Organization: Environmental Law & Policy Center

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest

About Environmental Law & Policy Center:

The Environmental Law & Policy Center (ELPC) is the Midwest’s leading public interest environmental legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization, and among the nation’s leaders. ELPC develops and leads successful strategic advocacy campaigns to improve environmental quality and protect our natural resources. ELPC’s team of public interest environmental entrepreneurs engage in creative business deal making with diverse interests to put into practice the belief that environmental progress and economic development can be achieved together. ELPC’s multidisciplinary staff of talented and experienced public interest attorneys, environmental business specialists, public policy advocates and communications specialists brings a strong and effective combination of skills to solve environmental problems. This is an extraordinary time in our nation for effective public interest environmental protection advocacy and strategic leadership. ELPC is at the forefront of this work with a sophisticated team that includes some of the nation’s top environmental attorneys, analysts and innovators.

ELPC’s vision embraces both smart, persuasive advocacy and sustainable development innovations to win important environmental cases and create positive solutions to protect the environment. ELPC’s teamwork approach uses legal, economic, scientific and public policy analysis, and communications advocacy tools to produce successes. ELPC’s strategic advocacy and business deal making involves proposing solutions when it opposes threats to the Midwest environment. ELPC says “yes” to better solutions; it doesn’t just say “no.”

ELPC was founded in 1993 after a year-long strategic planning process sponsored by seven major foundations. ELPC is led by Executive Director, Howard Learner. Under Learner’s leadership and direction ELPC has achieved sustained organizational growth, a high-performing entrepreneurial culture, and a strong track record of successes on both national and regional clean energy development and pollution reduction, transportation and land use reform, and natural resources protection issues.

Operating an annual budget of more than $7 million, ELPC has 45 employees in eight offices throughout the Midwest and Washington, D.C. ELPC works to meet two major needs: (1) public interest legal, economic and technical resources devoted to the most important environmental and natural resources issues; and (2) a strategic regional perspective as environmental issues are increasingly regional in scope and complexity and require coordinated strategies to shape public policy. ELPC provides leadership in shaping sustainable environmental development policy innovations, and effectively linking environmental progress and economic development that improves the quality of life in our Midwest communities.

For more information on the Environmental Law & Policy Center, please visit

The Opportunity:

The position of Chief Development Officer (CDO) presents an exciting opportunity for a seasoned professional to innovate, implement and lead a strategic, creative and entrepreneurial development program that will affirm and celebrate ELPC’s mission, impact and future growth during this critical juncture in U.S. environmental policy.

Reporting to and partnering with the Executive Director, the CDO will be responsible for leveraging ELPC’s national leadership in achieving clean energy, clean transportation, and natural resources protection successes by building and stewarding robust, meaningful partnerships with current and prospective large institutional foundations and funders, major individual donors and others.

The CDO will be both a bold strategic thinker and a hands-on executor. S/he will oversee and manage the development department consisting of four fundraising professionals and will work closely with the organization’s communication staff. The CDO will actively manage a donor portfolio by personally participating in cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship, as well as collaborating with the Executive Director to ensure that he is effectively supported and leveraged to achieve fundraising goals.

S/he will have the passion to develop fluency in the issues and opportunities in public interest environmental advocacy, and the ability to create tailored and compelling strategies for the philanthropic community and individual donors across a range of geographies and demographics.

Key responsibilities in this role include:

  • Cultivating new revenue sources by creatively and strategically expanding the donor base, including: identifying and cultivating high-profile individual donors, securing additional funding from major foundations, and hosting annual events;
  • Maintaining and growing a portfolio of individual and institutional donors, actively responding to the rapid expansion of environmental philanthropy;
  • Systematically identifying, cultivating, soliciting and stewarding new individual and institutional donors capable of making significant contributions to ELPC;
  • Supervising and overseeing a high-performing development team that increases ELPC’s revenues, laying a strong foundation for long-term organizational growth;
  • Planning and executing events to inform prospective donors of ELPC’s mission, programs, and projects; and
  • Contributing as an active member of the senior management team.

Candidate Profile:

The CDO will be an experienced and engaging leader who will take a ‘hands-on,’ strategic approach to leading a best-in-class development program. S/he will also bring a genuine passion for ELPC’s mission coupled with deep experience driving fundraising success.

The ideal candidate will have the following personal competencies and characteristics:

An Expert in Development

The CDO will be an experienced leader with a measurable track record of success. S/he will have demonstrated expertise with a wide range of fundraising channels with particular focus on major donors and foundations. S/he will have a strong data and analysis orientation and a proven ability to use metrics to drive development decisions and achieve strategic objectives. The CDO will also adopt an entrepreneurial approach to expanding and deepening new and existing donor support. S/he will be an energetic and highly respected development team leader within the organization. The CDO will have a demonstrated record of implementing fundraising initiatives, including identification, cultivation, and stewardship and working in close partnership with senior leadership and Boards of Directors to collaboratively achieve fundraising goals.

A Relationship Builder and Collaborator

The CDO will be skilled at building and sustaining excellent relationships and will be a confident and articulate communicator. With the ability to work fluidly across all levels, the CDO will be able to build collaboration and buy-in and generate support from stakeholders. S/he will be able to establish rapport and open communication with all constituents and successfully convey ELPC’s mission and objectives. Collaborating closely with the Executive Director, the CDO will implement a comprehensive and multifaceted donor-communication and stewardship strategy ensuring donor satisfaction. S/he will have a strong working relationship with designated members of the Board and will be a proactive communicator at all times.

An Action-Oriented Leader with Strong Execution Skills

The CDO will have a proven record of converting strategy into effective execution. S/he will be a detail-oriented individual who functions well in a fast-paced environment. The CDO will exhibit intellectual curiosity, including the ability to listen to and learn from multiple voices. S/he will have strong analytical skills and the ability to think creatively and collaboratively about ELPC’s development goals while remaining focused on details and follow-through. S/he will be an assertive and responsive leader. The CDO will be a builder who will work with the Executive Director to set development priorities decisively, delegate responsibilities, assure accountability and allocate resources to ensure results.

A Passion for the Mission

The CDO will bring a personal passion and commitment to ELPC’s environmental mission as well as an appreciation and understanding of the organization’s vision and impact. S/he will have the capacity to understand and appreciate ELPC’s strategies and be able to share this knowledge with potential donors with conviction. S/he will embrace ELPC’s culture, while continually innovating to help expand its brand and reach. S/he will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree is preferred.


The Environmental Law & Policy Center has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire. Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume here.

The Environmental Law & Policy Center is an equal opportunity employer and is continually seeking to diversify its staff.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit