Co-Director Position - Midwest Academy


We are seeking a dynamic organizer-trainer to share the role of director of the Midwest Academy.  Building on the Academy’s remarkable 50-year legacy, the co-director will help adapt the training curriculum to this changing moment and design new initiatives to meet the needs of the organizing field. In addition to training in the Midwest Academy’s very hands-on/experiential style, the position includes fundraising and organizational outreach. The co-director should be experienced in the Midwest Academy’s theory of change, possess a deep commitment to racial, gender, and economic justice practices, and have the capacity to design a program with energy to drive the Academy into the future.

Overview of the Academy

The Midwest Academy has played a vital role in preparing several generations of organizers, many of whom are now in leadership positions in community and labor organizations. Our trainers have developed a curriculum that distills decades of experience in organizing into practical lessons for organizers in how to support the development of self-determined, democratically governed organizations that win real improvements in people’s lives and help build the broader movement for racial, economic and social justice.  Our commitment in this moment in history is to provide training and other forms of strategic support to groups that are organizing to build power in communities of color and low-income and working-class communities and constituencies, and also ensuring our programs are broadly accessible to the progressive movement ecosystem.

As the field of organizing evolves, the Academy is committed to changing as well, to build on our storied history to evolve in ways that best support the current organizing field.  We have enriched our organizer training curriculum to speak directly to the needs that organizers have identified in this moment. It now has three essential components:

  • Organizing skills that include strategic campaigns, base building, leadership development, and strategies for building a democratic self-determined organization;
  • Political analysis that provides organizers with a framework that connects issues and integrates a racial justice lens, identifies root causes of the problems around which they are organizing, and helps them understand the role of vision and ideology in sustaining one’s organizing practice over the long haul; and
  • Personal strategies for the long haul that help organizers develop their capacity for self-reflection and self-care and handle the balance between work and personal life more effectively.

We offer the following national training programs. We also offer tailored versions of these training programs to individual organizations, as well as coaching and strategic planning support.

Organizing for Justice
Our 5-day training (adapted to 4 days for the virtual space) provides a strategic framework and concrete skills for effective progressive organizing that challenges structural inequalities.

Organizing for Justice, Part II
This new training program offers experienced organizers the opportunity to delve deeper into several skill areas that are central to building an effective long-term organizing practice, including building effective coalitions and aligning one’s day-to-day work with a larger vision for justice.

Supervising Organizers Workshop
The Academy provides this 3-day workshop to address the specific challenges of guiding social change organizers to do their best work. The focus is on providing a framework for aligning the roles of a supervisor with a vision for justice, and on developing and supervising organizers to become the next generation of the movement.

Advanced Strategy Retreat
This 3-day intensive workshop offers a deep dive into each column of the Midwest Academy’s strategy chart, providing a system for building strong campaigns and organizations. Participants emerge with a plan for a campaign that their organizations can use to build power and win.


The co-director will share responsibility to:

  • Fulfill the Academy’s mission through visionary, responsive and creative thinking, which is rooted in current trends and movement prospects;
  • Develop and execute the short- and long-term strategic plan that will meet this responsibility;
  • Supervise and participate in the Academy’s training, coaching and strategic planning programs;
  • Revise and develop training sessions, handouts and materials;
  • Help lead the Academy’s fundraising, including developing foundation proposals and reports, preparing and overseeing major donor campaigns and individual donations, and the annual fundraising event;
  • Oversee fiscal responsibilities including those necessary for auditing, budgeting, and financial analysis;
  • Lead the development of the staff, including but not limited to hiring, supervision, training and mentoring;
  • Establish and strengthen partnerships within the progressive movement, including national, state and local groups, allies and other progressive training organizations throughout the country;
  • Develop and implement new outreach strategies and programs to ensure the growth and stability of the organization; and
  • Provide visibility as a spokesperson for the Academy.

Requirements and Preferences

The co-director should:

  • Share progressive values that have guided the Academy in the support of movement and organization for democracy, justice and peace;
  • Have experience in multi-cultural, racially diverse organizing;
  • Be knowledgeable about the program and training approach of the Academy;
  • Be a skilled organizing trainer;
  • Demonstrate successful fundraising experience;
  • Have networking skill and connections with the progressive community;
  • Be an experienced supervisor;
  • Be able to manage diverse and demanding tasks;
  • Think creatively;
  • Be skilled at writing and public speaking;
  • Be able to travel as required;
  • Work well with the Board;
  • Create a joyful environment;
  • Ten years of organizing experience, in a mix of community and labor settings, preferred;
  • College or higher degree preferred; and
  • Be willing to work some evening and weekends.

The co-director reports to the Academy’s Board of Directors. The salary range begins at $125k, based on experience, with a good benefits package (including health, dental, and vision insurance, 401k w/ company match after 1 year, and generous PTO). Co-director does not need to be in Chicago.

Candidates are encouraged to apply soon; we are prepared to hire when we find the right candidate.

To apply, please send resume and cover letter addressing why you want to do this work, for this organization, to:  [email protected]

Please also include at least three professional references (references not contacted until you have had a successful interview), as well as any salary range or requirement information.

The Midwest Academy is an equal opportunity employer.  Diversity and inclusion are our strength; we value and benefit from greater representation.  Members from underrepresented communities are strongly encouraged to apply. We strongly encourage applications from all qualified individuals of every race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, and record of arrest or conviction.

[1] While this is a search for a Co-Director, depending on the experience of the candidates who apply, we may have a transition period with a somewhat revised position while the working relationship is established.

[2] For more information about the other co-director, go to

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