersonal skills; superb oral and written communication skills; able to listen and present ideas clearly and persuasively;
  • Evidence of developing and implementing strategy- a strategic thinker and executor with an operating style that encourages innovation and cooperation; willing to pivot as opportunities arise;
  • Ability to lead strategic and tactical initiatives and partner engagements with flexibility, adaptability, and creativity; hands-on when needed and willing to support teammates;
  • Demonstrated commitment to advancing the status of women, women’s health and/or other intractable global issues;
  • Experience with organizational assessment and growth, ideally with a grantmaking organization;
  • Wisdom and prudence in financial resource management; experienced in business decision-making;
  • Ability to develop an understanding of the complexities of global health development and a working knowledge of reproductive and sexual health, particularly in Africa;
  • Ability to travel internationally one to two times a year, once it is safe to travel again;
  • Bachelor’s degree at a minimum, advanced degree preferred.


  • Exhibits exemplary leadership and models personal and professional integrity;
  • Acts always in the best interest of the work, the partners, donors, and the people served;
  • Worldly; demonstrates an understanding and appreciation of diverse cultures and practices;
  • A digital native; embraces technology and building organizational capacity to increase efficiency and reach;
  • Curious; interested in how things work and able to connect the dots on how one thing influences another;
  • Is open and accessible (approachable) and authentic in their interest in improving the lives of women;
  • Extremely proactive; solutions-oriented with attention to detail;
  • Self-motivated with strong organizational and time management skills;
  • Ability to inspire and motivate a collaborative team; committed to learning, mentoring, and promoting professional development and quality performance.

The Foundation team prioritizes gratitude, initiative, productivity, and teamwork. It works with shared passion and commitment to Foundation’s mission and the work required to help as many women as possible. The Foundation’s colleagues have soft hearts and tough minds and celebrate the successes of the team and its partners. It encourages the team to lead happy and healthy lives inside and outside of work. The office includes benefits such as bi-weekly fruit delivery, paid membership for YMCA or $50 toward a gym membership of employee’s choosing, and a supportive workplace culture.

We believe that our work is enhanced by a diversity of thought and perspectives. We are an equal opportunity employer and seek a diverse workforce. Applicants from all backgrounds, especially from communities of color, are encouraged to apply.

This position is a full-time role with a salary range of $170K-$200K

For additional details or to submit your experience for review, please contact;

Nancy Painter

(415) 202- 6240