The Steans Family Foundation was launched in 1986 to significantly improve the life outcomes of children whose parents do not earn a living wage. The Foundation’s first philanthropic investment was to a class of sixth graders through the “I Have A Dream Program”. SFF provided holistic support to ensure students successfully matriculated to high school, enrolled in college and graduated, or successfully entered the world of work. In 1996, SFF began to focus on the revitalization of vulnerable communities and made a strategic decision to concentrate its grantmaking in North Lawndale, located on the west side of Chicago. In 2016, the SFF expanded its reach to North Chicago, an urban community located north of Chicago in Lake County. The Steans Family Foundation recognizes that effective neighborhood revitalization efforts must come from and be sustained by community leaders and uses this guiding principle to build capacity in partnering with communities.
Bounded by Western, Cermak, Cicero and the Eisenhower Expressway, North Lawndale is in the 24th Aldermanic Ward on the city’s west side. In addition to its rich cultural history, North Lawndale boasts significant physical assets and a vibrant array of human and institutional resources. At the same time, the neighborhood faces a familiar range of urban challenges, including high poverty, crime and unemployment rates. The combination of high-unmet need and local strength makes North Lawndale an ideal partner for the Steans Family Foundation.
The Steans Family Foundation (SFF) seeks a full-time Program Officer to work with community partners and leaders, public officials, residents, funders and other stakeholders to create, implement and document community-led strategic efforts and further SFF’s policy goals.
Specifically, the Program Officer has responsibility for working with the team to implement programmatic strategy focused on workforce development, violence prevention, and capacity building in North Lawndale. This position is also responsible for investment strategies and public policy and/or systems change initiatives that drive social change in alignment with strategy.
- In conjunction with residents and CBO leaders and other stakeholders, develop policy recommendations a safe and peaceful community.
- Provide strategic guidance, hands-on support and technical assistance to community partners (grantees) resulting in action plans, clear implementation steps/responsibilities, and measureable outcomes.
- Identify and cultivate funding opportunities to advance systemic reforms in the areas of police and criminal justice reform and community development.
- Develop deep relationships, partnerships and alliances with municipal officials, community leaders, residents, foundations, consultants and other stakeholders to develop plans, support their implementation and inform policy that best supports community efforts.
- Provide support and direct technical assistance as needed to community partners in the areas of strategic planning, board development, financial management, fiscal management, human resources, program and operational development and other aspects of capacity building as needed.
- Assist in the coordination and development of scope of services and selection process for consultants to community partners and collective impact hubs and supervise their work.
- Regularly update SFF team on planning and implementation progress and align/broker connections where possible.
- Work with SFF team to develop and monitor reporting systems on the project/program status of each grantee for internal and external use.
- Track national and local trends, research and best practices that impact and inform SFF’s strategic direction as well advance the knowledge and practices of community partners.
- Prepare and monitor annual program plans and budgets and communicate status of work and outcomes achieved to trustees, community partners and other stakeholders on a regular basis.
- Solicit and review proposals and letters of inquiry, arrange and manage site visits, prepare proposals for board review, and present written and verbal recommendations to the trustees; monitor program evaluation procedures for initiatives; assist in the preparation of grant agreement and decline letters and work to communicate clearly with successful grantees as well as organizations that do not receive support from the Foundation.
- Work with community partners to facilitate communication and information sharing and support the development of affinity groups or other appropriate collaborative structures to guide the Foundation’s programmatic efforts where possible.
- Work in conjunction with the Executive Director to ensure the effective and efficient operations of the foundation, including the strategic refinement of the grant making process and limited aspects of financial management.
- Represent SFF as a thought leader and subject matter expert at convenings, strategic discussions, or other tables as requested.
- Represent SFF at community and local events on a regular basis.
- Assist with special projects and other duties as assigned.
- Expert in violence prevention/intervention strategies that have yielded results in the context of a comprehensive/holistic program.
- Knowledge of other issue areas – including community development, workforce development, criminal justice – from both a programmatic and systems-level perspective, is strongly preferred.
- Demonstrated flexible, multidisciplinary thinking required to address the broad social and economic forces that impact communities.
- Experience in public policy development, community organizing, or related field preferred.
- Passionate belief in the Steans Family Foundation mission to respectfully collaborate with vulnerable communities and improve the quality of life for its residents.
- Familiarity with Chicago area. Working knowledge of the economic, political, and social environments of Chicago, especially vulnerable neighborhoods, community based organizations, and community development efforts.
- Proven ability to achieve measurable, meaningful results.
- Creative ability to develop project and program ideas as needed and capitalize on emerging opportunities and leverage resources to support them.
- Project management and excellent written/oral communication skills for both formal and informal settings.
- Demonstrated ability to manage multiple, complex transactions at various stages and coordinate with multiple internal and external parties to meet approval and closing deadlines.
- Ability and predisposition to contribute to intellectual give and take.
- Ability to initiate, foster and leverage contacts and networks to achieve strong, positive outcomes.
- High level of personal and professional integrity.
- Superior attention to detail and excellent follow-through.
Education and Professional Requirements
- Bachelor’s degree required. Master’s Degree in public policy, business or public administration, law, criminal justice, urban planning, sociology, or similar field a plus.
- At least 5 years of relevant experience in community development or related field.
The SFF offers a competitive salary commensurate with experience, along with generous benefits.
How To Apply
Please send cover letter and resume via email with “Program Officer” in the subject line to: Marissa Filippo at firstname.lastname@example.org