Director of Programs & Partnerships
About Free Spirit Media:
Free Spirit Media (FSM) partners with young storytellers to transform media and society. We do this through our holistic programming which focuses on community-building, skill-sharing and career and education pathways that support young people to envision and build their futures within the media industry and beyond.
FSM's goal is to support young BIPOC storytellers as they form robust and sustainable support systems, gain the skills needed to pursue employment in their creative fields, and understand the powerful and important gifts they bring to the world. FSM's media arts education and creative workforce investment programs are designed to break down barriers to access, success and leadership for emerging media makers and storytellers from Chicago's West and South Sides.
Located on the West side of Chicago for 23 years, FSM recently moved to BUILD, located at 5100 West Harrison St. in the Austin neighborhood. FSM has spent the last 2+ years intentionally co-creating shared values, purpose and vision, with young artists and a deep sense of place at the center. Our collectively realized organizational values are: Young Artist Leadership, Creativity, Belonging, Transformation & Intergenerational Collaboration.
Director of Programs & Partnerships Overview:
In service to FSM’s values, the Director of Programs & Partnerships (DPP) will lead, support and collaborate with staff, teaching artists and partners to facilitate creative youth development programs that foster social justice, belonging and youth voice by facilitating young people's creation of storytelling through media.
FSM is seeking a collaborative, detail-oriented, and creative individual for the position of Director of Programs & Partnerships. Over the past two plus years, FSM has undergone an intentional transformation of collective vision and practices. This process is ongoing and the DPP is responsible for driving, guiding and codifying this vision through FSM’s programming, including creative pathways (workforce investment), teen programming and place-based intergenerational programs (both center-based and in schools).
The DPP is also responsible for the oversight of culminating events and professional development of teaching artists and program staff. This position works in partnership with staff and teaching artists to ensure alignment of programming and practices with FSM’s mission and the Theory of Change. The DPP is responsible for building a supportive infrastructure, the creation of shared practices, policies and protocols, managing community partnerships, maintaining funder-relations, overseeing evaluation efforts, managing training and culture-setting, and undertaking field-building efforts.
The ideal candidate is highly motivated, a strong communicator, organized but flexible, a collaborative team leader, a dependable supervisor, able to hold themselves and others accountable, and willing to try and learn new things. Previous experience as a supervisor and/or manager of a creative team of artists is required. A background in art or media production is strongly desired. This is an ideal position for someone interested in working in an innovative, responsive and transforming community arts organization.
This position reports directly to the Executive Director.
The Director of Programs and Partnerships duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Lead efforts to develop and maintain programmatic vision for the FSM programs, and clearly communicate FSM’s organizational priorities and program vision to the program team.
- Manage the implementation of evaluation of FSM programs, projects, partnerships, and staff. Design, analyze and utilize documentation and evaluation materials to reflect on overall program design, progress towards organizational goals, and alignment with funding proposals.
- Lead the programmatic partnership between BUILD staff and programs and the FSM program team and programs.
- Lead the development and build-out of media arts partnerships with CPS schools.
- Develop and maintain local, regional, and national community partnerships; represent FSM through coalitions and networks; and hold local community partnerships that relate to existing programs and projects.
- Conduct field-building efforts, attend conferences, conduct presentations, contribute to reports, share FSM’s model, and undertake other efforts to keep FSM relevant in local, regional, and national dialogues around youth media, arts education and creative youth development.
- Support the cultivation and maintenance of funder relationships.
- Create and provide oversight of the program budget and ensure accurate forecasting and expense tracking.
- Oversee the hiring and development FSM staff and teaching artists and overall program structure.
- Develop and maintain all department policies and procedures.
- Provide daily management and direct supervision of the Creative Pathways Manager and Teen Programs Manager.
- Provide supervision of teaching artists, interns and independent contractors.
- Lead professional development training to ensure individual and collective professional development needs for the program and teaching artist team is met, including the planning and development of the intergenerational teaching artist cohort community of practice.
- Lead implementation and oversight of One Summer Chicago internship program.
- Create set structures and guidelines for the development and iteration of overall program design (i.e. Creative Pathways Cohort Program). Ensure that projects align with FSM’s theory of change.
- Oversee and manage timelines, benchmarks, and deadlines for all arts projects emerging from the organization, youth staff, and general members including music videos, fashion shows, open mics, murals, poetry events, etc.
- Ensure that all curricula are age-appropriate, culturally-relevant, justice-oriented, trauma-informed, and integrated with other FSM programs.
- Participate in board meetings through preparation of board materials, sharing of work and building relationships with board members.
- A minimum of five years experience in a leadership, administrative, or managerial capacity in an organization that provides direct services to youth.
- At least two years experience developing educational programs in a non-profit, youth services, family support or K-12 educational setting.
- Proven experience managing a team of artists.
- Proven ability to coordinate projects with lots of personalities and moving parts.
- Relationship management skills and experience in fostering a team approach to youth development and creating collaboration among various programs and departments.
- A solid background in some aspect of media production with a willingness to explore new areas of the media landscape.
- A strong belief of art and media as tools for both personal growth and community transformation.
- A working knowledge of young people ages 13 to 25 years of age, including developmental stages and age-appropriate needs and behaviors.
- Ability to articulate a vision about preparing youth for the future—from social, economic, cultural, and personal perspectives.
- Skills and energy to build a team and lead effective staff development and training.
- Experience working in a fast-paced multicultural youth environment.
- Highly positive and enthusiastic leadership style capable of motivating others.
- Commitment to social, racial, and economic justice.
- Detail-oriented, with strong ability to follow-through on commitments.
- Problem-solving skills and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
- Strong written and oral communication, organizational, and time management skills.
- Ability to act with integrity, professionalism, and confidentiality.
This is a full-time position at 40 hours per week and an annual salary of $70,000 - $80,000 (DOE), payable bi-weekly. The position is exempt, does not qualify for overtime pay, and requires at least 75% work onsite at FSM located on the BUILD Austin Campus. We offer a comprehensive benefits package, which includes:
- Health insurance (medical, dental, and vision), life and disability insurance, retirement, generous paid leave (vacation, sick, and holidays - including two full weeks off during the winter holidays and periodic all-staff rest weeks).
How to Apply:
We will be reviewing applications on an ongoing basis and would like to have this position start in the Spring of 2024. Please send a cover letter, resume, and three references to email@example.com, with the subject: Director of Programs and Partnerships. Please do not embed your resume and cover letter in the email, it will not be reviewed.
For more information, please visit https://freespiritmedia.org/careers
Free Spirit Media is committed to diversity, equity and belonging across all aspects of the organization. We strongly encourage those who reflect our community to apply, including West and South side residents, BIPOC identified people, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ and/or people from low-income and working-class backgrounds.