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Development Specialist

Children First Fund: The Chicago Public Schools Foundation
Illinois, United States
$65,000.00 - $75,000.00
Closing date
Oct 7, 2022

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Position Type
Fundraising, Donor Relations, Fundraising Administration, Major Gifts, Prospect Research, Other Fundraising
Community Foundations, Education
Employment Type
Full Time
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Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is the third-largest school district in the United States, serving over 340,000 students in 600+ schools and employing nearly 36,000 people, most of them teachers.  CPS has set ambitious goals to ensure that every student, in every school and every neighborhood, has access to a world-class learning experience that prepares each for success in college, career, and civic life.  In order to fulfill this mission, we make three commitments to our students, their families, and all Chicagoans: academic progress, financial stability, and integrity.  Six core values are embedded within these commitments – student-centered, whole child, equity, academic excellence, community partnership, and continuous learning.

Children First Fund (CFF) is the foundation and partnership arm of CPS, which works to match Chicago’s resources with the schools and communities where they are needed most. Through CFF, everyone in Chicago—from the philanthropic and business communities to higher education, healthcare, and cultural institutions to individuals—has the opportunity to make a profound and positive impact on the lives of students.

A key development figure on the CFF team, the Development Specialist will support the full fundraising life-cycle, which includes conducting donor prospect management, funder database management, grant writing and management, and donor relations. They will be responsible for initiating, facilitating and managing the development of applications for funding through highly competitive philanthropic grants. 

This includes identifying philanthropic funding opportunities that match district needs and priorities; collaborating with relevant CPS staff to develop applications based on those ideas; integrating appropriate and current research; drafting proposal/application and report materials; preparing budgets, including identifying and documenting matching funds; and ensuring compliance with donor intent. This role reports to a Director of Development on the CFF team.


The Development Specialist will be held accountable for the following responsibilities:

Grants & Gift Management:

  • Determine proposal concepts by identifying and clarifying opportunities and needs; studying requests for proposal (RFPs)
  • Develop proposal and/or report project plans, in partnership with CPS and other CFF colleagues, with clear objectives, key milestones, timelines, and risks with the ability to manage the implementation through submission
  • Provide writing assistance ranging from editing drafts to writing an entire proposal; drafting letters of inquiry and letters of support 
  • Complete grant and prospect development process with minimal supervision, taking independent actions and making decisions as needed
  • Collaborate with CPS colleagues in the review and monitoring of financial transactions to ensure adherence to donor intent

Donor Relations & Stewardship: 

  • Lead prospect research on donors and philanthropic funding opportunities aligned with CFF priorities
  • Support CFF team in tracking and managing outreach to prospect pipeline 
  • Manage a portfolio of donors and oversee the full prospecting cycle, including cultivation, pitch meetings, and meaningful updates to prospects, for both monetary and in-kind contributions
  • Lead CFF funder event preparation, including managing logistics
  • Expand the CFF team’s capacity to meet and solicit philanthropic funding by participating in funder calls as content experts, leading the design of pitches and proposals, and drafting follow up correspondence
  • Partner with schools, networks, and CPS departments to prepare for stewardship visits and other donor conversations
  • Build content knowledge in a wide variety of CPS initiatives and program areas; articulate clearly across external stakeholder groups 
  • Identify donor relations and stewardship strategy for stakeholders, including event invites and regular CPS or CFF updates 
  • Ensure donors receive timely tax acknowledgement

Data Management: 

  • Utilize CFF’s funder database (Salesforce) to update and track donors/donations and generate reports; update and maintain donor/funder contact information; identify and schedule proactive communication
  • Manage regular system administration tasks in Salesforce, such as reports, dashboards, and workflows
  • Develop and maintain a cadence of reporting to support CPS leadership and staff with appropriate and timely reporting to funders and for the purpose of CPS leadership preview into funders and partnerships
  • Maintain data integrity within the system 

General Support: 

  • In partnership with the Development team, lead process improvement initiatives to increase the productivity and efficiency of the grant process
  • Be a resource for CPS colleagues on all CFF processes, while maintaining understanding of CPS priorities
  • Support on CFF priority campaigns, donor research and stewardship, and strategy, as needed
  • Oversee other duties or special projects, as assigned by manager
    • E.g. Manage general CFF email account and delegate to appropriate CFF team member or CPS departments, or support with inbound philanthropic opportunities and events coordination 
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