The Roger Baldwin Foundation of ACLU, Inc. (“ACLU of Illinois”) has two open Policy and Advocacy Strategist positions. A Policy and Advocacy Strategist works collaboratively across Departments to use integrated advocacy tools, including legislation, policy change, coalition building, and communications, to advance meaningful change. Each position has a different subject matter focus:

  1. Justice-Involved: includes a focus on our work related to policing, systems-involved youth, collateral consequences, and barriers to reentry.
  2. Bodily Autonomy: includes a focus on our work related to reproductive health and access, sexual health education, and healthcare, access, and decision-making that affirms and supports youth, LGBTQIA communities, and individuals at the end of their lives.

A Policy and Advocacy Strategist must have policy development and implementation experience, a curious and strategic mindset, and experience working on the core issues for their specific position.

The Policy and Advocacy Strategist is part of the Advocacy Department and reports to the Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs Director.


The Policy and Advocacy Strategist helps to develop and implement the ACLU-IL’s legislative, policy, and advocacy priorities by:

  • Analyzing current and prospective local, state, and national ACLU issues.
  • Conducting, analyzing, and presenting rigorous research which:
    • Identifies and evaluates best practices around model policies and programs (legislation, ordinances, directives, practices), as well as implementation strategies.
    • Includes a review of both quantitative and qualitative data as it relates to policy goals.
  • Building and maintaining trusted, respectful relationships with stakeholders, including but not limited to people impacted by our work, community members and leaders, coalitions, allied organizations, issue experts, legislative staff, government officials, and elected officials.
  • Drafting legislation, developing policy positions, and creating strategies which:
  • Increase public and impacted community awareness of, and opportunities to engage on, civil liberties issues.
  • Are mission-aligned and build on best practices, when appropriate.
  • Will result in meaningful change, and actively mitigate the potential of unintentional disparate impact and/or actively address potential disparate impact.
  • Include a plan for successful implementation and a process for monitoring impact.
  • Developing and executing implementation of strategy through:
  • Developing partnerships that facilitate successful policy, legislative, and non-litigation advocacy implementation.
  • Engaging in public education activities that reach a wide variety of audiences.
  • Coordinating and participating in legislative and stakeholder meetings.
  • Writing and delivering compelling testimony.

At each stage of the work, the Policy and Advocacy Strategist is expected to:

  • Draft clear, concise internal and external memos and develop advocacy tools – including fact sheets, talking points, public education materials, position letters, and policy briefs – in multiple formats for a range of audiences.
  • Work with the Advocacy Team and community stakeholders to include the voices, perspectives, and experiences of those directly impacted by the issues being addressed into the process.
  • Work collaboratively across internal departments.


  • At least 6 years of hands-on experience successfully advocating for legislative or policy change.
  • At least 5 years of experience researching, collecting, and synthesizing large amounts of information from a range of sources and providing recommendations on next steps.
  • Proven ability to think critically and strategically about solving problems and coming up with solutions that will drive results.
  • Proven ability to communicate clearly and effectively, explaining complex issues in accessible terms for a range of audiences, both verbally and in writing.
  • Proven ability to work independently and manage multiple projects with competing deadlines on a tight timeline, while maintaining a strong attention to detail.
  • Proven ability to build and maintain effective relationships with a broad range of constituencies, including people who have been impacted by our work.
  • Ability to be resilient, and understanding that working towards systemic change is a marathon and not a sprint.
  • Willingness and availability to travel throughout Illinois and work beyond the normal workday and on weekends.


In accordance with the ACLU salary scale and commensurate with experience, the salary range is $55,000 to $75,000. Benefits include four weeks paid vacation; 100% employer-paid medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff and eligible dependents; a 403(b) retirement benefits plan with employer match; life insurance; and long-term disability insurance.

ACLU of Illinois staff are based in Chicago, IL, but are currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When conditions are safe to return to the office space, staff members will be expected to work out of our Chicago office.


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The ACLU of Illinois is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, criminal record, or veteran status.


For nearly 100 years, the American Civil Liberties Union and its affiliates in all 50 states and Puerto Rico have been at the forefront of many major fights for civil rights, civil liberties, and equal justice. With a staff of 45 and over 75,000 members, the ACLU of Illinois is one of the largest state affiliates of the ACLU.

The ACLU of Illinois takes up tough civil rights and civil liberties issues to defend people from government abuse and overreach, including by fighting unjust practices in the criminal and juvenile legal systems, promoting full equality for LGBTQ+ people, challenging dangerous detention conditions, battling racially biased and abusive policing, advancing reproductive rights and gender justice, and advocating for children in foster care and people with disabilities. We are a passionate and highly motivated group of lawyers, public policy experts, lobbyists, fundraisers, engagement and communication professionals, and administrative staff. 


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