Space to Grow Project Manager

Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC),  a national nonprofit organization based in Chicago, is seeking a Space to Grow Project Manager to help further its mission of making schools places where children can learn and thrive. HSC focuses on issues affecting BIPOC students and those from under-invested communities, and makes equity part of the public dialogue about education and health. HSC advocates for policies and practices that support health and learning, including comprehensive health services, nutritious school food, physical activity, green schoolyards and clean air at school. HSC has a staff of 13 and an annual budget of $2.6 million.

Space to Grow, was founded in partnership with Openlands and public agencies (Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Chicago Department of Water Management and Chicago Public Schools), and is an award-winning national model for building green schoolyards in Chicago. Space to Grow transforms underutilized schoolyards into vibrant outdoor spaces where children and communities can gather, learn, explore and play. The schoolyard renovations incorporate green stormwater infrastructure and nature-based landscape features to infiltrate millions of gallons of water, helping to reduce basement flooding and pollution of Lake Michigan and area waterways.

The role of the Space to Grow Project Manager will include working directly with Chicago Public Schools’ design and construction teams, school administration and educators, students and community members to facilitate the design and support for the ongoing use of Space to Grow schoolyards. The Project Manager will be responsible for managing the Space to Grow application process, facilitating and documenting the school community design process, conveying the feedback and interests of the school and community throughout the schoolyard development process, and building strong relationships with the Space to Grow capital partners.

The Project Manager will also support the delivery and evaluation of Space to Grow educational programming for student, teacher, parent and community audiences. The Project Manager will provide administrative and content support for HSC’s coalitions and partnerships that further the work of Space to Grow, including the citywide green stormwater infrastructure work that HSC co-convenes.

The Space to Grow Project Manager will be a core member of HSC’s Chicago team, a highly collaborative group that works together to meet the mission of making schools healthier places for students. The Project Manager will participate in regular all-staff and Chicago team meetings, work in close partnership with HSC colleagues, and work very closely with HSC’s partners at Openlands as well.

The ideal candidate for this position has strong project management, relationship-building and facilitation skills. An understanding of physical design, engineering, construction and/or maintenance procurement and processes, or the desire to learn these, will be essential.

Core Responsibilities

  • Collaborate with team members to organize, coordinate, and facilitate the school community design process at Space to Grow schools, working with each school’s Space to Grow Committee, school staff, consultants, and partners
  • Oversee the Space to Grow schoolyard application process (typically occurs annually)
  • Support the implementation of outreach plans for each school
  • Develop presentation, meeting and event materials
  • Facilitate small and large groups, on a variety of topics related to green schoolyards, to encourage dialogue and achieve consensus
  • Document school and community feedback and communicate with Space to Grow partners 
  • Represent the interests of schools and community members in the schoolyard design and construction process
  • Work with capital partners to ensure that the foundational data that determines eligibility for Space to Grow stays up to date and is developed/maintained with rigor
  • Work in close partnership with representatives of Space to Grow capital partners and contractors, including agency leads, public officials, engineers, landscape architects and designers
  • Maintain relationships and engage with a variety of individuals (teachers, parents, administrators, community members) and community-based groups at each school
  • Provide administrative support and content research for HSC’s partnerships, coalitions and convenings related to Space to Grow; this will include the citywide green stormwater infrastructure work that HSC co-convenes
  • Coordinate and facilitate workshops, garden stewardship days, and schoolyard events
  • Maintain all Space to Grow documentation and filing systems

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Credentials

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher preferred 
  • Ability to work on teams and with a diverse range of colleagues and partners
  • Excellent facilitation, communication, negotiation, project management, and organization skills
  • Ability to build trust in groups for a common goal
  • Strong writing skills
  • Fluent in Spanish speaking and writing a plus
  • Familiarity with public school community dynamics a plus
  • Familiarity with edible gardens and native gardens a plus
  • Familiarity with Chicago and its governmental and political structures a plus
  • Proficient in collaborative workplace platforms and tools required, with preference for Google Workspace and Slack; familiarity with Trello or similar workflow management tool a plus
  • Facility in navigating data management systems, reports and tools a plus (e.g., Salesforce, Excel)
  • Valid driver’s license maintained through the duration of employment, and reliable transportation is required
  • Must be able to lift approximately 25 lbs. and work outdoors in various weather conditions

Additional Requirements

  • The HSC team works both from the organization’s downtown Chicago office and remotely; candidates must have a functioning home office space for remote work and be able to regularly travel to the Chicago Loop and other neighborhoods for meetings and events. Occasional out of state travel is required as well
  • This position is only open to Chicago-area candidates or candidates who are relocating to the Chicago area (relocation resources are not available)
  • Candidates must be willing to submit to background checks
  • This position is required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19; accommodations are considered on a case-by-case basis pursuant to individual employee situation and/or applicable state or local law

Work Environment

In addition to the competitive salary, benefits and the opportunity to work with a collaborative and dedicated team, there are a few more things that make HSC a wonderful place to work:

  • A flexible schedule that allows team members to be productive at work and focus on other priorities; this includes supporting and providing flexibility for new parents/caregivers
  • Individual health insurance is paid for from day one, contribution to family coverage begins in year two; multiple plans are offered to meet individual needs and preferences
  • A home office stipend
  • Option to work from home or the Chicago office
  • Additional days off when the office closes at the end of the year
  • A commitment to team building and organizational culture
  • A focus on equity and anti-racist work, both internally and externally

Compensation

The salary range for this position is $55,000 to $70,000 per year, depending on experience. Benefits package includes employer-paid medical, dental and disability insurance, 6% employer matching contribution to a retirement plan after one year of employment, and paid holidays, vacation and sick leave.

To Apply

HSC is committed to equal opportunity and nondiscrimination and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability or veteran status. HSC strongly encourages Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), women, LGBTQIA+ people and members of other marginalized communities to apply.

Send resume and cover letter to STGmanager@healthyschoolscampaign.org. Please put your full name in the subject line.

No phone calls please. Priority will be given to applicants who apply by January 3, 2024. Application review will begin on January 4. Position will remain posted until filled.

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Note - updated to the HSC Newsletter list 1.3.2017 per the updated newsletter configuration