For more than 50 years, LAF has provided people living in poverty in metropolitan Chicago with comprehensive free legal services for non-criminal issues. LAF’s attorneys and staff help resolve civil legal problems, including domestic violence, consumer fraud, and unfair evictions. LAF’s work impacts more than 30,000 people each year.
Position: The Director of Community Engagement builds and maintains strategic partnerships and collaborations with community-based organizations whose services complement LAF’s civil legal aid in a way that increases the impact on the people and communities we serve. Examples of current collaboration priorities include developing neighborhood-focused initiatives where several non-profits coordinate efforts to reduce community violence; Medical-Legal Partnerships where attorneys work with hospitals and clinics to resolve legal issues that affect health outcomes (e.g., housing conditions that exacerbate asthma, lack of medical insurance); and helping low-income people overcome legal barriers to employment, economic opportunity, and stability. The Director represents LAF on cross-sectional coalitions and regional councils focused on addressing issues of poverty, safety, and social justice in Cook County. S/he supervises and manages LAF’s Community Engagement Unit (CEU), currently comprised of two outreach coordinators, one attorney, and occasional volunteers and interns. The Director of Community Engagement Reports to the Chief Strategy Officer.
Responsibilities include, without limitation:
Community Engagement and Collaboration
- Develop and support community engagement projects and lead CEU’s effort to identify persistent and emerging issues in low-income and underserved communities that can be addressed through civil legal representation and advocacy.
- Cultivate and strengthen relationships with social service providers and community-based organizations throughout Cook County.
- Serve as LAF’s representative on coalitions and at stakeholder meetings.
- Maintain knowledge of statistics and reports regarding poverty, legal aid, and underserved and at-risk populations including, without limitation, immigrants, limited English speakers, older adults, people with disabilities, survivors of violence, and veterans.
- Lead CEU’s core community engagement efforts, including:
- Coordinate outreach activities, legal education presentations and know-your-rights workshops, for community members and service providers.
- Help LAF staff develop and implement outreach and community engagement plans, and connect them with community organizations and groups.
- Give presentations about LAF services to diverse audiences, including how to identify a legal issue that may be appropriate for referral to LAF.
- Field requests for information and LAF involvement in community events and evaluate appropriate level of engagement based on priorities and resources.
- Develop and promote messaging that balances LAF’s offerings with its resource limitations.
Supervision and Leadership Within LAF
- Provide supervision, mentorship, and support to CEU staff and volunteers.
- Set CEU priorities, and ensure CEU’s work plans and activities are structured to advance those priorities.
- Work with LAF leadership and casehandlers to identify opportunities to participate in community engagement and collaborative projects that advance LAF’s mission.
- Champion community engagement as a strategy for addressing access to justice and empowerment of low-income and underserved communities.
- Work cooperatively with LAF’s External Relations department to identify funding opportunities, to craft CEU’s role in projects and initiatives, and to comply with reporting and funder requirements.
- Develop and pursue opportunities to expand capacity of CEU through volunteers and interns.
- Utilize and support use of technology to compile, analyze, and share quantitative and qualitative information regarding LAF’s community engagement activities and its impact.
Qualifications: Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree* or higher and at least five years’ experience working with coalitions and community groups to address issues impacting low-income communities. The successful applicant will have excellent and versatile communication skills, including public speaking and one-on-one interactions, have the ability to lead teams and projects, work collaboratively, and have strong organizational skills. Applicants must have a good understanding of the role of civil legal aid in addressing issues of poverty and social justice as well as familiarity with the demographics and geographic makeup of low-income communities and neighborhoods in Chicago and suburban Cook County. Previous supervisory experience is preferred. Fluency in a second language is a plus. Computer proficiency is required, including familiarity with Microsoft Office applications. Applicants must have a valid driver’s license, own or have regular access to a vehicle, and be willing to travel throughout Cook County on a regular basis. Flexibility and ability to work occasional evenings and weekends are essential.
* Not required for internal applicants.
Salary: Salary depends on experience. Generous fringe benefits.
To Apply: Send cover letter, resume, transcript (unofficial ok), and contact information for two professional references to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please type “CEU Director” in the email subject line. The deadline for applications is July 16, 2018. The position will remain open until filled.
LAF values diversity, is an Equal Opportunity Employer, does not
discriminate on the basis of disability, and encourages candidates with
experience working with our client population to apply.
About the organization
LAF (formerly the Legal Assistance Foundation) provides free civil legal services to individuals and families in Chicago and suburban Cook County who are unable to afford an attorney. Households with limited assets and income at or below 150% of the federal poverty line may qualify for free legal help.
We have higher income limits for homeowners at risk of foreclosure, seniors, veterans, people living with HIV-AIDS, and domestic violence survivors seeking protection from an abuser.