Environmental Law & Policy Center - Chicago, IL

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Mission: Friends of the Forest Preserves works to protect, restore and promote the forest preserves of Cook County for the benefit of people and nature. Friends of the Forest Preserves is an independent non-profit organization advocating for the responsible management of the nearly 69,000 acres of forest preserves in Cook County through advocacy, intern programs, community outreach and ecological restoration. Some of the best natural areas in Illinois are right here in Cook County, right outside your urban backdoor for all of us to enjoy. Join our team and help us ensure they are here for the next 100 years.

Friends believes in providing the opportunity to invest in our mission by demonstrating to others that we are an organization that gets things done with our staff, board, volunteers and partners. We are at a pivotal point in our development as our budget, staff and board have grown and we are solidifying a culture of philanthropy throughout the organization.

Operating Budget : $1,500,000


Working with the President, the Development Director will shepherd the further integration of a culture of philanthropy into this growing and dynamic organization. The core work for our new Development Director will be to ensure the development and cultivation of relationships with donors at all levels, as well as ensuring all board, staff and volunteers are involved with this work. The Director will have the opportunity to tap the potential in an excellent development function, growing a best-practices program and a large, loyal, generous base of supporters of all kinds.


Lead and grow organization’s culture of development to ensure long lasting, impactful and quality relationships with its supporters

Execute Friends of the Forest Preserves fundraising plan and update it annually

Focus on major gifts, sponsorships and donor-directed project funding from individuals and corporations

Guide President, Board, staff and volunteers in executing strategies for relationship development and cultivation

Execute excellent stewardship strategies for all levels of donor

Develop analytical reports for fundraising and update on a monthly basis

Supervise the fundraising team: Development Associate and external contractors in select functions (e.g. event planning and direct marketing)

event implementation and secure sponsorships

proposals and reports for foundation and corporate fundraising

use of donor database software, data entry, gift processing and acknowledgment


The successful candidate for the Development Director position at Friends of the Forest Preserves will be a people person with a passion for plant, animal and land conservation. They will be a self-motivated team player, good at motivating people and has a meticulous attention to detail. They will have a Bachelor’s degree or 5 years in non-profit leadership role (required) and 5 years experience in development.

This is not an entry-level position or a position for someone without experience in development. Friends of the Forest Preserves believes in work-life balance; we are here for the marathon, not the sprint (not that we don’t have to do that once in a while).

Salary and Benefits

Salary commensurate with experience. Benefits include: 2 weeks of vacation, 10 paid holidays, 2 personal days, 10 sick days; Simple IRA with 3% match after 1 year; health, dental, short and long-term disability insurance; and $100,000 of life insurance coverage.

To apply

No calls, faxes or emails (other than emails presenting resume and cover letter), please.

Mail or email resume, cover letter, salary requirements, and three professional references.

Mail to:
Benjamin Cox, President

Friends of the Forest Preserves

542 S. Dearborn St., Suite 400

Chicago, Illinois 60605

Women, minorities and seniors are strongly encouraged to apply.

Friends of the Forest Preserves is an equal opportunity employer that considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, or sexual orientation (in addition to observing all legal protection of special status).
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