Grant Review Consultant, Democracy Program (RRMF)

About Us

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation is dedicated to fostering communities of educated, informed, and engaged citizens. Through philanthropic grant-making and Cantigny Park, the Foundation works to make life better in Chicagoland. The McCormick Foundation, among the nation's largest foundations with more than $1.5 billion in assets, was established in 1955 upon the death of Col. Robert R. McCormick, the longtime editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The Foundation awards about $55 million a year across five grantmaking program areas. Cantigny Park, part of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, is the 500-acre Wheaton estate of Robert R. McCormick. It is home to the McCormick House, First Division Museum, formal gardens, picnic grounds, walking trails and a Visitors Center with banquet and dining facilities.

About the Democracy Program

Our mission is to strengthen democracy in Illinois through informed and engaged citizens and communities, and responsive systems of government. The goals of the Democracy Program are that 1) youth are informed, actively participate in their communities, and have healthy civic dispositions; 2) local journalism is vigorous, independent, and effective at connecting and informing all levels of the democratic system; and 3) public institutions are inclusive, transparent, and accountable to the communities they serve.

Our strategy embodies a deep commitment to racial equity and serving under- resourced communities in Chicagoland. We seek to improve overall democratic outcomes and close the civic empowerment gap by providing resources, creating opportunities, and advocating for policies to address disparities for people of color.

Opportunity: Grant Review Consultant

The Democracy Program seeks an experienced consultant to review grants for the Program’s upcoming February 2020 docket, which includes, on average, 30-40 grants. The consultant will review, conduct site visits, and prepare written recommendations for a subset of the docket (estimated 10-20 grants) that may include requests in all three focus areas (youth, journalism, and public institutions). This is a part-time position tentatively scheduled for Nov 1, 2019 through March 1, 2020, and reports to the Director of the Democracy Program.


  • Review applications, which includes:
    • Analyzing narrative materials, such as theories of change, anticipated outcomes, and project workplans for feasibility and fit with Democracy Program goals
    • Assessing financial health and financial feasibility of proposed work
  • Conduct site visits to address questions that emerge from application review and gather context to inform the final recommendation on the grant
  • Draft written recommendations on each application, using the
  • Foundation’s grant write-up template
  • Meet in-person and correspond electronically with Foundation staff and leadership to address questions about assigned applications as part of the grant review process


  • Experience working with nonprofits, especially on issues of strategy and finance
  • Experience in philanthropy preferred, especially in a grant review or administrative capacity
  • Exceptional time and project management skills and attention to detail
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills and experience building relationships with multiple stakeholders by listening to new ideas, encouraging dialogue, and inspiring people to work towards common goals
  • Excellent writing and presentation skills, particularly in communication with diverse constituencies in a variety of settings
  • Demonstrated passion for the Foundation’s values with commitment to deliver results measured against the Foundation’s mission
  • Basic computer skills, including use of Microsoft Office Suite
  • All offers are contingent upon successful completion of a criminal background check and drug screening

Required Application Materials

Please submit the following materials here:

  • Resume
  • Cover letter that includes a summary of expected compensation, on a per grant basis. The consultant will be expected to review 10-20 grants. The exact number will be determined in October and depend on the number of Letters of Inquiry (LOI) the Democracy Program receives and recommends inviting to the second stage of the application process.
  • Writing sample that is 300 – 500 words in length and demonstrates the applicant’s ability to write in a clear, concise, and persuasive manner

The Robert R. McCormick Foundation and Cantigny Park provide equal employment opportunity (EEO) to all persons regardless of age, color, national origin, citizenship status, individuals with disabilities, race, religion, creed, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, genetic information, marital and housing status.

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