The Organization – Woods Fund Chicago
ABOUT WOODS FUND CHICAGO:
Woods Fund Chicago (WFC) is a bold grantmaking foundation that finds and funds organizations that draw on the power of communities to fight the brutality of structural racism and economic injustice. It promotes social, economic, and racial justice through the support of community organizing and public policy advocacy that engages people that are most impacted. Woods Fund Chicago has been on a years-long, intentional journey to center equity and justice in its work, build community through its grantmaking, and support partners more holistically across Chicago. Visit woodsfund.org for more information on how these ideals are put into practice.
The Communications & Storytelling Officer (CSO) reports to the President and provides both strategic and marketing/communications insight to all program areas. The CSO works closely with the President to create Foundation-wide communications and marketing goals, with a focus on storytelling using the power of narrative to add to the Foundation’s advocacy efforts (for an example, take a look at how the Center for Story-Based Strategy uses Narrative Power Analysis and storytelling to push change). This position will develop a strategic communications plan for WFC, directly managing communications activities that promote, enhance, and protect the organization’s brand reputation. The CSO also works collaboratively with other Foundation staff, grantee partners, peer funders, and other stakeholders to identify and act on opportunities to communicate externally about the Foundation’s grantmaking and grantee partners, as well as to elevate racial justice and grassroots organizing, highlight the Foundation’s advocacy and values, amplify grantee partner stories and voices, and ensure consistency in communications, messaging, and marketing across the Foundation. The role will approach communications work with integrity, sensitivity, and intentionality about how community history, cultures, stories, and lived experiences are gathered, produced, and conveyed. The ideal candidate is someone immersed in the dynamic organizing and creative landscape of the Chicago region.
The strongest candidates for the Communications & Storytelling Officer role will be able to demonstrate their interest and ability to thrive in the organization’s work norms and culture:
- Purpose-driven: Grounded in the work, aware of the impact that is possible, and able to purposely engage and collaborate with others internally and externally to move the work forward
- Innovative: Able and eager to identify new opportunities, strategies, and approaches to philanthropy within and outside of traditional systems and structures
- Entrepreneurial: Ability to present ideas to reimagine supporting community-based organizing groups in Chicago
- Inquisitive and Creative: Pose critical questions to self and the team, generate ideas, and then test those ideas internally and externally to establish original methods and points of view
- Flexible and Adaptable: Possess the confidence and commitment to successfully work in an environment where experimentation is encouraged, ambiguity exists, and flexibility and adaptability are necessary
- Growth and Development-Oriented: An individual who is always learning, growing, improving, and open to feedback
The selected candidate will build a strong and consistent organizational identity, presence, and tone across multiple internal and external stakeholders
- Lead all aspects of Woods Fund Chicago’s communications, storytelling, and marketing with a racial justice lens
- Work with the President and Foundation leadership to develop and implement an integrated strategic communications plan to advance WFC’s brand identity and broaden awareness of its grantmaking and advocacy
- Advise/counsel the President and Foundation leadership on key communication/storytelling strategies that elevate the Foundation’s mission, vision, and organizational values
- Oversee the development of all WFC print and digital communications including the annual report, monthly newsletter, website, social media posts, and marketing collateral materials; manage relationships with associated vendors/consultants
- Source digital/audio/visual content for use across the Foundation’s website, emails, social media, and other digital materials, centering the Foundation’s advocacy strategies with a focus on storytelling
- Support the Woods Fund team on written communications, specifically blogposts, op-eds, bi-annual reports, and public statements
- Act on and complete communications deliverables related to the 2022-2025 strategic plan
- Partner with Foundation leadership on the storytelling aspect of Board meetings and assist with the creation and editing of reports and presentations for the Board
- Work closely with the program team internally and identify potential external partners to elevate the stories and work of grantee partners, with a focus on providing support, training, or technical assistance to those with little to no external communications presence
- Develop systems and lead the Knowledge Management of the Foundation’s internal work and journey. Specifically, lead how the organization documents key insights from current events discussions, discussions with grantee partners, issue-based articles, research, etc., and how this ongoing learning can inform its external communications and internal culture of shared and public learning with the Woods Fund Chicago team, including the Board
- Demonstrate an essential trustworthiness by maintaining a high level of confidentiality with regard to the Foundation, its Board and staff, and its grantmaking processes
- Stay current and knowledgeable on both the field of communications and marketing and community issues, needs, and organizations relevant to the Foundation by participating in educational opportunities, professional networks/associations, and conferences
- Attend virtual webinars/briefings in which Foundation staff are presenting to promote via traditional and social media
- A combination of education/experience in a relevant field, including strategic communications, journalism, marketing, social media management, and/or digital media with a minimum of five years of professional experience. Bachelor’s degree is preferred.
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to develop clear, concise, and consistent messaging, visualize data in compelling ways, and engage audiences in different ways
- Demonstrated experience in planning, program design, and strategy development is required
- Strong experience with social media strategy, planning, design, and execution across different platforms is preferred
- Experience working with/in communities of color that have been marginalized is required
- Commitment to racial justice and using the power of communications and storytelling to further advocacy efforts within the philanthropic sector
- General knowledge of grassroots community organizing, movement building, and social justice issues in Chicago is highly preferred
- Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to inspire and motivate others, have enthusiasm for organizational change, and be an open-minded listener who seeks and values a range of viewpoints, but is also comfortable making final recommendations to the President
- A creative, energetic, and optimistic approach to work and leadership, including the ability to think creatively and act strategically
- A transparent, humble, and collaborative leader with the President, Board, staff, grantee partners, and other stakeholders, and they will be able to interact with empathy and a sense of humor
- The candidate will possess the skills to effectively collaborate and work in a team-oriented culture that centers trust as a core value
- They will have the professional presence and gravitas to capably represent the Foundation and uphold its reputation
- Knowledge of, and high level of comfort with, computer software systems (Google GSuite, Asana, Microsoft Office platforms), video conferencing tools, and email marketing tools is required
- Experience with communications platforms (Squarespace, EMMA) is a plus
- Finally, an organizing spirit, the willingness to go above and beyond a written job description to deliver on strategies, and a “learn as we go” attitude are must-haves
We know that BIPOC, women or female identifying candidates are less likely to apply to jobs unless they meet every requirement. Please do not be deterred. You may be exactly who we are looking for!
- This is a full-time position. Evening and weekend work are occasionally required.
- The Foundation’s staff are currently working hybrid – three days at home, two days at the office. Staff are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated.
- Ordinarily, this position operates primarily in an accessible office environment. Some travel to grantee partners’ organizations and other off-site locations in the Chicago metro area is required. Some of those sites may not be accessible.
- Woods Fund Chicago’s workplace is a smoke- and drug-free environment.
- Woods Fund Chicago is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Decisions and criteria governing the employment relationship with all employees are made in a non-discriminatory manner, without regard to race, ethnicity, creed, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, citizenship status, military service, relationship and/or marital status, disability, or any other factor determined to be unlawful by federal, state, or local statutes.
- Salary is in the $100,000-$115,000 range, commensurate with experience
- Comprehensive benefits package includes employer-paid medical insurance, employer-matched contribution to a retirement plan, and generous paid leave
How To Apply
- Submit resume, salary requirements, and, instead of a cover letter, answers to a few short questions here: WFC CSO Application
- Candidates selected for an interview will be asked to provide references and a writing sample.
- Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Due to the high volume of applications, only those selected for further discussion will be contacted. Please, no phone calls.