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Deputy Director, Foundation Relations and Grants

PEN America
New York, United States
$90,000.00 - $1,000,000.00
Closing date
Feb 15, 2024

PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks an experienced institutional fundraising professional to support the Foundation                                                Relations and Grants team. The successful candidate will have exceptional writing skills, be detail-oriented, and possess the strategic thinking skills necessary to support the rapid growth of PEN America’s institutional funding portfolio. This is a full-time position based in our New York City headquarters and reports to the director, Foundation Relations and Grants.

This position offers the opportunity to respond to the most urgent issues of our time by engaging with major institutional funders, family foundations, and government donors on the city, state, and federal levels. A newly created role developed to support the director in managing the substantial growth of PEN America’s institutional fundraising, the deputy director will assist with all areas of the team’s work. They will work with program colleagues to lead, manage, and develop strategy for a high-profile portfolio of grants and prospects by developing and managing letters of interest, proposals, and reports and identifying and coordinating approaches to prospective funders across the organization. 

The deputy director will also provide as-needed support to the director in leading and managing their portfolio and will partner with the director, manager, and coordinator to develop engagement opportunities for donors and prospects; strengthen team-wide systems; and build the institutional fundraising capacity of the organization as a whole. Additionally, the deputy director will have one direct report and will assume responsibility for providing oversight and guidance, with a strong focus on their professional development and learning. 

The successful candidate will be able to write outstanding grant proposals that demonstrate dexterity with language and the ability to convey our organizational vision and programming with nuance and urgency. They will be a seasoned leader and coach, with the ability to operate on strategic, managerial, and hands-on levels and to help guide the work across programmatic and administrative functions. This individual should be able to grasp the wide range of PEN America activities in response to funding opportunities. The role requires capacity in the financial side of the grants process, including developing budgets, requesting payments, and creating financial reports.  

All applicants should be available to report to the office at least three days per week, with as much in-person presence as possible encouraged in this leadership role. This policy is subject to change.


    Work with program teams to lead and manage a high-profile portfolio of grants and prospects, driving strategies for growth while also responding to opportunities in a dynamic environment   Draft fundraising-related text for the Chief Executive Officer, and other senior staff as needed Generate reports for donor analysis, strategy, decision-making, and submission Prospect for new foundation funding opportunities and communicate regularly with program staff on new prospects, potential program designs, and strategies for identifying additional funding for current projects Coordinate with program and finance staff to compile written grant proposals and reports with narrative and financial reports and other required documentation Coordinate with events and program staff to develop guest lists for donor cultivation events On an as-needed basis, support the director as they work with program teams in their portfolio Develop and maintain a thorough understanding of grant agreements and maintain donor files Draft fundraising-related text for contribution to Board reports, and other materials as needed Oversee the maintenance of donor database with responsibility for tracking deadlines, communications, awards, contact information, follow-up tasks, and reporting requirements, using Raiser’s Edge Manage department tracking tools, including deadline lists and income projections Other responsibilities as assigned

All PEN America staff are considered stakeholders in the development of our shared organization. As such, staff play a role in varied activities within the workplace as part of their job responsibilities. These may include committees or task forces to work on office issues, diversity and inclusion, strategy projects, training or other initiatives.


    A minimum of eight years of fundraising experience, and four to six years of institutional fundraising experience Exceptional writing skills with demonstrated ability to prepare dynamic, persuasive proposals and other funder communications that are calibrated to be responsive to the funding opportunity Demonstrate intellectual curiosity and prowess, equipping the candidate to compellingly present PEN America’s complex and varied programmatic work Highly organized with excellent attention to detail and accuracy is a must, as well as the ability to meet deadlines and manage multiple projects in a high-volume, changing environment, and excellent time management skills A formidable work ethic and demonstrated stamina and steadiness to thrive in a demanding and fast-paced environment, to seize opportunities and to partner with high-performing programmatic staff Comfort level with PEN America’s mission, which includes the defense of speech that may be considered offensive and engagement with a wide range of ideological constituencies, including PEN chapters and writers in countries engaged in conflict around the world Interest in PEN America’s mission and experience with human rights and/or arts and culture fundraising a strong plus
    Solid communication skills, including a demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with staff and ability to present data in a clear and concise manner
    Demonstrated comfort and competence with budgets and financial reporting Familiarity with Raiser’s Edge for data management

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and full benefits. The salary range for this position is $90k-$100k, commensurate with experience. Candidates whose expectations are outside this range are welcome to apply, as PEN America is open to considering talented individuals at varying stages of their careers. PEN America’s benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision health insurance, paid time off, 10 paid holidays, pre-tax commuter benefits, and a 403b retirement plan.

TO APPLY: Please submit a cover letter, resume, and unedited writing sample to Use “Deputy Director, Foundations and Grants” with your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Deputy Director, Foundations and Grants – Jane Doe”). Please also share where you heard about this position in the body of your email. Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

PEN America is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices, and actively seeks a diverse applicant pool to build the strongest possible workforce.

No phone calls, please.


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

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