Jane Erb has been named the inaugural Director of Development at the University of Illinois Cancer Center.
An experienced nonprofit advancement professional, Erb returns to the campus where she received her bachelor’s degree in English and Gender and Women’s Studies. She has also served as advancement coordinator at the University of Illinois Chicago’s College of Architecture and the Arts – known now as the College of Architecture, Design and the Arts.
“I’ve always been a firm believer in the power of philanthropy and the non-profit sector to achieve equitable access to, and delivery of, critical resources across society,” Erb said. “I am most energized and encouraged to add value to organizations whose goals champion the voices and needs of underserved and underrepresented communities.
“Because I have a particular interest in both healthcare and education as sites of differential access and equity, the chance to work with the team at the University of Illinois Cancer Center excites me as an opportunity to drive growth at a diverse organization whose mission, vision and values inspire meaningful systemic impact.”
Born and raised in Birmingham, England, Erb came to the U.S. in the mid-1980s. A two-week work assignment quickly turned into a six-month project, and during that time she felt she found a new home. Following her graduation from UIC, she received a master’s degree in Nonprofit Administration at North Park University.
Erb began working with Chicago-area nonprofits in 2008, first at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. She then returned to UIC in 2009 before leaving to work as Development and Planned Giving Director with the American Medical Association Foundation, and most recently as Development Director at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.
“One of the reasons why I enjoy working in higher education is that I recall receiving my first scholarship as an undergraduate student at UIC,” Erb said. “As I’m sure is the experience of many other first generation students, I was astounded at the generosity of the donors who had established that scholarship fund to ensure that future generations would share the same educational opportunity they had.
“Remembering the difference that scholarship made in my life made it an easy transition into higher education development, where I’ve been fortunate to help incredible philanthropists invest in transformational impact at several deserving organizations.”
Erb has secured a range of funding throughout her career – some as much as eight figures – but she considers her greatest achievement to be the relationships she has built, particularly with first-time major and principal gift donors.
“Helping donors envision the impact their giving can have and how they can structure their gifts to make it feasible is a tremendous privilege,” she said.