Friends of the Chicago River seeks a planning director to advance our mission to improve and protect the Chicago River system and help realize our vision of the river as a 156 mile blue/green corridor of healthy accessible open space that supports and connects people and wildlife. A key member of the leadership team, the planning director will be conservation minded with an advanced degree in urban planning, or a related field, and have demonstrated experience communicating with a diverse audience of partners, stakeholders, and government agencies.
As the only organization exclusively dedicated to improving the Chicago River, Friends seeks an individual who has experience with and is committed to the environment and views the river as an important part of the history, culture, and future of the Chicago region.
Lead the development and implementation of a plan to achieve Friends’ goal of a continuous blue/green corridor along the Chicago River system including a continuous Chicago River trail
Coordinate outreach and interactions with major developers and private landowners along the river system and manage new development strategies
Establish rich relationships and serve as chief liaison with local and regional planning agencies, municipalities, and other government agencies.
Co-chair Friends’ volunteer Planning Committee which reviews river-edge development
Develop an implementation plan for Friends’ new Public Lands Assessment to the benefit of people, wildlife, and the river
Advance the use of publicly owned land for public access, stormwater management, and wildlife habitat within the river corridor
Represent Friends on committees, task forces
Testify at public meetings
Become conversant with incentives for nature based solutions and river-friendly river-edge development
Manage the full time planning specialist
Develop and manage project budgets and provide financial reports
Assist in fundraising and development efforts
Participate in Friends’ signature events
Special projects as necessary
The planning director must be an organized, creative, and energetic self-starter with excellent communication and project management skills who enjoys working within a collaborative team dynamic and possess:
An advanced degree in urban planning or related field
Eight or more years with increasingly responsibilities in relevant fields
Familiarity with Chicago area planning agencies, government partners, and Chicago River system stakeholders
Strong analytical and program management skills
Experience in group facilitation, public process design, and public engagement
Familiarity with GIS or other analytical tools
Demonstrated verbal, written, and graphic communication skills
Ability to communicate complex ideas and information to a broad range of audiences
Expectation to attend public meetings on evening and weekends
Experience working in a non-profit organization
Experience managing staff
A commitment to access, equity, and inclusion
A valid driver's license and access to an automobile
The ability to serve with alacrity
Proficiency in the Spanish language is a plus.
This position requires occasional night and weekend hours to represent Friends at meetings, work days, and special events.
Please send resume and cover letter as PDFs files describing: 1) your interest in this position, 2) the ways in which you satisfy the qualifications specified above, 3) salary requirements, and 4) two project samples to Margaret Frisbie, Executive Director via email@example.com or mail to 411 S. Wells, Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60607. NO calls, please.
Additional Salary Information: Friends offer excellent benefits including generous paid leave (three weeks to start), medical and dental insurance, and a retirement match after two years of employment. Salary commensurate with experience. Friends of the Chicago River is an equal opportunity employer.
Internal Number: 3129390490
About Friends of the Chicago River
Founded in 1979, Friends of the Chicago River is an award winning nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve and protect the Chicago River for people, plants, and animals. With over 10,000 members, volunteers, and online advocates, Friends works to make the river greener and more accessible, while building awareness of the benefits that a clean, healthy river can bring to communities across the watershed. Friends of the Chicago River is working to make the Chicago River one of the world’s great metropolitan rivers. For more information on Friends of the Chicago River, please visit our website www.chicagoriver.org.