Who we are:
The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grassroots, and grasstop organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.
Vera has a staff of 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.
Who you are:
The Ending Girls' Incarceration (EGI) Senior Advocacy Associate for national work will implement EGI’s advocacy strategy by leading efforts to effect policy change and programmatic investment at the state-level in multiple jurisdictions and representing our work within national, state, and local coalitions. In the first year of work with EGI, the Senior Advocacy Associate’s primary priorities will be managing campaigns in New York and Maine to build on the Initiative’s past achievements in these states and solidify changes needed to permanently end girls’ incarceration. Campaigns will prioritize changes to juvenile legal system authorizing codes and budget advocacy to address disparities for girls and gender expansive youth of color within the youth legal system--- ending their incarceration and advancing their wellbeing in the community. The Senior Advocacy Associate will represent the Initiative in coalitions focused on youth justice reform and freedom for girls of color, managing relationships with allied organizations to deliver on mutual goals. Within Vera, the Senior Advocacy Associate will work collaboratively with EGI’s leadership and Vera’s Advocacy and Partnerships department to develop and maintain advocacy plans that execute on the programs' strategic priorities. The Senior Advocacy Associate for national work will report directly to EGI’s Program Manager.
What you'll do:
Lead implementation of EGI’s advocacy plans and support statewide work to execute on priorities
- In collaboration with EGI leadership and with direction from Vera’s Advocacy and Partnerships department, spearhead the planning and implementation of EGI’s advocacy strategy towards executing strategic goals at the state level as the program scales nationally. For the first year campaigns will focus on New York and Maine.
- Develop and manage campaign processes to ensure that aligned organizations execute on timely advocacy actions (such as developing and maintaining stakeholder databases and listservs and routinely sharing campaign materials and calls to action, managing and updating workplans etc.)
- Represent EGI’s priorities within relevant coalitions and alliances at the national and state level
- Cultivate, maintain and grow relationships with statewide organizations and stakeholders in the youth justice reform movement and aligned movements and fields, including working collaboratively with EGI’s current partners
- Educate, build strong relationships, and advocate directly with elected officials and other government officials as needed to advance campaigns
- Travel to sites as needed for engagement with state officials or statewide coalition work
- Collaborate with EGI technical assistance staff to align as needed within technical assistance efforts
- Collaborate with lobbyists as needed to execute on EGI’s campaign priorities
Writing and Editing Campaign Materials
- Draft fact sheets, talking points, testimony, model policies, legislative language and other campaign education and outreach materials, in collaboration with Vera’s Advocacy and Partnerships department
- Review and edit documents created by associate-level EGI staff
- Collaborate with EGI technical assistance and research staff to gather relevant data and sourcing
- Collaborate with Communications to produce relevant communications materials to influence campaigns (blog posts, social media content, op-eds etc.)
- Monitor and analyze legislation, regulatory change, and associated news that impacts EGI’s advocacy and technical assistance priorities
- Monitor budget developments relevant to EGI’s priorities for programmatic investment
- Provide relevant updates to the team based on research and escalate strategic opportunities or potential threats to EGI’s progress
- Propose strategies to influence government and elected officials
- Collaborate with other EGI team members on model policy and blueprinting potential solutions to end incarceration nationally based on progress at the state level
Training delivery and coordination
- Prepare and deliver webinars , interactive workshops and trainings for governmental and advocacy stakeholders in collaboration with EGI’s technical assistance staff both at the local and state level
- Participate in training of EGI’s statewide peer network as needed
Leadership within EGI team and Vera:
- Promote team’s overall impact by building team leadership and knowledge (including hosting brown bags on relevant topics like campaign management, policy matters etc.)
- Join with Vera’s advocacy practice and learning community to share and workshop goal-setting, strategies, and tactics
- Contribute to the professional development of colleagues (such as through providing guidance to associate-level staff)
What qualifications are we looking for?
- Proven track record developing and leading effective campaigns on youth justice-reform or similar issue
- At least six years of legal, government, or policy work experience in juvenile justice or related field
- Bachelor’s degree. In lieu of a Bachelors degree, applicable work or life experience may be considered.
- Experience advocating for young people in the youth legal system
- Experience engaging local governments and broad coalitions to build consensus on policy reform issues is a strong plus
- We value diverse experience in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have lived experience with the criminal legal and immigration systems to apply
- Knowledge of ongoing juvenile legal system policy reform efforts in New York and Maine
Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities you'll bring:
- Must have thorough knowledge of youth justice issues and youth legal systems
- Must demonstrate strong understanding and analysis of racial and gender equity
- Strong communication and facilitation skills
- Strong campaign management skills
- Demonstrated understanding of the process for managing legislative campaigns
- Strong writing and policy research skills
- Ability to multitask and manage multiple projects and priorities simultaneously, as well as balance travel responsibilities with office-based responsibilities
- Ability to read and communicate effectively in Spanish or another language (preferred but not required)
- Ability to work collaboratively with a national, remote team
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite
- Ability to identify needs and gaps in network and to proactively and creatively develop solutions and resources, as appropriate
Technical knowledge we need you prepared to use:
- Microsoft Office Suite; Zoom; Cloud-based project management programs (can learn on job)
Please note this role will report to our Brooklyn, NY or Washington, DC office. Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule and are in-office on an alternating schedule that generally amounts to 10 days per month.
Compensation and Benefits
The compensation range for this position is $90,000 – $95,000. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience and performance. The salary range listed is just one component of Vera Institute’s total compensation package for employees. As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff—both personally and professionally—is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our staff through other rewards including merit pay, generous paid time off, a comprehensive health insurance plan, student loan repayment benefits, professional development training opportunities and up to $2,000 annual for education costs and fees relevant to Vera work, employer-funded retirement plan, and flexible time. Please note Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule: two days in office their first week and three days in office every alternating week. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings, click here.
Applications may also be faxed to:
ATTN: People Resources / Senior Advocacy Associate National, EGI
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Fax: (212) 941-9407
Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.
As a federal contractor, and in order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability/medical contraindication or sincerely-held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.
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, please visit www.vera.org