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Senior Director of Foundation Relations U of I at Urbana-Champaign

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Illinois, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Jul 1, 2022

View more

Position Type
Executive, Fundraising, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Donor Relations, Administrative, Public Relations and Communications
Community Foundations
Employment Type
Full Time
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Senior Director of Foundation Relations

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Location: Urbana-Champaign or remote

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement (OVCIA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign seeks a full-time Senior Director of Foundation Relations to lead a team of foundation professionals dedicated to securing support from private foundations for the institution’s academic and public engagement programs.  

The University of Illinois is a world leader in research, teaching, and public engagement. Distinguished by the breadth of our programs, academic excellence and an internationally renowned faculty, Illinois serves our state, our nation, and our world by creating knowledge, preparing students for lives of impact, and addressing societal needs through the transfer and application of knowledge.

In October of 2017, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign publicly launched With Illinois, an ambitious $2.25 billion philanthropic campaign – the largest in the school’s history. As of May 2022, the campaign has recorded $2.62 billion in gifts and commitments. Fundraising efforts will continue and in addition to the respective priorities within each of the colleges and units, the University remains resolute in its commitment to secure additional private resources towards student scholarships, faculty and staff support, capital projects, and other life-changing programmatic initiatives.

OVCIA is charged with building relationships with our constituents and generating diverse resources that facilitate Illinois’ academic, research, economic and public services excellence. Advancement brings together professionals in marketing, communications, alumni relations, and development to lead these efforts across the Urbana-Champaign campus.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit

Organizational Relationship

Reporting to the Senior Executive Director of Principal Gifts, the Senior Director of Foundation Relations will lead a team of foundation relations professionals to establish, secure, and cultivate philanthropic investments from local, national, and international private foundations in support of university-wide priorities. This role will also promote and facilitate collaborations with faculty, campus leaders, and staff to advance partnerships with foundation funders through communications, proposal development, stewardship, and other activities. The ideal candidate should possess a high degree of independence and self-motivation, while also being collaborative with colleagues in the Office of Principal Gifts and Foundation Relations and other advancement staff, faculty, deans, and university leaders.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Lead (hire, train, manage, and evaluate) a team of foundation relations professionals to develop six- and seven-figure grant submissions that fund both single and interdisciplinary opportunities.
  • Establish and maintain strong relationships with a portfolio of 30-40 foundations while developing a deep understanding of the national and international foundation landscape.
  • Provide leadership and oversight for campus-level Foundation Relations activities. Create strategic plans for grand challenges and other interdisciplinary projects that impact priority initiatives. Work closely with deans, faculty, and advancement staff to understand how projects stand on a national level, and how funding can help move the initiative forward.
  • Ensure effective records maintenance, including prospect strategies and contact reports, using the university’s prospect management system and ensure that foundation stewardship deliverables are coordinated with colleagues in the Office of Principal Gifts and Foundation Relations.
  • Collaborate with advancement colleagues, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation, faculty, and university leadership across campus to ensure pre- and post-award timelines and deliverables are met.

Impact in Your First Year
At Advancement at Illinois, we value our employees and provide resources to help you continually learn and grow. We foster a strong, collaborative community of people who are driven by their ability to make a difference.

Within 3 months, you will:

  • Become familiar with the strategic vision and priorities of the OVCIA and units across campus
  • Assess the structure, resources and capabilities of the Foundation Relations advancement office/team as well as individual and collective progress to goals
  • Become familiar with the overarching structure of Advancement at Illinois and the alignment between central Advancement services, the University of Illinois Foundation, and the University of Illinois Alumni Association
  • Attend training, professional development, and networking activities for newcomers within Advancement
  • Understand Illinois’ fundraising fundamentals and how those are operationalized in our CRM system

Within 6 months, you will:

  • Begin cultivating relationships with key foundations, and deepen those with unit and OVCIA colleagues, to create and implement appropriate engagement strategies
  • Partner with annual giving, events, alumni relations, communications, major gift officers, and stewardship and donor relations colleagues on initiatives

By the end of the first year, you will:

  • Continue to develop a trusting and collaborative team culture
  • Cooperatively set annual performance goals/metrics with your staff, portfolio management team, and Senior Executive Director of Principal Gifts
  • Continue portfolio growth of engagement and solicitation strategies and activities
  • Partner with Talent Management for individual and team coaching, professional development, retreat, and goal-setting opportunities
  • Build a robust network of colleagues across campus

Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • A minimum of 7 years of progressively responsible and successful experience in foundation relations on the regional and national levels, preferably in higher education.
  • Supervisory or management experience which may overlap with foundation relations experience.
  • Experience working in a service-oriented role with internal constituents and collaborating with other staff in a team-oriented department.
  • Demonstrated success securing significant funding from private or family foundations.
  • Superb oral, written, and interpersonal communication skills.
  • Ability to maintain a flexible travel schedule including some evenings and weekends.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree strongly preferred
  • Ph.D. degree.
  • Experience with sponsored research in a higher education environment.
  • Experience navigating competing stakeholder priorities, prospect identification, relationship building, solicitation, and articulating a compelling case for philanthropic support.
  • Willingness to travel nationally and internationally.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Ability to assimilate unfamiliar information and communicate its key points to the targeted audience.
  • Ability to prioritize multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment and the ability to manage tight deadlines and multiple projects.


Competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience, while also considering internal equity. Salary range starts at $115,000.

To Apply

To ensure full consideration, application materials must be received by June 21, 2022.  Please complete your candidate profile at and upload a letter of application, resume and the names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of three professional references.  For further information regarding application procedures, contact Katie Walker at  The proposed starting date is as soon as possible after the closing date.   

University of Illinois faculty, staff and students are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are not able to receive the vaccine for medical or religious reasons, you may seek approval for an exemption in accordance with applicable University processes.

University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer. Convictions are not a bar to employment. As a qualifying federal contractor, the University of Illinois System uses E-Verify to verify employment eligibility. The University of Illinois System requires candidates selected for hire to disclose any documented finding of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment and to authorize inquiries to current and former employers regarding findings of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. For more information, visit Policy on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment.


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