Vice President of Advocacy

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Job location
50 East Washington
Chicago, IL 60602
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Street address: 
50 East Washington
Job type: 
Position Description: 

A leader in fighting poverty, advocating for low income people, and advancing racial justice, the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law (the Shriver Center) advances laws and policies that secure justice for and improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. It works across a broad range of policy areas to carry out its mission through advocacy, education, policy development, litigation, organizing, communications, and training.

Established in its current form in 1996, the Shriver Center has built on and extended work begun in Chicago in1967 by lawyers dedicated to using the law to win positive change for poor people. With 50 years of impact as its base, this critically-important organization has entered a period of growth, expanding vision, and heightened influence. It seeks a vice president of advocacy to direct its advocacy work, lead continuing growth of its national advocacy networks, and help shape, lead, and manage this time of change.

This position reports to the president, serves on the senior management team, and manages the advocacy department. Located in Chicago, the Shriver Center has a $5 million budget.

• Lead the work of shaping and carrying out the Shriver Center’s policy agenda, identifying critical issues and solutions promising most impact, with a particular focus on developing multi-dimensional strategies that cross internal practice areas, with attention to ways in which discreet policy initiatives can build to broader outcomes, and with an emphasis on weaving race equity issues into the work. Assure that the advocacy work is strong and successful.
• Assume key responsibility, working with the president, other vice presidents, and the COO, for transitioning the Shriver Center from a culture of informality to one of intentionality about organizational matters needed by a larger, more complex organization. Foster productive connections among ideas, initiatives, people, and teams.
• Serve as a public interest law thought-leader, including writing for Shriver Center publications, serving as a media spokesperson and faculty for its training programs, and representing the Shriver Center to funders and in coalitions, working groups, commissions, and task forces, as well as to outside law firms for pro bono participation.
• Assume leadership of one or more advocacy projects; serve as a team member on other projects as appropriate; collaborate with and support the development, communications, and advocate resources and training teams.
• Play a role in organizational succession planning, organizational knowledge management, and continuity planning as the current president begins planning for retirement


A minimum of 15 years’ relevant experience, to include significant accomplishments as a strategist and advocate, with issue campaigns and lobbying, and in public interest law; a thorough grounding in the legal and policy issues affecting people living in poverty. A law degree and license to practice in Illinois, or able to become licensed in Illinois, are highly preferred, as is experience litigating in this arena, and managing attorneys and policy specialists.
• Demonstrated leadership and management ability; experience leading and managing in an environment of change; an interest in organizational development.
• Outstanding collaborative and communications skills; understanding of communications as an advocacy tool. Experience collaborating with community organizations and in securing foundation support. Experience in Illinois and nationally is preferred. Able and willing to travel.

The successful candidate will be a consensus builder and creative thinker, with a collegial style and a passion for the Shriver Center’s mission. He or she will bring a sophistication about racial justice issues and the ways poverty and race are connected, and will be an active member of the national public interest law and advocacy community.

To apply: 

Further information about the Shriver Center is available at
Those interested in this position should send a cover letter and résumé by e-mail to [email protected]

Salary range: 
In the low $100s