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Director of Grants Management, Chicago Community Trust


POSITION:              Director of Grants Management

ORGANIZATION:    Chicago Community Trust

LOCATION:             225 N. Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL

REPORTS TO:        Chief Officer, Programs & Integration


To improve the quality of life and prosperity of our region achieved through the generosity of our donors.


The Chicago Community Trust (the Trust) is a community foundation dedicated to improving the Chicagoland region through strategic grant making, civic engagement and inspiring philanthropy. The Trust serves nonprofit organizations, generous donors and thoughtful residents who strive to make a difference, helping their bold vision create lasting community change. The Trust works with a number of partnerships and initiatives to accomplish this work.

The Trust is committed to achieving impact by supporting the ecosystem of organizations addressing barriers to vital communities and by driving large scale change through collective action. In order to move the needle on the complex systemic indicators of a thriving community, the Trust uses many tools beyond competitive grant making.

To better serve its nonprofit partners, in 2016 the Trust launched a program of general operating grants—or GO Grants—to organizations committed to addressing chronic barriers to vital communities, including food and housing insecurity as well as access to health, affordable housing, arts and culture and social services. By supporting their general operations and capacity building efforts, GO Grants strengthen the organizations’ work and enhance the progress of change.  In addition to GO Grants, the Trust continues to award responsive grants, through both competitive solicitation and invitation.  These responsive grants support specific programs and initiatives that drive large scale change through collective action in four priority areas: education, workforce development, neighborhood development and sustainable communities.

As of September 30, 2016, the Trust’s consolidated assets totaled $2.5 billion. In addition, during the fiscal year, made combined grant commitments totaling $236.5 million (this includes grants made through donor-advised funds).


The Director of Grants Management role is critical to the overall administration of approximately $40M in grants.  It is the function that is a key repository for tracking all grant applications and grant awards. Overall, it is a position where systems improvement and ongoing enhancement of internal controls are central themes.

There are three distinct types of grants including donor advised, general operating (or GO grants) and responsive grants. The Director of Grants Management has a comprehensive understanding of the funding available for all grant areas.  While the bulk of the focus for this role falls in the GO grants and  responsive grant areas, this role also supports the administration of grants made by Trust affiliate organizations, including its identity funds and geographic affiliates. The Director of Grants Management takes the lead pulling together grant documentation and other materials from program and finance staff to prepare electronic books for Board review and decision making.  The Board meets three times a year with approximately 300 grant proposals presented each cycle.

The Director of Grants Management, supported by the Grants Manager, also helps grant seekers register and navigate the main grants database and from time to time answers questions regarding possible funding for the organization that they represent.

About two years ago a new database was developed by SmartSimple.  The database, while not 100% proprietary, has been modified heavily to fit the needs of the Trust. Going forward, there is an interest in making sure that the system is being used to its fullest capacity including ensuring that the system is integrated with other software programs at the Trust.   Improving the ease of navigating the system to adjust for tailored proposals and grant funds distribution is a desired outcome.  Another key component to maximizing the system is to develop and generate a range of reports that will inform future grantmaking decisions and high level assessment of the overall impact of grantmaking efforts.

With the retirement of the long-serving Director, the opportunity now exists for a relational, analytical individual who can step in to a top performing department and help elevate the work further still.


Reporting to the Chief Officer, Programs and Strategic Integration, the Director of Grants Management is responsible for the overall administration and oversight of the grants management system.  This includes providing leadership for the overall administrative process of grant making, management of the tracking of grants made by the organization, and reporting on the status of all grants made.

The Director of Grants Management directly manages two staff members and is responsive to the needs of grant seekers and internal staff including the executive office. The successful candidate will provide collegial leadership to the team and will be able to build strong working relationships across the Trust. To fulfill this aspect of the role, the Director of Grants Management must also be knowledgeable about Trust’s strategic plan and core giving areas.  In addition to working directly with the Program Officers, this person will also be working very closely with the finance department, therefore, a strong competency around budgeting and internal controls will be needed.

Specific Job Duties:

Competitive Grants

  • Design, manage, and continuously improve the Trust’s grants policies and procedures. Oversee the eligibility, entry, acknowledgement, tracking, dispensation, and communication of the decision for all competitive grants
  • Ensure the accuracy of all tracking and reporting of competitive grants
  • Respond to external and internal inquiries about the Trust’s grant programs and specific funding opportunities. Communicate with grantees regarding their grant contracts, payment requests and reports
  • Establish decision deadlines for program staff around program committee meetings
  • Provide data-driven research and reports to programs and senior management to assist with grant evaluation and planning
  • Assist with training staff on both grants procedures and grants management software
  • Working closely with the Finance department, forecast and track the Trust’s grant and programmatic budgets in the grants management system, keeping Chief Officer of Programs and Strategic Integration and the CEO informed
  • Process grant agreements for competitive grants and update grants management system
  • Input grant recommendations into grants management system as required for geographic affiliates, supporting organizations and others as requested

 Donor Advised Grants

  •  Supervise the weekly processing of donor advised grants

 Database Management

  •  Ensure the integrity of all contact information and mailing lists in the database system
  • Oversee the generation of all mailing lists involving grant seekers


  • Provide appropriate data for departmental, board and committee reports including Grant Dashboard for Executive Committee meetings
  • Prepare list of resolutions as part of Executive Committee meeting materials
  • Produce and review grants listing for Trust annual report and website
  • Serve on various internal and interdepartmental committees as needed


We seek a creative and detail oriented individual who has a solid track record of grants management ideally in a grantmaking organization. The qualified candidate will have the drive to continue to build an exceptional grants management function that includes delivering reports and anaylsis as well ensuring integration with the other software systems used by the Trust.  

The successful candidate will be service oriented, adaptable to change and committed to providing exceptional service internally and externally. The role calls for an analytical, solutions oriented problem-solver.  Someone who is interested in continuous improvement and is excited by how systems can support the overall operations of the organization is highly desirable. S/he will also possess excellent organizational skills, careful analysis, reasoned judgment, and managerial skills.

The qualified candidate will be a team leader who can earn the respect and acceptance of colleagues and senior-level management. The candidate of choice must demonstrate strong interpersonal and communication skills (written and oral).  S/he must provide evidence of a management style that builds alliances inter- and intra-departmentally and emphasizes consensus building, high ethical standards, collegiality and effective teamwork.

The successful candidate will be a dead-line driven, multi-tasker who strives for excellence in all facets of service. S/he is a self-starter and strategic thinker who is respectfully curious. S/he can easily adapt to a fast-paced environment where success is achieved through effective cross-department coordination. Creativity, integrity, and excellent judgment, a sense of urgency, a balance between analytical and intuitive skills and a willingness to “roll up the sleeves” to get the job done is also sought. A good sense of humor is welcome.

Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field of study is required. At least five years of related experience required, preferably in a grant making organization. Excellent computer skills required, with special emphasis in all MS Office applications.  Business acumen, operational standards, budgeting and accounting, is needed.


The Chicago Community Trust is an AA/EOE/ADA employer.

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