Director of Liberatory Design

Chicago, IL
Full Time
Chicago Beyond

About Chicago Beyond

Chicago Beyond works to ensure all young people have the opportunity to live a free and full life. Since our inception in 2016, Chicago Beyond has invested more than $40M in ideas, individuals, and organizations that empower young people to achieve their fullest human potential.

Chicago Beyond’s approach is holistic. We invest in everything from education, to youth safety, to community development, to healing, and more. This is critical because we recognize that there is no single barrier to equity. Furthermore, we operate at the intersection of hyperlocal community investment and large-scale systems change, and our Whole Philanthropy approach ensures that we center voices closest to the work and that we build with, not for, our partners. Select initiatives include:

Hyperlocal community investments

  • Support of early-stage ideas such as a Safe House for young people and the development of the Chicago South Side Birth Center, a nonprofit, Black midwife-led, culturally concordant, community-focused birth center to be located on Chicago’s South Side
  • Rapid Response Fund, unrestricted grants to 160+ community initiatives, led by Chicago’s abundance of Black and Brown leaders

Large-scale systems change

  • Development of a Healing-Centered Framework to support over 330,000 Chicago Public Schools students
  • Abundance, a movement co-developed with Grand Victoria Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation to end philanthropy’s complicity in anti-Blackness 
  • Increasing present-day safety for the people confined by and working in correctional institutions and their families while we move toward the ultimate goal of reducing incarceration, e.g., Publication of Do I have the Right to Feel Safe?: A Vision for Holistic Safety in Corrections, in partnership with people impacted by incarceration
  • Why Am I Always Being Researched?, a guidebook for funders, researchers, and community organizations to move from harmful power dynamics to more authentic truths; it has been used in all 50 states and more than 90 countries

Holistic healing has driven Chicago Beyond’s work since our founding.  Recognizing the long-standing need to support and invest in community wellness, we recently announced Chicago Beyond's Holistic Healing Fund, a $10M commitment to support healing in Chicago's communities.

In addition to transformative investments, Chicago Beyond’s Home for Social Innovation, our location in the West Loop, is designed to accelerate the impact of our partners and mobilize our broader community in the pursuit of equity and justice for young people. 

Chicago Beyond was founded by Liz Dozier, a nationally-renowned former educator and high school principal. Chicago Beyond’s innovative and impactful work has been featured on both the local and national level from the Chicago Tribune to Forbes to the Stanford Social Innovation Review. For more information on Chicago Beyond, please visit

Position Details

Chicago Beyond seeks a Director of Liberatory Design to help our organization solve challenges, innovate, improve, and accelerate our impact for young people in Chicago and beyond. In our experience, work for equity requires redesigning because mindsets and processes are built for the status quo.  The Director of Liberatory Design will bring the ability to see what is designed in, help others recognize it too, and redesign. This brand new role was created to help us design new and meaningful experiences for our partners, and identify new investments and opportunities that center equity and justice.

Reporting to the Chief Investments Officer, Shruti Jayaraman, the Director of Design will provide leadership for our internal and external work and serve as a key member of the Chicago Beyond team.  This leader will design experiences, processes, events, and investments in three areas of work, summarized below. 

1. Generate new investments and partnerships, and convene diverse viewpoints to design and launch new approaches

  • Applying design-thinking and developing strategies, investments and partnerships that shift systems (e.g., education, housing, foster care, correctional institutions, philanthropy)
  • Assess and track success, outcomes and lessons learned 
  • Lead and support multi-functional teams and special projects with investments and partnerships, as relevant

2. Generate new collective action by designing experiences that unlock new ways of operating​

  • Design and lead experiences (e.g., workshops, convenings) for our partners that help accelerate their impact, and identify opportunities for multi-partner collaborations and coalitions 
  • Build strong relationships with our partners to identify how Chicago Beyond can best provide support and build movement
  • Utilize lessons learned from existing partners and other experiences and observations to generate and inspire new funder collaborations (e.g., Abundance movement

3. Design internal processes that help us innovate, improve, and accelerate our impact

  • Lead innovation and new initiatives and investment efforts at Chicago Beyond, and ensure that this work centers justice and equity 
  • Build strategies and frameworks (utilizing partner feedback and observations) that help us continuously improve and respond to new and existing needs, challenges and opportunities, and where possible, remove barriers/obstacles
  • Facilitate cross-collaboration opportunities and learning across Chicago Beyond teams

This is an incredible opportunity for liberatory and equity design leaders who have experience improving organizational impact, and desire intense engagement with the numerous stakeholders who help young people thrive.

Position Requirements

  • Deep passion for Chicago Beyond’s mission, objectives and “Whole Philanthropy” approach
  • Demonstrated commitment to racial equity, equity for young people, inclusion, belonging, and justice  
  • Understanding of and experience with building strategies and experiences that center racial equity and justice (liberatory design experience is a plus)
  • Strong entrepreneurial spirit, and an openness to learning and adapting
  • Ability to work effectively in collaboration with various stakeholders as well as ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to lead teams, and get to real action while honoring emergence 
  • Strong project management, written, and verbal communication skills
  • Excellent relationship building skills; able to hold space and build trust among a diverse group of stakeholders 
  • Ability to shift seamlessly between high-level strategy and execution work
  • Aptitude for visual design 

Working at Chicago Beyond 

Launched in April 2016, Chicago Beyond is a fast-moving start-up organization comprised of a small, yet ambitious team of individuals advancing equity for young people in Chicago and beyond. If you are an entrepreneurial individual looking to join a dynamic community with significant opportunities to grow and shape what you do, while making a meaningful impact, then this will be a perfect role for you!

Our values guide our work. 

  • Always Equitable – Our youth face unimaginable obstacles to achieving their fullest human potential. So, we must fight for equity, not equality.
  • Incessantly Urgent – The simple fact is that lives are literally at stake, right now. The unacceptability of the situation requires our relentless bias to action in order to accelerate our impact.  
  • Endlessly Creative – To dramatically impact the lives of our youth, we must employ imagination to augment or replace the usual, typical, and predictable.
  • Stubbornly Audacious – Entrenched challenges require disruptive ideas, boldly applied. We must be unafraid to embrace risks.
  • Uncompromising Integrity – How we achieve our mission is equally as important as our mission. We must do right by our youth, our partners, our teammates, and ourselves.

COVID-19 Work Policy

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety and wellbeing of the Chicago Beyond team and broader community has been our utmost priority and will continue to be the case. We are continuously evaluating our working model as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.  Currently, Chicago Beyond is operating with a hybrid model.  The current expectations are at least two days a week in Chicago Beyond’s Home for Social Innovation. Staff can choose one of the two days, with one day, Wednesday, devoted to in-person full team time. 


Chicago Beyond offers a very generous benefits package including 90% paid medical, dental, and vision coverage for employees. We also match employees’ deferral contributions toward participation in our 401(k) Retirement Savings Plan $1.00 for $1.00 on the first 5% of pay that they contribute.  Employees receive 20 days of paid time off in addition to 13 paid days off for various holidays.  There is also an organization-wide winter holiday break.

To apply 

Please note there is no standard candidate profile. Research shows that underrepresented applicants tend to downplay their qualifications. What is more important to us than numbers and titles are the experiences that you have had and the expertise you have developed. If you think you would be a good fit, please apply.

Chicago Beyond is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ+, and other underrepresented applicants.


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