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Assistant Director/Associate Director of Foundation Relations

University of Illinois - Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement
Illinois, United States
Salary Commensurate with experience
Closing date
Jun 7, 2024

Assistant Director/Associate Director of Foundation Relations

Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Based in Urbana-Champaign with hybrid opportunities

The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement (OVCIA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign seeks a full-time Assistant Director/Associate Director of Foundation Relations to secure support from private foundations. 

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a global, preeminent university.  Since its founding in 1867, it has earned a reputation as a world-class leader in research, teaching, and public engagement. In 2022, the University successfully completed its most ambitious philanthropic campaign, “With Illinois,” raising $2.7 billion during the eight-year campaign and remains resolute towards its future philanthropic efforts. Developing a robust Foundation Relations operation to support the growth and success of the university is critical towards fulfilling the University’s Boldy Illinois strategic plan and future fundraising campaign goals.

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.

Organizational Relationship & Job Summary

Reporting to the Senior Director of Foundation Relations, the Assistant Director/Associate Director of Foundation Relations is responsible for identifying, researching, interacting with, and soliciting funding from local, regional, and national foundations to support various university initiatives. 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 with staff and faculty.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Coordinate the development of concept papers, letters of inquiry or proposals, assist faculty and staff with editing and document preparation, resulting in compelling submissions targeted to funders.
  • Establish and maintain frontline fundraising relationships for a portfolio of 15 to 30 foundations, which includes developing proposals and solicitations, while developing a deep understanding of the national private foundation landscape.
  • Collaborate with advancement staff and faculty to inform them about funding opportunities; advise them on effective foundation relations processes; discuss strategies; and encourage them to pursue the appropriate opportunities. Coordinate with unit administrative offices to ensure timely and accurate pre- and post-award processes are followed.
  • In collaboration with staff in the Office of Principal Gifts and Foundation Relations and the University of Illinois Foundation, conduct research on foundations and interpret their guidelines to evaluate their potential for funding university initiatives.
  • Acquire and maintain a knowledge of university initiatives, research, and other priorities, and assist with the engagement of foundation staff with university leadership, faculty, or advancement staff.
  • Ensure interactions with foundations are maintained in the alumni/donor database and foundation deliverables are coordinated with staff of the Office of Principal Gifts and Foundation Relations.

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 operations, processes and priorities of the Office of Principal Gifts and Foundation Relations
  • Become familiar with the strategic vision and priorities of the university
  • Become familiar with the overarching structure of Illinois Advancement 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 university and OVCIA colleagues, to create and implement appropriate engagement strategies
  • Partner advancement colleagues on university initiatives

 By the end of the first year, you will:

  • Continue portfolio growth of engagement and solicitation strategies and activities
  • Partner with People & Culture for individual coaching, professional development, and goal-setting opportunities
  • Build a robust network of colleagues across campus

Position Requirements and Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • For the title of Assistant Director, a minimum of two or more years of professional grants-related experience in a higher education advancement or related field. For the title of Associate Director, a minimum of 3 years of professional grants-related experience in a higher education advancement or related field
  • Experience working in a service-oriented role with internal constituents and collaborating with other staff in a team-oriented department

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Ability to understand effective foundation relations and solicitation approaches in submitting grant applications.
  • Excellent analytical writing, oral communication, and interpersonal skills.
  • Proactive problem solver with superb organizational skills and a high level of ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously.
  • Demonstrated record of performance, positive attitude, and ability to interact effectively with a diversity of stakeholders. Ability to work under pressure in a team environment, execute detailed procedures, and respect deadlines.
  • Familiar with computer software typically used in academic research, database management, and grant proposal development (such as MS Office suite, Zoom, Teams, Box, Skype).
  • 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.


Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience, while also considering internal equity. The salary range for this position starts at $65,000 for the title of Assistant Director and $75,000 for the title of Associate Director.

To Apply

To ensure full consideration, application materials must be received by 6:00pm (CST) on June 4, 2024. The expected start date is as soon as possible after the close date. Apply for this position using the Apply Now button at the top or bottom of this posting and upload a resume, cover letter, and the names, addresses, phone numbers of three professional references. Applications not submitted through this website will not be considered. For further information about this specific position, please contact Katie Walker at and/or visit our Application Tips site for helpful resources. For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.

Please note: Immigration sponsorship is not available for this position.

The Illinois Advancement community is committed to an ongoing, proactive process to foster and achieve diversity and inclusion in its development, alumni relations and communication activities. We will respect and encourage different voices, perspectives and ideas as we strive to represent individuals of all backgrounds and cultures which incudes but are not limited to the following: nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, spirituality, age and ability who represent our alumni, donors and friends of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The University of Illinois System is an equal opportunity employer, including but not limited to disability and/or veteran status, and complies with all applicable state and federal employment mandates. Please visit Required Employment Notices and Posters to view our non-discrimination statement and find additional information about required background checks, sexual harassment/misconduct disclosures, COVID-19 vaccination requirement, and employment eligibility review through E-Verify.

Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to apply and may request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (2008) to complete the application and/or interview process. Requests may be submitted through the reasonable accommodations portal, or by contacting the Accessibility & Accommodations Division of the Office for Access and Equity at 217-333-0885, or by emailing


The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is a comprehensive and major public land-grant university (Doctoral/Research University-Extensive) that is ranked among the best in the world. Chartered in 1867, it provides undergraduate and graduate education in more than 150 fields of study, conducts theoretical and applied research, and provides public service to the state and the nation. It employs about 3,000 faculty members who serve over 33,000 undergraduates and 17,000 graduate and professional students. More information about the campus is available at

The university is located in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana (total population 226,000) in east-central Illinois, and is situated about 140 miles south of Chicago, 125 miles west of Indianapolis, and 170 northeast of St. Louis. The University and its surrounding communities offer a cultural and recreational environment ideally suited to the work of a major research institution. For more information about the community, visit: Living in Champaign-Urbana, Experience Champaign Urbana, or Champaign County Chamber of Commerce.

Health insurance is available to employees (with the option to purchase coverage for spouse and dependents), required participation in State Universities Retirement System (SURS), with several options for participation in additional retirement plans. Learn more about employee benefits at the University of Illinois. Newly hired employees are covered by the Medicare portion of Social Security and are subject to this deduction.

The University of Illinois has a strong commitment to work-life balance and family-friendly programs for faculty and staff:  Work-Life Balance & Family-Friendly Programs and  Other Work-Life Programs.

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