Trust for the Public Land

Institutional Giving Director

Chicago, IL

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national, nonprofit, land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, community gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come.  Since 1972, TPL has completed more than 4,250 park and conservation projects in communities nationwide, protecting more than 3 million acres.

The Role

The Institutional Giving Director is responsible for identifying, cultivating, and securing grants from foundations and corporations that support the The Trust for Public Land’s mission, to ensure livable communities for generations to come. The Institutional Giving Director manages a portfolio of 75-100 institutional prospects and donors with the capacity to make grants at the major gifts level. The Insitutional Giving Director must have excellent communications and writing skills, a demonstrated ability to build effective internal and external relationships, ability to set and meet priorities and manage deadlines, and fluency in articulating the mission, programs and projects of the organization.


  • Secure new grant commitments totaling $1.5 million annually (after a tenure of three years with the organization).
  • Manage a portfolio of 75-100 institutional prospects and donors based in Chicago or in neighboring states with the capacity to make grants at $50,000 or more.
  • Create gift opportunities with internal partners (state directors, major gift officers, philanthropy colleagues, program directors, and project managers) to meet organizational priorities and pursue funding in support of these goals.
  • Visit with foundation and corporate prospects to establish contacts, gather information, qualify prospects, present ideas, develop networks, promote understanding of TPL’s initiatives, and request invitations for proposals. Target = 60 or more visits annually. Strategically partner with senior TPL officers, volunteers, and staff on such visits and prepare them with pre-meeting planning and post-meeting debriefing and follow up.
  • Write and carry out prospect engagement strategies by identifying, qualifying, and cultivating prospects; determining amount and timing of requests; writing and overseeing the writing of proposals; soliciting prospects in face-to- face meetings; providing verbal and written communication necessary to secure the gift, and delivering appropriate stewardship and reporting of grants made.
  • Plan and monitor timeline of activities for each grant maker including proposal due dates, reporting dates, cultivation and stewardship activities. With Philanthorpy Coordinator, record and track contacts associated with the donor using Pledgemaker database system. Maintain own electronic and hard copy files.
  • Manage simultaneous proposals and strategies while meeting required deadlines. Determine an effective sequence of work.
  • Coordinate with finance director, state director, and philanthropy directors to develop proposal budgets and monitor accountability for grant contracts.
  • Follow TPL policies and procedures for grant approvals and grant acceptance.
  • Work with institutional giving counterparts in coordinated, TPL-wide activities, such as joint grant requests and stewardship, and participating in regularly scheduled functional team meetings.
  • Adhere to TPL’s Principles and Practice for Fundraisers and the AFP Code of Ethics.


  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • At least seven years of development experience with a strong track record of institutional giving.
  • Ability to strategize large gift solicitations and to demonstrate a sensitivity to the motivations of those who can make them.
  • Ability to conceptualize and communicate persuasive materials including grant proposals, reports, letters of inquiry, interim reports, stewardship materials, and informational memoranda.
  • Self-motivation: must be able to work effectively without close supervision and with a variety of people within TPL to keep a number of strategies and deadlines moving simultaneously. Must display a professional, mature approach to collaboration and problem solving and be able to produce in an unstructured work environment, based on setting own agenda and priorities.
  • Ability to function effectively as a member of a team, and a willingness to participate in activities and assignments that will benefit other members of the team or will contribute to the accomplishment of team objectives.
  • Willingness to accept liaison and special project assignments, and the ability to represent various state and national initiatives to prospects effectively and equitably.
  • Appreciation of the parks and conservation mission of TPL and the ability to market conservation effectively and with enthusiasm.
  • Basic accounting and aptitude with numbers; ability to develop familiarity with TPL’s finance system by coordinating with finance directors.
  • Experience with best practices including the efficient use of database systems, such as prospect tracking, and the protocols of institutional fundraising and grantmaking research.


  • Competitive salary 
  • Full Health benefits including Life, Dental, Vision
  • Generous leave policies
Trust for the Public Land

Ann Riley

Sr. Regional HR Manager
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