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Community Engagement and Policy Coordinator
Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice has a position open for a full-time Community Engagement and Policy Coordinator with experience and interest in community organizing, policy research, and advocacy.
Massachusetts Appleseed is a non-profit organization driven by a mission to promote equal rights and opportunities for Massachusetts residents by developing and advocating for systemic solutions to social justice issues. Our projects seek systems-level change so all Massachusetts families and youth can exercise their legal rights, build pathways out of poverty and crisis, and thrive. We accomplish this through multiple strategies, including policy analysis and research, coalition building, education and training, community organizing, and advocacy. For more than 25 years, Massachusetts Appleseed has successfully produced powerful solutions to our state’s most pervasive problems and operates as a critical resource for direct service counterparts.
We focus on three primary policy areas:
- Access to Justice: Eliminating the many systemic barriers within Massachusetts’ legal systems and various administrative agencies that deny justice to thousands of residents each year, guaranteeing language access, and reforming the courts and administrative tribunals to make them more “user friendly” to people who cannot afford an attorney. We are particularly interested in how technology can be used to achieve these goals.
- Educational Justice: Protecting students’ rights, promoting racial equity, and advocating for policy change to keep all students in class where they are safe, supported, and available for learning, with a particular focus on the disparate impact of school discipline policies on students of color, also known as the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
- Youth Homelessness: Providing policy recommendations, easing systemic barriers, and developing legal resources to help youth experiencing homelessness build safe, stable futures.
Massachusetts Appleseed is committed to fostering the leadership and elevating the voices of people of color, women, LGBTQ+ people, low-income people, immigrants, young people who were formerly involved in the child welfare system, young people who were formerly involved in the criminal justice system, people with disabilities, and people living in the many intersections of these experiences. We encourage people from these communities and people with experience outside traditional career paths to apply.
Research shows that potential applicants from historically and structurally marginalized groups are more likely to apply to jobs only if they meet 100% of the qualifications. If you are interested in this position, but don’t think you meet every single qualification, please don’t let that stop you from applying! No one ever meets 100% of the qualifications, and we look forward to your application.
Principal Community Engagement Duties and Responsibilities (approximately 60%):
- Establish relationships with community-based organizations within each of our three policy areas (access to justice, educational justice, youth homelessness). Outreach will focus on developing relationships via one-on-one communication and group meetings across the state, in addition to conducting presentations for community-based organizations on Massachusetts Appleseed’s research and advocacy initiatives;
- Work with community members and community partners across our three policy areas to identify issues, develop research projects, and implement policy solutions;
- Develop and implement strategies for engaging key communities in all stages of projects, including but not limited to participatory action research models, focus groups, and listening sessions;
- Represent the organization at relevant events, community forums, conferences, community meetings, and collaborative community-based projects;
- Build and lead coalitions across policy areas and ensure effective partnerships with allies and stakeholders;
- Coordinate with partners to create accessible opportunities for community members to mobilize and take action; and
- Prepare policy memos and testimony in support of legislative priorities, and collaborate with colleagues in drafting email-based advocacy alerts and other messaging relating to these priorities.
Principal Research Duties and Responsibilities (approximately 30%):
- Collaborate with Executive Director to manage and implement long-term research projects, utilizing internal and external resources including consultants and pro bono partners;
- Lead qualitative data-gathering efforts to inform research reports, such as conducting interviews with directly impacted community members;
- Develop and maintain expertise in Massachusetts Appleseed’s core policy areas; and
- Contribute to the creation of research reports as well as fact sheets, guides, documents, presentations, and other educational and outreach materials.
Additional Duties and Responsibilities (approximately 10%):
- Support the Executive Director in working with the Board of Directors and its Committees including creating and distributing meeting agendas and materials, overseeing meeting logistics, recording minutes, and following up on action items;
- Assist the Executive Director with program-related meetings including drafting agendas, notetaking, and coordinating follow-up;
- Work with colleagues to measure and track project progress, community participation, and project deliverables related to funders;
- Participate in administrative responsibilities shared among all staff members to facilitate effective organizational operations, including coordinating IT support for employees, assisting with intern and new employee onboarding, and processing employee requests for expense reimbursement; and
- Serve as liaison to host’s building operations.
Other duties as assigned.
The ideal candidate is a creative, self-motivated individual eager to be a part of our fast-paced team who possesses the following qualifications:
- Bachelor’s degree and/or two years’ experience in community organizing, policy research, or legislative advocacy;
- Exceptional research and writing skills with the ability to tailor writing to a variety of audiences;
- The ability to synthesize complex research findings into clear, compelling, and accessible terms;
- Strong verbal communication skills, high level of comfort with public speaking, and the ability to clearly discuss projects with external audiences;
- Proven ability to work independently and collaboratively with partner organizations;
- Cultural competency to work with and make meaningful connections with residents from diverse backgrounds;
- Excellent problem-solving and time management skills; must be highly organized and experienced at meeting deadlines and adept at managing multiple projects simultaneously;
- Strong knowledge of Microsoft Office products (Outlook, Word, Excel);
- Willingness to travel to communities around the state required, having a car/appropriate car insurance/a valid driver’s license a plus (if you do not have a car, we will work with you to identify transportation options);
- Flexible schedule with the ability to work some evenings, weekends;
- Demonstrated commitment to social justice; experience working in/with non-profits, government or other public interest organizations preferred;
- Fluency in one or more languages in addition to English preferred;
- Familiarity with data analysis is a plus; and
- Experience related to the legal system, school-to-prison pipeline, or youth homelessness is a plus.
The salary range for this role is $45,000 – $55,000. Employee benefits include but are not limited to health insurance with employer contribution, generous paid time off (holidays, unlimited PTO (with supervisor approval), 4-day work week in July and August), and flexible scheduling. This position is based out of Massachusetts Appleseed’s office in downtown Boston, but we expect a “hybrid” work environment, combining in-person days and work-at-home days, for the foreseeable future. This position will report to the Executive Director.
To center the safety and well-being of our communities, Massachusetts Appleseed requires vaccination against COVID-19 for all employees. Reasonable accommodation based on a qualifying medical exemption or sincerely held religious beliefs are being considered in accordance with applicable law.
To apply, please submit your resume, cover letter, and a writing sample to Maddie Poage at email@example.com. While applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled, we strongly encourage you to submit your application by September 22, 2023. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 617-482-8686.
Massachusetts Appleseed is an Equal Opportunity Employer, is committed to diversity in its workforce, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, military status or any other status protected by applicable law.