Work at BE

Announcing an opportunity to join the Black Ensemble Theater Family

Grant Manager

Position Description


Black Ensemble (BE) was founded in 1976 by producer and playwright Jackie Taylor.  The mission of the Black Ensemble Theater is to eradicate racism and its devastating effects upon our society through the utilization of theater arts. BE is the only theater in the nation whose mission is to eradicate racism. BE achieves its mission through productions and programs that work to help individuals understand, respect and accept our sameness and greatness as human beings.

Position Summary: Responsible for all grant related activities that create and cultivate support for Black Ensemble Theater and its programs, the Grant Manager will report directly to the Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and work in concert with the development staff, and the Founder/CEO to meet fundraising goals from foundation, corporate, and government supporters. Working closely with program staff, the Grant Manager will research, develop and write compelling grant proposals to existing foundation and government funders, manage the grants calendar, complete all reporting requirements, and provide the VP of Institutional Advancement and CEO, briefing documents in preparation for prospect and donor visits.  The Grant Manager will also be responsible for identifying new sources of grant revenue.

Responsibilities: Specific responsibilities for the Grant Manager include but are not limited to:

  • Manage Black Ensemble’s grant development program from inception to completion
  • Conceptualize, plan, write, edit, steward and report on grant proposals to achieve budget goals
  • Research and identify new foundation, corporate, and government sources of funding compatible with Black Ensemble’s programs
  • Ensure on-going awareness and understanding of local and national arts/theater grant opportunities and other funding opportunities that align with BE’s educational outreach programs
  • Manage grants and reporting calendar
  • Stay closely attuned to the Chicago philanthropic community in order to identify and capitalize on all funding opportunities that might support new and existing programs
  • Other duties as assigned


Ideal candidates will offer:


  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Belief in the Black Ensemble Theater Mission
  • 2+ years experience writing grants/reports for a non-profit organization (preferably a theater or arts organization)
  • Superior written and oral communication skills
  • Attention to detail, with a commitment to maintaining BE’s unique voice while improving the quality, content and format of grants and reports
  • Familiarity with the Chicago philanthropic community (foundations and government agencies)
  • Excellent time management skills, ability to manage multiple projects and identify priorities
  • Ability to manage work flow and plan/coordinate the work of others to meet deadlines
  • Professional demeanor with the ability to work independently and as a team player
  • Proficient knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Ability to communicate successfully with stakeholders, patrons, performers, and employees
  • Strong focus on results with an entrepreneurial approach to fundraising and problem solving
  • Strong sense of personal and professional accountability
  • Desire to work in a dynamic, fast paced and ever changing environment


The Grant Manager position is a full time, salaried position including health benefits. Salary and benefits are competitive and offered commensurate with experience. Inquiries should be forwarded to Jackie Taylor at Black Ensemble is an equal opportunity employer.


Director of Development

January 16, 2018



Black Ensemble Theater

A “local treasure,” a “national wonder” and an “international success,” are phrases that the press and its audience agree best describe the dynamic organization that is the Black Ensemble Theater.

Black Ensemble ( has grown from a small community arts organization to a nationally and internationally recognized arts institution.  The mission of Black Ensemble is to eradicate racism and its damaging effects upon our society through the theater arts.  Black Ensemble achieves its mission by producing live theater performances that bring the history and culture of African American people alive to a multi-cultural audience of more than 55,000 people each year.  Black Ensemble also serves disenfranchised communities through eight comprehensive educational outreach programs, which it delivers in partnership with the Chicago Public School system.  These programs touch over 10,000 Chicagoans annually, including students from single and two parent households, wards of the state, teachers, and adults with disabilities.

Located in the vibrant and ethnically diverse Uptown community on Chicago’s north side, Black Ensemble is unique in the city’s theater performance landscape.  Not surprisingly, the diversity of its surroundings is reflected in its patron and donor base.

The Black Ensemble Theater completed one of its most ambitious efforts in building the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center, a $20 million state-of-the-art performance and learning complex.  Currently, Black Ensemble is implementing its organizational plans in preparation for their new expansion initiatives.

