Position Title: Managing Director of Illinois Programs (full time)
Location: Mikva Challenge Illinois (Chicago Chapter)
Reports to: Illinois Executive Director
For best consideration, please apply by November 15, 2020

I. About the Organization – Mission, Vision, and Scope

Mikva Challenge is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop community leaders and engaged, informed, active citizens. We are a dynamic youth empowerment agency that provides high school students with unique civic learning opportunities and hands-on experiences in political campaigns, public policy advocacy, government internships, and youth activism programs. Named for Chicago leaders Abner and Zoe Mikva, the organization has grown quickly in its 21 years and now serves 100,000 students
annually in Chicago, Southern California, and Washington, D.C. Since our founding, Mikva Challenge’s mission and work has centered around supporting and promoting the voices, concerns and solutions of youth of color. Through our Action Civics programs, we provide the tools, support and platforms for young people to share their lived experiences with adults and key decision-makers so that our democracy can better represent and serve their needs and communities. All along, there has been an implicit understanding that creating tools, pathways and platforms for youth of color to be empowered civic leaders will lead to a more just and equitable society.

II. About the Position

The Managing Director of Illinois Programs (MDP) of Mikva Challenge will lead and set the vision and direction for Mikva Illinois’ youth-facing programs, support and develop youth program facilitators, and oversee Mikva’s school-based classroom initiatives. We are seeking a highly-motivated, organized, and experienced individual with a passion for youth and equity. A strong belief in the potential of youth and a commitment to youth power and voice is essential. In addition to serving in a key organizational leadership role, the MDP will identify, initiate and implement new ways to improve and the quality of Mikva’s youth programming work. This individual will be an innovative educator and creative youth worker, with a passion to invest and build the capacity of youth program facilitators. This role also comes with the unique opportunity to co-create and design youth programs with a variety of key stakeholders across Chicago and Illinois, spanning other non-profits, schools, grassroots organizations and city institutions. The ideal applicant will be an instinctive networker and connector with strong political instincts to develop compelling engagement strategies. Finally, the right person for this role will bring enthusiasm, drive and determination to be a visionary for youth empowerment through Mikva Challenge’s transformational programs.

This is a pivotal moment in Mikva’s history, in that although we have been in this work for over 20 years, we also recognize the need to reflect on, and revisit our values and practices to deepen our commitment to racial equity and justice, and make the implicit more explicit in all our public and internal values and work. We recognize that to be true adult allies to the young people of color that we serve, Mikva Challenge must examine our values and work from a racial equity lens to ensure we are dismantling systems of oppression, not colluding or implicitly
supporting them.

We are engaging in a learning and reflection journey to deepen our racial justice and equity work and lens and are seeking to identify a Managing Director of Programs who has a commitment to racial justice and equity and will push our programs and practices and challenge our thinking.

This position is based in Mikva’s Chicago Loop office, reports to the IL Executive Director and is a member of the Leadership Team. They will oversee local program staff and work closely with executive leadership to achieve strategic goals. This is a level 4 position in Mikva’s org chart, with a salary band of $85K-$100K. Salary amount will be based on work experience.

III. Essential Responsibilities and Functions

Supervisor, Coach, and Leadership Cultivator:

● In collaboration with the IL Executive Director, develop and execute vision of an integrated and impactful program strategy, focused on racial justice and equity, to amplify the voices of youth and bring change to Chicago;
● Direct management of programs, implementing measurable objectives, strategies, budgets, funding strategies, and timelines;
● Develop/refine annual program goals for Mikva programs;
● Supervise Senior Program Directors and Director of Youth Support Services;
● Identify and promote growth opportunities centered on positive youth development principles, SEL/Trauma-Informed best practices;
● Develop youth program facilitators to the next level by ensuring assigned staff fully understand responsibilities, providing effective feedback to staff (positive and critical);
● Promote and foster equity and nonpartisan civic engagement internally, externally and programmatically

