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The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism is seeking a Grants Manager to strategically lead and maintain grants from foundations and institutional funders to support collaborative nonprofit journalism in Wisconsin.

This position is ideal for a highly organized person and strong writer who is comfortable joining a hard-working staff of journalists and development professionals in a fast-paced environment. 

This position is funded by and will receive support from the American Journalism Project, a venture philanthropy dedicated to local news. The American Journalism Project believes in civic journalism as a public good and is reimagining its future by building a model to finance and sustain the local news our democracy requires.

About us

The Center is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on government accountability and quality of life issues important to the people of Wisconsin. Our multimedia journalism digs into undercovered issues, documents broken and failing systems, puts findings into regional and national context, and explores potential solutions. The Center also trains current and future investigative journalists through workshops, internships and fellowships, mentoring, and collaborations with journalism classes and news organizations. And we share information about journalistic practices, ethics and impact with the public. The Center’s guiding values: Protect the vulnerable. Expose wrongdoing. Explore solutions. 

Wisconsin Watch’s award-winning reports are published at and content is made available at no charge to news organizations through our own distribution system plus a nationwide partnership with the Associated Press. 

Over its 12-year history, the Center has grown from a one-person nonprofit to a million-dollar organization with the intent to double its budget in 2022. This is an incredibly exciting time for the Center. The right candidate will play a pivotal role in growing the organization in a very short period of time and, in doing so, transform journalism in Wisconsin by expanding the Center’s production of investigative, collaborative journalism throughout the state. 

A successful candidate should understand the Center’s role in the news environment and share a commitment to its mission and values. We are looking for someone who possesses a thorough understanding of philanthropy, foundations’ role in supporting nonprofits, and how to meet revenue goals. 


This new position will oversee and implement the day-to-day grant operations and maintain grants management processes and systems in an organized, efficient manner. Reporting to the Development Director, the Grants Manager will lead grant applications, grant reports, communications with foundations, and research of prospective institutional funders to further the Center’s work and support the organization’s staff and overall mission. 


The Grants Manager will: 

  • Serve as the Center’s primary grant writer and the lead for grant requests and reports in coordination with editors, reporters, development staff and leadership.
  • Maintain a grants calendar and workflow that identifies opportunities, priorities and responsibilities. 
  • Manage foundation relationships and communications with key contacts.
  • Continually lead prospect research to expand the base of local, state and national funders to support the Center’s general operating budget and newsroom special projects.
  • Help keep the organization attuned to evolutions in foundation and philanthropic thinking and priorities.
  • Ensure the Center’s grant writing meets the quality standards of journalism funders, and manage continual improvement and adoption of new approaches when needed for grant success.
  • Manage the grant process: Ensure all reports are complete, accurate and delivered on time; ensure financial requirements are met; implement and supervise administration of grant management systems.


If you have just some of the skills listed below, or others we failed to list, please consider applying for this position.

  • A minimum of three years of grant management and development experience.
  • Strong storytelling and writing skills, and the ability to synthesize a range of information into tight summaries and compelling proposals.
  • Ability to work independently and in a team environment. Self-motivated.
  • Highly organized and systematic thinker with knowledge of – and experience in developing and executing – grant systems management, grant tracking tools and best practices in accessing and utilizing databases.
  • Success in acquiring new funding through grants and foundation support.
  • Thorough understanding of philanthropy.
  • Exceptional organizational skills with the ability to multitask and to establish effective timelines for accomplishing long-range goals.
  • Proficiency with computers and appropriate software, such as Microsoft Office, Google Suite, Quickbooks and CRM databases.
  • An understanding of prospect research and grant support for nonprofit organizations.
  • Ability to use metrics to effectively convey use of funds and project outcomes.
  • Willingness and ability to travel and spend evenings and weekends at occasional programmatic and development events.
  • Experience in planning cultivation and fundraising events and other activities.
  • Experience in implementing practices for a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.
  • Interested in solving problems and improving systems, processes and approaches.

Bonus points if you’ve got: 

  • Knowledge of the Wisconsin philanthropic and foundation communities.
  • Experience in acquiring corporate funds through sponsorships or charitable giving.
  • Background in or knowledge of journalism and curiosity about nonprofit journalism.
  • Familiarity with the practice, ethics and writing styles of journalism or willingness to learn in order to produce grant reports for journalism funders.
  • Experience at a dynamic, statewide nonprofit.

Location: The Grants Manager should be located in Wisconsin, with the ability to travel to Madison or Milwaukee at least twice a month. 

Salary range: $60,000-$70,000, commensurate with experience.

Benefits: Generous paid vacation and holiday time, sick days, family and caregiver leave, subsidized medical and dental benefits, transportation benefits and self-funded 403(b) retirement plan.

Deadline: Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

To apply: Please submit a PDF of your resume, an example of your writing (e.g. a grant application, a grant report, journalistic writing or fundraising appeal) and answer some brief questions in this application form. If you’d like to chat about the job before applying, contact Jay Burseth, WCIJ development director, via email: 

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism embraces diversity and inclusiveness in its journalism, training activities, hiring practices and workplace operations. The complex issues we face as a society require respect for different viewpoints. Race, class, generation, gender and geography all affect point of view. We especially encourage members of traditionally excluded communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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