Start Date: Summer 2022
Location: Fort Myers, FL
Who we Are
Lee Interfaith For Empowerment (LIFE) is a member of the Direct Action and Research Training Center (DART), one of the largest faith-based community organizing networks in the country. DART’s 28 affiliated organizations span 10 states. By harnessing the power of organized people, these organizations hold political and economic systems accountable for acting fairly—pushing them to become more equitable and just. Since 1982 our network has fought for and won policy changes that have addressed systemic failures which disproportionately harm low-income communities as well as communities of color. Some of our victories include:
- Hundreds of millions of dollars invested in affordable housing
- Implementation of fair discipline policies in hundreds of schools, breaking the school-to-prison pipeline
- Nearly $950 million invested in public transportation
- Criminal justice reforms resulting in 30,000 fewer arrests of children
Why Choose the DART Network
DART is a network of doers. We understand that the road to a society free of racism and economic injustice is a long one that requires dedication and persistence. To create lasting change, we must do work that extends beyond charity and advocacy—while important, these efforts generally only serve as temporary solutions to permanent, systemic problems. In a world where the interests of the wealthy are prioritized, DART seeks to create communities that honor people power as the true catalyst for change.
DART makes a significant investment in the training and development of our team. You do not need to have prior organizing experience, as we provide the training you’ll need to be successful. During your first five months, you will receive intensive, on-the-job training through the DART Organizers Institute. You will learn basic organizing principles and develop key organizing skills including: finding and developing leaders, issue research and strategy, power
analysis, and one-to-one meetings. Ongoing professional development will continue through individualized coaching and mentoring, as well as local, regional, and national staff trainings and retreats.
About the Work
LIFE is hiring a full-time Lead Community Organizer / Executive Director who will train people of faith to hold political and economic systems accountable for justice. Through your work, everyday people will fight on their own behalf for justice in the form of things like affordable housing, police reform, public transportation and more. In time, your efforts will result in a noticeable shift in the power dynamics of the local community.
Day-to-day, the Lead Organizer/Executive Director will spend most of their time in the field coaching community leaders and recruiting new congregations to join the organization. Through three annual processes, DART organizations identify community problems, research viable solutions, and rally people to demand the implementation of those solutions by public officials. You will foster relationships, develop leaders, drive forward issue campaigns, and manage the operations of the organization.
- Building engagement in the community
- Train grassroots faith leaders how to engage others within their congregations in the fight for justice
- Recruit new leaders and congregations into the organization
- This work will be done primarily by conducting an average of 10 one-to-one meetings with clergy and lay leaders per week
- Organizing issue campaigns
- Train and assist grassroots leaders to identify community problems
- Train and assist leaders to conduct research and develop action plans for winnable issue campaigns on community problems
- Organize public actions of over 1,000 people
- Train grassroots leaders to effectively negotiate with decision-makers
- Organizational development & management
- Train, supervise, and evaluate Associate Organizer staff
- Organize an annual 6-8 week annual fundraising drive with grassroots leaders who fundraise from individuals, small businesses, and major corporations in the community.
- Work with the organization’s Board of Directors to map out the strategic direction and development of the organization. This includes working with grassroots leaders to design and implement an annual strategic planning process.
- Ensure that the organization’s finances are in order. This includes maintaining accurate financial records, ensuring that all foundation proposals and reports are submitted in a timely fashion, and making sure that dues from member congregations are collected on a routine schedule.
Who You Are
DART community organizers come from a wide variety of backgrounds. The common denominators are a passion for justice and a strong desire to make change. As an ideal candidate, you are someone who is naturally curious, values strong relationships, and is energized by the prospect of uniting people around a common cause. You should be able to demonstrate a strong work ethic and ability to produce results through previous positions or other endeavors. Community organizers are afforded a great deal of autonomy when it comes to building their schedules. They also need to make themselves available to community members, many of whom work during the day, so the ideal candidate is able to work nights and weekends when needed.
The ideal candidate does not have to be personally religious. Because you will be working with faith communities on a daily basis, you should have a genuine respect for the faith traditions of others.
- Core passion for justice and equity
- Excellent relationship-building skills
- Exceptional work ethic
- Enthusiasm for working with diverse faith communities
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent professional experience
- Possession of a valid driver’s license and access to a car
- Fluency in Spanish a plus
Compensation and Benefits:
Starting salary is $55,000-70,000 annually. Additional benefits include: paid vacation and holidays, healthcare coverage, retirement, parental leave, and reimbursements for work-related travel. Employer retirement contributions of 10% begin after one year of employment.
Salary increases will be determined by the Board of Directors after a 6-month probation period is completed satisfactorily, and from then on, based on annual performance reviews.
LIFE is an equal opportunity employer.
Email your resume and cover letter to melissa [at] thedartcenter [dot] org with the subject “LIFE Lead Organizer.”