Black Ensemble recognizes that robust, sustained fundraising is the cornerstone of accomplishing its growth plans and fulfilling its mission.  As a consequence, the new position of Director of Development has been created to attract an outstanding professional to join the Black Ensemble leadership team.  The new leader will be responsible for creating, managing and driving an advancement capability that is sufficient to support the vision of Black Ensemble.

Director of Development

Reporting directly to the Executive Director, the new Director of Development will serve as the face of the organization on matters related to philanthropy and will interact regularly with the Development Committee of the Board in an effective management partnership.

Black Ensemble’s vision for its fundraising program is one that is well structured and organized, incorporates a myriad of fundraising activities and maximizes support from both private and public sources.

Responsibilities of the director include:

·      Leads and is accountable for all fundraising activity for Black Ensemble, including the solicitation of contributions at various giving levels and from various gift types and sources

·      Develops and leads the execution of all annual, major and capital fund raising strategies and tactics

·      Builds and maintains the internal infrastructure and the external support structure required to achieve the Theater’s strategic expansion plan and meet its annual operating goals, including managing processes, technology and relationships with staff, volunteers, consultants, and vendors

·      In charge of the Development office, manages development staff and is accountable for achieving annual budget goals

·      Leads and coordinates the activities of the Black Ensemble fundraising support structure, including, but not limited to, all volunteers and consultants

·      Builds and maintains relationships throughout the institutional giving and individual donor community

·      Builds and maintains relationships with the appropriate government funding arms

·      Creates visibility and awareness for Black Ensemble in the community at large

·      Assures appropriate communication of plans, issues and results to management and the Board

·      Serves as staff liaison to the Board’s Development Committee

Ideal candidates will offer:

·         Bachelor’s degree

·         Master’s degree and/or CFRE preferred

·         Belief in the mission of Black Ensemble

·         Strategic aptitude

·         Natural leadership qualities

·         Strong planning and budgeting skills

·         A proven ability to raise funds via personal solicitation, written proposals/correspondence, and events

·         Excellent presentation skills

·         Experience in recruiting, working with and engaging a Board of Directors

·         Ability to communicate successfully with funders, donors, artists and other stakeholders

·         Strong focus on results

·         Strong sense of personal and professional accountability

·         A combination of arts and social service experience preferred


Salary and benefits are competitive and offer commensurate with experience.  Inquiries should be forwarded to Jackie Taylor at  Black Ensemble Theater is an equal opportunity employer.

Black Ensemble Theater is also currently seeking qualified candidates for the following:

  • Technical Director

The Black Ensemble Theater seeks a Technical Director for its upcoming productions.

Responsibilities include:

-Manage Day to day operations in scene shop

-Coordinating with the Production Manager in scheduling and managing scenic load-ins, instillation, and strike

-Attend tech rehearsals and production meetings as needed

-maintain personnel to build scenic elements for all performances

-Oversee maintenance of the shop

-Manage hiring of staff for building, and striking productions

-Manage and schedule all scene shop duties on a daily basis and report to Production Manager

All candidates must possess:

-extensive carpentry experience

-well versed in CAD and other scenic programs

-Must be able to manage an active scene shop


Please email resume’s and cover letter to or fill out the form on this page.




  • Box Office Staff

Creates a welcome environment for Customers. Candidates should have experience working with the public and have strong organizational, and communication skills; excellent with multi- tasking and trouble- shooting, box office or other theatre experience helpful. This is a part-time hourly position that requires weekday evening and weekend availability.

Essential Job Responsibilities

  • Greets Customers and visitors in a professional manner.
  • Provide general theatre information.
  • Enters ticket sale, accepts payment, processes transaction, and makes correct change.
  • Processes refunds when necessary and completes any required forms.
  • Answers telephone in a professional manner.
  • Keeps box office area clean and clutter-free.
  • Watches for safety or security issues (trip hazards, lighting, suspicious persons, etc.) and reports to management.
  • Performs other work-related duties as assigned.
  • Ability to calmly troubleshoot and problem-solve is a must.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Available to work evening hours, weekends, and some holidays.
  • Ability to communicate with all ages, genders, and personalities.
  • Ability to speak clearly and hear adequately.
  • Must be computer literate for digital ticketing equipment.
  • Must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Strong verbal and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Accurate cash handling and math skills.

Please fill out this form to be considered.

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