Senior Director of Community Advocacy and Government Affairs

Greater Chicago Food Depository

Chicago, IL, USA

Full time


Sep 15

Job Details

Greater Chicago Food Depository - Chicago, IL
Full Time
4 Year Degree


General Description: The Food Depository’s mission is to end hunger. The Food Depository’s Policy and Advocacy team leads organizational efforts to advance policy solutions and systems change to end hunger and the root causes of poverty and racial inequity.

The Senior Director of Community Advocacy and Government Affairs will amplify the voice of neighbors with lived experience and communities in advocacy; develop strategic relationships with elected officials; and build policy partnerships to support solutions to the root causes of hunger, poverty and racial inequity.

This leadership role is responsible for developing and overseeing a comprehensive cross-functional advocacy strategy that listens to and amplifies the policy priorities of community leaders and neighbors with lived experience with food insecurity. This role also oversees the work of the Manager of Advocacy to recruit, mobilize, and build the capacity of diverse stakeholders in advocacy, including volunteers, donors, college students, and faith leaders.


The Senior Director is also responsible for developing and managing strategic electeds relationship management at the local, state, and federal level. With support from the Senior Manager of Legislative Relations, the role will oversee legislative strategy to advance legislative priorities.


This role is also responsible for building relationships with intersectional and root cause policy partners and tables to support the leadership of anti-poverty partners and advance the Food Depository’s policy agenda.


The ideal candidate will have a strategic aptitude for community relations and government affairs in Chicago and Illinois; experience managing community and/or government relations for a complex, mission-driven organization; a broad understanding of poverty and economic opportunity issues; and a passion for advancing equity and improving the lives of low-income neighbors.


Key Responsibilities and Essential Functions:

  • Community Advocacy and Government Affairs
    • Develop and implement a community advocacy engagement strategy that centers the expertise of food insecure neighbors and community organizations and amplifies their voice in advocacy.
    • Develop and manage an electeds relationship management strategy to strengthen the movement to end hunger, increase elected official leadership on hunger, and advance Food Depository relationship goals.
    • Develop and oversee advocacy strategy that inspires key stakeholders to engage in advocacy, increases the number of people engaged in advocacy, and aligns advocacy and legislative relationship activities to achieve policy and government relations goals.
    • Oversee advocacy campaigns to advance legislative goals, voter registration and GOTV efforts, and build public support for the organization’s policy agenda.
    • Maintain strong working knowledge of Food Depository programs, operations, and policy goals to be able to accurately and strategically represent Food Depository interests with external stakeholders.
    • Strategically deploy Food Depository staff, board members, partners, advocates, and other stakeholders to advance legislative and government relations goals.
    • Collaborate cross-functionally to engage Food Depository volunteers, donors, and supporters in advocacy.
    • Monitor and analyze local, state, and federal legislation to assess their impact on the organization’s mission, operations, and policy goals.
    • Manage the organization’s lobbying registration and reporting.

  • Duties
    • Oversee the drafting of memos, legislative summaries, talking points, presentations, advocacy resources, and other materials as needed to engage and inform internal and external stakeholders.
    • Manage the development and delivery of trainings, presentations, and other materials to educate and engage internal and external stakeholders on advocacy and legislative issues.
    • Manage the team’s advocacy and legislative relations-related budget and resources, including grants and vendor contracts, and participate in budget planning and reporting process.
    • Develop funder proposals, budgets, and reports in collaboration with the Development team.
    • Provide press guidance and represent the Food Depository and the issue portfolio in media communications.
    • Oversee the planning, promotion, and execution of key advocacy and lobbying events in Chicago, Springfield, and Washington, DC.
    • Establish and maintain a process for tracking and coordinating organization-wide engagement with elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels.
    • Establish a system for tracking the impact of advocacy recruitment and mobilization efforts.

  • Relationships
    • Represent the organization in meetings with community organizations, legislators, coalition partners, and other stakeholders.
    • Cultivate existing relationships and develop and maintain strong working relationships with elected officials and their staff.
    • Coordinate with Strategic Relationships and Community Planning function to engage community partners in advocacy, conduct community listening sessions, and represent neighbor, partner, and community interests in advocacy and legislator engagement.
    • Coordinate with Senior Policy Advisors to mobilize advocates and engage elected officials to support legislative policy solutions that advance their issue portfolios and develop positions on legislation.
    • Coordinate with Senior Managers of Safety Net Optimization to leverage elected officials to increase constituent awareness of safety net programs and improve local level implementation of safety net programs.
    • Other responsibilities as assigned.



  • Advanced degree in public policy, political science, law, social work, public health, or a related field preferred. 
  • Minimum of 10 years of work experience in advocacy, government affairs, community relations, public policy, or a related field.
  • Strong knowledge of the legislative and policy-making process at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • Ability to work in political environments requiring a high degree of tact, discretion, and political savvy with keen political and interpersonal judgment.
  • Knowledge of advocacy and lobbying rules, regulations, and ethics.
  • Strategic understanding of the landscape of public, nonprofit, and private partners needed to inform and advance policy change.
  • Broad knowledge of hunger, poverty, and intersectional issues.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to present complex information in a clear and concise manner to a wide range of stakeholders.

  • Ability to manage complex projects effectively and efficiently and who can be highly successful with minimal supervision in a fast-paced environment.
  • Emotionally intelligent manager with significant experience managing teams to achieve results.
  • Ability to advance shared outcomes across organizational functions in a complex organization and work collaboratively as part of a team.
  • Ability to lead and influence without direct authority and proven record of generating buy-in from internal and external stakeholders.

  • Strong networking skills and excellent collaboration traits with significant experience in building and managing effective relationships and partnerships.

  • Action-oriented, entrepreneurial leader with significant creative capacity and flexibility.
  • Superior strategist, with robust analytical/problem solving skills, organizational agility, political savvy, strong interpersonal judgment, and the ability to manage high levels of ambiguity.
  • Proficiency in MS Office-Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook.



  • Normal office environment; some warehouse environment.
  • Hybrid work environment, with minimum two days per week on-site.
  • Out of office meetings and events. Occasional travel.

Interacts with Food Depository staff; political and community leaders; federal, state,

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