NRF is Hiring!




Operations Associate



The National Recreation Foundation envisions a future in which all young people are thriving and connected to the natural world. We believe that engaging in meaningful outdoor experiences during one’s formative years is critical to realizing this future. Further, we believe that access to safe outdoor spaces is a human right.


The National Recreation Foundation (NRF) increases access for young people to explore, grow, learn and play in the outdoors.


We do this by supporting local and regional organizations that serve youth from historically marginalized communities through funding, collaboration and leadership development.


Community    ◊    Equity    ◊    Entrepreneurial Spirit    ◊    Integrity    ◊    Respect

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NRF is entering an exciting new phase of its organizational journey. We currently provide a total of $2-3M in grant funding per year to almost 100 organizations active across the U.S. As we implement a new strategic plan that will refine and deepen our work, we are excited to create a new position on our team. This key new staff person will work collaboratively with diverse and multi-generational stakeholders, including: 20+ members of the Board of Trustees, 4 member staff, advisory council, grantees and partners. We seek applicants with a commitment to racial and social justice, including the right for all youth to have access to meaningful experiences in safe outdoor spaces.

NRF seeks a detail-oriented and driven Operations Associate to assist in the smooth running of our day-to-day operations.

Reporting to the President and CEO, the Operations Associate’s responsibilities include supporting the foundation’s financial operations, optimizing processes, coordinating logistics, and providing essential support to the entire NRF team.

The ideal candidate is a critical thinker who will proactively build and improve the quality of systems and processes within the foundation for greater efficiency. This individual will be highly organized with meticulous attention to detail.

An exceptional Operations Associate is able to multitask and ensure operational activities run smoothly.

  • Assist in streamlining and managing the foundation’s procedures and day-to-day operations.
  • Perform administrative tasks, including maintaining records, preparing reports, and scheduling meetings.
  • Assist in budget preparation and expense management activities.
  • Ensure compliance with foundation policies, standards and procedures.
  • Resolve operational issues and troubleshoot any emerging problems.

This position is a full-time, exempt, hybrid position based near the NRF office in Lake County, IL. NRF offers hybrid work and flexible scheduling options. As this is a new position for NRF, we are open to exploring part-time options as well.


Financial (40%)

Responsible for the fundamental financial operations of the foundation, including:

  • Reconcile financial accounts and generating monthly financial reports
  • Process bill and grant payments
  • Track revenue and expenses by program; create financial reports
  • Serve as the point of contact for HR concerns (payroll, benefits, etc.)
  • Assist with budget reporting, expense management and financial planning processes
  • Participate in the annual audit of the foundation’s financial statements
  • Coordinate annual state filings
  • Process expense reimbursements
  • Oversee foundation’s supplier diversity program

Logistics (35%)

  • Manage cloud-based computer system and organization calendar
  • Schedule Board, staff, committee and grantee meetings
  • Prepare Board meetings packets
  • Manage registration process for grantee workshops
  • Support Zoom meetings and trainings
  • Coordinate travel planning and logistics for NRF staff meetings, Annual Board of Trustees meeting (off site each November), Crawford Prize reception, grantee site visits, conferences

Communications (15%)

  • Respond in a timely and respectful manner to general inquiries.
  • Develop and market leadership development opportunities to grantees
  • Support staff in development of presentations
  • Handle website updates, organization of the annual report

Other (10%)

  • Actively participate in staff and Board meetings
  • Participate in educational opportunities and professional networks
  • Protect the organization by keeping its information confidential
  • Other duties as assigned.


NRF seeks a highly collaborative, detail-oriented problem solver with strong analytic skills and a proven record. The ideal candidate will be/have:

  • Committed to NRF’s mission of equitable access to meaningful outdoor experiences for all youth.
  • Positive attitude, highly dependable and self-motivated, while enjoying working as part of a team.
  • Strong organizational and multi-tasking abilities.
  • Enthusiastic about analyzing financial and technical needs and creating successful new systems.
  • Available during normal business hours, Monday-Friday; evening and weekend work needs may occur occasionally with proper notice.
  • Able to communicate with and work effectively with diverse constituencies, personalities, and viewpoints.
  • Dedicated to an organization-wide culture of learning.
  • Excellent project management skills, with the ability to manage heavy workloads
  • under deadlines.
  • Excellent written, verbal and analytic skills, including the ability to assess and synthesize complex information and briefly summarize issues and how to address them.
  • Ability to move effectively between big picture and meticulous work required by the position.

While performing the duties of this job, the employee regularly is required to talk or hear and use hands to operate equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, scanners, filing cabinets. Reasonable accommodation may be available to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the position’s essential functions. 


  • BA or higher preferred, or equivalent work and life experience.
  • Minimum of 3 years of related experience in the nonprofit or philanthropic sectors.
  • Previous experience in coordinating office and financial systems.
  • Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office platforms (Word, PowerPoint, Excel) and working in databases.
  • Facility with QuickBooks, SurveyMonkey, MailChimp, Zoom, web platforms a plus


NRF is committed to equal employment opportunity and to compliance with applicable local, state, and federal antidiscrimination laws which prohibit discrimination and harassment against any employees or applicants for employment based on their actual or perceived race, color, religion, age, ancestry, marital status, protective order status, military status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, work authorization status, pregnancy and the potential or intention to become pregnant, AIDS/HIV status, medical condition, status as a victim of domestic, sexual, gender or criminal violence, certain arrest or criminal history records, lack of a permanent mailing address or a mailing address that is a shelter or social services provider, and use of lawful products outside of work during non-working hours.

We will not tolerate discrimination or harassment based upon these characteristics or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.


The position is a salaried, exempt, full-time (negotiable) position with a salary range of $65,000 to $75,000 annually, depending on professional and lived experience. NRF will offer a competitive benefits package, including, health, life and disability insurance, 403(b) plan, paid time off and holidays.

The position will function within a hybrid working environment with the option of alternating remote and on-site workdays. In-person obligations will exist within Chicagoland and beyond, including travel outside Illinois for in-person meetings.


Please submit your cover letter and resume to by May 31, 2024. Please include “Operations Associate Application” in the subject line. Applications will be reviewed as submitted, so interested parties are encouraged to apply early. The names of applicants will be held in complete confidence. Thank you.