Program Officer, Chicago Commitment (MF)


The Chicago Commitment team is responsible for advancing the goal of a Chicago that is connected and integrated, where prosperity is shared, opportunity is equitable, and civic and cultural assets are available to everyone. The team focuses on building strong organizations in the city’s nonprofit sector; supporting the revitalization of communities that have been neglected or isolated; partnering with other donors and civic actors to respond to timely or critical issues; and advancing diverse leadership.  

The Program Officer, Chicago Commitment, works with the team’s Director and colleagues on all aspects of the strategy’s grantmaking in Chicago to ensure its success. The Program Officer will apply his/her expertise in relevant field(s) to the development and implementation of grantmaking strategies.  In this role, the Program Officer will be called upon to deliver under pressure, and consistently produce high-quality work; build effective peer relationships throughout the Foundation; work with other departments proactively; anticipate potential issues and propose solutions; offer assistance and service to team members; present ideas for improvement; and be able to create a project plan to execute these improvements.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Possess a strong grounding in Chicago and a commitment to the Foundation’s engagement in its hometown
  • Participate in the design, implementation, refinement and adaptation of grantmaking strategies and in planning future program strategies
  • Assist in the design of new initiatives
  • Identify prospective grant recipients and work with prospective grantees to develop proposals that advance grantmaking strategies
  • Review and evaluate proposals
  • Conduct background research and due diligence, prepare grant recommendations for administrative and Board consideration, and respond to unsuccessful proposals
  • Monitor the performance of grants, including research grants, and the implementation of grant strategies; participate in evaluating the grant portfolio
  • Manage a caseload of active grants, review periodic reports, maintain accurate records, and communicate constructively with grantees
  • Organize meetings of prospective grantees, grantees, program advisors, and others in relevant fields
  • Keep abreast of current events, developments and issues in the field in order to maintain a balanced and objective perspective and approach to grantmaking.
  • Write extensively for internal purposes
  • Build and sustain relationships with colleagues across the Foundation, and with leaders, actors and organizations in relevant fields, including the public and commercial sectors
  • Represent the Foundation at conferences and other public events, including as speaker or panel participant

Desirable Knowledge or Experience

  • Experience in the fields of community economic development, creative placemaking, and/or inclusive economic growth
  • Experience in organizational development, strategic planning, capacity building, and/or financial management of nonprofit organizations


  • Graduate training and at least five years’ experience working as a policy professional, a researcher, or a practitioner in a relevant field; previous grantmaking or grant seeking experience is desirable.
  • Solid grounding in the theory, history and trends in a relevant area of work; a strong grasp of relevant empirical research and theoretical literature; and a good understanding of the substance and dynamics of public policies relevant to the work of the team.
  • Able to make effective connections among research, policy and practice and to work productively with government, community-based organizations, and academic institutions, and working knowledge of relevant government policies and programs.
  • Excellent analytical and communications skills, including writing and public speaking.
  • Experience in strategic communications and project management.
  • Self-confident, collegial, and diplomatic, with an appreciation of the role of a grantmaking institution.
  • Computer literate, with a high level of comfort with new applications.
  • Other essential skills include: effectiveness in interpersonal relations with a proven ability to work as part of a team; the ability to organize and convey problems and issues clearly and succinctly; ease with and openness to people who hold diverse views; and a talent for managing multiple tasks with significant initiative.

Other Duties and Responsibilities

  • Serve on internal Foundation committees as appropriate
  • Perform other duties as assigned

The position is based in Chicago, Illinois.

Physical Requirements and Work Environment

The work environment is an office setting. Intermittent physical activities will include bending, reaching, sitting, and walking during working hours. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable a person with physical disabilities to perform the job.

To Apply

Please apply through our online portal.

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