Created with the passage of the Illinois Equal Justice Act in 1999, the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation (IEJF) administers and advocates for the state appropriation for civil legal aid.  Since its first grant round in 2001, the IEJF has awarded $28.6 million in grants to nonprofit legal aid organizations across the state serving over 579,000 vulnerable Illinoisans impacted by domestic violence, foreclosure and consumer fraud.  In recent years, the IEJF has added appropriations supporting the IL Armed Forces Legal Aid Network and New Leaf Illinois (Clearing Cannabis Convictions) to its grant portfolio. The latter two appropriations have expanded the IEJF’s role to serve not only as grantmaker but as program developer and coordinator. 

Position:  The Program Officer will manage all three of the IEJF’s grant cycles from top to bottom.  He/she/their will staff the committees associated with each appropriation and report to the Executive Director.  The Program Officer will join a small but mighty team consisting of the Executive Director, two program coordinators (part-time contractors) and a part-time office administrator. The Program Officer is a pivotal member of the team, contributing to idea generation, strategic thinking, organizational networking and collaborative team dynamics. 

Major Responsibilities: 

  • Serve as the primary point person for funding inquiries received by the IEJF; 
  • Review and analyze all grant applications, including drafting all memos and reports analyzing and summarizing funding requests; 
  • Manage grants process via Foundant, the IEJF’s grants software.  Develop and ensure the timely release of grant applications and report forms. 
  • Manage the site visit process for all organizations applying for funding from the IEJF, including scheduling and participating in most, if not all, site visits; 
  • Staff the Grant Committee and provide support to the IL Access to Civil Justice Council and the New Leaf Illinois Working Group.  Provide analyses and recommendations to the Executive Director as well as to the three committees mentioned. 
  • Regularly communicate with grantees on procedural issues such as criteria, deadlines and grant awards; 
  • Compile data received from IEJF grantees and assist with data collection efforts related to IEJF evaluation efforts; 
  • Draft all grants-related content for the IEJF’s website, including annual grants lists, guidelines, program descriptions and the rest of the grants section of the website; and
  • Compile stories from grantees for IEJF newsletters and one-pagers.   

Other Responsibilities: 

  • Ensure timely compliance with all reporting requirements of state government, and other regulatory authorities. 
  • Work with the Executive Director to prepare and administer annual grant budgets and fee-for-service contracts.  
  • Attend Board meetings, addressing any grant-related questions raised by the Board. 
  • Attend events and programs related to grant recipients and philanthropy.
  • Stays abreast of current developments in the field. Attends relevant continuing education programs. 
  • Support other IEJF special projects as they arise. 

Qualifications: 

Education/Experience: 

  • Bachelor’s degree.  Relevant Master’s level work, juris doctor or life experience helpful. 
  • Two to five years of experience in philanthropy or relevant field. 
  • Continued professional development. 

Skill Requirements: 

  • Demonstrated commitment to Illinois Equal Justice Foundation’s mission and goals (see www.iejf.org). 
  • Demonstrated understanding of public interest law’s role in the community. 
  • Demonstrated understanding of philanthropy’s role in the community. 
  • Proficiency with grant evaluation.
  • Significant skills in organizing, analyzing, and presenting data, reaching conclusions and developing recommendations.
  • Ability to analyze budgets and financial statements; 
  • Effective interview skills. 
  • The ability to evaluate people and organizations fairly and critically. 
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, with the ability to effectively interact with non-lawyer audiences about legal topics as well as with executive level management and the Board of Directors. 
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationship with a wide range of individuals. 
  • Demonstrated leadership and project management skills. 
  • Ability to provide self-direction and accountability.Strong time management skills. 
  • Good judgment, critical thinking skills, and attention to detail. 
  • The highest ethical character and integrity.  
  • Strong technology and social media skills, including Word, Excel, Outlook, Zoom, Foundant, Word Press, Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. 

Essential Physical Functions 

  • The ability to communicate via voice telephone and video/Zoom calls, read and understand written communication, and generate written communication manually and using a computer.  
  • The ability to read extensively on deadline. 
  • The ability to sit at a desk for 2-3 hours at a time, lift and move documents and supplies not to exceed 25 lbs., and bend to file and retrieve documents. 
  • Ability to attend site visits, events and meetings in person if necessary.   
  • Ability and willingness at attend after-hours events as needed.
  • Ability and willingness to travel, occasionally overnight. 
  • Valid driver’s license necessary. 

Competitive Salary and Benefits 

The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation offers a competitive salary, a health care stipend and SIMPLE IRA plan match. The position is full-time and exempt. 

To Apply: 

Successful candidates will explain in a detailed cover letter how their qualifications and experience complement the position requirements. Please email resumes, cover letters and professional references to Leslie Corbett, Executive Director, to lcorbett@iejf.org by October 30, 2020. Anticipated start date January 2021.

The Illinois Equal Justice Foundation is an equal opportunity employer seeking to build a workforce that reflects the diverse communities its’ grants serve. Applicants who are members of or have experience with the communities IEJF grants support are encouraged to apply.