Director, Philanthropy

Lever for Change (LFC), a nonprofit affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, helps donors to find and fund solutions to the world’s greatest challenges, ranging from racial and gender equity to economic development and climate change.

Building on the success of the MacArthur Foundation’s $100 million competition, 100&Change, Lever for Change customizes and manages open and transparent competitions for donors. In addition, the organization matches donors with nonprofits and social enterprises in its Bold Solutions Network, which includes projects that address significant social challenges that were highly ranked after rigorous evaluation in one of Lever for Change’s competitions. We have developed and managed nine competitions, with awards ranging in size from $10 million to $100 million, so far unlocking $791 million in funding for high-impact solutions to important social challenges.

Our clients are high-potential donors who have the capacity to give between $10M and $100M and who often require strategic counsel and a high level of service and accountability.

Lever for Change has an immediate need to identify a candidate who can work in partnership with our Vice President, Philanthropy to create a business development strategy for our organization. We are seeking a candidate with access to and credibility with a strong national and/or international network of ultra-high net worth individuals who could sponsor competitions or support organizations in our Bold Solutions Network.

The successful candidate for this role will be a persuasive generalist with a wide variety of interests and the standing, confidence and ability to develop and expand our network of potential clients. We offer a competitive compensation and benefits package. Although the successful candidate can work from any location in the United States, we also offer relocation assistance to Chicago.

Job Description

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • With the Vice President, Philanthropy, creates and implements a strategy to market one or more of Lever for Change’s products/services, including competitions and/or connections to nonprofit organizations that have scored highly in competitions run by Lever for Change.
  • Develops and strengthens relationships with existing donors, prospects, wealth and philanthropic advisors, and other relevant intermediaries.
  • Ensures that donor strategies connect donors to funding opportunities that achieve positive social change while achieving the donor’s vision.
  • Collaborates with other Lever for Change staff to leverage opportunities, build awareness, develop value-added engagement and facilitate meaningful engagement for donors.

While this role is primarily focused on cultivation of relationships with, sales to, and service of ultra-high net worth and other prospective donors, there may be opportunities to assist other departments and work as a member of interdepartmental teams to ensure the effective and efficient operations of Lever for Change and competitions and other services that Lever for Change hosts or provides.

Working Conditions

  • This position can be based anywhere in the United States but will require periodic visits to Lever for Change’s main office in Chicago, where this role will have a designated office space. The position will be fully remote until at least January 3, 2022.
  • The position requires the ability to travel and attend meetings, presentations and events outside the office. We estimate about 30-40% of the role will involve travel, including international travel.
  • Because Lever for Change clients/partners are sometimes located in different geographies, this position requires the ability to sometimes speak with clients and/or others outside of regular office hours.
  • Work may require occasional weekends and/or an extended workday.


  • Significant record of advising ultra-high net worth individuals and families, influencing financial or philanthropic decisions
  • Strong knowledge of development and grantmaking processes and the nonprofit/philanthropic sector
  • Ability to secure confidence of top donors and prospects through relationship building activities.
  • Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communications skills; superior and proven relationship management skills
  • Ability to manage, coach, and motivate at least one direct report
  • A persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal and organizational skills and attention to detail
  • A presence that is self-confident and diplomatic with a collegial approach to work, and high professional standards
  • Technology competency, including database software familiarity, is required
  • Able to take initiative and work proactively
  • Trustworthy, respectful, and committed to excellence

Sign up for our newsletter

Sign up to receive announcements when new competitions launch and to learn about other updates.