Our organization

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is an independent nonprofit that puts rigorous, independent science into action, developing solutions and advocating for a healthy, safe, and just future. We envision a peaceful, healthy, and just world where science serves people and the planet by guiding policy decisions, reducing risks, and improving lives.

For over five decades, we have been working as scientists, engineers, economists, advocates, and everyday people to create and advocate for innovative, practical solutions to some of our planet’s most pressing problems—from combating global warming and developing sustainable ways to feed, power, and transport ourselves, to fighting disinformation, advancing racial equity, and reducing the threat of nuclear war. Values informing our work include:

  • Science in the service of people and the planet.
  • Justice and Equity for people of all races and incomes—now, and for future generations.
  • Courage to take principled, science-based stands in the public arena.
  • Integrity to always examine evidence critically, openly, and honestly.
  • Democracy to promote a voice for all in government decisions.
  • Action inspiring and mobilizing people to build a healthier, safer, and more just world.

The Position

Under the direction of the Chief Development Officer, the Director of Foundation Relations has the primary responsibility for leading the identification, cultivation, and solicitation of foundation prospects and donors as well as management of the Foundations team. The successful candidate will lead the development and implementation of foundation fundraising strategies to achieve annual revenue targets, while incorporating justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion best practices. The Director provides input to shape organizational fundraising and program strategies and serves as a senior member of the Development Department. The Director of Foundation Relations will work closely with the President, program directors, and other senior UCS staff to manage key foundation relationships and develop innovative pitches and cultivation strategies.


  • The Director of Foundation Relations has primary responsibility for meeting the organization’s annual foundation revenue target. Oversee and work with Foundations team to formulate, develop, and execute foundation cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship strategies. Sustain and strengthen current foundation relationships. Proactively market UCS to current and new funders. Increase the visibility of UCS leadership and experts with funders through a robust cultivation and stewardship plan.
  • Lead and manage the Foundations team. Set priorities for the Foundations team and each Foundation Officer and ensure strategic use of staff resources. Supervise and mentor Associate Directors to ensure the timely production of high-quality proposals, concept papers, and reports. Assign and monitor work; set performance goals and conduct performance appraisals; recommend personnel actions. Support and guide Foundation team’s development of deep program expertise; ensure the team is a content resource for the entire Development team. Oversee maintenance and monitoring of systems for tracking foundation strategies, moves management, and revenue.
  • Maintain and grow a portfolio of high-capacity foundation funders. Build strong relationships with new and existing high-capacity donors. Write and submit high-quality inquiry letters, proposals, and reports to current and prospective funders. Organize visits and other cultivation activities to increase UCS visibility with these funders.
  • Develop and actively move a list of priority prospects. Set annual goals for identifying new prospects and securing revenue from new foundation prospects. Coordinate with Program Directors, Foundations team, and other key staff to evaluate prospects and develop relationship-building strategies. Work with President, Executive Director, and Program Directors to align program planning with priority prospects and identify program planning needs associated with prospect strategies. Identify prospect research priorities for the Foundations Coordinator.
  • Provide input to shape organizational and program strategies to align with foundation funding opportunities. Working with the Foundations team, identify and highlight emerging foundation opportunities that are consistent with the organizational strategic plan. Identify priorities for multi-year “vision” papers and other tools to both inform planning and increase UCS visibility with prospects and funders. As needed, convene planning discussions that include organizational and program leadership. Participate in quarterly messaging meetings.
  • Serve as a leader in the Development Department. Work with Director of Major Gifts, Director of Planned Giving, Director of Stewardship and Engagement, and Membership Director on coordinated strategies. As appropriate, integrate foundation strategies into department-wide activities and events. Provide input to departmental revenue tracking and Development Department annual plans. Supported by the Chief Development Officer, fulfill leadership duties and actively work in collaboration with other members of the Development team to ensure all collateral, grants, proposals, etc., are distinct in nature and impact and results focused.
  • Coordinate with Chief Development Officer and Associate Director of Development Analytics to develop and provide timely, detailed foundation revenue forecasts. Work with the Associate Director of Development Analytics to ensure accurate and timely budgets and financial reports for submission to foundations and ensure accurate grants management, grant tracking, and record keeping in donor and financial systems. Work with the Foundations Coordinator and the Director of Development Data Operations to ensure accurate foundation record keeping in Raiser’s Edge (RE) and effective use of RE reports.
  • Maintain knowledge of UCS programs and priorities. Maintain familiarity with current trends and resources in the field of philanthropy. Maintain an awareness of the role as a representative of UCS. Perform other related functions as directed.


