Emily C. Thornton: Vice President of Development

Hailing from Scottsdale, Arizona, Emily C. Thornton stands at the helm of our donor development initiatives as the Vice President of Development. With a laser-focused approach towards impactful giving, Emily has transformed the fundraising landscape wherever she’s been.

Emily’s journey into nonprofit leadership commenced at the Institute for Justice in Arlington, Virginia, where she managed a portfolio of 150+ donors. Her knack for understanding donor motivations and ensuring donor satisfaction through meaningful engagement became evident. Furthermore, her collaborations with communication teams resulted in compelling narratives that spotlighted the change donors were driving.

Elevating her commitment to a sustainable future, Emily joined the San Diego Oceans Foundation. As the Director of Major Gifts for over six years, her groundbreaking strategies culminated in a 45% surge in major gift revenues. Her innovative ideas, such as launching the legacy giving program, cemented long-term commitments from donors, ensuring the foundation’s long-term impact.

Now, at the Southwest Public Policy Institute, Emily focuses on an array of donor development strategies ranging from grant writing to planned giving. She continues to cultivate influential relationships with key donors, foundations, and corporate sponsors, fortifying the Institute’s vision for a policy-driven future.