Program Administration, Development, and Continuous Improvement

● Innovate Mikva’s current programming so the organization can be strategic and relevant, all while maintaining tenants of Mikva’s philosophy of youth development, equity, social justice & action civics;
● Ensure that all evaluation deadlines are adhered to by programmatic staff;
● Work in collaboration with the Director of Data and Evaluation to identify opportunities for programmatic continuous improvement and innovation; execute data-driven program redesign aligning to strengths of staff and organization;
● Work in collaboration with Finance/Operations team to oversee program budgets;
● Work in collaboration with Evaluation and Development Teams to effectively capture the power of Mikva Programming to support development and communication strategy;

External Stakeholder Relationships, Strategy, and Development

● Develop, cultivate and maintain relationships with stakeholders related to councils and other programmatic areas; (Mayor’s Office, CPS, Cook County Board, CHA, etc);
● Lead, in collaboration with the IL ED, Mikva Illinois Advisory Board Program Committee meetings and participate in the national Program Committee meetings;
● Engage in public speaking opportunities to elevate Mikva’s profile;
● Maintain an extensive network of nonprofit and foundation connections that can be tapped for resources and/or opportunities; and prospect funding opportunities for Mikva programs.

Integration with Mikva’s National Strategy

● Help develop Chicago as a civic learning and innovation “hub” for other cities and states to learn from and observe the Action Civics model in action; and
● Collaborate and work with national staff, using data and lessons learned from our youth and Action Civics movement-building to help inform curriculum and professional development

IV. Qualifications

Essential qualifications include:

● Proven experience as a program director or other managerial position as part of a senior leadership team; creative and transformational leadership examples are a plus
● Multiple years of experience in youth development and/or secondary education; experience in community organizing is a plus
● A commitment to the ongoing work of dismantling structural racism, a familiarity with current strategies for increasing racial equity in an organization’s internal and external work, and a willingness to engage on a personal and professional level with the work of building a more racially just and equitable Mikva Challenge
● Thorough understanding of project/program evaluation and continuous improvement; uses data to drive decision making
● Ability to coach new employees and build a robust onboarding experience for staff
● Proven experience in managing external stakeholders, understanding complex political ecosystems, and developing engagement strategies; this includes an ability to closely work with other nonprofits, grassroots organizations, city leaders and institutions alike
● Knowledge of managing contracts, goals, deliverables, and key program metrics
● Experience with financial management and budgeting
● Excellent organizational and leadership skills; analytical mindset with great problem-solving abilities
● Outstanding communication and oral presentation skills
● Strong belief in the potential of youth and a commitment to youth power and voice
● Bachelor’s degree, preferably Master’s degree, or equivalent experience in youth development and program management

V. Values and Dispositions

● Is able to lead with transparency and vulnerability;
● Deep commitment to building the leadership capacity in others;
● Bring palpable values and leadership dispositions to set and create a transformative; organizational culture aligned to the values of Mikva Challenge;
● Accountability is centered on the strengths and assets of Mikva staff;
● Empathic and Emotionally Intelligent Leader;
● Visionary, Creative, Intellectual Curiosity, and a Learner;
● Strong stance on equity, cultural competence, and understanding of gender/non-binary identities in both youth programming and leading others

VI. Compensation and Benefits

This a full-time, salaried position with benefits. Compensation negotiable based on experience and commensurate with organizational salary structure.

VII. How to Apply

Email a cover letter and resume in PDF format to humanresources@mikvachallenge.org with the subject line “MC – Managing Director of Programs Search.” Cover letters will be evaluated as a writing sample and should include the applicant’s salary requirements. Application materials must be directed to the email address above. No phone calls, please. Note that due to the number of applications we receive, we will only respond to those candidates whom we would like to invite to interview for the position.

Mikva Challenge is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, genetic information, age, membership in an employee organization, retaliation, parental status, military service, or other non-merit factors.

Applicants from historically underrepresented and/or marginalized communities, including people of color, are strongly encouraged to apply.