C.O.R.E. Fellow

About the opportunity:

At Trust for Public Land (TPL), community is at the heart of everything we do. Our commitment to improving community equity, health, and climate outcomes is the cornerstone of our strategic plan. For over 20 years, our work in Illinois has yielded the greatest results through broad and sustained community engagement. Our engagement process (Community Outreach and Resident Experts -CORE) centers on community voice, whereby we co-design outdoor spaces with communities to ensure every park, trail, and schoolyard we create reflects community priorities and aspirations.

Trust for Public Land is hiring a CORE Fellow to help us achieve these goals in Chicago. The CORE Fellow will serve as a liaison with various groups on the south side to advance park, trail, and other green infrastructure priorities. The CORE Fellow will be a part of TPL’s Parks for People team working primarily on the Far South Side of Chicago where several community-based organizations are advocating for additional or improved trails and parks and government entities are poised to make significant investments. The Fellow will learn about each of the projects and will assist TPL and other community partners by attending meetings, making connections with other community stakeholders, and developing community outreach strategies that target specific audiences. The Fellow will also help with other TPL projects by assisting project managers in their project tasks and helping the team center community in everything we do. 

The CORE Fellow will be part of a national cohort of Fellows and will have opportunities to learn about and engage with all aspects of TPL’s work (such as land protection and conservation finance) and will be given the opportunity to engage with TPL national staff and leadership with expertise in community engagement, climate, health, and equity. Through our established mentorship program each CORE Fellow will be paired with a colleague doing similar work in an office outside Illinois, further deepening their understanding of TPL and learning from our talented staff across the organization. 

Responsibilities or Lists of Tasks:

60%      Working in community with associated TPL projects/community partners 
•    Represent TPL in the focus communities on the Far South Side of Chicago
•    Engage with and help lead with community partners as they embark on a variety of projects in the area
•    Work with TPL and community partners to develop outreach and communication strategies
•    Develop outreach and educational materials (flyers, newsletters)
•    Organize and participate in outreach events (workshops, barbecues, art projects, tabling at events, etc.)
•    Generate and maintain community contact lists
•    Work with project staff to compile and summarize community feedback
•    Assist project staff to document meetings and events
•    Assist project staff with any other documentation related to outreach activities
•    Provide general administration and program support 

20%     Professional Development 
•    1:1 Meetings with supervisor
•    Time spent with mentor
•    Skill based trainings or research related to career aspirations
•    Networking among TPL colleagues and community partners

10%     Internal-focused work 
•    Chicago Program team meetings (every other week), monthly TPL all staff meetings, project coordination meetings, HR trainings, etc.
•    Help TPL develop and improve the fellowship experience by providing feedback and insights at key milestones.

10%     Community Building
•    Citywide and regional networking and learning opportunities as they arise.
•    Learning about and supporting other TPL projects such as Major Taylor Trail and communities where TPL is working such as Northwest Indiana.       
What are we looking for? 

We hope to find CORE Fellows who will become the community champions, professional experts, environmental justice leaders, conservation heroes, and park and trail advocates that their community deserves and our country needs. We are looking for someone who is interested in a two-year position where their community expertise and passion to improve their neighborhood is an asset and their lived experiences are valued. We want to meet people who are interested not only in investing their knowledge and expertise in our work at TPL so that we can do our work better, but also interested in investing in their community and in themselves. 

Since this is a two-year position, we hope to find candidates that see this experience as a step in their career development and are willing to invest their time, passion, and energy in making the most out of their time with TPL. In return, TPL will support each Fellow and work with them to advance their career aspirations. We hope that the CORE Fellows will support each other, future Fellows, and communities across Illinois by sharing their expertise and knowledge with the world when the fellowship is completed.

For this position, our preferred candidate will be:

Connected to the communities of Far South Side of Chicago:
•    Someone who is part of the community in which they are working and is passionate about their community. 
•    Someone who has a desire to improve quality of life (health, climate, and equity outcomes) in their community through improving access to close-to-home parks, schoolyards and trails.
•    Someone who knows and is connected to community-based organizations. 

 Passionate about the mission of TPL and our Community Partners:
•    Has knowledge of or a strong interest in learning about environmental justice, outdoor recreation and/or conservation. 
•    Has experience working with communities on the Far South Side of Chicago.
•    Has an interest in pursuing a career in conservation, outdoor recreation, park design and development or in work related to advancing environmental justice issues through outcomes related to health, climate, and equity.

Employment information:
•    Salary: $50,000 plus benefits
•    Duration:  2 years; full time. Fellows are expected to commit to the position for the full 2-year time period
•    Location, Hours, and Equipment:
o    Position is based in Chicago; a “landing desk” will be provided at TPL’s Chicago office; however, due to the community-based nature of this work, it is anticipated that fellows will also work from home or from locations within the community they serve.
o    The fellow will be expected to travel to the office weekly for staff meetings and professional development opportunities.
o    Some “off hours”, including weekend and evening meetings and events, will be required
o    Fellows will be provided with a laptop; TPL will work with each fellow to understand other remote work needs in order to be productive.
o    Ability and willingness to travel to other communities throughout the region is requested. These trips will be planned in advance and scheduled with the Fellow’s input.

Trust for Public Land is committed to cultivating a diverse staff that is representative of the communities we serve.  Applications from individuals having diverse backgrounds and life experiences are strongly encouraged.  We are open to the possibility that a great candidate for this job may not precisely meet all of the above criteria; if you believe you’re the right person for this job and can persuasively make that case, we encourage you to apply. 

Research shows that women and other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups tend to apply only when they check every box in the posting. If you are reading this and hesitating to click “apply” for that reason, we encourage you to go for it! A true passion and excitement for making an impact is just as important as work experience. 

How to Apply: 
Submit your resume (required) and either a cover letter or short 2-minute video explaining why you are the right person for this position to