Institutional Grants Manager

About Openlands:

Openlands protects the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives.

Openlands’ vision for the region is a landscape that includes a vast network of land and water trails, tree-lined streets, and intimate public gardens within easy reach of every city dweller. It also includes parks and preserves big enough to provide natural habitat and to give visitors a sense of the vast prairies, woodlands, and wetlands that were here before the cities. In sum, Openlands believes that protected open space is critical for the quality of life of our region.

The Institutional Grants Manager is responsible for supporting the organization’s fundraising goals by carrying out all grant processes including, but not limited to, managing the grants calendar, writing grant proposals and reports, researching, and identifying new donors, and cultivating positive relationships with funders. This position reports to the Director of Development and is a nonexempt position.

The Position:

Essential Functions

  • Write and edit clear, accurate, and persuasive letters of intent, grant proposals, and reports that are tailored to each funder’s focus areas, mission, specifications, and deadlines; obtain supporting information and documentation, such as program budgets and/or data, and translate that information in a way that will persuade the prospective donor.
  • Manage grants calendar to track multiple institutional requirements, communications, and deadlines, and ensure accurate, timely and complete submission of grant proposals and reports.
  • Proactively communicate and collaborate with program staff to develop a strong working knowledge of Openlands program objectives and work plans, to help match organizational goals with potential grants and to represent the organization effectively in successful grant applications.
  • Research, identify and cultivate new funding and grant opportunities from local, regional, and national foundations, as well as corporate foundations.
  • Maintain knowledge of environmental issues and include relevant facts and statistics to craft compelling and current issue statements.
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with funding partners via phone, email and/or mail communications and engage executive and/or program leadership as needed.
  • Support the overall strategic efforts of the development team.
  • Other duties as requested and/or assigned.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

  • Bachelor’s degree required
  • Minimum of two years of grant writing experience at a nonprofit
  • Experience with DonorPerfect or another CRM software is preferred
  • Excellent writing skills. Ability to write clearly, accurately, concisely, and professionally in grant submissions, email correspondence, and other written documentation
  • Exceptional organizational skills. Ability to manage concurrent projects and deadlines and identify priorities in a fast-paced, high-volume, results-oriented work environment
  • Strong attention to detail, particularly regarding funder specifications and deadlines
  • Strong analytical skills, including an ability to synthesize financial information and program data and communicate conclusions through writing and speaking
  • Strong interpersonal skills. Ability to work collaboratively with internal team members and serve as a positive representative of the organization to external audiences
  • Capacity to work on and complete projects independently

To Apply:

This position is open until filled. Interested applicants should send a resume, and cover letter explaining why your skills and experience would complement this position and writing samples of communications-related materials you have authored.  Please include “Institutional Grants Manager” in the subject line to JobApps@openlands.org.

Work Environment:

This is a hybrid position. Loop office is ADA accessible. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, and scanners. Employee is regularly required to talk, hear, see, and communicate effectively via computer. Smoke- and drug-free environment


The salary range is between $55,000 and $61,000. Benefits include health, life, and disability coverage, a 403(b)-retirement plan with up to a 5% employer contribution, 10 paid holidays, vacation, and sick time. This is a full-time position.

Openlands is an equal opportunity employer and seeks to employ qualified individuals based on individual merit. Openlands does not discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of employment based on that individual’s race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, disability, genetic information, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, housing status, or any other non-merit factor protected under state, local or federal laws.

Equal Employment Opportunity applies to all personnel actions such as recruiting, hiring, compensation, benefits, promotions, training, transfer, termination, and opportunities for training. Openlands is committed to a fair and equitable workplace where everyone is a respected and valued member of the team.

Vaccination Statement

To protect our staff and community, Openlands requires all employees to be fully vaccinated upon hire or may request a medical/religious exemption if extended an offer.