Vice President of Advocacy

Job Type

Full Time


Details: This full-time exempt position offers a competitive public interest annual salary.




67 East Madison Street
Suite 2000
United States


Organizational Overview: The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. The Shriver Center brings together lawyers, community leaders, and allies from across the country as the nation’s leading advocate for people living in poverty. We work toward a future where people living in poverty have income security, equal opportunity, and a voice in what happens in their communities.

The Shriver Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a staff of 50 based primarily in Chicago. In 2017, the Shriver Center marked its 50th anniversary and adopted a strategic plan focused on growth and organizational excellence. In the past few years, the Shriver Center’s operational budget has increased significantly, from $4.3 million in 2014 to $7.5 million in 2018. Accompanying this growth, the Shriver Center’s focus has expanded the scope and reach of its work, attaining increasing national prominence.

Commitment to Race Equity: We put race front and center in our work. We recognize that inclusion of diverse voices, perspectives, and experiences is essential to understanding and addressing complex issues in our advocacy and within our organization. To that end, we focus on issues that deeply affect the lives and social mobility of people living in poverty: economic justice, housing justice, healthcare justice, and community justice. We lead, equip, and mobilize multi-state networks to advance an anti-poverty and racial justice agenda. Through training and leadership development programs designed to foster innovation and collaboration, we strengthen core competencies of advocates across the country.

Position Overview: The Vice President of Advocacy leads the Shriver Center's signature work to win positive change through specific advocacy initiatives, including both direct advocacy by our own staff and the provision of resources that build and support a national network of advocates engaged in those efforts. Our advocacy work engages in a broad range of interrelated policy areas and accomplishes our mission through a range of appropriate strategies, including legislative and administrative advocacy and education, policy development, litigation, organizing, communications, and training.

The Shriver Center seeks an experienced advocacy leader with the vision, knowledge and skills to direct innovative programs that measurably improve the lives of people living in poverty, especially among racially and economically diverse communities.

The Vice President of Advocacy is charged with leading the organization’s multi-issue state and national advocacy work in a way that most effectively identifies the broad range of issues facing people living in poverty and successfully promotes solutions that have lasting impact. The Vice President of Advocacy oversees and provides leadership and vision for the Shriver Center's Illinois advocacy efforts in concert with its national advocacy, which is primarily delivered through the Center's multi-state advocacy networks. The Vice President of Advocacy works closely with the Shriver Center’s Vice President of Communications to ensure that media and message strategies are a key part of each project as well as a coordinated organizational plan.

As a member of the Shriver Center’s senior management team, the Vice President of Advocacy collaborates with marketing and communications, development, and operations staff and plays a key role in helping achieve the Shriver Center's mission by providing strategic leadership and management oversight, helping the President ensure that all the programs (Advocacy, Advocate Resources and Training, Communications, Development, and Operations) are collaborative and mutually helpful to the whole organization. The Vice President of Advocacy will promote organizational alignment with our anti-poverty mission by leading or collaborating in internal race equity initiatives including affinity groups, committees, policy development and oversight, internal professional development, and community-building opportunities.

The Vice President of Advocacy currently oversees 22 people (with fluctuations for fellows and interns), with these direct reports: Senior Directors of Policy, Litigation, and Multi-State Advocacy, Directors of Economic Justice, Health Justice, Housing Justice, and Community Justice. The Vice President of Advocacy reports to the President.


Senior Leadership

  • As part of the senior management team, contributes to organization-wide strategy development, priority-setting and alignment
  • Reports on advocacy outcomes and their significance to the President and Board of Directors in line with our mission, contributing strategic advice and direction to guide the organization's future
  • Partners with the President and senior team to maintain high quality operations in the service of the organization's mission, alignment of all programs, and strong and consistent internal and external communication

Advocacy Area Leadership

  • Provides overall direction to the advocacy program, including developing and directing an agenda in Illinois and nationally through the Center’s multi-state advocacy networks, and setting priorities for these efforts
  • Leads the team of Shriver advocates and support staff, setting annual and multi-year goals and objectives in line with the organization’s strategic plan, goals and resources, and helping to secure resources to support the advocacy team to achieve these goals
  • Responsible for ensuring that the advocacy program meets its commitment to advancing race equity as a core priority strategy in our anti-poverty work, which will include promoting and prioritizing community engagement and initiatives that tackle structural racism.
  • Directly supervises advocacy program directors and senior directors, including providing program oversight and conducting annual performance reviews
  • Reviews and updates advocacy programs systems, develops and implements tools for measuring advocacy program performance

External Collaboration

  • Serves as a thought leader within the national public interest law community drawing on team resources and participation
  • Represents the Shriver Center in coalitions, working groups, commissions and task forces, and facilitates representation by team members
  • Participates as faculty at Shriver Center training programs and supports the inclusion of other Shriver staff as faculty in the training programs


  • In partnership with the Vice President of Communications, sets the public-facing advocacy agenda and drives organizational messaging on economic inequality and race equity
  • Serves as a strategic partner to the communications team in communications efforts to advance advocacy initiatives, including involving team members in campaign strategy and implementation
  • Leads or facilitates Shriver Center's interactions with the media on advocacy positions, including serving as a thought leader, media spokesperson, and authoring opinion pieces that advance the broader mission of the organization
  • Supports and encourages the development of the voices of all advocacy staff as thought leaders and media spokespersons on their individual areas of expertise
  • Writes content for Shriver Center publications, including the online Clearinghouse Community and Shriver Center blog and supports Advocacy team members to build skills in these areas

Resource Development and Accountability

  • Serves as a strategic partner to the development team in fundraising efforts, including involving team members in assisting with grant proposals and reports, as well as building and maintaining relationships with key funders.
  • Oversees processes for measuring advocacy program quality and performance, and reporting outcomes to funders related to their initiatives and investments in the Shrive Center
  • Manages the Advocacy budget and oversees the directors and senior directors in the management of their portions of the annual budget


  • Licensed to practice law; willing to become licensed in Illinois as soon as possible, if not already
  • Ten years of experience in legal services or other public interest law preferred, with significant accomplishments and thorough grounding in the legal and policy issues affecting people living in poverty and in litigating those issues
  • Experience working with and in communities of color required, and a demonstrated commitment to advancing racial justice
  • 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 communications skills, including experience producing articles for publication and media engagement
  • Management experience in building and leading a multi-department team, including hiring, supervising, and training a group of diverse attorneys and policy specialists, including 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
  • Experience developing and managing budgets
  • Willingness and ability to travel as needed (estimated 25%)
  • A deep commitment to the vision, mission, and values of the Shriver Center
  • Strong relationships within the national community of public interest lawyers and advocates preferred
  • Complex litigation experience preferred

The Shriver Center offers an inspiring and high-energy work environment and a dynamic, collaborative culture. Our people are our greatest asset — we seek to hire individuals from diverse backgrounds who are professional, collegial, and creative thinkers with a passion for our mission.

Opening/Closing Date: Open immediately; closed when filled.

Visit for more information about the Shriver Center.


This full-time exempt position offers a comprehensive benefits package that includes health, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance policies, generous vacation and paid leave policies, flexible work schedules, pre-tax flexible spending accounts, commuter benefits, and a 401(k) plan.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required


How To Apply

Send a cover letter and résumé to John Bouman at Please send materials as a single and searchable PDF attachment.