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LightHouse for the Blind

Grant Writer

POSITION: Grant Writer

REPORTS TO: Director of Development

STATUS: Non-Exempt


Founded in San Francisco in 1902, the LightHouse’s purpose is to promote the independence, equality and self-reliance of people who are blind or visually impaired. The LightHouse is currently in a period of growth, increasing our capacity to serve more low vision and blind clients. We seek a dynamic professional to help us grow our individual and institutional support. This is an 80% part-time position. Approximately half time (.4 FTE) will be spent researching, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding major and planned gifts. Approximately half time (.4 FTE) will be dedicated to Grant Writing: researching opportunities for public and private grant funding; preparing grant proposals; maintaining relationships with grant funders and submitting reports to grantors. This position also serves as a primary agency editor and copywriter, and performs other development duties as requested.


Education:         Bachelor or graduate degree preferred, although relevant work experience may be considered in lieu of educational expectation.

Experience:         Three years of experience in non-profit fundraising, grant writing, and/or implementing a major gift program. Familiarity with researching a variety of online grant resources, including the Foundation Directory, www.grants.gov and other governmental grant sources. Familiarity with blindness and/or broader disabilities issues is a plus.

Other: Superior written communication. Excellent organizational skills with capability to prioritize and meet multiple deadlines with minimal oversight. Proficiency in MS Word MS Excel required. Experience with Raiser’s Edge donor management software preferred. Enthusiasm for LightHouse services and the transformative effect we can have on the lives of individuals who are blind or low vision. Dedication to learning the latest trends and practices in the blindness field, including review of current literature; attention to the wisdom of various blindness groups; and familiarity with the history of the blindness and disability movement.


Must be able to: Carry or transport 20lbs; sit at a desk and perform computer-intensive work for long periods of time; operate standard office equipment; travel independently.



  • Personal initiative, curiosity about people, a sense of humor and a strong team-oriented style.

Grant Writing:

  • Prepare and submit grant proposals within funder-specified and organizationally set timelines.
  • Coordinate with organization managers and staff to gather information for proposals and reports, including budget/expense information; assist in creating grant budgets and expense reports.
  • Track current grantors to assure compliance with reporting requirements, new deadlines, priority updates, etc.
  • Proactively research new public and private grant funding opportunities for programmatic and project priorities to assist in fully funding organization’s operating and capital budgets.
  • Maintain relationships with funders and prospective funders by providing stewardship of grant gifts; inviting to special events and programmatic functions; keeping them abreast of major organizational changes; and assisting in periodic check-ins over the grant year.
  • Coordinate meetings and site visits with individuals and grantors; assist in visits.
  • Stay current with grant funding trends in the blindness and disabilities community, as well as the broader philanthropic community, to inform proposal writing.
  • Other Duties: Please note this job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee for this job. Duties, responsibilities and activities may change at any time with or without notice. 


LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is an equal opportunity employer to all. Qualified applicants are considered regardless of factors unrelated to the job. LightHouse has an “employment at will” policy.

Please submit your cover letter and résumé as Word attachments (no .PDFs please) to hr@lighthouse-sf.org, using the job title as your subject line. We will not consider videos or hyperlinks to online profiles in lieu of the requested format. Due to time constraints we apologize for being unable to acknowledge all interest that may be shown in each position.

Sirkin Center


At the Sirkin Center, we aim to employ individuals who are blind and manufacture the highest quality eco-friendly cleaning products and tissue packets. These products, which serve communities and companies around the world, will provide the utmost utility to clients, and demonstrate the strength and caliber of our Center.


Named in honor of Donald Sirkin, an extremely successful businessman in the contractor insurance and bonding industry and the Lighthouse’s most important donor, the Sirkin Center is a budding entrepreneurial heart of a growing set of social ventures and light manufacturing run by the LightHouse for the Blind. Located in San Leandro, California, the Sirkin Center also houses the LightHouse’s industrial employment program.

