Friends of the Chicago River seeks a director of community and strategic initiatives to lead current and new projects to help Friends achieve our vision of the Chicago River system as a healthy blue-green corridor of public open space that benefits people and wildlife. The director of community and strategic Initiatives manages the day to day activities of the education and outreach team at the same time as he/she implements programs and partners with the executive director, director of conservation and policy, planning director, and development director to advance our strategic agenda and build organizational capacity.
The director of community and strategic initiatives should be an experienced, creative leader who can build partnerships and expand Friends’ outreach to enhance public awareness, knowledge, skills, and attitudes that help improve the health of the Chicago River system. Internal audiences include volunteers and members. External audiences include the general public, community and stewardship groups and organizations, river stakeholders, and visitors to the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum.
An essential member of Friends’ leadership team, the director of community and strategic initiatives is responsible for direct management of three mid to upper level staff and plays a key role in monitoring and measuring programmatic success. As the only organization exclusively dedicated to improving the Chicago River, Friends seeks an individual who is committed to the environment and views the river as an important part of the history, culture and future of the Chicago region.
Leadership and Management
Lead and inspire the education and outreach team and provide cohesion and strategic vision for Friends’ outreach, education, and community engagement efforts across program areas
Be a frontline relationship builder to enhance, deepen, and expand current relationships, partnerships that create new support and impact
Directly supervise Bridgehouse director, ecology outreach manager, and volunteer and events associate.
Help establish long range strategic goals, plans and policies to engage with corporate leaders to help achieve organizational
Partner across programs to inspire ongoing assessment and evaluation of project and program outcomes and develop strategies to measure success
Provide leadership on organizational efforts to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion
Build structure, metrics, and plans around programs and initiatives to measure and evaluate success across programs
Assist with development and facilitation of annual organizational planning
Develop and implement long-term and annual plans for strategic initiatives including Litter Free Chicago River, Overflow Action Days, and the River Volunteer Stewardship Program
Provide vision, leadership, and direction for Friends’ outreach and education programs including Chicago River Day, Chicago River Schools Network, McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, River Action Days, the paddling program and other volunteer initiatives
Serve as lead partner for Centennial Volunteers, a multi-organization collaboration
Oversee the program team and coordinated review and assessment of annual and grant funded goals and outcomes
Ensure that Friends’ suite of outreach opportunities are thoughtful and strategic, and that they build on each other to engage more community members in Friends’ mission
Manage community outreach requests
Work with the development team to fund education and outreach activities, including developing grant proposals and reports and corporate and major donor outreach
Secure sponsorship for Chicago River Day
Provide strategic assistance for development activities across all programs
Oversee all education and outreach grants and budgets, monitor success programmatically and financially
Directly develop and manage at least eight program areas
QUALIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
The right candidate will have a master’s degree in community relations, environmental education, ecology, or related field with at least 10 years’ experience in community outreach and strategic program development, no less than five in a leadership position
The candidate must have experience managing budgets, managing programs, overseeing staff working on a multitude of different programs, program evaluation, cultivating donors, and grant writing
In addition, the candidate must be organized, flexible, self-directed, entrepreneurial, be willing serve with alacrity, and possess:
Demonstrated success in building, managing, and growing meaningful relationships with a diverse range of constituents
Effective communications skills
The ability to work with diverse groups and individuals, and enthusiasm for connecting with people from a variety of backgrounds
Excellent presentation, writing, and instructional skills
A high level of integrity, professionalism, and a creative, responsive style with strong attention to detail and follow through, and the ability to work independently and as a team player
An ability to work on multiple projects at once and build new projects from the ground up
An unwavering commitment to improving the environment
Please send your resume and cover letter as PDFs files describing: 1) your interest in this position, 2) the ways in which you satisfy the qualifications specified above, and 3) salary requirements, to the attention of Margaret Frisbie, Executive Director via email to email@example.com, subject line: Director of Community and Strategic Initiatives or mail to Friends of the Chicago River, 411 S. Wells, #800, Chicago, IL 60607.
No applications will be considered without a personalized cover letter detailing the applicant's specific interest in this position. NO CALLS, PLEASE.
Additional Salary Information: BENEFITS
Friends offer excellent benefits including generous paid leave, medical and dental insurance, and a retirement match after two years of employment. Salary commensurate with experience. Friends of the Chicago River is an equal opportunity employer.
About Friends of the Chicago River
Founded in 1979, Friends of the Chicago River is an award winning nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve and protect the Chicago River for people, plants, and animals. With over 16,000 members, volunteers, and online advocates, Friends works to make the river greener and more accessible, while building awareness of the benefits that a clean, healthy river can bring to communities across the watershed. Friends of the Chicago River is working to make the Chicago River one of the world’s great metropolitan rivers. For more information on Friends of the Chicago River, please visit our website www.chicagoriver.org.