Foundation Relations Officer

The Southern Environmental Law Center is seeking a Foundation Relations Officer to join our Development and Foundations Team, reporting to our Director of Foundations. As SELC continues to execute the strategic vision for its burgeoning foundations program, there is increasing opportunity around stewardship and relationship building for both current and prospective funders. There are also increased foundation writing needs, especially during the busiest weeks of spring and fall. This is an excellent opportunity to join a highly successful, nationally recognized organization that is effectively addressing some of the most pressing and challenging environmental issues throughout the South and the nation.

The Foundation Relations Officer will be responsible for building relationships with a portfolio of funders, with a focus on larger family foundations and major foundations whose interests are state, or program based. While identifying new funding prospects will be encouraged, the focus and priority of the relationship side (especially in the first year) will be stewardship within the portfolio. Key components of the role will be proactively communicating and stewarding funders. There will often be opportunities for collaboration with the full team of SELC’s development officers. We expect the Foundation Relations Officer’s role to grow over time as program-related funding opportunities evolve.

The Foundation Relations Officer will play a significant role as a member of the Foundations team. They will be the writer for foundation deliverables in their portfolio, but not limited to those assignments, and will often be asked to write about a variety of program work. They will also be tapped when seeking out new opportunities, or when existing relationships take on new strategic directions. As such, the Foundation Relations Officer may increasingly find themselves working with leaders to guide written deliverables on our newer initiatives like Climate Change and Environmental Justice.

SELC currently has a hybrid work model that offers employees the flexibility to work remotely up to two days per week. This is a full-time, exempt position reporting to the Director of Foundations, and is responsible for two primary functions:

  1. Relationship manager for a select group of state-based, issue-focused, major and family foundations  
  • Serves as a strategic guide and partner to SELC program staff, including state-based office directors. 
  • Stewards family and state-focused foundations; often serving as the primary liaison in external dialogue with program staff. 
  • Serves strategic guidance role in concept meetings with Senior Foundations Manager and attorneys to envision effective request and report packages. 
  • Partners with SELC’s Director of Foundations and research team to identify potential prospects, and SELC’s internal and external network to identify entrée.
  • Partners with the Director of Foundations, Senior Foundations Manager, and Office Directors to envision how we can build on our successful fundraising program with current and prospective Southern and Southern-inclined foundations.

2. Foundations Writer 

The Foundation Relations Officer will be the primary writer for all foundation deliverables in their portfolio. This involves dealing with intellectually stimulating and constantly evolving content, translating complex legal issues into compelling, reader-friendly prose. A SELC writer role includes:

  • Participates in concept meetings with attorneys and Senior Foundations Manager, asking informed questions, and taking detailed notes to draft reports and proposals for foundation funders.
  • Manages multiple concurrent writing projects at different stages of development.
  • Contributes strategies and solutions in concept meetings drawing on donor and relationship research and institutional knowledge kept in Salesforce. 
  • Conducts follow-up interviews with project attorneys as needed to clarify details and significance of projects to be described.
  • Share drafts to multiple attorneys for review, incorporating feedback, and producing a final attorney-approved document.
  • Proofreads reports and proposals from colleagues on the Foundations Team. 
  • Frequently collaborates with the Senior Foundations Manager throughout the proposal writing and submission process.
  • Attends bi-weekly Development department meetings, weekly Foundations team meetings, and bi-weekly individual check-in meetings with the Director of Foundations.
  • Joins regularly scheduled attorney program update calls as often as possible.


  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required.
  • Minimum of 5 years relevant experience in funder engagement, fundraising, and/or grant writing.
  • Strong environmental interest and intellectual curiosity. Connection to or familiarity with the Southeast is a plus. Familiarity, experience, and passion for key foundation interests (eg, climate and EJ), and environmental philanthropy as a whole, encouraged but not required.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Highly organized, with an appetite for action and results. You are a natural self-starter, self-disciplined, and have good time management skills. You are skilled at setting and tracking short- and long-term plans and priorities, juggling multiple schedules and projects, and thriving in a fast-moving, goal-driven environment.
  • Collegial, collaborative team player. You enjoy brainstorming and creative problem-solving and can think on your feet.
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office required, familiarity with Sharepoint and Salesforce donor management software a plus.
  • Strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. You have a genuine interest in and commitment to helping SELC create and foster a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplace. You engage in ongoing personal learning and are eager to contribute to our organizational efforts to be a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.

About SELC:

The Southern Environmental Law Center is one of the nation’s most powerful defenders of the environment, rooted in the South. With a long track record, SELC takes on the toughest environmental challenges in court, in government, and in our communities to protect our region’s air, water, climate, wildlife, lands, and people. Nonprofit and nonpartisan, the organization has a staff of over 200, including more than 100 attorneys, and is headquartered in Charlottesville, VA., with offices in Asheville, Atlanta, Birmingham, Chapel Hill, Charleston, Nashville, Richmond, and Washington, DC.

At our core, we are place-based, rooted in our region, and connected with the communities and clients we serve. We believe in an equitable and inclusive workplace that reflects the rich racial and cultural diversity of our region and allows diverse perspectives to come to the forefront. We approach our work with the highest level of integrity, holding ourselves to high standards with an emphasis on honesty, accountability, and thoughtfulness. We value collaboration and camaraderie, realizing we are strongest when we work together and knowing that everyone has a critical role to play. We strive for impact through a strategic, bold, pragmatic, and ambitious outlook that is dedicated to achieving powerful results. We believe in these values and in the power of SELC. We hope you consider joining us. Learn more at


SELC offers salaries competitive with other leading environmental nonprofits nationally and provides an excellent benefits package. The starting annual salary range for this position is $80,000 – $100,000 commensurate with experience. For more details about our benefits package, please visit our Careers page.

The Location:

SELC is headquartered in Charlottesville, VA, and Charlottesville would be the preferred home base for the Foundation Relations Officer, as most of the Development team is based there. That said, SELC is open to the prospect of the Foundation Relations Officer being located elsewhere, with Chapel Hill, NC being the most practical alternative.

To Apply:

To apply, click on the ‘Apply Now’ button below to be directed to an online application where you may upload your application materials. Applicants must submit a cover letter, resume, and two writing samples. We encourage interested applicants to apply as soon as possible, as we evaluate and hire on a rolling basis until the position is filled. The initial deadline for receipt of complete applications is 8/28/23.

SELC is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to fostering an inclusive workplace environment. We are eager to welcome new team members who share this commitment. We still have much progress to make, but our goal is to create and maintain a staff that, at every level, reflects the rich racial and cultural diversity of the communities where we work and the clients that we serve. Persons of all backgrounds—including people of color, women, people with disabilities, veterans, and LGBTQ candidates—are strongly encouraged to apply.