Vice President, Advocacy

Shriver Center on Poverty Law
Chicago (currently remote)
Position Description: 

The Shriver Center on Poverty Law fights for economic and racial justice. Over the past 50 years, we have secured hundreds of law and policy victories with and for people experiencing economic instability in Illinois and across the country. Everything we do is powered by communities most affected by poverty. Our country is rife with laws and policies that systematically disadvantage certain groups while advantaging others based on their race, gender, and other facets of their identities. We believe laws and policies—and the institutions that apply them—should be designed to support people. Together, we are turning this ideal into reality. We are building a future where all people, families, and future generations have equal dignity, respect, and power under the law.The Shriver Center litigates, shapes local policy, and trains and convenes multi-state networks of lawyers, community leaders, and activists across its programmatic issue areas including:

  • Economic Security. The Shriver Center believes deeply that everyone should have a life defined by opportunity, access, and choice and that those living in poverty should not be maligned or exploited because of their economic status.
  • Health. The Shriver Center works to ensure access to affordable, comprehensive care and taking a community-based approach to dismantling unique barriers informed by the community to ensure equitable access and care for the most vulnerable.
  • Housing. The Shriver Center believes that all people should have a safe, stable home to build better futures for themselves and their families. To that end, they have rigorously advocated for communities to enforce equal opportunity for housing and fought for tenants’ rights to healthy homes and communities.
  • Strong Communities. The Shriver Center believes that strong communities start with people. For too long the criminal justice and child welfare systems have oppressed, over-surveilled, separated, and marginalized Black and Brown communities. The Shriver Center advocates for policies that keep communities safe, unifies families, and helps people who are justice-involved secure stable jobs, finish their education, and thrive in building and maintaining community.

The Shriver Center’s advocacy work goes beyond issue areas to deep sector development of advocates, community leaders, and activists across the country, so that they can share ideas, resources and build collective impact to root out some of the systemic challenges that undermine racial justice and threaten economic security.These advocate networks include:

  • Legal Impact Network:  The Legal Impact Network convenes, connects, and organizes advocacy organizations driving systemic change at the local, state, and national level.
  • Racial Justice Institute Network:  Following a groundbreaking training institute, the Shriver Center has built a national network of advocates committed to advancing race equity in their state-level work.
  • Partnership for Just Housing:  The Partnership for Just Housing is a working collaborative of advocates seeking to end housing discrimination against justice involved individuals. Over its 50-year history, the Shriver Center has sat at the intersection of law, policy, and leadership to shape the sector and our country into a more equitable, just place for people of all races and socioeconomic status.

