Project Development Manager

 (via Indeed)
Great Lakes Protection Fund
Evanston, IL, United States
Position Type: 
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level (5-7 Years)
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


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The Great Lakes Protection Fund is a private, nonprofit corporation that funds multi-disciplinary teams to launch innovative solutions to protect and restore the ecological health of the Great Lakes. We are looking for a dynamic Project Development Manager to join our team. Working with other members of the Fund’s program staff, this person will work to identify high-potential projects and teams for the Fund to support. This is a highly visible opportunity for personal and professional growth, engaging leaders worldwide to deliver exceptional ecological outcomes for the Great Lakes.

Reporting to the Vice President of Programs, this individual will build and maintain a network of leaders and influencers, identify project opportunities, build project teams, review project proposals, conduct due diligence, and draft recommendations for staff and board action. S/he will travel to potential project locations to evaluate proposed work, spot new opportunities, and represent the Fund.


Mission and Program

  • Working with the program team, identify issues confronting the Great Lakes, and develop intervention opportunities and identify the people that can execute them;
  • Maintain a development pipeline of project opportunities by bringing the right teams together, helping them build regional strategies of consequence, and advising them as they propose a project that will achieve the Funds investment objectives;
  • Obtain board approval for projects that achieve the Fund’s annual funding goals;
  • Diplomatically decline project ideas when appropriate;
  • Maintain and enhance a network of experts to review project proposals and otherwise advise the Fund.

Communications, Outreach and Engagement

  • Grow a network of thought leaders and project team members in the Fund’s three priority areas: sustainable use of Great Lakes water, controlling pollution, and stopping invasive species;
  • Represent the Fund at events, workshops, and meetings;
  • Conduct site visits, meet with potential teams where they propose to work;
  • Use social media to attract ideas and projects to the Fund.


  • An advanced degree;
  • Excellent strategic communication skills – oral , written, and social media;
  • An excellent listener who is diplomatic and understands various points of view;
  • Strong analytical and integrative skills;
  • Demonstrated experience in developing relationships, teams and technical solutions in a relevant context
  • Free to travel to attend meetings, conferences, and seminars, conduct due diligence and explore opportunities (20% expected travel);
  • An organized self-starter who can work independently and as a member of a team.


  • Seven years or more of professional experience in ecosystem management, law, business or related field;
  • Previous experience in natural resource protection, particularly water resources and familiarity with Great Lakes environmental issues;
  • Experience with grantmaking, investment or business development helpful, but not essential;
  • An enduring sense of humor;
  • Passion for the environment, the Great Lakes, and making the world a better place.