Local recruitment: Local Partnerships and Advocacy Manager

Alliance for the Great Lakes

Chicago, IL, USA 🇺🇸


The Local Partnerships and Advocacy, Manager (Manager) reports to the Director of Planning to develop and implement the Alliance’s community advocacy strategy. The Manager executes the Alliance’s community advocacy work in Chicago and Cook County, Illinois, with the goal of strengthening and sustaining the advocacy power of community partners who live or work in disproportionately impacted communities.  S/he will elevate local leaders expertise in municipal and state policy decisions to address water issues is disproportionally impacted communities. Local partnerships and networks will be developed and strengthened through collaborative, locally-led decision-making grounded in lived experiences. The Manager will support partners in implementation of climate-informed, water infrastructure policies, projects and programs designed to improve the health and quality of Great Lakes waters, address racial inequities in land use decisions, and strengthen the network of water advocates in water adjacent communities to achieve policy solutions to local water challenges. Execution of the shared advocacy strategy will include deployment of Alliance resources to local partners and engaging with a wide range of stakeholders including environmental justice advocates, networks of non-profits, city and county staff, and elected officials. S/he works with a team of water planning, advocacy and communication leaders at the Alliance to shape policy and practices that help protect the Great Lakes.

A typical week for the Partnerships and Advocacy Manager might look like this – the week begins with a quick check-in video call with the Director of Planning and the Water Policy Manager to discuss and coordinate tasks for the week.  You start working on a grant report, but then a partner texts to let you know they finally heard back from Commissioner John Doe and the meeting is scheduled for tomorrow. You set the grant report aside, and start texting, emailing and calling partners who needs to be at this meeting, making sure they have the fact sheets that you worked with them and the Communication & Engagement team to develop in anticipation of this meeting. You attend the meeting, take notes, and after the meeting you schedule a debrief meeting with partners to discuss what was learned and next steps. In the debrief meeting partners decide a next step is to talk with residents about their water bills because Commissioner Doe said he thought everyone in Chicago could pay if they wanted to. So, you set-up a meeting with the Water Policy Analysis, researchers from a Chicago area university and partners to develop a plan for collecting and analyzing data based on interviews with residents, and lay out a strategy for how this data can inform specific policy recommendations. You schedule a meeting the Communications & Engagement team and partners to discuss how the data and policy recommendations can be turned into communication materials. You begin to develop a campaign plan and related budgets, scopes of work and work plans, and share those with partners, Director of Planning, Water Policy Manager and Director of Operations for feedback and approval. It’s the end of the week, you check your Outlook calendar and are reminded that your grant report is due. You finish up your report and email it to the Foundation & Corporate Giving Manager. It’s been a hectic week, so you take a little time for yourself to relax and recuperate.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes sets a protection agenda for the Great Lakes, a resource of global significance and the world’s largest source of surface freshwater. The Alliance seeks to protect the Great Lakes from their greatest threats, build a resilient future for communities and instill the value of clean water throughout the region. The Alliance is a four-star Charity Navigator organization. Learn more at www.greatlakes.org.


Community Advocacy Capacity

  • Co-develop and co-lead an advocacy strategy to advance water infrastructure policies that prioritize health equity through lead service line replacement and addressing flooding/basement backups as part of a neighborhood investment strategy in Chicago and Cook County.
  • Support coalitions of environmental justice leaders and environmental non-profits to advance shared policy priorities in Chicago and Cook County.
  • Co-create and coordinate events, workshops, and trainings to strengthen advocacy networks, build broad-based support, and elevate local leaders.

Manage Partnerships

  • Co-develop partners’ and consultants’ scopes of work that align with agreed upon goals and roles.
  • Co-develop and continually manage work plans, virtual work spaces, budgets/invoicing, and check-in meetings for all partners.
  • Co-facilitate and support the Calumet Connect Partnership with the Southeast Environmental Task Force.

Policy and Decision Making Process

  • Meet regularly with city staff and elected officials in Chicago and Cook County to build support for and pass water infrastructure policies.
  • Navigate the technical and political decision-making process for water infrastructure policies and land use in Chicago and Cook County.
  • Recommend processes that allow agency staff to meaningfully engage with community leaders on the development and implementation of policy and program priorities.

Data Informed Campaigns

  • Based on feedback from local partners, identify data gaps and utilize internal and external resources to gather information needed with a focus on data that elevates lived experiences (e.g. focus groups, interviews, surveys).
  • Co-develop a campaign strategy that identifies community tools (e.g. fact sheets, media, videos, slide decks) needed to reach target audiences.

Program Development

  • Assist with the development of grant proposals for new work that facilitates program growth and supports strategic partnerships.
  • Track and report on grant deliverables, project budgets and expenses.
  • Inform the Alliance’s strategic direction in Chicago/Illinois, Detroit/Michigan and Cleveland/Ohio.


  • Strong existing relationships in Chicago.
  • Plan and execute virtual and in-person meetings, workshops, trainings or events to build support for policies, elevate the expertise of local leaders, and advance collective action.
  • Research, write and verbally communicate wonky policy information in easy-to-understand language that provides everyone from elected officials to community leaders with actions they can take.
  • Work independently to support community leaders and advocates, especially in communities of color or communities impacted by failing water infrastructure and racial and health inequities.
  • Facilitate collaborative processes that allow a range of stakeholders, especially those with lived experiences, to meaningfully participate in the co-creation of advocacy strategy and materials.
  • Familiarity with policies and programs related to water affordability, water shut-offs, lead service line replacement, green stormwater infrastructure, non-point source pollution, equitable land use, and sustainable neighborhood development.
  • Provide content needed for communication materials (e.g. videos, factsheets, events) that allow complex information to be easily understood and shared.
  • Creative thinker with the ability to quickly translate ideas into on-the-ground actions, test for success and shift tactics as needed.
  • Bachelor’s degree or relevant 5-7 years of experience in advocacy, urban planning, public health, economic development, political science or related field.
  • Spanish-speaking fluency is a plus.
  • Valid driver’s license required.

Job Parameters

  • This position is full-time and consistent with Alliance employment policy. Salary to be commensurate with experience.
  • Excellent benefits, including health and vacation, are included.
  • Eligibility to enroll in a retirement plan after 1 year of employment.
  • This position is based in the greater Chicagoland region, with a strong preference for applicants who live within the City of ChicagoApplicants must be able to occasionally (or more frequently if preferred) work from and host meetings at the Alliance’s downtown Chicago office when it is safe to resume normal office operationsApplicants should expect a combination of sitting at desk and computer workstation, off-site meetings with partners, city staff and elected officials, and hosting meetings and events in communities. Regular local car travel of less than 150 miles round trip from downtown Chicago is required.
  • Opportunity for professional development such as conferences, webinars, association membership, etc.
  • Great building amenities including a gym (must pay one-time fee to access), indoor locked bike storage, lots of places to eat and things to do nearby, and unlimited coffee in the office.

Application Process

Please e-mail a cover letter, resume, references and writing sample to: [email protected]. Include job title in the subject line.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled – we are looking to fill immediately. Materials should be compatible with Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat. Applicants will receive confirmation of receipt of their materials and further guidance and updates about the hiring process by e-mail, with interviews provided for finalists. No phone inquiries please.

About the Alliance for the Great Lakes

The Alliance for the Great Lakes is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The search process will reinforce the Alliance’s belief that achieving diversity requires an enduring commitment to inclusion that must find full expression in our organizational culture, values, norms, and behaviors.