The West Side Community Organization’s mission is to organize people of St. Paul’s West Side to build collective power to advance justice and racial equity systemically, in the community for all people. We listen to our neighbors and learn about the issues impacting us; we bring people together to learn, build power, and make positive change; and, as one of St. Paul’s District Planning Councils, we make sure West Siders are heard at City Hall and beyond. Our values and priorities include:
Housing justice: We organize renters and support them in asserting their rights. Quality affordable housing is fundamental to our vision for a just a joyful West Side.
Development & Land Use that benefits the West Side. Collaborating with West Siders, we developed a tool that helps us grade projects coming into our neighborhood: The Equitable Development Scorecard. By using it, we see who really benefits from new development. We work with residents on investments and improvements to our quality of life, including the built environment and infrastructure from roads, to park trails.
Accountability of law enforcement. Together with the community, we’re envisioning a new model of public safety – one that does not endanger the lives of Black, brown, and Indigenous people. We believe in and promote restorative justice practices. We advocate for a transparent City budget that invests in wellbeing – not violence.
Health and environmental justice. Since the 1970s, West Siders have organized for environmental justice. We’re carrying on that tradition by organizing on climate justice, food justice, access to parks and nature, and more.
Thriving small businesses. We work to uplift and invest in small businesses on the West Side by providing micro grants for improvements and by connecting local businesses to the City’s small business resources.
Art and cultural investments. We’re proud of our rich cultural heritage. We push for investments in art and culture.
WSCO is seeking a full-time Lead Organizer to develop, coordinate, and carry out grassroots organizing efforts on behalf of WSCO to build a stronger West Side. This position will include leadership and supervision of community organizers working across WSCO’s issue areas as well as direct, grassroots organizing specific to housing justice. WSCO is seeking a motivated, enthusiastic candidate who shares our passion and commitment to racial, social, environmental, and economic justice.
Leadership, Strategy Development, Research, and Planning (60%)
Develop strategy (in collaboration with community and WSCO leadership), infrastructure, and materials to support the organizing program, and support organizers on joint projects, ensuring goal completion.
Build and manage a core team of organizers who are shaping the work of WSCO.
Lead program development with Executive Director and other staff/board members.
Conduct as well as delegate issue research; identify emerging community issues and community strengths.
Develop and meet goals for each area of WSCO’s work. Lead the organizing team to manage and meet a variety of goals throughout the seasons of the work, and update organizational database systems with member and event information as a way to ensure and track successful completion of goals, understanding of challenges, and development of troubleshooting plans.
Identify, develop and/or coordinate professional development and training opportunities for team members, including coordination with mentors external to the organization.
Work with other staff to plan and execute cross-organizational events, grassroots fundraising and new member cultivation, communications plans, digital outreach plans, trainings, and other issue campaign actions.
Generate written documentation of activities, research, policy positions, etc. per long-range strategic plan and annual work plan.
Support the development of communications strategies and materials, in collaboration with communications staff, the Executive Director, and board.
Research and establish connections with resource providers to share with the community.
Be accountable to co-created goals, prepare bi-weekly report of activities.
When necessary assist with miscellaneous administrative tasks including Nation Builder entry, assist in providing dual language content for communications, filling out timesheets, printing, copying, etc.
Other duties as assigned.
Direct Organizing – Housing Justice (40%)
With community and WSCO leadership, develop and lead organizing work specific to housing justice, which includes organizing tenants to assert their rights and exploring equitable wealth building strategies such as land banks and land trusts.
Use organizing tools (canvassing, door knocking, phone banking, one-to-one’s, powerful asks, etc.) to engage West Siders in our work, develop deep relationships with them, and support their leadership.
Promote, and engage residents and leaders in WSCO’s housing justice work. Support leaders in building their own bases with organizing tools (propositions, trainings, accountability, agitations, etc.), facilitate education to deepen a shared analysis of the structural barriers facing our communities, engage them in leading campaigns, and continuing to build a greater vision for our organizing.
Participate in relevant community meetings to network and build strategic alliances and coalitions with other community-based entities to represent the West Side and WSCO.
Ensure that the diversity of ethnicities, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, nationalities, life opportunities and socioeconomic factors of the West Side are well-represented in organizational activities, committees, community forums and planning/decision-making processes.
Participate in events and fundraising activities.
Plan and lead effective organizing meetings and trainings to build community, develop leadership, and move work forward.
Other duties or tasks may be assigned on an as-needed basis.
EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
At least three years of full-time organizing experience, or five years of other relevant experience, with at least two years’ supervisory experience, and a proven track record of delivery and ability to work in a fast-paced environment.
Experience designing and leading teams through processes of project planning, execution, and evaluation.
Ability to define success and hold both the big picture and the details. Vigilance about tracking goal progress and meeting deadlines. Computer literacy and experience with MS Office Suite.
Willingness to speak up, suggest new ideas, receive feedback, adjust plans to ensure successful completion of goals, and be part of the solution.
A natural sense of curiosity about people and the ability to relate to them. Experience initiating conversations with community members about their stories, hopes, fears, and challenges, and a willingness to be bold in conversations with strangers and volunteers.
Experience designing and facilitating meetings, trainings, and/or group gatherings that move people to action.
Excellent communications skills through a variety of channels, including written and oral.
A relational leader and good team player, able to work with a broad team of staff and grassroots leaders, work well with others in a coalition setting, and motivate diverse groups of people. Ability to practice showing up for co-workers with consistent follow-through and good communication.
A demonstrated commitment to racial and economic justice.
Enthusiastically promote WSCO’s goals and priorities in compliance with all policies and procedures and have a deep investment in our mission and areas of focus.
Bi-lingual in Spanish, Hmong, Somali, or other language(s) significant to the West Side strongly preferred but not required.
LICENSE AND CERTIFICATIONS
This position requires frequent travel across St. Paul’s West Side neighborhood and occasional travel within the Twin Cities Metro. Reliable transportation is required, with a valid Minnesota State Driver’s License preferred.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS AND WORKING ENVIRONMENT
Work is performed in a standard office environment which requires occasionally lifting such articles as file boxes or heavier materials with help from others and/or lifting and carrying light objects frequently. A job in this category may require walking or standing to a significant degree or may involve sitting most of the time with long periods of computer work and heavy phone usage. Flexibility to work outside normal business hours that include evenings and weekends, and work extended hours to accomplish requirements of the position.
Paid holidays, vacation, and a taxable health care stipend provided. The organization is in progress of offering full medical insurance effective January 1, 2021.
Ongoing access to professional development opportunities.
REPORTS TO & LOCATION
Reports to WSCO’s Executive Director
This position is typically located at WSCO’s office at 209 Page St. West, St. Paul, MN 55107. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, this position will do a combination of remote and safely distanced in-office work with a minimum of two days/week at the office. The position will return to full-time hours at the WSCO office when safe to do so.
Send resume and cover letter to Leahs@wsco.org by November 6, 2020.
No emails or phone calls please.
The West Side Community Organization is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Applicants will receive consideration for employment regardless of their race, creed, religion, sex, sexual or affectional orientation, color, national origin, ancestry, familial status, age, disability, marital status or status with regard to public assistance. Candidates who identify as BIPOC and/or speak multiple languages are encouraged to apply.