Acquired in 2012 and newly renovated in 2016, the Sirkin Center provides employment opportunities at competitive wages for people who are blind and visually impaired. Real time, on-the-job training has been a longstanding opportunity at the LightHouse. From the 1920’s to the 40’s, Lighthouse operated Blindcraft, where blind employees crafted baskets, brooms and wicker furniture. That tradition continued and was updated into the 1990s, when federal manufacturing contracts for the blind allowed us to modernize production which continues to this day.

Today, the Sirkin Center provides employment and can help employees get experience to advance their careers in customer service, shipping and receiving, inventory management and light manufacturing.

70% or more of the labor is provided by staff members who are blind or have low vision.


Currently, the Sirkin Center has a light-manufacturing plant making the tissue packets which are included in MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) utilized by soldiers and firefighters in the field. We also sell commercial-size sanitary paper rolls for use at camps, schools and other facilities, and a line of PRIDEClean chemical cleaning products.

PRIDECLEAN products are non-toxic, green cleaning products used at private and public facilities around the country. The products are non-toxic, contain no ammonia and no phosphates, are biodegradable and contain zero to low VOCs.

LHI also produces Skilcraft products partnered with the National Industries for the Blind and Ability One Commission.


If you are interested in renting space or employment opportunities and products of the Sirkin Center, located at 14690 Washington Avenue in San Leandro, please contact edi@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7333.

Giant paper rolls at LightHouse Industries in San Leandro

Career Opportunities

Since 1902, the San Francisco-based LightHouse has continually searched for mission-driven, compassionate, creative and enthusiastic individuals to join our world-class staff in various California locations. If we’ve just described you, consider joining us in promoting the independence, equality and self-reliance of people who are blind or visually impaired.

We need a variety of skills, perspectives and schedules to complement a wide array of opportunities. The LightHouse not only provides blindness skills training and relevant services, but also access to employment, education, government, information, recreation, transportation and the environment. In support of these initiatives, there are often openings for diverse and interactive candidates. Please check this page often and feel free to share posts with others who may be interested.

Submitting an Application

For ease of accessibility, kindly submit your cover letter and résumé as Word attachments (no .PDFs please) and employment application (downloads in a Word document) to hr@lighthouse-sf.org, using the job title as your subject line. We will not consider videos or hyperlinks to online profiles in lieu of the requested format. Due to time constraints we apologize for being unable to acknowledge all interest that may be shown in each position. No third-party solicitations, please. We sincerely appreciate your thoughtful consideration during this process.

Positions Available

Seasonal Positions Available

LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired is an equal opportunity employer to all. Qualified applicants are considered regardless of age, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, marital status, pregnancy, disability, medical condition, genetic information, gender identity, sex, sexual orientation, religion, military veteran status, political affiliation or any other factor unrelated to the job. We strive to maintain a scent-free environment and a drug-free workplace. We also operate under a mutual “employment at will” policy effective from date of hire.

Planning a gift for LightHouse

By planning a gift through your will, trust or other means, you make a meaningful and lasting difference for blind people of all ages. Whether it’s a family with a blind toddler attending Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind, a professional learning to commute on public transit, or a senior learning skills to remain independent while adjusting to Macular Degeneration, the LightHouse is a beacon of possibility.

We hope you’ll be part of our future and future generations of blind people.

If you would like to learn more about gifts through will and trusts, or if you have already included LightHouse in your estate plans, contact Jennifer Sachs at 415-694-7333 or

501(c)(3) Tax ID:  94-1415317

Ways to Give

Gifts in your will

You can make a gift to LightHouse through your will or trust. This document provides an example of how you can include a bequest for LightHouse in your will.

Everyone needs a will, even if you feel like you’re too young or don’t have an estate. LightHouse has partnered with FreeWill to provide a simple, intuitive and efficient way to create a will. This service is free—whether or not you choose to include a gift to LightHouse. Visit freewill.com/lighthousesf to get started.

Beneficiary Designations

You can make LightHouse a beneficiary of a retirement, life insurance, bank account or other account. These gifts are easy to make and can be tax beneficial.

Gifts that pay you income

A charitable gift annuity allows you to receive a tax deduction and income for life, while also making a gift to LightHouse.

Learn more about giving options in our Planned Giving Guide.

