Policy Justice Director

14 Nov, 2021


Policy Justice Director

Just Cities Institute
Berkeley, CA


Just Cities Institute advances racial justice in public policy and urban planning through transformative models of participatory and community based design. We organize collective action with directly impacted residents, government leaders, and other stakeholders to tackle the big racial justice issues facing Bay Area and California cities including homelessness, displacement, and re-entry justice. We solve social and economic injustice by addressing the root causes of systemic injustice and designing appropriate policy change solutions. Our work is rooted in love-based justice and racial reconciliation principles.  Our work has led to local, statewide, and national best practice policies and plans that have restored human rights and dignity for thousands of residents impacted by structural racism and other forms of discrimination.  Examples of these transformative outcomes in our five years of operations include the design and passage of the nation’s north star fair chance housing laws, new policies and funding for anti-displacement and housing unhoused residents ($75 million), and the development of the Black Cultural Zone Collaborative in East Oakland.

For more information: www.justcities.work (website information is outdated).


Just Cities Institute (JCI) seeks a passionate, visionary, big-hearted, humble, and community-centered leader who thrives leading collective efforts to design and implement policies that advance racial and social justice to serve as our inaugural Director of Policy and Research Justice (DPRJ).  Reporting to the Executive Director (ED), the DPRJ will be responsible for leading and envisioning Just Cities’ policy justice initiatives.  The DPRJ will manage, develop, and grow a staff team, collaborative partners, and student interns. In this newly established role, the DPRJ will oversee the success of multiple public policy projects and initiatives related to community justice priorities with a current focus on re-entry justice and housing justice.

JCI is grounded in trust, mutual respect, and equity.  In all of our relationships with each other, and with community members, we hold ourselves accountable to advance human rights, be truthful, uplift rather than undermine, and conduct our work in a focused, dedicated, and effective way.  We seek a team member who is excited about sharing these accountabilities.  Among other things, this means that when a conflict arises, which is inevitable, we address it openly and lean into our relationships as mutually respectful colleagues, rather than into structural authority.


Humble and Love-Based Leadership

  • Lead and direct Just Cities’ new policy justice public/private initiatives including the enactment of a Fair Chance Housing policy and a comprehensive re-entry housing plan for Alameda County.
  • Serve as a thought partner, catalyst, and co-leader on a statewide effort to design and pass the nation’s first statewide fair chance housing law.
  • Supervise and manage the new Community Scholars program working on the nation’s first participatory impact evaluation study of Fair Chance Housing (led by the Executive Director) and also the Alameda County re-entry housing plan.
  • Lead public/community collaboratives to advance the policy justice initiatives.
  • Identify, develop, and direct new projects and initiatives as time permits.
  • Serve as a thought partner to the Executive Director and staff team on program development and implementation.
  • Actively promote Just Cities mission and growth through building and nurturing relationships with its many stakeholders including community partners and government leaders.
  • Serve as a thought and problem-solving partner to project team staff, especially project managers.

Applied Policy Research, Design & Writing

  • Dream big in terms of policy justice solutions utilizing a human rights framework and transformative policy design model.
  • Engage in and supervise best practice applied policy research including exploring public policy models that are working outside of the U.S.
  • Supervise the writing of articles and reports that change the narrative on what’s possible in terms of both policy design models and policy solutions.

Management and Development

  • Manage, mentor, and promote the professional development of policy justice staff and students.
  • Instill a sense of accountability among team members by modeling follow through and meeting individual and team performance goals and outcomes.
  • Draft and ensure that grant proposals, reports and invoices are submitted timely and meet quality control standards.


This is an extraordinary opportunity for a community-centered policy leader to dream big on policy justice and design actual implementable policy solutions towards that vision.  The successful candidate will lead programs and initiatives, partner with the ED and staff leadership team, work collaboratively with a high-commitment project management team, and help develop project staff into high-performance employees.

Specific requirements 

Professional Experience

  • At least 10 years of relevant planning, policy, and/or policy organizing work experience with at least five years in staff and team management roles.
  • Masters degree (can be pending) in related field.
  • Demonstrated success developing and implementing innovative policies and programs that address needs and priorities of low income communities of color.
  • Experience working effectively with government agencies, with a preference for having worked inside of government.
  • Demonstrated excellence in applied policy research and design.
  • Demonstrated experience leading public/private collaboratives for change.
  • Proficient in using technology as a management reporting tool and experience working to develop and implement program evaluation systems.
  • Strong project management skills managing complex, multifaceted projects resulting in measurable successes and program growth.
  • Successful track record  managing and working productively with high-performing, collaborative, innovative  teams .
  • Demonstrated results managing through complex systems and proven experience as a creative problem solver.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills with exceptional attention to details.

Interpersonal & Team Building Skills

  • Works well with grassroots community members and leaders–deeply appreciates, values, and respects their expertise, knowledge and leadership roles.
  • Loves building and working with a team to accomplish common goals.
  • Able to lead/drive specific duties and responsibilities while honoring/incorporating the different roles that other team members play.
  • Good at knowing when to lead and when to empower the leadership of others.
  • Takes joy in and actively promotes colleagues and partners success and visibility.
  • Loves resolving inevitable conflicts and misunderstandings in healthy and affirming ways.
  • Enjoys teaching and guiding students.

Personal Qualities 

  • Integrity, credibility, and a commitment to and passion for Just Cities’ mission.
  • Humble and also confident and secure.
  • Takes initiative, is persistent, and delivers high quality results.
  • Embraces a growth mindset.
  • Able to ask for help and advice when needed.
  • Committed to continuous improvement.
  • High emotional intelligence.
  • Patient, calm, and compassionate.
  • No/low drama personality.


Just Cities benchmarks its salaries against comparable positions in the Bay Area to ensure that they are equitable. The salary for this position is $95,000 to $110,000, depending upon experience.  Comprehensive benefits include medical, dental/vision, retirement, vacation, holidays, and generous family leave.


The Director of Policy & Research Justice will work at Just Cities’ Berkeley office.


Send cover letter and resume in an email with Subject line reading: Director of Policy & Research Justice, to: admin@justcities.work.  We are accepting applications until December 10, 2021 or until the position is filled.  The position is available immediately.

Just Cities Institute values a diverse workplace and strongly encourages women, people of color, LGBT individuals, people who have been systems impacted, people with disabilities, members of ethnic minorities, foreign-born residents, and veterans to apply. Just Cities Institute is an equal opportunity employer.  Applicants will not be discriminated against because of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, religion, national origin, citizenship status, criminal history, disability, ancestry, marital status, veteran status, medical condition or any protected category prohibited by local, state or federal laws.

Job posted: 2021-11-14