• Vera Institute of Justice
  • $67,400.00 -104,060.00/year*
  • New York, NY
  • Administrative/Clerical
  • Full-Time
  • 21 Warren St

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Who we are:

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit organization that combines expertise in research, technical assistance, and demonstration projects to assist leaders in government and civil society examine justice policy and practice, and improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. We're passionate. We're dynamic. We're innovative. In a nutshell, we drive meaningful change. What that means is that:

* We study problems that impede human dignity and justice.

* We pilot solutions that are at once transformative and achievable.

* We engage diverse communities in informed debate.

* And we harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice

What we're doing:

We are helping to build a movement ? among government leaders, advocates, and the immigration legal services community ? towards universal legal representation for immigrants facing deportation. In the face of stepped-up immigration enforcement, millions of non-citizens are at risk of extended detention and permanent separation from their families and communities. In 2017 Vera convened the Safety and Fairness for Everyone (SAFE) Network, a group of diverse local jurisdictions that have committed public taxpayer dollars toward legal representation for immigrants in their communities facing detention and deportation. We partner with local government leaders, a closely-connected network of legal defense programs, and advocates to establish publicly funded deportation defense programs around the country and use our expertise in program design, research, and communications to advance our vision of government-funded counsel for all immigrants facing deportation.

That's where you come in:

The Senior Planner of Policy and Advocacy will join the SAFE Network team and develop dissemination and engagement strategies to audiences, such as local and state government officials, and advocacy groups. You will be responsible for developing new relationships, elevating current relationships, and creating opportunities to advance publicly funded deportation defense through a universal representation model through the SAFE Network. The work will require creativity, strategic acumen, and expertise at turning knowledge into action. In addition, you will have the ability to design, test and implement highly effective tactics that encourage communities (government and advocacy) with differing geographies, politics, religions, and economies to embrace and advocate for our goal. The Senior Planner will report to the Program Director, Annie Chen, and work closely to support the primary SAFE program team contacts working with each site, and the Communication teams to build and execute a strategy to promote SAFE and universal representation as a policy solution among all stakeholders. This is a new position to the team.

What we need in you:

* Political strategist and advocacy expert. The unique challenge of any justice reform initiative requires building coalitions, relationships, and consensus with a broad range of actors in a broad range of places. You should be equally comfortable meeting with community groups, legal services providers or a legislator's office, and have a knack for speaking to people's values. You should be comfortable engaging with budgeting practices, processes, and strategies in a diverse range of jurisdictions nationwide with the goal of growth and sustainability of the Network's pilot programs.

* Knowledge of the Justice Ecosystem. We want to reach and engage far flung audiences ? leadership in DC, grassroots and grasstops at the state and local level, advocacy partners ? who can take what we're learning and use it to promote government-funded counsel for immigrants at risk of deportation.

* Experience working with broad networks. We need to connect across the aisle, expand our reach in geographies where we currently operate and those we don't yet operate. We need to elevate the capabilities of our current partners as well as build new partnerships and expand our support base.

* Data conversant. We need someone who is data conversant, who can translate the research and evidence generated by our team into action that can inform conversations about change. We need someone to use that gained knowledge to develop call-to-action campaigns and serve as a subject matter expert for our partners.

* Media savvy. We work closely with our communications team on strategic goals with a focus on local communication campaigns and raising awareness about the need for counsel nationally among the public and policymakers. In addition, we translate and leverage our data to produce evidence for the field to strengthen local advocacy and the network.

* A deep commitment to empowerment and equity. This work is not only about equipping justice system stakeholders to make change, but also about educating and engaging communities in the work to embrace the need for reform and to address racial disparities in the justice system.

* Fearlessness, but not carelessness. We need someone who is creative and willing to try new things, but with sound judgment and consultative instinct.

What you bring:

The successful candidate will possess many of the following qualifications and attributes. If you aren't sure but are excited about the position, we encourage you to apply!

* You've got a track record. You have 7 or more years of relevant experience in local or state government, campaign or policy advocacy, and know how to reach and persuade local and state government leaders as well as advocates. You have a deep understanding of immigrants' rights issues.

* You know immigration justice, its policies, and its politics. You are knowledgeable and experienced at shaping bipartisan support for justice reform at the state, federal, and local level. You have experience working on immigration issues, in particular around detention and access to legal services. You have a deep understanding of the players and stakeholders, and have credibility with them.

* You are a skilled communicator. You understand the issues and can present them cogently to a broad range of stakeholders in small meetings and big convenings; you write quickly, clearly, persuasively and accessibly ? from tweets, to blogs, to issue briefs.

* You're great at execution and see the big picture. You have proven skill in driving forward projects or threads of work within complex initiatives.

* You are empathetic. We are dealing with people whose lives and livelihoods have been impacted by the justice system ? including those who work in it ? and start our work with a respect for their different experiences, and a belief in the possibility of change.

* You think outside the box and your glass is half full. You'll be joining this project during its second year and will help shape it moving forward. It's a groundbreaking initiative and we need your innovative, optimistic thinking.

* You collaborate and you look for how you can help without being told. It's a Vera value ? we thrive when we learn and build on each other's ideas, are open to giving and receiving feedback, are great team players who are stronger together.

* You speak, read, and write Spanish.


Salary range in the 90ks, based on experience, with excellent benefits.


The position is located in Vera's D.C. or New York offices. Remote working arrangements with regular travel to New York and D.C. will be considered. National travel to events and partner sites will also be required.

How to apply

Please submit cover letter and resume. Cover letters should include your preferred job location. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until position is filled.

Online submission in PDF format is preferred.

However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to:

ATTN: People and Culture / SAFE Network

Vera Institute of Justice

233 Broadway, 12th Floor

New York, NY 10279

Fax: (212) ###-####

Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.

No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.

For more information about Vera and CIJ's work, please visit www.vera.org.

* The salary listed in the header is an estimate based on salary data for similar jobs in the same area. Salary or compensation data found in the job description is accurate.

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