Chicago Local Partnership Manager

  • Full Time
  • Anywhere

Website Alliance for the Great Lakes

Environmental Nonprofit

The Chicago Local Partnerships Manager (Manager) leads the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ (Alliance) local water advocacy work in Chicago and Cook County, Illinois to shape policies and practices that help protect the Great Lakes and the communities that depend on them. Broadly, the Manager will support partners in advancing climate-informed, water-focused policies, projects and programs designed to improve the health and quality of Great Lakes waters, address historical inequities in agency decision-making, and strengthen the network(s) of local water advocates to advance solutions to local water challenges. The Manager will leverage and influence municipal and county community engagement and capacity building programs specific to lead service line replacement and urban flooding and sanitation issues. Ongoing coordination and collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders including environmental justice advocates, other non-profits, city and county staff, and elected officials is a key to success. The Manager reports to the Director of Planning, will coordinate with the Director of Clean Water and Equity, and at times will work on specific tasks with members of the Alliance’s regional team of water planning, advocacy, and communication leaders.

A typical week for the Chicago Local Partnerships Manager might look like this… the week begins with a brief call to your supervisor to discuss tasks for the week. You note several upcoming meetings. For the meetings you are supporting, the facilitators asked you to share updates on several planning projects led by the Department of Water Management, like the stormwater tunnel on the southside of Chicago and updates to Chicago’s 2014 Green Infrastructure Strategy. You check-in with partners and draft a summary statement on the engagement opportunities and overall status of these projects, and then send your update to the meeting facilitators.

Facilitators also asked for an update on the Clean Water State Revolving Fund public comment letters for Illinois, as this is state level policy work informed by your local advocacy, you reach out to the Director of Clean Water and Equity to coordinate an update. The meeting you are leading is a work planning meeting with partners to discuss expenses and scope of work for an event to gather feedback on the Department of Planning and Development’s Calumet River Site Design Guidelines. In preparation for this meeting, you develop and send out the agenda and links to shared materials. Asana, the Alliance’s project management system, reminds you that your grant report is due. It’s the end of the week and the Alliance’s Engagement Team is hosting a virtual happy hour, so you hop on for the last 30 minutes to connect with colleagues.

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. Learn more at


Local Networks and Coalitions

Identify the resources needed to elevate local leadership and strengthen local coalitions, networks and partnerships to collaboratively advance water infrastructure policies and programs. Specific roles or tasks could range from co-creation and coordination of events, workshops, and trainings; work planning or campaign planning; navigating technical and policy decision-making; data and policy analysis; and joint fundraising to advance shared goals. The Manager will be supported by their Alliance colleagues in completion of tasks. For example, tasks related to the policy and technical work will be supported by the Water Infrastructure team; planning and engagement work will be supported by the Director of Planning; fundraising and communication work will be supported by development and communications staff.
Policies and Programs

Advocate for community recommended processes that allow agency staff to meaningfully engage with community leaders on the development and implementation of policy and program priorities.
Maintain working relationships, individually or through partners, with city staff and elected officials in Chicago and Cook County to build support for, pass policies and regulations, and fund water infrastructure priorities, with a focus on funding and financing lead service line replacement and gray and green stormwater infrastructure to address chronic urban flooding and sanitation issues.
Cultivate expertise in navigating the bureaucratic and political decision-making process for passing and implementing water infrastructure policies and programs, including capital improvement programs and capacity building programs in Chicago and Cook County.
Equity, Environmental Justice, and Affordability Frameworks

Build upon Chicago’s established environmental justice action planning process to advance complete solutions for flooding and sanitation issues facing historically disinvested communities in Chicagoland.
Use agreed upon equity and environmental justice indicators to inform where water infrastructure investments and other needed resources (e.g. housing and social services) should be prioritized in the Chicagoland region.
Ensure water affordability measures are included along with efforts to accelerate implementation of water infrastructure priorities.
Program Development

Assist with developing joint fundraising proposals that support the work of multiple coalitions and networks, and which facilitate the development of Alliance programs.
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 Chicagoland, especially in communities of color or communities disproportionately impacted by failing water infrastructure.
At least 3 years of experience,facilitating (lead or support role) collaborative processes that allow a range of stakeholders to meaningfully participate in the co-creation of shared strategies, research and/or communication materials;
developing and managing action plans, scopes of work, work plans and budgets that keep teams (internal and external) advancing shared work;
planning and running virtual and in-person meetings, workshops, training, or events designed to advance shared and agreed upon scopes of work; and
developing communication strategies, tactics, and materials used to communicate complicated information in easy-to-understand language that provides everyone from elected officials to community leaders with actions they can take.
In Chicago and surrounding south suburbs, willingness to cultivate relationships and working knowledge on how water infrastructure policies and programs are implemented, with a focus on budgeting and capital planning, and equity focused policies and programs related to drinking water, flooding, and sanitation.
Creative thinker with the ability to quickly translate ideas into on-the-ground actions, test for success, and shift tactics as needed.
Experience supporting qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis that furthers local policy and planning efforts, is a plus.
Bachelor’s degree, is a plus.
Job Parameters
This position is full-time and consistent with Alliance employment policy. The Alliance has defined salary ranges that are evaluated annually, and it is customary for candidates to join at the lower half of the range to leave room for learning and development in the role. It is uncommon for starting salaries to fall above the mid-point. The salary range for this position begins at $75,000 and we negotiate salaries with final candidates based on their experience in similar roles, and expertise related to the qualifications.
Excellent benefits, including medical, dental, vision, short- and long-term disability, life insurance, FSA, 11 paid holidays plus the business days between 12/26 and 12/30 (staff who must work on any holidays may take those holidays at another time subject to the employee handbook), 3 weeks’ vacation to start + sick time, and Fidelity 401(k) with employer match of up to 6% of salary, eligible after 30 days.
This position is based in the greater Chicagoland region. Applicants must be able to occasionally (or more frequently if preferred) work from and host meetings at the Alliance’s downtown Chicago office.
Applicants should expect a combination of sitting at a 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 40 miles round trip from downtown Chicago is required.
Opportunity for professional development such as conferences, webinars, association membership, etc.
Application Process
Please e-mail a cover letter, resume, references and writing sample to:

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.

The Alliance’s vision is a healthy Great Lakes for all people and wildlife, forever. Its mission is to conserve and restore the world’s largest freshwater resource using policy, education, and local efforts, ensuring a healthy Great Lakes and clean water for generations of people and wildlife.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes is committed to upholding and exemplifying the values of community, respect, accountability, and boldness. These describe the qualities that all members of the Alliance for the Great Lakes community exemplify in their role as environmental advocates and professionals.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes is committed to ensuring everyone in the Great Lakes region has healthy access to the lake and clean water. But acknowledges that not everyone does. Visit our website for more information on the Alliance’s statement on environmental justice:

For more information about the Alliance’s programs and work, please visit us online at

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