Director of District Partnerships

Development · Chicago, Illinois
Department Development
Employment Type Full-Time

About Our Organization:


Youth Guidance is a leading provider of outcomes-driven programs and capacity-building initiatives for youth. In 2001, the Becoming a Man (BAM) program was launched at Youth Guidance to help young men navigate difficult circumstances that threaten their future. In 2011, the Working on Womanhood (WOW) program was launched at Youth Guidance as a response to the urgent need of young women of color who have been exposed to traumatic stressors and face social, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional challenges.


Both programs are school-based counseling and mentoring programs that guide young men and women in 7th-12th grades to learn, internalize and practice social cognitive skills, make responsible decisions for their future, and become positive members of their school and community. Both programs integrate clinical theory and practice, rites of passage work, and a dynamic approach to youth engagement. Each session is built around a lesson plan designed to develop a specific skill through stories, role-playing and group exercises. Students learn and practice impulse control, emotional self-regulation, recognition of social cues and interpreting intentions of others, raising aspirations for the future and developing a sense of personal responsibility and integrity.

Position Summary

The Director of District Partnerships is responsible for cultivating, establishing and managing District partnerships and funding agreements to successfully launch EVOLVE in 2 Districts in the 23-24 School Year and 2 additional Districts in SY24-25. Over the next 3 years, Youth Guidance will test EVOLVE as an innovative approach to scaling social emotional learning Circles.  Through EVOLVE, Youth Guidance will train 3-5 school staff per school to facilitate EVOLVE Circles while also providing lighter touch training to all school staff on creating healing-centered schools. The Director of District Partnerships will be a key leader of this effort, working collaboratively with the EVOLVE Director to identify and develop Districts willing and able to implement EVOLVE and pay a fee-for-service to sustain YG’s EVOLVE training offering.

Essential Duties

  • Builds and manages relationships with prospective and current EVOLVE partner districts.
  • Learns and adjusts for feedback received from prospective Districts, to identify and develop the action plan and effective strategy for scaling EVOLVE.
  • Leads the development of fee-for-service contracts with Districts to sustain EVOLVE in new Districts.
  • Represents Youth Guidance as a member of the leadership team at external meetings with potential Districts, as well as those Districts’ respective government and philanthropic partners.
  • Acts as a key leader in facilitating cross-functional internal collaboration with program, finance, human resources and evaluation departments of the organization to achieve its EVOLVE goals with partner districts.
  • Communicates with multiple stakeholders in other locations.
  • Prioritizes major opportunities and engages collaboratively with program, finance and evaluation departments to seize on opportunities to bring EVOLVE to new school districts
  • Leads grant seeking efforts to meet the funding gaps.
  • Completes all stages of EVOLVE funding proposal development including outreach to grant-makers; the development of letters of inquiry; online applications; and formal proposals with the appropriate organization approvals obtained.
  • Collaborates with internal fundraising employees as needed.  
  • Leads the development of travel itineraries to maximize the impact of trips to prospective partner districts, made in conjunction with the EVOLVE Director, and hosts site visits by potential partners to see Youth Guidance’s programming in Chicago. 
  • Tracks progress of launch of EVOLVE in a partner District against goals of the EVOLVE Action Plan.
  • Collaborates with the EVOLVE Director, and appropriate EQI & Finance staff, prepares semi-annual reports on Youth Guidance’s progress against Action Plan milestones to the funder.
  • Facilitates internal report preparation for quarterly update meetings with the funder.
  • Develops board materials on progress of EVOLVE against the Action plan as well as District partner selections.
  • Serves as liaison to prospective funding partners through written communication, in-person meetings, phone calls and formal reporting to achieve continued donor engagement in EVOLVE
  • Serves as liaison to marketing firm for the creation of digital and print communications describing EVOLVE to prospective district partners

Our Director of District Partnerships has been equipped for this impactful work in education and training with at least:

  • Bachelor’s degree in related field required, Master’s degree in public policy, public administration, or social work strongly preferred.
  • Minimum of five (5) years of development and government funding experience required
  • Demonstrated track record in developing partnerships with school districts.
  • Strong computer skills (Microsoft Office, Publisher)
  • Raisers’ Edge experience strongly preferred


  •  Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Ability to present a positive image, develop relationships and communicate mission effectively with diverse stakeholders
  • Proactive relationship-builder and highly responsive to key school district partners.
  • Highly organized, with proven ability to handle multiple tasks, handle pressure and meet deadlines
  • Strategic approach to advancement of mission, with a keen eye for ensuring alignment of external activities with Youth Guidance’s mission and growth plan.
  • The ability to work well both independently and cross-functionally
  • Commitment to cultural sensitivity and respect for differences
  • Commitment to the continuous improvement of service quality and the organization’s mission

Our Director of District Partnerships exemplifies:

  • Communication: Uses effective written and oral communication with staff and stakeholders; demonstrates empathy and listening
  • Equity mindset: Understands and is committed to goals of equity; consistently brings an equity mindset to the organization’s work and workplace
  • Growth mindset: Views growth as important for personal and professional development; seeks out opportunities to expand skills, even if change is required; demonstrates curiosity and eagerness to learn
  • Mission driven: Demonstrates commitment to the mission of the organization as a whole and alignment with organizational values
  • External representation and relationship building: An ability to form and maintain strong, trusting relationships with diverse stakeholders
  • Manages with data: Understands data; analyzes data and identifies insights and implications
  • Strategic thinking and resource management: Considers the future of the organization proactively and responsively; weighs diverse inputs to inform strategies; identifies innovative opportunities when relevant; makes and communicates decisions that effectively balance tradeoffs
  • Team-building: Builds strong relationships with teams and colleagues; fosters effective collaborative efforts

Physical Demands

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to frequently talk and hear.
  • The employee frequently is required to sit and stand for sustained periods of time; walk; use hands and fingers to handle or feel; and reach with hands and arms.
  • The employee may occasionally lift and/or move up to 20 pounds. 


Work Environment

The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


This job operates in a professional office environment. This role routinely uses standard office equipment such as computers, phones, photocopiers, filing cabinets and fax machines. Frequent overnight travel required (30%).

Vaccination is required.

DEI Statement

At Youth Guidance, we understand that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are fundamental to realizing our vision of bright and successful futures for all young people. We celebrate the diversity of youth and recognize them as empowered leaders, problem-solvers, and experts of their own experiences. At the same time, we acknowledge that many systems and institutions meant to support youth are inequitable and unjust.

As such, we are committed to advancing DE&I through our words and our actions, both internally and externally, by:

  • Strengthening cultural competence as well as policies, practices, and organizational structures that foster belonging and leverage the unique backgrounds and talents of staff;
  • Offering youth-centered programs that are accessible and responsive to people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, abilities, sexual identity, gender identity and expression, language, and cultural and religious beliefs and practices;
  • Influencing systems that youth, their families and communities are impacted by, such as schools, organizational networks, governmental bodies, researchers, and the funding community, to apply approaches that embrace DEI in addressing the needs and supporting the aspirations of young people.

Youth Guidance is an equal opportunity employer and proudly values diversity. Youth Guidance does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law and is committed to creating a dynamic work environment that values diversity along all of these lines. People of all backgrounds are encouraged to apply.


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  • Location
    Chicago, Illinois
  • Department
  • Employment Type