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Woodstock Institute is a leading nonprofit research and policy organization in the areas of fair lending, wealth creation, and financial systems reform. Woodstock works to create a safe and equitable financial system in which lower-wealth persons and communities and people of color can achieve economic security and community prosperity.

Woodstock partners with community and philanthropic groups, financial institutions, and policymakers to effect change at national, state, and local levels. The Institute’s key tools include:

  • Applied Research
  • Policy Development
  • Coalition Building
  • Technical Assistance

Since 1973, Woodstock Institute has been a recognized economic justice leader and bridge-builder between communities and policymakers. Based in Chicago, Woodstock conducts research on financial products and practices, promotes effective state and federal policies, convenes a coalition of community investment stakeholders working to improve access to credit, and helps people use the Institute’s work to understand the issues and develop and implement solutions.

The Opportunity: Development Director

Woodstock Institute’s Development Director is a newly created position responsible for planning and implementing a comprehensive fundraising strategy to fund the Institute’s mission delivery. The Development Director will be encouraged to build capacity from the ground up to support the organization’s trusted research, data analysis, and advocacy campaigns. The Director of Development will report to Woodstock Institute’s President and CEO, Horacio Mendez.

This role is a chance to craft a new future for economic development work at a storied organization with a national outlook and deep roots in the Chicago community. The Development Director will engage with potential funders from both obvious and unlikely corners to support work that aims to make a more equitable economy at a moment of great financial uncertainty.

Philanthropic support for the Institute is primarily secured from grants and corporations in the financial sector. The Development Director should have strong experience in institutional giving and growing individual giving support for an organization or program.

Performance Objectives


  • Construct and drive a fundraising strategy that advances Woodstock Institute’s mission and work.
  • Visualize, promote and package Woodstock’s programs creatively into funding opportunities that match grant guidelines and grantor and funder interests.
  • Translate operational complexities into clear, concise and visionary proposals and other communications.
  • Lead proposal design and development for grant-funded programming and work with colleagues to report goals, outcomes and measurement methods.
  • Communicate with colleagues regarding program progress and funding needs.
  • Research and monitor new funding opportunities and vet them through appropriate organizational stakeholders.
  • Develop and implement strategies to cultivate new relationships and secure support from new funders.
  • Maintain and seek knowledge of all organizational activity as well as emerging and relevant issues within the community, nonprofit sector and government to most effectively communicate with funders, potential funders or other stakeholders.
  • Develop and grow strong relationships with current and potential funders based on a keen awareness of funders’ goals and capacity to give.
  • Work with community-based organizations and advocacy groups to gather and amplify stories that advance Woodstock’s mission and vision.

Fundraising Management

  • Manage or serve as a key partner to leadership on all application efforts for philanthropy opportunities, including foundation, corporate and individual appeals.
  • Collaborate proactively with appropriate stakeholders, including the Board of Directors, President and CEO, and Directors of Research and Policy to gather all necessary information for institutional and individual solicitations.
  • Support the Board and President and CEO with their donor work, providing research, strategy and materials needed for donor meetings and following up on introductions and connections to pursue opportunities for investment in Woodstock Institute’s mission.
  • Serve as the staff liaison for the Board Development Committee.
  • Submit all grant proposals, attachments and renewal materials by deadlines to ensure continued support from funders. Ensure efficient project management and allow for collection of grant support materials and required data, editing, printing (as needed), and submission review and feedback from leadership.
  • Partner with Program leadership on producing and submitting meaningful grant updates to funders, including both required materials and general stewardship reporting.
  • Successfully manage a detailed grants calendar and plan, including information on current funder and prospect guidelines, deadlines and deliverables.
  • Build an innovative online giving program to grow individual giving.
  • Identify and implement new fundraising opportunities, including events, corporate funding, and other diversified funding streams.
  • Track, synthesize, and report institutional success metrics for fundraising and development purposes.


  • Manage grant compliance efforts for all funders in portfolio, including grant contract and regulatory reviews and management of site visits.
  • Develop systems to assess progress towards program and grant goals for all assigned grants.
  • Collaborate with the Finance Department for implementation and tracking of grant required goals. Ensure financial tracking aligns with grant budgets, is timely and accurate, and reflects efficient spending and responsible stewardship of contributed dollars.
  • Monitor all budgets for grant allocation and expenditures.
  • Update and ensure the quality of Woodstock’s contact relationship management system.

The Qualified Candidate

Woodstock Institute seeks a high-achieving and driven professional with a minimum of five years of development experience, including at least two years of focused grant, proposal or professional writing work. The Development Director will be creative, dynamic and driven to succeed in a highly productive research institution with a complex mission.

Specific Requirements Include:

  • Demonstrated passion for Woodstock Institute’s mission.
  • Proven success in securing multiple 5, 6 or 7 figure grants.
  • A minimum of five years of progressive experience in development with a recent or current focus on grant writing.
  • Exceptional written communication skills with the ability to write clear, structured, articulate and persuasive correspondence, proposals and reports. Superb conversational and presentational skills are essential.
  • Proven success in building and sustaining solid relationships with funders, partners and other stakeholders of all kinds.
  • Proven ability to work with internal and external stakeholders to match programmatic plans that meet grant opportunity requirements.
  • Strong analytic and strategic-thinking skills, with demonstrated ability to create, implement and monitor complex plans, and translate those plans into goals and concrete strategies.
  • Ability to work in an extremely fast-paced, changing environment that values personal responsibility and a strong work ethic.
  • Career track record that shows stability with an organization and capacity to develop and nurture relationships culminating in overall success.
  • Bachelor’s degree.
  • Candidates who bring an understanding of the communities and populations Woodstock Institute serves are preferred.

How To Apply

Click here to complete the online application and submit a cover letter and resume. To assure confidential tracking of all applicants, no applications will be accepted via email.


This position offers a competitive salary with strong benefits. Woodstock Institute is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages qualified applicants from diverse backgrounds and protected classes to apply. This search is being managed by Laura Weinman, Vice President of KEES. Questions may be addressed to lweinman@kees2success.com

About KEES

KEES (formerly Alford Executive Search) is a nonprofit executive search firm that builds diverse teams and dynamic leaders in the nonprofit and public entity sectors. A woman owned and operated firm, KEES offers a full array of nonprofit consulting services including executive search, leadership development, interim staffing, and HR support. For more information, please visit www.kees2success.com.