Senior Director of Foundation
Office of the Vice Chancellor for
University of Illinois
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
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
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 http://go.illinois.edu/EEO.
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
- 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
- Cooperatively set annual performance goals/metrics with your
staff, portfolio management team, and Senior Executive Director of
- 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
- Build a robust network of colleagues across campus
- 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
- Demonstrated success securing significant funding from private
or family foundations.
- Superb oral, written, and interpersonal communication
- Ability to maintain a flexible travel schedule including some
evenings and weekends.
- Master’s degree strongly preferred
- Ph.D. degree.
- Experience with sponsored research in a higher education
- 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
Competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience,
while also considering internal equity. Salary range starts at
To ensure full consideration, application materials must be
received by June 21, 2022. Please complete your candidate
profile at http://jobs.illinois.edu 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 email@example.com. The
proposed starting date is as soon as possible after the closing
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
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,
on Consideration of Sexual Misconduct in Prior Employment.