The Chicago Botanic Garden is one of the world's great botanic gardens and living museums, known for its stunning collection of landscapes and horticultural displays as well as for its plant conservation science and education programs. Our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. That mission inspires more than one million people a year who visit and tens of thousands more whom we reach through our outreach programs in urban agriculture, horticulture therapy, and citizen science. At a mere 46 years young, the Garden is one of only 17 public gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums. Its 27 display gardens and four natural areas cover 385 acres and are uniquely sited on nine islands. The permanent plant collections contain about 2.7 million plants representing more than 12,000 taxa. The Garden has 51,000 members—one of the largest memberships of any U.S. botanic garden. Its Lenhardt Library contains 150,000 volumes, including one of the nation’s best collections of rare horticultural and botanical books. The Garden is one of two cultural institutions within the Forest Preserves of Cook County. It is an independent 501(c)(3) organization with an annual operating budget of nearly $40 million and is in the final stages of a $125 million capital and endowment campaign. It has received a 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for five years in a row.
Reporting to the controller and working with the Garden’s associate directors, the director of grant management will be responsible for tracking federal, state, and local, private grants/agreements, and contracts and subcontracts throughout the grant lifecycle and ensuring compliance with grant requirements, guidelines, and terms.
Working with the controller and the Garden’s senior leadership team, the director of grant management will also ensure that the proper systems and procedures are in place to support and comply with grant requirements beginning at the pre-award stage. The director of grant management will work closely with the principal investigators and program department heads and staff to provide them with financial information, assistance with grant-related inquiries, education/training regarding finance and accounting policies/procedures, and investigating ways the Accounting department can optimally support grant-funded program operations.
Duties and Responsibilities:
Responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:
Federal, State, Local, and Private Grant Compliance
Working with the Garden’s senior leadership team and principal investigators to perform risk assessments of proposed grants/agreements to determine if the benefit of receiving the grants/agreements outweigh the risks posed by the potential grants/agreements.
Reviewing the technical requirements of the proposed grants/agreements and, in conjunction with the program and accounting staff, determining if the Garden has the proper tools, systems, and resources to comply with the grant requirements.
Reviewing and approving grant proposals for submission to sponsors based on guidelines and the Garden’s resources.
Assisting in interpreting, negotiating, and accepting grants and contracts (including FAR clauses).
Preparing and negotiating subaward agreements.
Upon award of a grant/agreement, developing a grant compliance checklist and summary of key grant requirements to distribute to parties responsible for grant administration, execution, and oversight.
Reviewing proposed grant/agreement costs for allowability prior to purchase based on predetermined thresholds and/or agreement requirements.
Reviewing indirect cost allocations and methodology for reasonableness and compliance with grant terms and conditions.
Tracking grant revenues and expenses and performing budget versus actual analyses based on the grant’s approved budget. Performing monthly/quarterly/yearly close for the grants.
Monitoring deadlines for programmatic and financial reporting requirements of grants, projects, and restricted contributions and contracts, and assisting in the preparation and submission of those reports.
Assisting with grant close-out and final reporting, along with understanding and communicating any ongoing requirements that may exist beyond the grant/agreement close-out (e.g. purchase of equipment with federal funds).
Providing direct assistance in the development and implementation of Garden policies and procedures as they pertain to the administration of grant-funded projects.
Working with the controller to assist in the preparation of annual indirect cost recovery rate proposal for federal government grants.
Ensuring customer satisfaction by serving as a resource for staff and project managers through the process of monitoring, developing, improving, and delivering excellent services.
Facilitating the development of standard grant management operating procedures.
Assisting in the development and implementation of training on grant/agreement compliance and accounting matters.
Team Leadership/Key Garden Competencies and Behaviors Desired
Leveraging strengths of grant accounting and program team members, including clarifying roles and responsibilities and assisting in the development of training programs to maximize and reach individual and organizational goals.
Providing leadership in strengthening internal communications with staff at all levels of the organization; creating and promoting a positive and supportive work environment.
Coordinating cross training to improve efficiency and smooth operations.
Professionally representing the organization to both internal and external audiences.
Communicating in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
Working effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; building alliances.
Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
Striving for collaboration. Working cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
Demonstrating a positive attitude and showing kindness in all workplace interactions.
Making decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
Effectively adapting to change; shifting gears comfortably; being flexible, and embracing change with a “can-do” attitude.
Is self-aware; knowing personal strengths and weaknesses; seeking feedback and being open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
Recognizing problems, constructively identifying and articulating solutions.
Following safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrating safe work behaviors.
Is welcoming of new hires.
At least seven years of accounting experience, ideally beginning in accounting and audit, followed by extensive experience in government and private grant compliance and management, including gathering, evaluating, presenting, and reporting information to program and executive teams. Experience in a complex nonprofit or higher education institution that has multiple programs is preferred. Other qualifications include:
Personal qualities of integrity, credibility, and a commitment to the Garden’s mission; a proactive thinker who will own, in partnership with the CFO, controller, grant managers, principal investigators, and program staff, the responsibility for the compliance with accounting and government regulations related to government grants.
Minimum of a B.A. or B.S. in accounting, finance, or business administration; C.P.A. and/or C.G.M.S. (certified grants management specialist) preferred but not required.
Extensive experience coordinating government and private grant accounting and compliance activities and managing reporting.
Experience with federal sponsors’ proposal and electronic award systems preferred but not required.
Commitment to mentoring and training, including the foresight and ability to delegate effectively.
Keen analytic, organizational, and problem-solving skills that allow for strategic data interpretation rather than simple reporting.
Ability to translate financial concepts to individuals at all levels, including finance and non-finance managers.
Must have extensive knowledge of accounting and reporting software as well as Office products, not limited to Excel.
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, both written and verbal; experience in effectively communicating key data, including presentations to senior management and outside agencies.