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Director of Foundation Relations


Posted: 7/25/2019
Job Status: Full Time
Job Reference #: dphW7ZNbF5
Keywords: manager, operations

Job Description

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve systems of democracy and justice in the United States. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. The Brennan Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from ending mass incarceration to preserving Constitutional protection in the fight against terrorism. Part think-tank, part advocacy group, part cutting edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them – in Congress and the states, the courts, and in the court of public opinion. 

We are currently a 120-person organization with offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.  Our staff is made up of lawyers, policy experts, journalists, researchers, writers, communications and development professionals, and human resources and operations staff. 

Position Overview 

We seek a results-driven and dynamic professional to successfully lead foundations strategy and achieve ambitious fundraising goals. The Director of Foundation Relations plays a key leadership role in a high-performing and entrepreneurial 12-member Development team charged with raising app. $25 million annually from a diverse base of supporters: national foundations and institutional funders; major donors and family/personal foundations; direct response and online contributors; a newly-formed planned giving society; and an annual gala event, the Brennan Legacy Awards Dinner

The Director of Foundation Relations reports to and works closely with the Vice President for Development in our New York City office to oversee a robust foundations portfolio; a Senior Grant Writer and D.C.-based Foundations Specialist will report directly to the Director. The portfolio consists of more than 30 active grants, several of which are multiyear and high six- and seven-figure amounts. Foundations currently accounts for 25 percent of the organization’s overall annual revenue. 

Key Responsibilities 

  • Direct Foundation program with a goal of maintaining and growing funding; raise a reliable $6+ million annually 
  • Direct portfolio of foundation funders, including managing communication and cultivation strategy for current and prospective funders 
  • Identify, craft, and execute special opportunity campaigns for organizational and project support 
  • Establish and monitor performance towards projections, fundraising goals, annual and six-month foundation program benchmarks, and work plan 
  • Lead regular check-in strategy discussions with organizational and program leadership, as well as members of Finance and Communications, to ensure full coordination on fundraising, grant management, and new opportunities 
  • Partner with program staff to cultivate relationships with both current and prospective foundation funders to support fundraising and the Center’s position in the field 
  • Direct and oversee all research and prospecting 
  • Prepare and ensure effective, strategic prep/briefing documents and supporting materials for foundation presentations, meetings, and events 
  • Review/edit all and write targeted selection of proposals, reports, strategy memos, letters, and other compelling fundraising materials, including budgets and financial reports 
  • Ensure regular contact and strategic interaction between the Center and key foundation leadership 
  • Manage Senior Grant Writer to ensure calendar is up-to-date , all deadlines and submission requirements are met, and to foster the highest quality narrative, financial proposal, and reporting materials 
  • Manage Foundations Specialist to optimize engagement with D.C.-based networked and pooled funds, and other key funders and affinity groups 
  • Oversee foundation mailing lists, acknowledgments, and other general correspondence 
  • Ensure solid tracking and filing systems 
  • Additional responsibilities as needed 

Key Qualifications 

  • Bachelor’s degree required, preferably advanced degree or training in law, public policy, journalism, or public relations 
  • At least ten years of on-point experience in foundation fundraising or nonprofit development; communications or public relations experience a plus 
  • Successful track record in foundation and institutional fundraising and/or building similar partnerships or sponsorships 
  • Firsthand knowledge of and experience working with democracy and justice-focused philanthropic community 
  • Excellent writing and analytical skills, with talent at translating complex, detailed information into clear and compelling language 
  • Proficiency in foundation/grant submission technology platforms and portals, as well as Salesforce and other essential office technology 
  • Ability to thrive in a fast-paced, high-energy environment with tight timelines and competing deadlines, while also completing priority projects and working toward long-term goals 
  • Strong interpersonal skills – including ability to respond productively to direction and feedback, and savvy to work with staff and leadership at all levels 
  • Skilled manager – experience in managing the work and production of others, including direct reports and cross-departmental contributors 
  • Proactive and self-starting – able to work independently, with keen issue-spotting and problem-solving capabilities 
  • Team player – a spirit of camaraderie, a generous collaborator, and a sense of humor 
  • Outstanding attention to detail and accuracy – commitment to work product that is thorough, complete, and polished 
  • Ability to work additional hours as needed to meet deadlines and manage work-flow priorities 
  • Demonstrable commitment to public interest law and the twin ideals of democracy and justice for all

SALARY:  The salary is highly competitive in the field and commensurate with experience. A generous benefits package is available as well. 

TO APPLY:  Please visit, and upload (preferably in pdf) your cover letter, resume, a list of contact details for 3 references, and a writing sample using the drop down menus.  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. No calls, please.  If you are unable to upload your documents, you may send them to with "Foundation Relations" in the subject line, after registering in the online system.

The Brennan Center for Justice is committed to a workplace based on equal opportunity and a strong belief in the increased effectiveness that comes from a diverse workforce. To this end, Brennan Center

  • Hires staff that reflects this country's full range of racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic identities; 

  • Creates a workplace where true diversity is fostered and different perspectives are valued and freely exchanged; 

  • Ensures that all members of the Brennan Center community feel welcome and respected, and have equal opportunities to thrive and advance within the institution; and 

  • Is committed to supporting low-income communities and communities of color particularly affected by social inequities.