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Senior Director, Foundation & Government Relations

Requisition Number: 
Foundation & Government Relations
Job Status: 
To identify, cultivate, and solicit gifts to the Chicago Botanic Garden from foundations, corporate foundations, and government agencies.
Duties and Responsibilities: 

 In this role, you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Develop and manage annual and long-term comprehensive fundraising plan for foundation, corporate foundation, and government support. Team delivered $8.6 million in public and private funds in 2017.
  • Identify, analyze, and develop strategies to pursue new foundation, corporate foundation, and government prospects to grow donor base in concert with development leadership, senior staff, and board of directors.
  • Work with Garden senior staff and program staff to establish fundraising priorities and develop strategies to support existing programs as well as strategic growth.
  • Develop and oversee an active schedule of solicitations and reports (225-plus annually), cultivation visits, donor communication, and cultivation activities.
  • Review and edit letters of inquiry, proposals, reports, and thank you letters.
  • Develop strategic alliances with aligned nonprofits and agencies in pursuit of funding.
  • Write letters, proposals, and reports as needed.
  • Direct, develop, and mentor foundation and government relations staff and manage team budget and resources.
  • Prepare board and financial reports and other information as requested.
  • Provide support to executive vice president of external affairs.
  • Have regular interaction with the following departments: Learning & Engagement, Science Career Continuum, Windy City Harvest, Horticultural Therapy, Project Budburst, Education, Library, and Finance.


Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.

Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree and minimum of five to seven years of experience in grant fundraising or managing grant fundraising
  • At least two years of experience in leading a high-performing team
  • Impeccable internal and external communications and writing/editing skills, as well as strong organizational and analytical abilities
  • Good understanding of finance and management of restricted funds
  • Excellent ability to multi-task to manage multiple projects and deadlines
  • Ability to be pro-active, work independently, manage cross-departmental relationships, and also function as a member of the larger development team
  • Thorough understanding of federal cost principles and compliance requirements related to government funding (BLM, NSF, USDA, USFS, IMLS, NPS, NFWF, USFWS, City of Chicago, etc.)
  • Comfort with budget and expense report development
  • Passion for the environment, education, science, or community programs preferred
  • Familiarity with Raiser’s Edge preferred
Physical Demands: 
Office setting. Frequent sitting, standing, walking, bending, listening, speaking, and keyboarding. Use of office equipment including computers, telephones, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. Some requirements for lifting, pushing, or pulling items less than 30 pounds.
Why Apply?: 

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX Coordinator should you have questions or concerns.