Assistant Director – Grants & Foundation Relations


Position Overview

The Assistant Director – Grants & Foundation Relations is responsible for the creation and management of a well-coordinated, strategic development plan to cultivate and solicit support from foundations.  This position works to establish long-term partnerships, strengthen existing relationships and initiate new contacts within the foundation and corporate sectors.


Primary Responsibilities

  • Facilitate, review, edit and submit grant proposals and fulfill grant-related requirements; meet or exceed annual revenue goals as collectively established by the Chief Development Officer and Leadership Team
  • Lead the statewide strategy for cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of foundation funders
  • Research institutional entities, grant opportunities, and high-potential partnerships that will help fund program areas and advance the overall work of Special Olympics Illinois
  • Write fundraising materials, including concept notes and proposals, project budgets and financial reports, program updates and narrative reports – writing in a variety of styles, ranging from the highly technical submissions typical for major institutional foundations, to the more personal style appropriate for some family foundations
  • Research current and prospective foundation partners, analyze grant-making strategies and histories to prepare and/or update partner profile documents and briefing materials
  • Serve as grant-related organizational liaison and collaborates with internal and external partners, Special Olympics Illinois Board Members and Foundation Board Members
  • Routinely develop and review library of asks, program-specific content and stewardship collateral
  • Actively participate in departmental revenue and expense budget planning, balancing ambitious goals with accurate forecasting of foundation revenue projections
  • As needed and assigned, conduct presentations to a variety of internal and external constituents for the purpose of educating groups about Special Olympics Illinois
  • Provide support to entire Special Olympics Illinois Team in transforming ideas into grant proposals


  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • 3+ years of professional experience in grant writing, managing partnerships, and funding with private foundations
  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral; ability to influence and engage a diverse range of constituents and build long-term relationships
  • Experience as a grant writer with the ability to translate complex issues into fundraising goals and objectives and ability to articulate organization’s mission to the funding community
  • Professional and resourceful style; the ability to take initiative and to manage multiple tasks and projects at a time
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with Board members, leadership, across departments and with counterparts, to effectively cultivate donors and prospects
  • Computer fluency in MS Office and CRM experience (Salesforce preferred); knowledgeable about the role technology plays in fundraising
  • High energy and passion for Special Olympics mission
  • Ability to handle confidential information

Work Schedule

  • Based in the Northern Regional Office in Lombard, IL (flexibility to work remotely in Chicagoland)
  • Ability to travel statewide as position demands
  • Monday through Friday; position requires work and travel outside normal business hours
  • Frequent on-site management or attendance required at events, both outdoor and indoor
  • Reports to Chief Development Officer

To Apply

  • To apply for this position, please send a copy of your resume with a cover letter to Matt Johnson at by 11/12/18