Qualifications and Experience

The ideal Director of Foundation Relations candidate for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) will be a highly motivated and knowledgeable individual who is passionate about and able to articulate the organization’s mission to address environmental and social challenges through science-based solutions.

  • The Director must be able to skillfully translate technical information for diverse audiences.
  • The successful candidate will excel in building and nurturing relationships with foundations, and demonstrate exceptional writing, communication, and persuasion skills to convey the importance of UCS’s work and its impact on society.
  • With their strong leadership abilities and strategic thinking, the candidate will contribute significantly to expanding UCS’s funding base and advancing its vital research and advocacy initiatives.

Basic Knowledge & Skills

  • The position requires thorough knowledge of foundation fundraising strategies and techniques, as well as advanced skills in persuasive writing and a background in strategic program development.
  • Excellent interpersonal and relationship management skills are also required, as are organizational skills and knowledge of spreadsheets and data management tools.
  • Familiarity with UCS issues and the landscape of environmental and security funders is preferred. The position requires a bachelor’s degree.

At UCS, comparable training and/or experience can be substituted for degrees when appropriate.


  • At least seven to ten years of progressively responsible development experience, particularly in institutional fundraising.
  • An advanced degree a plus.
  • Demonstrated success in foundation fundraising, including the successful identification, cultivation, and solicitation of major grants is required.
  • Demonstrated success in managing and prioritizing all tasks associated with effective foundation fundraising.
  • Previous staff supervision experience is required.
  • Experience with climate change funding landscape is preferred.

May spend extended periods at computer. Some travel is required.

UCS is an equal opportunity employer actively seeking to diversify its staff. We’re dedicated to broadening opportunities for individuals from demographic groups that are historically underrepresented in the sciences and in environmental advocacy. We’re also committed to building an inclusive workplace culture where talented people of widely diverse backgrounds can thrive. We believe the inclusion of culturally diverse perspectives will improve our work and produce better societal and environmental outcomes for all, including historically disenfranchised communities.



This is a full-time remote/hybrid position based out of UCS’s Cambridge MA office. For those who meet all position requirements, the salary range is $148,361-$166,900. UCS offers excellent benefits and a rewarding work environment. *CA Resident Only, we offer a 12% salary differential*

Information about the organization is available at http://www.ucsusa.org.

Comparable training and/or experience can be substituted for degrees when appropriate.

Supervisory Responsibility

Supervise three Associate Directors on the Foundations team.

More about the team

Our team is made up of a dedicated group of researchers, scientists, communicators, campaigners, and advocates from wide-ranging backgrounds and experiences. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive team and a collaborative and supportive work environment where all staff can thrive. We continually strive to create an environment which is a welcoming place for the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, parents, empty-nesters, and people with a wide variety of interests and backgrounds.

To Apply

We know there are great candidates who won’t check all these boxes, and we also know you might bring important skills that we haven’t considered. If that’s you, don’t hesitate to apply and tell us about yourself. Please upload a cover letter and resume. In the cover letter, please confirm that the listed salary meets your expectations. Upload materials in Word or PDF format only. No phone calls, please.

This position is NOT in the bargaining unit.

Covid Mandate for New Hires

For in office roles, UCS employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Employees are considered fully vaccinated as defined by the CDC. All new hires who will be reporting to an office location must provide notice of their vaccination status and vaccination documentation, on or before their first day of work. For all others, UCS strongly encourages full vaccinations among its employees, up to and including booster shots, even if working remotely.


Until filled.