Job Postings

Chicago Freedom School Executive Director

October 30, 2017

The Chicago Freedom School (CFS) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization  founded  in  2007  in  the  spirit  of  the  original  freedom schools in Mississippi in the 1960s, with the  vision  of  advancing  youth-­‐-­‐-­‐led  social  change  movements  with  support  from  adult allies. We provide programs, trainings and other  nontraditional  educational  opportunities  where  young  people  and  adults  can study the work of past movements, deepen their understanding of current social problems, build new  coalitions  and  develop strategies  for  change.  Please  visit  to  learn  more.

We are currently seeking a passionate and dedicated professional to assume leadership for the organization by serving as our next Executive Director. As a small organization poised for growth, we encourage committed social justice educators, activists and/or youth development professionals with prior nonprofit management experience to apply.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED) will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for CFS staff, programs, fundraising, outreach and overall execution of its mission.

Key Responsibilities and Essential Duties: Program and Staff Management

  • Nurture a healthy staff culture that is mission-­‐-­‐focused, dynamic and communicative
  • Provide oversight to all CFS programs and trainings, engage staff and facilitators in rigorous and continuous reflection, evaluation improvement and to meet goals, objectives and outcomes
  • Communicate and provide leadership through a deep knowledge of CFS mission, purpose, educational philosophy and approaches
  • Hire, supervise and evaluate CFS staff, including Director of Youth Programs, Training Consultant(s), Operations Assistant, and interns
  • Lead strategic planning and annual goal setting to align with organizational mission and priorities; ensure staff members are successfully achieving outcomes in support of established priorities
  • Develop and facilitate workshops, as needed, for CFS and/or outside organizations and institutions

Board Development

  • Serve as primary staff liaison to Board of Directors, ensuring operational efficacy regarding all organizational policies and practices
  • Work with board committees to support the implementation of goals, including new board member recruitment and training.
  • Engage with Board to explore strategic options regarding organizational structure, financial health, governance, priorities, etc
  • With Board Co-­‐-­‐Chair, execute all Board meetings and related activities, maintaining communication with and engagement of members throughout the year

Resource Development and Fundraising

  • Maintain and nurture relationships with current foundation supporters and cultivate new opportunities to expand foundation and corporate support; write letters of inquiry, grant proposals, reports; etc.
  • Work with and support the Fundraising Committee to execute 3-­‐-­‐-­‐4 fundraising events annually, including signature fundraising event – Moments of Justice
  • Develop and implement strategies to engage with and increase individual donor base to CFS; maintain correspondence with donors, including prompt writing/distribution of thank you letter
  • Work with Training Consultant to meet earned income goals and strategic partnerships.

Community Engagement / Advocacy

  • Represent CFS in Chicago and nationally with media, community partners, and other allies in the fields of youth development, movement-­‐-­‐-­‐building, and social justice education
  • Seek out and lead appropriate collaborations with partner institutions and individuals


  • Work with part-­‐-­‐-­‐time accountant and Operations Assistant to ensure timely payment of all bills; process and deposit donations; and adhere to fiscal controls and procedures
  • Manage monthly, quarterly and annual fiscal policies and practices, including development and oversight of annual budget with Board Committee
  • Serve as liaison for any fiscal sponsorship relationships contracted with CFS; work with accountant to maintain proper fiscal oversight
  • Provide general operational oversight, including liaison to building management and related vendors
  • Serve as contact for auditor, and assist him/her with conducting the audit and filing of taxes
  • Procure and renew all reports and licenses held with city, state and federal government entities


  • Minimum five years experience at the senior staff level in education and/or nonprofit program development and management
  • Knowledge and understanding of popular education models, anti-­‐-­‐-­‐oppression principles and/or organizing and movement-­‐-­‐-­‐ building   practices   required
  • Knowledge of positive youth development frameworks and a vision as to how they integrate with social justice frameworks for young people
  • Experience with fiscal management, including preparing and monitoring budgets
  • Knowledge and experience in grant writing and reporting; experience working with Chicago area foundations a plus
  • Ability to develop and implement creative, comprehensive approaches to fundraising through special events, cultivating individual donors, and developing earned income strategies
  • Ability to manage and work with multiple stakeholders, including youth, board, staff, volunteers, donors, and general supporters
  • Strong people management, facilitation, project leadership, and organizational skills
  • Possesses a high level of cultural awareness and a continual desire to grow in understanding other perspectives and identities
  • Understanding of and interest in needs and issues facing marginalized and low-­‐-­‐-­‐income youth.
  • Ability to multi-­‐-­‐task, be flexible and a team player
  • Must be computer literate with excellent written and verbal communications skills
  • Ability to work occasional evenings and weekends

As a small, youth-­‐centered organization, CFS has a relaxed, hands-­‐-­‐on environment where youth are encouraged to come to our space to engage, study, and be in community with CFS staff, volunteers and other youth.  Typical business hours are 10am-­‐

-­‐6pm, with some evening and weekend programming.

Salary: $60,000 – $64,000 commensurate with experience. 100% employer-­‐paid individual medical, dental, and life insurance benefits, paid holidays, and generous PTO time.

To apply, please complete the application below and attach your resume and cover letter. No phone calls please. If you have trouble accessing the document here, please visit our website at and go to “Get Involved” for the job description and link.

CFS is an Equal Opportunity Employer and deeply committed to diversity within its community. People of color, female-­‐ identified, LGBTQIA, people with disabilities, and members of other underrepresented identities are strongly encouraged to apply.

150 years in the heart of Detroit