Since joining The San Diego Foundation on June 1, 2020, less than three months after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gray Payton has played a key role directing work related to The Foundation’s $66 million COVID-19 Community Response Fund. In less than 15-months, The CRF provided grants to more than 380 nonprofits providing more than 2.5 million services to San Diegans in need. Gray Payton has also played a key role with shaping The Foundation’s strategic plan and launching its Black Community Investment Fund. In her role as Chief Impact and Partnerships Officer, Vice President of Community Impact, she oversees The Foundation’s Community Impact programs and leads the strategic initiatives that enable community solutions to improve the quality of life and advance a vision of just, equitable and resilient communities in the San Diego region. Gray Payton also plays a critical role in developing cross-sector partnerships on behalf of The San Diego Foundation.
Prior to joining The San Diego Foundation, she served as the Assistant Vice President, Community, State and Local Government Relations and the Assistant Vice President of University Communications at the University of San Diego. Payton has also served as Board President for RISE San Diego, a nonprofit organization dedicated to elevating and advancing urban leadership to create meaningful community change, and the Kim Center for Social Balance, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating the achievement of equal status for all genders in the workplace.