Grant Specialist

April 11, 2024

Every day, people across Illinois are denied the basic rights to which they are entitled under the law simply because they can't afford a lawyer. It's our mission to change that.

Prairie State Legal Services is a nonprofit legal aid organization that provides civil legal services to low-income, elderly, and people with disabilities. PSLS has 11 offices serving 36 counties throughout northern and central Illinois. Prairie State focuses services on legal problems that impact the ability of our clients to meet their basic human needs, including physical safety, access to healthcare, adequate housing, and similar needs. It is the only legal aid organization in the majority of its service area.

The Grant Specialist is primarily responsible for overseeing a portfolio of approximately 50 grants from federal and state sources. This includes working to enhance funding models, identifying new funding sources, writing grant proposals, and developing sustainable and effective grant programs. The annual budget of over $18M is largely funded by federal and state grants. We currently generate approximately 7% of our funding through charitable giving and seek to significantly increase this percentage through active efforts to increase private support.

The Grant Specialist's duties will include writing coherent, organized, and compelling proposals, preparing progress reports, engaging with donor agencies, and working with other internal stakeholders to ensure effective implementation and accurate reporting for grant purposes. Preferred applicants are deadline-driven team players with outstanding multitasking abilities.

To ensure success in this position, applicants need to write well, have proficient knowledge of fundraising methods, and be committed to the mission of Prairie State Legal Services. The Administrative Office is located in Rockford, Illinois, but this position may be based out of one of our other offices.

The Grant Specialist's tasks will include:

  • Preparing proposals by determining concepts, gathering and formatting information, writing drafts, and obtaining approvals
  • Determining proposal concepts by identifying and clarifying opportunities and needs, studying requests for proposal (RFPs), and attending strategy meetings
  • Meeting proposal deadlines by establishing priorities and target dates for information gathering, writing, review, approval, and transmittal
  • Entering and monitoring tracking data
  • Developing relationships and collaborating with key internal and external stakeholders
  • Displaying adherence to the organization's mission
  • Maintaining proficient knowledge of the organization's history and programs
  • Assisting with the execution of the development department's strategy
  • Identifying grant opportunities
  • Writing, submitting, and managing grant proposals
  • Furnishing prospective funders with supporting documents
  • Collaborating with staff to send funders newsletters and annual reports and to coordinate on-site visits
  • Collaborating with finance and programs staff to properly track the outcomes and accounting of grants for reporting purposes
  • Maintaining digital and hard records as required by funders

Salary and Benefits
The Grant Specialist position is a full-time position at 37.5 hours per week and will be located in the office that best suits the chosen candidate. The salary range for this position is $50,000 to $65,874 annually. The starting salary for the successful candidate will be determined based on prior relevant experience. PSLS is committed to providing an excellent, comprehensive benefits package to its full-time employees that includes:

  • Health insurance, including the opportunity to qualify for a wellness credit
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • 403b retirement plan, including employer contributions
  • Training and education program
  • PTO that starts at 3 weeks/year and increases with additional years worked at PSLS
  • Paid sick leave
  • 6 weeks of paid parental leave after one year of employment
  • 12 paid holidays


  • Bachelor's degree required
  • 3-5 years of previous experience successfully acquiring and administering government grants
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and verbal
  • Strong people skills
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to meet deadlines
  • Understanding of and experience working within the legal community preferred
  • Demonstrated experience in meeting fundraising goals
  • Proven ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships with high-level staff and funders
  • Proficiencies in fundraising software and project management software, preferably ClickUp and Raiser's Edge NXT
  • A solid understanding of and commitment to the mission and philosophy of Prairie State

Application Details - Resumes accepted until position is filled
Please indicate "Grant Specialist" in the subject line and e-mail a cover letter explaining your interest and experience, resume, and three references to The Administrative Office is located in Rockford, Illinois, but this position may be based out of one of our other offices. A list of office locations and areas served is available at Please include your office preference.

Prairie State Legal Services is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive working environment and is proud to be an equal-opportunity employer. We recruit, employ, pay, and promote qualified applicants and employees without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity, expression or presentation, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or any other legally protected status.

The Organization
Prairie State Legal Services is a nonprofit civil legal aid organization that has served northern and central Illinois for more than 45 years, maintains 11 office locations, and has a staff of over 200 employees, including training and litigation staff with extensive experience. Our 36-county service area includes rural communities, suburban areas, and mid-size urban cities, which necessitates the development of diverse strategies, and we encourage our staff to cultivate and utilize creative approaches to reach and serve our client population. Employees of PSLS benefit from the expertise and community connections of their local office staff, along with robust program-wide resources. We strive to provide an array of services responsive to the needs of our clients. PSLS has excellent fiscal controls and upholds the highest rating from Charity Navigator and Guidestar. For more information regarding PSLS services and operations, please visit our website at