Senior Project Manager
at Heartland Alliance

Date Posted: 11/13/2019

Job Description


Grounded in 130 years working to advance human rights, Heartland Alliance informs public policy decisions and advances solutions to improve opportunities and quality of life for people experiencing inequity, living in poverty, and facing danger.

Heartland Alliance’s Research & Policy Division engages in research on social issues and solutions, policy and systems change, and field building nationwide. The division is home to the Social IMPACT Research Center, Heartland Alliance’s Policy & Advocacy team, and Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Economic Opportunity. Our Policy and Advocacy team identifies and advances proven solutions to poverty at the local, state, and federal levels. We lead by developing policy proposals, building strategic alliances, and pursuing legislative and budgetary action. Our Policy and Advocacy team manages several projects based on our policy priorities, including: financial justice, poverty and economic security, and health care. The team also focuses on advancing a sustainable budget, supporting human services, and fighting injustice. Our work is advancing meaningful policy and systems change to strengthen communities, advance equity, and create a more just society.


Heartland Alliance is seeking a policy and advocacy professional to lead its criminal justice policy work. This person will play a central role in Heartland Alliance's groundbreaking efforts to advance policy solutions and strategies to eliminate poverty and realize equity and human rights.

The Project Manager is responsible for advancing key initiatives and campaigns to promote criminal justice reform – in particular state-based collateral consequence reform - and address racial inequities. The Project Manager develops and implements strategies to advance change, and engages in policy analysis and development, coalition and campaign building, and direct advocacy with decision-makers. Legislative and administrative initiatives will include work related to collateral consequences of incarceration, violence reduction, and advancing equity and opportunity. Our policy team members are also expected to contribute to the communications and outreach work of their project (criminal justice policy) as well as the overall work of the Policy and Advocacy team. Significant travel is required for this position.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Lead Heartland Alliance’s strategies to address the multiple and pervasive inequities of the criminal justice system and to provide solutions that respond to the needs of people with lived experience of criminal justice system involvement.

  • Develop legislative and administrative policy proposals and lead efforts to successfully advance thoseefforts.

  • Develop and lead successful advocacy strategies for educating policymakers and other decision makers about the needs of people with criminal backgrounds impacted by poverty and inequity.

  • Analyze state and national public policies, programs, and legislation for their impact on people experiencing poverty and inequity

  • Provide policy information and analyses, both verbally and in writing, to agency leadership, policymakers,advocates, the general public and otherstakeholders.

  • Execute strategies to advance legislative and administrative change by building relationships with legislators and other key legislators and other decision-makers about policy initiatives, and collaborating with advocacy partners toward policy and administrativechange.

  • Contribute to the development and delivery of appropriate communications including fact sheets, policy action alerts, website and new media content, letters to the editor, and other writtenmaterials.

  • Develop strategic partnerships with allied individuals, coalitions, and organizations to pursue specific program and policy changes affecting people formerly incarcerated or justice system involved.

  • Develop relationships with policymakers, funders, community leaders, public audiences and other stakeholders to create champions and community support for key Heartland Alliance policy and administrativeinitiatives.

  • Represent Heartland Alliance externally at events, speaking engagements, trainings and presentations, with policymakers, community leaders, and other key stakeholders and, when appropriate, contribute to or lead efforts to develop those trainings and Identify and support community members, allies and experts to give testimony at key hearings and act as spokespeople with the press.

  • Participate in key and local meetings and working groups as they relate to specific legislative and administrativeinitiatives.

  • Collaborate with Heartland program staff to identify policy/systems barriers, identify macro-level and contribute to overall advocacy activities in support of Heartland Alliancepriorities.

  • Supervise interns or other temporary employees that support the work of the Policy and Advocacy

  • Integrate values of equity and inclusion throughout our criminal justice policy work.

  • Prioritize engagement of impacted populations throughout our policy and advocacy work from conception to design to action.

  • Support fundraising efforts including contributing to funder reporting requirements.

  • Other duties as

Qualifications: To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Education and/or Experience: A graduate degree in public policy, law, public administration, social work, urban planning or related field, plus five years' experience or a Bachelor’s Degree plus seven years' experience. Experience includes policy analysis, policy development, and/or legislative/administrative/budgetary advocacy. Experience providing direct service to people who have experienced poverty or injustice is a plus. Familiarity with Illinois legislature and politics strongly preferred.
  • Mission alignment. Demonstrated commitment to racial justice and criminal justice reform and proven ability to work with emotional intelligence, receive feedback, work through conflict with integrity and operate within principles of solidarity when working in partnership with groups representing constituencies impacted by oppression. Proven ability to work in a manner that respects differences in race, ethnicity, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Equity Commitments. Fosters a commitment to and application of equity, inclusion, and diversity throughout our work. Provides direction for careful equity analysis of potential consequences of local and federal policies and makes strategic recommendations for appropriate substance. Prioritizes engagement of impacted populations throughout our policy and advocacy work from conception to design to action, and is attentive to the diverse perspectives of our stakeholders. Sustains and builds upon our position as a leading policy change agent by maintaining momentum on critical issues and by laying the groundwork for emerging policy issues.

  • Language/Communication Skills: Excellent written and oral communication skills. Demonstrated ability to speak and write persuasively to a range of audiences. Ability to respond to common inquiries or complaints from stakeholders, regulatory agencies, senior-level policymakers, or elected officials; communicate effectively with diverse audiences; write speeches and articles for publication that conform to a prescribed style and format and effectively present information to management , public groups, and/or boards of directors.

  • Computer Skills:Demonstrated proficiency with computer skills in word processing, spreadsheets and Internet usage, including new media. Familiarity with Microsoft Office package.
  • Other Skills: Demonstrated ability to think critically, solve problems creatively and manage multiple assignments under deadlines.  Experience and comfort with public speaking. Ability to work irregular hours, including evening and weekend events as necessary. Willingness to travel.

Physical Demands: The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to talk or hear
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel and reach with hands and arms
  • The employee is regularly required to sit, stand and walk
  • The employee must occasionally lift and/or move up to 10
  • Due to computer usage, the employee will need vision abilities such as close vision and ability to adjust focus.
  • This position involves significant travel.

Work Environment: The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Travel is required, including overnight stays
  • The noise in the work environment is moderate

Heartland Alliance makes all hiring and employment decisions without regard to race, creed, color, age, gender, gender identity, marital or parental status, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability, sexual orientation, sexual identity, immigrant status, political affiliation or belief, criminal justice involvement (depending on the offense and position to be filled), unfavorable military discharge, membership in an organization whose primary purpose is the protection of civil rights or improvement of living conditions and human relations, height, weight, or HIV infection, in accord with the Organization's AIDS Policy Statement of September, 1987. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodation should contact the Employee Services Office at (312) 660-1431.

Job Snapshot

  • Employee Type: Full-Time
  • Location: Chicago, IL
  • Job Type: Management
  • Experience: Not Specified
  • Date Posted: 11/13/2019

About Us

It’s more than a job, it’s a purpose.

Heartland Alliance—the leading anti-poverty organization in the Midwest— believes that all of us deserve the opportunity to improve our lives. Each year, we help ensure this opportunity for nearly one million people around the world who are homeless, living in poverty, or seeking safety. Our multicultural staff are passionate about our mission and make Heartland Alliance a dynamic and exciting place to develop your career.

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