Sam Leask

Philanthropic Services Director

Sam works with individuals and organizations to help them achieve their philanthropic and financial goals, with an eye toward tax efficiency. Whether it’s establishing a donor-advised fund, helping create a charitable remainder trust funded with real estate or highly-appreciated securities, transferring a private foundation’s assets, or starting an agency endowment or flex fund, Sam loves working to find the best solution for each donor and philanthropic opportunity.

Before joining the Foundation, Sam served as a Planned Giving Officer for the American Red Cross, Planned Giving Manager at San Francisco Opera, and Executive Director at Dominican Hospital Foundation. He is also a former Board Member and Honorary Trustee of the Foundation, where he started his first fund in 1986.

The fifth-generation Santa Cruz County resident began working professionally for nonprofit organizations in 2006 after a diverse career path in department stores, real estate investing, strategy consulting, trust and estate administration, and antiquarian book dealing. His broad business and consulting background, training in economics and accounting, and a Harvard MBA have all helped him support donors in accomplishing their philanthropic goals effectively and tax-efficiently.

Ask Sam about...

Sam is happy to speak with you about the world of philanthropic giving and is fantastic at breaking down complicated subjects for donors. He’d love to have the opportunity to benefit you, your family, and the greater Santa Cruz County community through thoughtful philanthropic giving plans tailored for you.

Meet Other Staff Members


Robin Larsen

Donor Services Officer

Danu Schoeck

Philanthropic Services Associate