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Illinois Program Director

Chicago, IL
POSITION SUMMARY
The Program Director leads Chicago’s trails initiative and leads the development of its state and region-wide Community Schools initiative. The Program Director is responsible for working with the Illinois State Director, Illinois Director of Philanthropy, staff, Chicago Advisory Board members, donors and partners to develop the overall vision and implementation of these initiatives. Implementation of the trails and Community Schoolyard initiatives requires the Program Director to:  develop and cultivate key working partnerships; lead the creation and management of a diverse range of projects; secure public and private funding for program and project launches and operations; supervise a staff or intern; and, advance equity, social justice, and nature access through TPL’s on-the-ground projects (trails and schoolyards), policy change, and increased funding. The Director works closely with key staff from Philanthropy, Marketing, Federal Affairs, Finance, Parks for People (and associated national programs) and the Mission Services to ensure alignment and coordination of the program with the wider goals of the organization.
 
ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS
  • Responsible for strategic planning and visioning, program development, budgeting, overall strategy and ensuring the program emphasizes equity and serving historically marginalized communities.
  • Identify and work with TPL national programs and partners to secure multiple sources of public funds for mission delivery and implementation of the program.
  • Identify and work to secure multiple sources of private funds for mission delivery and implementation of the program.  In close cooperation with the IL State Director and the IL Director of Philanthropy, assist in the development of fundraising materials and proposals for foundations, corporations, and individual donors and participate in meetings with potential funders to provide information about the program and its plans.
  • Identify, develop and cultivate high-level partnerships and key relationships with political, corporate, public agency, non-governmental organizations, civic leaders, funders and other partners around parks, schoolyards, green infrastructure, and impacts of our work to affordable housing, climate and walkability. 
  • Represent the trails and Community Schoolyards initiatives internally and externally and help brand our work.
  • Responsible for aligning the initiatives with the national Parks for People strategic plan and serve as an effective collaborator within the matrix structure of the organization to bring national expertise and resources to Illinois’ program including Climate-Smart Cities, Creative Placemaking, Community Health.
  • Leverage the national expertise in Park / Conservation Finance to identify, build support for and, if applicable, serve as local liaison for trail funding measures. 
  • Leverage the national resources of the Land and People Lab to bring data and GIS analysis capabilities to meet information needs.
  • Design and implement community engagement processes that ensure equity in participation and that all voices are heard and input is integrated into plans, designs, construction and stewardship. 
  • Primary responsibility for developing strategy, either directly or by supervision of staff and/or consultants, for local governmental, community and public relations; and in conjunction with the IL State Director and Marketing, for local media relations related to the parks program.
 
QUALIFICATIONS
 
  • Proven ability to both manage complex projects, programs, and budgets and to create a strategic and coherent vision for long-term leadership in building and/or renovating parks, trails, schoolyards, playgrounds and public spaces.
  • Familiarity with urban planning, particularly park planning, landscape architecture and capital improvements and an understanding of urban environmental quality of life issues including parks and trails, environmental justice, brownfields, walkability, climate change, community development, and housing.
  • Familiarity with advocacy and government relations needed to impact policy and funding. 
  • Excellent leadership, meeting facilitation, collaboration, public speaking and communication skills.
  • Experience in working with community leaders, agency staff, elected officials and local media to promote and implement successful projects.
  • Experience in collaborating and negotiating with diverse groups and interests, including communities of color and historically marginalized communities.
  • Possesses an entrepreneurial spirit, initiative, energy, the capacity to lead, mentor and inspire others, and the capacity to be a high performer and a team player, with common sense and resiliency.
  • Minimum 8 years related experience.
  • Willingness to travel and attend evening meetings.
  • Computer Proficiency: Microsoft Office, Excel and familiarity with geographic information systems (GIS) and sophisticated spatial and data analysis.
  • Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent work experience, including course work in urban planning, landscape architecture, and land use management.
As a full-time exempt employee, you will be eligible for Trust for Public Land’s comprehensive benefits program which includes medical, dental, and vision insurance, vacation, ten + holidays, and a 403(b) retirement plan, currently with an up to 7% company match. We offer competitive salaries commensurate with experience; the hiring range for this position is $80,000-95,000.
 

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