Chicago Parks Program Director

The Trust for Public Land
Position Summary:

This position is primarily responsible for enhancing and expanding the urban parks initiative in the Chicago area. The Director of the Chicago Area Urban Parks Program is responsible for working with the Area Director, staff, Chicago Advisory Board and partners to develop the overall vision and implementation of the urban parks program in the Chicago area. The Director reports to the Chicago Area Director and works closely with key staff from Philanthropy, Marketing, Federal Affairs, Finance, Parks for People (and associated national programs) and the Mission Services to ensure alignment and coordination of the program with the wider goals of the organization.

Essential Functions:
  • Responsible for strategic planning and visioning, program development, budgeting, overall strategy and ensuring the program prioritizes equity and serving underserved or disadvantaged communities.
  • Supervises consultants/contractors engaged in the urban program including, planning, design, construction and project management including management of the business and legal issues related to contract compliance.
  • Identifies and works to secure multiple sources of both public and private funds.  In close cooperation with the Chicago Area Director and the Chicago Director of Philanthropy, assist in the development of fundraising materials and proposals for foundations, corporations, and individual donors and participate in meetings with potential funders to provide information about the program and its plans.
  • Identifies, develops and cultivates high level partnerships and key relationships with political, corporate, public agency, non-governmental organizations, civic leaders, funders and other partners around parks, green infrastructure, and impacts of our work to affordable housing.  Represents the urban program internally and externally and helps brand our work.
  • Has primary responsibility for developing strategy, either directly or by supervision of staff and/or consultants, for local governmental, community and public relations; and in conjunction with the Chicago Area Director and Marketing, for local media relations related to the urban parks program.
  • Responsible for aligning the urban parks program with the national Parks for People strategic plan and serve as an effective collaborator with the matrix structure of the organization to bring national expertise and resources to the Chicago program including Climate Smart Cities, Creative Placemaking and Community Health.
  • Design and implement community engagement processes that ensure equity in participation and that all voices are heard and input is integrated into plans, designs, construction and stewardship. 
  • Proven ability to both manage complex projects, programs, and budgets and to create a strategic and coherent vision for long term leadership in building and/or renovating parks, trails, playgrounds and public spaces.
  • Familiarity with urban planning, particularly park planning, landscape architecture and capital improvements and an understanding of urban environmental quality of life issues including parks, environmental justice, brownfields, community development, and housing.
  • Excellent leadership, meeting facilitation, collaboration, public speaking and communication skills.
  • Experience in working with community leaders, agency staff, elected officials and local media to promote and implement successful projects.
  • Experience in collaborating and negotiating with diverse groups and interests, including communities of color and disadvantaged communities, in dynamic inner-city environments.
  • Bachelor’s Degree required, including course work in urban planning, landscape architecture, and land use management. Masters Degree Preferred.
  • Minimum 8 years related experience.
  • An entrepreneurial spirit, initiative, energy, the capacity to lead, mentor and inspire others, the capacity to be both a high performer and a team player, common sense and a sense of humor.
  • Willingness to travel and attend evening meetings.
  • Computer Proficiency; Microsoft Office and familiarity with geographic information systems and sophisticated spatial and data analysis.


Chicago, IL
Due Date: 
Friday, December 29, 2017
Posted by Mary.Fichtner on November 17, 2017 - 9:19am