Employment at the Garden

Associate Vice President Community Engagement, Windy City Harvest (Chicago, IL)

Job Status:
Requisition Number:
Learning and Engagement
Reports to:
Vice President, Learning and Engagement
Director of Programs, Director of Operations, Director of Strategic Initiatives
The Associate Vice President, Community Engagement oversees the Garden’s community-based initiatives, including the Windy City Harvest urban agriculture and jobs training program and Therapeutic Horticulture. You will be responsible for developing strategy and setting the growth plan for community engagement broadly in alignment with the Garden’s strategic plan, mission, and purpose. In this role you will be responsible for seeking out new projects and opportunities, assisting with fundraising efforts and managing partner relations. You will model the Garden’s commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, and ensure alignment with the Garden's mission, values, and brand, as you guide strategic initiatives alongside senior leadership colleagues.
Duties and Responsibilities:


  • Develop and lead short and long-term strategies that support the operating mission of Community Engagement and the strategic plan of the Chicago Botanic Garden and position Community Engagement for accelerated growth.  
  • Lead the planning and development of large-scale Garden collaborations designed to position the Chicago Botanic Garden as a community development sponsor and urban greening actor for the City of Chicago and the region. Position the Garden as a national leader in sustainable urban agriculture.
  • Develop, manage and evolve a social enterprise business plan that is informed by the vision, strategy, needs and resources of the organization. Create/Identify new business development opportunities including earned income streams such as new health care partners, maintenance contracts, value-added food production, product innovation and additional certificates and seminars. 
  • Establish new community relationships with area governmental agencies, museums, human service and green organizations in order to serve target populations and organizational objectives.
  • Provide personnel management and leadership including oversight of staff activities and performance reviews. Promote staff self-development and plan for succession. Perform managerial duties of hiring, counseling, assigning priorities and planning and evaluating employee performance.
  • Perform comprehensive fiscal management. Provide business analysis and insight, generate accurate and reliable operating budgets. Accountability for all operating budgets within Community Engagement.
  • Work with the Garden’s president and senior staff to develop the Garden’s Strategic Plan and oversee long range capital and programmatic planning activity for individual departments, as well as appropriate collaborations among areas of Learning and Public Programs as well as other Garden departments and divisions.
  • Work with the Vice President of Learning and Public Programs and CFO to develop ongoing budgetary and staffing management strategies for community engagement.
  • Create and manage land use agreements, MOU’s, contracts and other partnership agreements. Ensure agreements are up to date and negotiated to the best benefit of the Garden.
  • Ensure that all programs and initiatives are appropriately evaluated for performance through both internal and independent assessment procedures that conform to best practice standards. 
  • Represent the Chicago Botanic Garden and the work of Community Engagement nationally and internationally to the conservation education, food security, social services, and botanic garden communities through professional presentations at conferences and journal articles.
  • Represent the Chicago Botanic Garden with key national, state, Chicago and suburban agencies responsible for land use and workforce development, and individuals through meeting attendance and regular communication.
  • Work closely with other CBG departments to optimize grant related support for all programs, steward and review grant and proposal activities, and develop new initiatives that respond both to institutional objectives and current funding emphases in the philanthropic community.
  • Work collaboratively to move the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Accessibility framework and initiatives forward.  

Applicants for this position must have a bachelor’s degree in horticulture or related field,  at least ten years of experience as a non-profit program manager and at least ten years of workforce development practice. Successful applicants must also have proven production and site development experience. This position requires excellent organizational skills with meticulous attention to detail, the ability to work in a fast-paced work environment, and solid people skills. Proficiency with Microsoft Word is essential, and software proficiency beyond Word is preferred, especially with Microsoft Dynamics 365. The ability to edit PDFs through Adobe Acrobat is also helpful. References are required.

*The Chicago Botanic Garden requires all existing employees to be fully COVID-19 vaccinated by October 15, 2021; hires after this date must be fully vaccinated upon hire or may request a medical/religious exemption after an offer is extended.*



Apply for Associate Vice President Community Engagement using the link below:

Click here to apply.


Physical Demands:
Frequent sitting, standing, walking, bending, listening, speaking, and keyboarding. Use of office equipment including computers, telephones, copiers, scanners, and fax machines. Frequent driving and use of personal vehicle is required. Some requirements for lifting, pushing, or pulling items more than 30 pounds.
Why Apply?:

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a M/F, Disabled, and Vet EEO/AA Employer.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.