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Director of Advocacy

The Chicago Urban League works to advance economic and racial equity for Black Chicago. The organization is an affiliate of the National Urban League, the nation’s oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream.  Founded in 1916 by an interracial group of community leaders, the Urban League was formed to help rural Black families migrating from the south adjust to northern urban living. As one of the major civil rights organizations in Chicago, and one of the 96 affiliates of the National Urban League, the Chicago Urban League works to achieve equity for Black families and communities through social and economic empowerment.

Title: Director of Advocacy FLSA: Exempt
Department: Research and Policy Center Salary: $48,000 – $55,000, depending on experience


The Director of Advocacy will support efforts to advance racial and economic justice by clearly and consistently positioning the discussion of race, structural racism and racial equity at the front and center of policy decision-making in our core advocacy focus areas: asset building and the wealth gap, education and youth development, housing and neighborhoods, and public health and safety.

The Director of Advocacy role will have a strong focus on building and maintaining relationships with decision-makers, grasstops and grassroots organizations, community leaders and impacted persons. Working under the Vice President and Executive Director of the Research and Policy Center, and in partnership with the Director of Research, the Director of Advocacy will (1) Assist in the development of the League’s advocacy agenda and oversee all facets of its implementation and execution; (2) Serve an important role as the primary lead and representative for the League in its coalition work with advocacy partners, as well as its community engagement liaison with community members and impacted persons; (3) Serve as a community educator on issues impacting Black families and communities in Chicago (taking the form of online posts, writings, social media posts, trainings, workshops and other formats as needed); (4) Serve as the chair of both our internal Policy Roundtable and external RPC Advisory Council.


  • Work with the League’s leadership team to define and develop the organization’s advocacy agenda based on current organizational priorities and external policy landscape
  • Develop and implement strategies for advancing policy and advocacy goals
  • Identify and monitor pending local and state legislative initiatives, external agency policies and practices and other policy and advocacy issues falling under the scope of interest for the League
  • Identify key stakeholder individuals, organizations, businesses and communities to determine potential partners for our advocacy work
  • Develop and maintain relationships with potential partners across public, nonprofit and for-profit organizations in community areas on the south and west sides of Chicago
  • Serve as the League’s representative at seminars, conferences, meetings and presentations to share the League’s policy and advocacy agenda and keep the League informed of work being done in the community
  • Develop a range of approaches for informing internal and external audiences of policy and advocacy matters relevant to the League (written materials: reports, blog posts, website content and other web-based materials; learning sessions: events, trainings, webinars, workshops; presentations: internal or with partners).
  • Oversee and facilitate the work of the internal Policy Roundtable and external RPC Advisory Council.


To perform the job successfully, an individual should demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Passionate commitment to the Chicago Urban League’s mission, vision and strategic direction with the ability to serve as a strong, compelling ambassador for the organization
  • Strong interest in social policy, particularly in addressing inequity, structural racism and the root causes of poverty, unemployment, low educational attainment, and violence among African Americans
  • Strong organizational skills with ability to manage multiple projects effectively
  • Outstanding written and verbal communications and relational skills; Strong ability to connect with diverse range of partners, stakeholders and groups
  • Ability to use data in framing and shaping policy and advocacy efforts
  • Ability to work individually and as a member of a team; flexibility
  • Ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines
  • Tenacious, persistent, energetic, self-starting; sense of humor helps

Education and Experience

  • Minimum Requirements: Graduate-level education in social work, policy studies or related social sciences area (e.g., education, sociology, psychology, urban planning, public administration, etc.) with 2-5 years of policy, advocacy and/or community outreach and organizing experience.
  • Requires experience working with, presenting to and connecting with a diverse spectrum of stakeholders: community members; community organizations and groups; business, nonprofit and philanthropic community; academic community; impacted persons.
  • Writing sample will need to be provided.

Reports to

Vice President and Executive Director, Research and Policy Center


Please email materials to: