Gift Officer
Communities in Schools – Chicago
Location: Chicago, IL
Job Information:


Communities In Schools (CIS) of Chicago is the leading nonprofit in Chicago dedicated to removing barriers so that students graduate from high school. Education is the biggest factor of social mobility, and the completion of high school education remains a key differentiator for lifelong opportunities. By surrounding students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and unlock their full potential, CIS of Chicago works to ensure that every public school student in Chicago graduates from high school prepared to succeed.

Potential is distributed equally but opportunity is not.  In Chicago, more than one in five children under the age of 18 live in poverty – and their education and livelihoods are at risk.  The path to graduation is a journey, and sometimes even the most tenacious student can be diverted.  Anything from bullying to the death of a loved one or the sudden loss of a parent’s job can stand in a student’s way of reaching graduation. CIS of Chicago provides an essential support system and safety net for students at risk so that they stay in school and graduate.  The organization partners with 200 Chicago public schools, in 30 of which they provide case management.  CIS of Chicago also has a strong network of more than 200 community partners that provide services and programs in the schools, thereby reaching 60,000 young people annually!

CIS of Chicago is an affiliate of the national nonprofit Communities In Schools with affiliates in 26 states + DC., which allows for additional resources and a higher profile for the work of CIS of Chicago on behalf of the city’s youth.

CIS of Chicago currently raises $7 million to support its annual operations and programs.  With a positive reputation in the philanthropic community in Chicago, CIS of Chicago is poised to double its fundraising revenue in the context of a new comprehensive fundraising effort – the Brighter Futures Campaign.  Recognizing its potential, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott recently made an unsolicited, unrestricted $4 million gift, which has contributed to early momentum of this initiative. The Brighter Futures Campaign will be key to realizing the ambitious objectives outlined in the three-year strategic plan of the organization.  The plan is to literally double its reach and impact over the coming few years!

It is in this context that CIS is expanding its development team and aims to fill a few key positions, including the Gift Officer role.  This position will help the organization focus on building even stronger relationships with existing individual, corporate, and foundation donors and forging new opportunities for partnership over time.  The team of nearly 60 employees at CIS of Chicago is a tight-knit group that is relationship-oriented, donor-centric, ambitious, accountable, and highly professional.  The staff is aspirational and enjoys working at a fast pace and with an entrepreneurial spirit.

This is a very exciting time to work at CIS of Chicago.  Building on a strong foundation, we are poised to double our fundraising over the next few years as part of an energizing, three-year strategic plan that will allow us to DOUBLE our reach to more youth in need of our support.  Come join a great, dynamic team and a wonderful cause!

– Marianne Woodward, Chief Resource Officer


CIS of Chicago is currently seeking a mid-level fundraising professional to join the team as a Gift Officer. This is a newly created position in the context of the Brighter Futures Campaign, which is supporting an ambitious three-year organizational strategic plan focused on doubling CIS of Chicago’s reach and impact. The position will be vital post campaign as well, to sustain significantly elevated revenue levels well into the future.

The Gift Officer is a frontline fundraising and donor services position working with individuals and select corporations and foundations. The position is multi-faceted and a pivotal part of the organization’s growth.  Managing a starting portfolio of more than 50 donors, the Gift Officer will identify, cultivate, solicit, and steward contributions of $5,000 and above in support of general operations, program, and program expansion (campaign). The Gift Officer will function as part of a highly coordinated nine-person Development team. Reporting to the Senior Gift Officer, this position is not a supervisory role but will receive some administrative and program support.

Responsibilities include:

  • Develop a strong working knowledge of CIS of Chicago’s mission, culture, programs, values, and priorities
  • Promote gratitude in donor cultivation and stewardship
  • Support the organization’s Brighter Futures Campaign by identifying and cultivating prospects with the capacity to make a multi-year commitment of $25,000+
  • Work with select members of the Board of Directors and Leadership Council to leverage and manage donor relationships, stewarding current donors and engaging more major donors
  • Write/prepare letters of request, donor proposals, and other donor communication
  • Navigate a relationship-oriented, fast-paced workplace
  • Model professionalism, accountability, and aspiration in accordance with CIS culture
  • Other duties as assigned as part of a growing collaborative team


CIS of Chicago seeks the following skills, knowledge, and abilities in its next Gift Officer:

  • Passion for serving the most vulnerable children and commitment to the equity and social justice issues central to CIS of Chicago’s mission
  • Capacity to interact comfortably with major donors and the Board Directors and Leadership Council
  • Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills (both written and verbal)
  • Superior organizational function and adaptability; able to independently cultivate and manage donor relationships
  • Ability to draft compelling donor proposals and donor correspondence
  • Aptitude to create and implement new programs and opportunities for donors/clients/customers
  • Experience in fundraising or a related field, with strong track record of success (at least 3 years of experience preferred); role is well-suited for candidates with direct fundraising or sales experience, though we welcome applications from non-traditional candidates
  • Bachelor’s degree


To participate in our confidential search process, please send your application, including your resume and cover letter, to Margie DeVine at Cover letters should be responsive to CIS of Chicago’s mission and the responsibilities and qualifications as stated in the position guide.  Further inquiries or questions?  Call Margie on her cell: 773-892-2993.


Work Environment:

This position is a full-time, year-round position and follows CIS of Chicago’s holiday and vacation time calendar and corresponding policies. Currently, the work environment is hybrid (2 days a week at CIS of Chicago’s downtown headquarters / 3 days remote), which may be adjusted at the discretion of CIS of Chicago leadership. Office hours are from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.  Staff enjoy “Summer Hours” between Memorial Day and Labor Day, with the Friday workday ending at 1:30. The Gift Officer must be available to work occasional evenings and weekends.


  • Salary $60,000-$80,000
  • Competitive benefits are available, including health insurance (medical/dental/vision), life insurance, 2 weeks of paid vacation (3 weeks starting in year two of employment), 4 paid personal days, 10 days paid sick time per year, parental leave (after one year of employment), and 11 paid holidays. There is also a 401K Program with employer matching up to 3% after the initial 90 days of employment. Usually, the organization closes between Christmas and New Year’s, which is paid but not counted towards vacation time.

Equal Employment Opportunity:

CIS of Chicago provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training. The organization does not tolerate any discrimination or harassment of any type.