Grants Officer

Job Type

Full Time




750 North Lake Shore Drive
4th floor
United States


The American Bar Foundation (ABF) seeks a full-time grants officer to add to its development staff.

This position is responsible for identifying, writing, preparing, and administering proposals for research grants, unrestricted operating revenue and restricted program/projects, and for submitting timely and accurate reports for all grant funded projects.

This position reports to the Director of Development, Communications, and Operations and can also expect to take direction from the Director of the Foundation. This position will work with other members of the development and communications departments and work closely with the finance team on budgets related to grant applications and compliance reporting. This position will also work effectively with The Director of The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, the program responsible for annual giving to the ABF. The successful candidate will be part of a development team that will increase and diversify the foundation’s funding portfolio.

This position is highly responsible and depends on maintaining confidentiality and discretion in all areas of foundation business. 

Major Responsibilities:

  • Perform prospect research on foundations, federal agencies, and corporations to evaluate prospective funding opportunities
  • Collaborate with principal investigators, senior management, and external partners in building comprehensive grant applications
  • Provide guidance to principal investigators on how to best align funder requirements to each specific grant application
  • Develop customized budgets, in collaboration with finance team and principal investigators, which meet the specific objectives of the project and adhere to Foundation policies and application requirements
  • Review grant application components for grammar, typographical errors, consistency, and formatting in conformance with application requirements
  • Assemble and submit grant applications
  • Serve as primary liaison between principal investigators and funders for the management of pre-and post-award matters. Review and monitor compliance with contractual award terms, federal grant management regulations, and institutional policies and procedures
  • Comply with all grant reporting requirements as required by funders
  • Maintain current records in database and in paper files
  • Identify, track and analyze key metrics on grant activity and its impacts for internal and external reports
  • Maintain calendar of all grant-related activities
  • Assist in stewardship of current donors, working with Director of Development, Communications, and Operations and Director of The Fellows of the American Bar Foundation to provide regular written updates to individual, corporate and foundation donors
  • Understand institutional history and programs
  • Assist with other fundraising projects as requested

Knowledge and Skills:

  • Strong written communication skills; ability to write clear, structured, articulate, and persuasive grant applications
  • Strong verbal communication skills and ability to interact with senior academics from multiple social science disciplines
  • Ability to quickly comprehend a wide range of issues at the intersection of law and society
  • Strong editing skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to manage priorities and to meet deadlines
  • Knowledge of fundraising information sources
  • Experience with proposal writing
  • Knowledge of basic fundraising techniques and strategies
  • Knowledge and familiarity with research techniques for prospect research.
  • Strong contributor in team environments
  • Entrepreneurial nature; creative thinker willing to work regularly with faculty in grant writing
  • Raisers’ Edge a plus


  • Minimum of two years’ experience with grant writing
  • Bachelor’s degree required; advanced degree in law or social sciences (MA, JD, PhD) preferred
  • Previous experience with non-profit fundraising
  • Demonstrated success in grant proposal writing
  • Experience working in deadline-driven environments
  • Able to work well in a team environment, handle multiple assignments and meet deadlines
  • Able to monitor and help to meet revenue goals
  • Able to communicate clearly and effectively with academic scholars from a wide range of social science disciplines

The Organization:

Located in Chicago, IL, the American Bar Foundation is a non-profit, independent national research institute committed expanding knowledge and advancing justice through innovative, interdisciplinary, and rigorous empirical research on law, legal processes, and legal institutions. To further this mission the ABF will produce timely, cutting-edge research of the highest quality to inform and guide the legal profession, the academy, and society in the United States and internationally.

Salary range: 

Commensurate with experience


Excellent health, retirement, and vacation benefits

Application process: 

Applications accepted by email. Send cover letter, resume, writing sample, and names of three references to: No phone calls, please.

EEO Policy:

The ABF is firmly committed to providing equal employment opportunities. All decisions regarding the terms, privileges, and/or conditions of employment, including but not limited to hiring, classification, grading, recruitment, discharge, discipline, compensation, selection for training or apprenticeship, promotion, renewal of employment, tenure or terms, and benefits, will be made without unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, age, order of protection status, marital status, disability, military status, unfavorable discharge from the military, sexual orientation, pregnancy, gender, gender identity, housing status, parental status, source of income, certain arrest or criminal history records, genetic information, protected activity (such as opposition to or reporting of prohibited discrimination or harassment), or any other status or classification protected by applicable federal, state, and/or local laws. The ABF prohibits discrimination, retaliation, and harassment of individuals on any of the bases listed above and any other basis protected by applicable federal, state and/or local law.

Professional Level

None specified

Minimum Education Required

4-year degree

How To Apply

Send cover letter, resume, writing sample, and names of three references.