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Policy & Advocacy Manager, Redefining Public Safety

Vera Institute of Justice

Vera Institute of Justice

Brooklyn, NY, USA · Washington, DC, USA · Los Angeles, CA, USA · New Orleans, LA, USA
Posted on Saturday, April 20, 2024

Who we are:

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grassroots, and grasstop organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.

Vera has a staff of 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.

Who you are:

The Policy & Advocacy Manager (Manager) will play a key role in our efforts to discontinue harmful policies of the current enforcement-centric system, transfer safety responsibilities to entities that can better address safety & social needs and sustain community-centered solutions. The Manager will report to the Director of the Redefining Public Safety initiative with a dotted line to the Director of State and Local Policy within the Advocacy & Partnerships department. The Manager will manage state-level policy campaigns and decision-maker relationships to secure funding for public safety system change. In collaboration with senior programmatic subject matter leads, the Manager will represent Vera’s Redefining Public Safety initiative in policy working groups, national and state coalitions, and in other advocacy or policy-focused networks or convenings. This will include managing or leading policy research and drafting (legislation, directives, regulations, rationale), directly or indirectly influencing elected officials and others in positions of power to adopt and champion our public safety policy solutions.

What you'll do:

Develop and implement strategies & campaigns

  • Refine, implement, and manage campaign and advocacy strategy for Redefining Public Safety’s national impact goals to pass policies limiting non-safety-related traffic stops in at least 5 states; secure funding for civilian responses to 911 calls for which police are currently the primary responders; and increase investment of sustained funding toward institutions coordinating safety outside of the criminal legal system.
  • Work with colleagues to draft annual advocacy plans and assess regularly for progress and suggested updates.
  • Plan and assist with virtual and in-person events aimed at building support for Redefining Public Safety’s policy agenda in collaboration with colleagues and partners.

Coalition work and internal knowledge & skill building

  • Collaborate internally with programmatic and Advocacy & Partnerships staff, and externally with partner organizations to strengthen coalition work
  • Participate in strategically relevant coalition spaces
  • Effectively partner with grasstops and grassroots allies
  • Help the Redefining Public Safety initiative navigate political government dynamics and timelines, including the specifics of legislative sessions, budgets, and other core segments jurisdictions’ political processes

What qualifications are we looking for?

  • Experience with grasstops advocacy, state or federal lobbying, and state or federal campaigns
  • Demonstrated experience with the criminal legal system, public safety policies and practices and public health policies and practices
  • Strong working knowledge of the levers for fiscal policy change within federal, state and local government and the legislative process.
  • Experience with planning and leading advocacy campaigns at multiple levels of government
  • Experience working in coalitions and close partnership with other grasstops and grassroots organizations.
  • Previous supervision experience of full-time staff or a team.
  • Bachelor’s degree + 6-9 years of relevant experience. In lieu of bachelors’ degree, applicable work or life experience may be considered.


  • 5 years of policy and advocacy experience in advancing racial justice, building coalitions, allies and national strategy
  • Ability to build and / or lead coalitions

Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities you'll bring:

  • Excellent writing and communication skills
  • Experience in public advocacy campaigns involving fiscal policy
  • Experience working in coalition spaces
  • Legislative and budget drafting, research, or tracking
  • Ability to work collaboratively with a national, remote team
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite
  • Ability to issue spot and problem-solve across policy and advocacy strategy development and implementation, including to proactively and creatively develop resources and tools, as appropriate
  • Flexibility and ability to prioritize and manage multiple activities in a fast-paced environment.
  • Ability to travel up to 15% of the time
  • Driver’s License

Technical knowledge helpful for this role:

Microsoft Office Suite; Zoom; Slack, Asana or other cloud-based project management program


Please note this role will report to our Brooklyn, NY, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, CA or New Orleans, LA office. Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule and are in-office on an alternating schedule that generally amounts to 10 days per month.

Compensation and Benefits:

The compensation range for this position is $116,000 - $119,000. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience and performance. The salary range listed is just one component of Vera Institute’s total compensation package for employees. As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff - both personally and professionally - is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our staff through other rewards including merit pay, generous paid time off, a comprehensive health insurance plan, student loan repayment benefits, professional development training opportunities and up to $2,000 annual for education costs and fees relevant to Vera work, employer-funded retirement plan, and flexible time. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings, click here.

Applications may also be faxed to:

ATTN: People Resources / Policy & Advocacy Manager, Redefining Public Safety
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Fax: (212) 941-9407
Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

In order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability / medical contraindication or sincerely held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.

Vera is an equal opportunity / affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.

Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.

For more information about Vera, please visit www.vera.org