Lead Organizer

Website Cuyahoga County Jail Coalition

THE PROJECT: The Cuyahoga County Jail Coalition envisions a Cuyahoga county that divests from incarceration and transfers resources towards community care and rehabilitation. We envision a Cuyahoga County that democratizes justice and healing by antiquating the carceral system and its cultural attitudes. We envision community accountability to address the root causes of harm with alternatives to incarceration.

The Stop the Inhumanity at the Cuyahoga County Jail Coalition formed in December 2018 as a community-led response to the crisis in our local jail. After eight deaths inside the Cuyahoga County Jail in six months, local grassroots organizers and activists committed to organizing a response and demanding change.This response has been specifically geared toward supporting the leadership and building power of those most impacted by the county jail and criminal justice system.

The Jail Coalition, now including 20 grassroots organizations, has already built tremendous power towards our demands. In this short time, the Coalition has:

  • Collected more than 1,500 signatures, with efforts focused on outreach to directly-impacted people, on a petition in support of our list of demands
  • Organized close to a dozen powerful and well-attended actions, including a strong, unified presence at County Council Meetings and Criminal Justice Council Meetings, led by the truths of directly-impacted community members during public comment sections, press conferences, and rallies
  • Formalized a steering committee (which meets weekly) and working groups focused on bail reform, prosecutor accountability, outreach to directly-impacted people and their families, and strategic communications
  • Held monthly coalition meetings to update and engage our base with 40-60 people in attendance each month
  • Placed op-eds and letters in the local papers, met with local officials, worked collaboratively with The Justice Collaborative to deliver a strong statement on bail reform to the county prosecutor
  • Launched a website and garnered more than 1,000 followers on our Facebook page
  • Launched several toolkits aimed at supporting everyday residents in taking concrete action with their elected representatives and fellow community members.

THE POSITION: We are hiring a lead organizer to take this all-volunteer coalition to the next level in our organizing. For us, organizing is not just about solving problems; it is about building capacity within communities to solve problems. Organizers organize leaders and activists into a base, build teams, train new people to organize, and enroll their base into contesting for power. (This article is pretty helpful about articulating what organizing is and isn’t as well!)

Lead Organizer Job Description Highlights

  • Experience building organizations
  • Experience leading and winning issue campaigns
  • Ability to build and organize a volume of relationships
  • Ability to coach, support, and manage a team of volunteer organizers

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES — Essential duties and responsibilities may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Develop a cohesive campaign plan (including timeline, peak charts, SWOT/SOAR, etc) for achieving an Alternatives to Incarceration working group at the county level, which includes base-building efforts in communities over-represented in the local jail system and includes door-knocking and canvassing tactics
  • Facilitate connection and collaboration between working groups to ensure focus on and achievement of campaign goals, including conducting 1:1s w new and established leaders within the campaign
  • Establish leadership teams as needed and nurture leadership development of a core group of leaders.
  • Work with and identify new Coalition partners to determine their level of organizational engagement and support with the campaign
  • Work with the steering committee to develop a second round of Fellowships for directly-impacted leaders.
  • Steward relationships between our broad team of volunteers, grassroots leaders, elected officials, and other key players in the criminal legal system.
  • Interact with media, community partners and others as a key leader for the Jail Coalition.
  • Respond to and maintain the Jail Coalition inboxes.
  • Participate in future opportunities for skill-building and training as it relates to community and campaign organizing.

REPORTS TO: Hiring Committee with support from the Steering Committee

HOURS/COMPENSATION: Full-time $50,000 for a 12-month position, with an additional healthcare stipend.


  • Experience with criminal justice work and abolitionist movements
  • Demonstrated ability to create and lead teams through processes of campaign/action planning, execution, and evaluation
  • Experience designing and facilitating meetings, trainings, and/or group gatherings that move people into action
  • Experience with rapid response organizing that builds toward longer-term campaigns
  • A natural sense of curiosity about people and the ability to relate to them
  • Willingness to speak up, suggest new ideas, receive feedback, and adjust plans to ensure successful completion of goals, and be part of the solution
  • A relational leader and good team player, work well with others in a coalition setting, and motivate diverse groups of people
  • Ability to support co-workers with consistent follow-through and extraordinary communication skills

To apply for this job email your details to jailcoalition@gmail.com