Gifts through wills, trusts and other plans enable you to support programs, like Enchanted Hills Camp, that have been important in your life. These gifts ensure the future of LightHouse and the life-changing services we offer people who are blind.


In 1902, Mrs. Josephine Rowan, whose brother was blind, organized a group of women to establish The Reading Room for the Blind in the basement of the San Francisco Public Library, with the intent of helping blind and visually impaired individuals access printed material. Thus California’s first private agency for the blind was born.

In 1914, the Reading Room changed its name to the San Francisco Association for the Blind, and Ruth Quinan was hired as Superintendent of the Association. Her first action was to create the trademark “Blindcraft” for the growing production of brooms and baskets. Quinan served as Superintendent and later President of the Association until her death in 1955 – over 40 years of service. During her leadership, the Association dramatically expanded its production activities and added a cooking school to the range of services offered.

As the Association grew, the need to expand facilities emerged. In 1924, three members of the Cowell family stepped forward with the generous offer to buy land and construct the building that would house the Association’s expanding services. With the support of Isabel, Helen and S.H. Cowell, the Association moved to a new facility at 1097 Howard Street later that year. For the next two decades, the Association continued manufacturing and selling brooms, baskets and furniture produced by blind workers, and began teaching braille, instructing white cane technique and providing counseling. This made the organization quite unusual. In the 20th century blind people doing any kind of work was unheard of, and the industrial opportunities the LightHouse provided 100 years ago were considered the most progressive options then available.

In 1950, Rose Resnick and Nina Brandt founded Enchanted Hills Camp on 343 acres of land in the foothills west of Napa Valley, under the auspices of Recreation for the Blind, Inc. This organization soon after merged with The Association to become the San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind. In the sixties, the LightHouse expanded its employment opportunities to include deaf-blind individuals, and in the seventies, the agency collaborated with ophthalmologists at Pacific Presbyterian Medical Center to establish experimental services for people with low vision.

In 1977, Jewel and Jim McGinnis (who were members of Blind San Franciscans, Inc.), identified a service that was not available through any of the agencies then serving the blind and visually impaired. They founded Broadcast Services for the Blind, which offered the reading of printed materials such as newspapers, magazines and literature on the radio. In 1989, the LightHouse merged with Broadcast Services for the Blind.

Finally, in 1993, the Rose Resnick Center and the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired merged to form Rose Resnick LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, thus providing a broader continuum of services to better meet the needs of those who were blind or had low vision.

In 1996, two years after Rose Resnick LightHouse purchased 214 Van Ness in San Francisco, the LightHouse designed a comprehensive “living with Vision Loss” training program, providing rehabilitative and orientation and mobility training throughout the greater Bay Area for the first time. Today, the LightHouse provides services throughout Northern California and serves thousands of blind and visually impaired youth, adults and seniors.

As successor to many organizations, the Board of Directors streamlined the name of the organization for the new Millenium to be simply, “Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.” Rose Resnick passed away in August 2007, just two months short of her 100th birthday, but still today we carry on her legacy and value her many years of leadership. Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind is busier than ever, as both a summer camp, retreat center, and training facility, and every day we become more effective and relied upon for providing a seamless continuum of services and outreach into the community.

Over the last several years, LightHouse CEO Bryan Bashin has conducted a series of interviews, collecting the oral histories of significant members of the blindness community, which you can listen to at our LightHouse Podcasts page.

The Next 114 Years

In the spring of 2016, the LightHouse moved from the 1906 converted garage it occupied since 1993 into a new, state-of-the-art location in the heart of downtown San Francisco. Designed for the blind, by the blind, the new LightHouse for the Blind will triple the available space for programs and community services. The new headquarters uses innovative lighting and architectural design features to set a new standard of universal design for people with all levels of eyesight. Onsite dorms will accommodate blind people of all ages and their families from all over the US for intensive, immersive training. With this new headquarters the LightHouse’s reach and influence will grow exponentially.  We’re envisioning partnering with blind, deaf-blind and other organizations across the US and the world, to house their students in our dorms and provide groundbreaking programs not offered anywhere else. Our new headquarters overlooks UN plaza and is one of the most transit-accessible blindness centers in the world.