General Description: Nearly 500,000 children across Illinois continue to cope with poverty and hunger, which can impede their cognitive, social, and emotional development. The ambition of ending childhood hunger requires a new public policy roadmap: big shifts, bold goals, and unprecedented leadership from both the public and private sector.
One of the Food Depository’s most important collaborations to reduce poverty and hunger is through our partnership with the State of Illinois. To that end, the State Engagement & Innovation Lead will, on behalf of the Food Depository as well as the broader community, partner with the Illinois Governor’s Office and state agencies to develop and advance new policy innovations and programmatic efficiencies to better connect families to nutrition and income support programs. This role will collaborate with key state agencies including the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). Through engagement with state agencies, this role seeks to improve children’s and families’ participation in key programs, including but not limited to child nutrition programs (NSLP, SBP, SFSP, CACFP), SNAP, WIC, Medicaid, and other stabilizing income supports. Although the role is based at the Food Depository, the position will spend time operating out of DHS and other state agencies in parts of Cook County and Springfield.
Key Responsibilities and Essential Functions:
- Lead and facilitate the work of the Illinois Commission to End Hunger through the creation of a multi-year plan to realize a State of Illinois-wide vision to reduce childhood hunger and poverty and improve overall family well-being. This multi-year plan will be known as the Illinois Roadmap to End Childhood Hunger.
- Drive interagency input, alignment, accountability, and delivery of the plan, while serving as the liaison between the Governor’s Office, key state agencies, the Food Depository, and the broader community of stakeholders committed to improving public policies that impact family well-being.
- Inform the plan through national best practices from other states that have successfully introduced new innovations and efficiencies to help remove barriers in how families connect to nutrition programs.
- Leverage national thought leaders including but not limited to the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, Feeding America, and Share Our Strength to help shape innovation opportunities.
- Serve as the primary project manager on the creation and advancement of policies and administrative innovations that will increase access to nutrition, health, safety net, and other benefit programs.
- Establish annual goals, performance metrics, plans, timelines, and assessment and reporting mechanisms to ensure execution and impact measurement of new policies and innovations in partnership with the Governor’s Office and state agencies.
- Maximize Illinois resident enrollment in federal programs including child nutrition programs (NSLP, SBP, SFSP, CACFP) as well as SNAP, WIC, Medicaid, and other stabilizing income supports.
- Prepare fact sheets, research briefs, policy papers, reports, talking points, statements, and other written materials as needed.
- Build strong, effective collaborations with internal Food Depository programmatic colleagues working to implement nutrition, health, safety net and other benefit programs.
- Other duties as assigned.