The Shriver Center and its staff are at an exciting inflection point. Last spring, Audra Wilson was named President and CEO and is leading the organization in its next iteration of impact. As a key senior leader in the organization, the Vice President, Advocacy will co-create and galvanize support and investment in a new strategic vision for the Shriver Center’s signature work. The Vice President, Advocacy will drive impact through an arsenal of tools, including specific advocacy initiatives, impact litigation, and building and creating connective tissues that provide resources, mentorship, and connection to a national network of advocates engaged in efforts across Shriver’s programmatic focus areas.This role will report directly to the President and CEO and can expect to engage the following core opportunities and challenges:Strategic VisionWorking in partnership with the President and CEO as well as other senior leaders, the Vice President, Advocacy will develop an innovative and comprehensive legal advocacy strategy, that integrates policy, advocacy, and community-centered organizing with legal strategy. The successful candidate will play an integral role in the strategic planning process, to shape, assess, and drive an ambitious plan that ensures Shriver organizational strategies are informed by both the local and regional advocacy landscape, while also being nationally aligned and resonant. They will continuously monitor and evaluate the allocation of the Center’s resources to cultivate the conditions for sustained and measurable impact, guided by the Center’s commitment and focus on driving systemic change in promoting equity and providing pathways out of poverty. She/He/They will not only be able to articulate a compelling vision for this work but will also be adept at ushering the change management efforts needed to invest and incorporate a broad constituency of voices both within and outside of the organization. The strategy developed will reflect deep collaboration and voice of staff and trusted partners and stakeholders within the sector.Staff Leadership and ManagementThe Vice President, Advocacy will ensure effective functioning and integration across legal teams, ensuring consistent communication, translation of vision to action steps, and systems to assess progress against objectives. She/He/They will mentor and support attorneys and supervising attorneys and drive the development and continued improvement of systems, processes, and standards for the team’s work. She/He/They will motivate and inspire a geographically dispersed legal team and establish a trusting, welcoming, rigorous, collaborative, and accountable environment that effectively serves the Shriver Center’s community and advocacy partners. They will be adept about developing and nurturing teams and will maintain an instinctive understanding of when to delegate and when to lead and create space for staff to incorporate their perspective and overall strategy development and implementation.External Engagement and Community BuildingThe new Vice President, Advocacy will engage with key stakeholders, including movement partners, allies, donors, and board members to advance Shriver’s primary areas of focus. She/He/They will serve as a spokesperson with the media and present at national conferences or other public speaking engagements that further Shriver’s mission and heighten the Shriver Center’s national profile. They will work closely with the Vice President, Communication in developing messaging and communications strategies to advance the Center’s advocacy work and will collaborate with the Shriver Center’s Development team to nurture, develop, and maintain efforts that build partnerships with philanthropic and other external actors. They will leverage external networks and relationships with leaders across the sector to shape strategic coalitions that drive measurable impact on Shriver’s programmatic areas of focus.


While no one candidate will embody all the qualifications enumerated below, the ideal candidate will possess many of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • Juris Doctor preferred, but not required.
  • A demonstrated commitment to the vision, mission, and values of the Shriver Center.
  • Comprehensive experience with state, multi-state and/or federal advocacy. Prior experience with state-based advocacy a plus.
  • Prior experience with working with attorneys (or at a legal organization) and a familiarity with the variety of legal tools. Ten years of experience in legal services or other public interest law or policy preferred, with significant accomplishments and thorough grounding in the legal and policy issues affecting people living in poverty and in litigating those issues.
  • Strong relationships within the national community of public interest lawyers and advocates preferred.
  • A demonstrated commitment to social justice and ability to work across lines of difference, especially within racially and economically diverse communities.
  • Strategic leader and thinker with demonstrated experience in contributing to organization-wide agendas and setting priorities, preferably in a non-profit setting.
  • Policy advocacy experience, including collaborating with community organizations and organizers, lobbying, and other aspects of issue campaigns.
  • Excellent writing and communication skills, including experience in grant writing and producing articles for publication and media engagement.
  • Management experience in building and leading a multi-department, multi-issue team, including hiring, supervising, training a group of diverse attorneys and policy specialists, (new and experienced attorneys), and managing people who are themselves already established leaders.
  • Experience measuring advocacy program performance and effective strategic plan implementation.
  • Substantial experience and strong understanding of the requirements for successful interactions with foundations, corporations, law firms, and/or individual donors.
  • Experience developing and managing budgets.
  • Willingness and ability to travel as needed (estimated 25%) post-pandemic.
  • The position is full-time and salaried. Compensation is dependent on experience. Benefits include employer-paid health care, pension contribution, and FSA.
Application Deadline: 
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Application Instructions: 

More about the Shriver Center on Poverty Law may be found at: search is being led by Katherine Jacobs and Julian Jackson of the national search firm NPAG. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Candidates may submit their cover letter, outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume via NPAG’s website.The position is full-time and salaried. The targeted salary range for the position is $145,000-$155,000, based upon prior experience. Benefits include employer-paid health care, pension contribution, and transportation benefits.Shriver Center on Poverty Law is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Candidates of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

Position Level: 
Country/US Territory: 
United States