Community Programs Manager

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Position Overview: The Community Program Manager plays a lead role in the successful development of Groundwork Milwaukee’s community-wide programming and strategy. They are responsible for the coordination, management, and day to day operations of Groundwork Milwaukee’s community-focused efforts, including the Milwaukee Grows Garden Network, volunteer coordination, and community partner relationship management.

The mission of Groundwork Milwaukee is to bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement, and management of the physical environment by developing community-based partnerships that empower people, businesses, and organizations to promote environmental, economic, and social well-being.

Key Responsibilities:

Leads administrative coordination and capacity building programming for The Milwaukee Grows Garden Network of 85 community gardens.

  • Build positive, cooperative relationships across the Milwaukee Grows Garden Network with partners that include volunteer community garden leaders, several departments within the City of Milwaukee including the Neighborhood Improvement Development Corporation (NIDC), and local businesses and nonprofits.
  • Manage processes and communication to ensure garden leaders have the tools to operate a community garden in compliance with City of Milwaukee ordinances and leasing of City-owned vacant lots.
  • Plan and carry out garden season launch to boost clear communication to all interested parties including garden leaders and relevant City of Milwaukee partners.
  • Engage, survey, visit, and communicate with garden leaders to monitor the development of each garden.
  • Collect and analyze data to drive appropriate and available resources to community gardens and garden leaders in an effort to lead to more stability and sustainability for the community garden.
  • Support garden network members in navigating additional service including securing hydrant  permits from the City of Milwaukee’s Water Works division for garden irrigation, and applying for Community Improvement Grants through NIDC.
  • Convene and develop the Milwaukee Grows Leadership Council as an avenue for participant-led decision making for garden network activities and direction.

Leads the management and stewardship of Kilbourn Gardens and Clybourn Gardens and two Groundwork owned gardens.

  • Leads once to twice weekly volunteer work days at Kilbourn Gardens, home to over 100 community garden beds.
  • Communicates policies and resolves related disputes.
  • Manages processes to lease plots to gardeners.
  • Coordinates the tilling and plotting of Clybourn Gardens.

Supports, coaches, and  manages a small team of interns and staff who have the following responsibilities.

  • Volunteer Coordination.
  • Ecological Engagement.
  • Adopt a River at Havenwoods on Lincoln Creek.
  • Milwaukee River Water Quality Monitoring.

Other Responsibilities:

  • Provide support across Groundwork Milwaukee programs including Green Jobs and Education programming.
  • Support  intern recruitment, onboarding, supervising, and exit interview processes.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships.
  • Assist in preparing and independently managing the Garden Network and Volunteer Program budgets.
  • Oversee Community Programs documents and folders and event calendar.
  • Participate in presentations, tabling events, and other relevant forums.
  • Support the writing, evaluation, and reporting of grants and other external communication.
  • Support youth trips and other outside initiatives as needed.
  • Data entry.

Successful candidates for this role will have several of the following experiences, qualifications, knowledge, and skills: 

  • Building and stewarding  mutually beneficial relationships with community members and partners.
  • Leading teams to accomplish goals.
  • Developing membership networks with a focus on advancing member-led decision making, and member-led contributions of time and talent.
  • Leading and supporting community outreach and organizing efforts.
  • Organizing and managing processes and systems.
  • Working collaboratively with a diverse team .
  • Giving  and receiving feedback.
  • Operating and adapting in an ever-changing and developing workplace.
  • Managing multiple projects.
  • Supporting the development of community members.
  • Exploring issues of food sovereignty, community development, green infrastructure, civic engagement, climate resilience, and environmental justice.
  • Navigating Google Suite or similar cloud based work tools.
  • Communicating across various media and platforms.

Physical Requirements:

  • Must be able to frequently work in outdoor weather conditions.
  • Must be able to lift, carry, and otherwise move 25 pounds regularly.
  • Must be able to lift, carry, and otherwise move 50 pounds occasionally.
  • Must be able to move safely over uneven terrain.
  • Must be able to detect, respond to, and communicate in dangerous situations.

Work Location and Scheduled Work Days:

This position has an office at Groundwork Milwaukee’s downtown office located in Schlitz Park. Local travel is required and candidates with a Valid Driver’s License are preferred. During the busy season most work occurs outdoors, in the field. While we encourage staff to work with their supervisor to negotiate work location, life balance and schedule that aligns best with them, the person who fills the position will be asked to work Tuesday-Saturday from April to the end of October (the busy season) each year, and Monday-Friday from November to March (the slower season). Tuesday’s are typically reserved for in-person collaboration with other Groundwork Milwaukee team members. Typical hours are between 9am and 6pm, with staff expected to work 40 hours per week. There is also a need to be present for around 10 evening events throughout the year.

Additional Important Information:

Groundwork Milwaukee is a learning and leading organization focused on action. The organization’s mission  is  to improve the environmental, economic, and social well-being of folks throughout Milwaukee and is led by the people who make up our team. With this in mind Groundwork Milwaukee strives to create greater pay and compensation equity across the organization; and build hiring and cultural practices that result in the development staff that looks more like the community we serve alongside.

Compensation Overview:

  • Salary Range $40-45,000 based on experience
  • The position is eligible for 20 days of vacation, in addition to 11 paid holidays and 5 personal days
  • The position is eligible for health , dental, and vision  insurance benefits with 50% premium paid for by Groundwork Milwaukee
  • Monthly technology stipend

To Apply: 

Please email a cover letter and resume to our Deputy Executive Director, Damien DeBuhr, at

  • In the cover letter, please describe:
  • Why you are interested in this position.
  • Your experience and success organizing or working  in Black and brown communities.
  • Your take on how community gardens relate to environmental justice.

Groundwork Milwaukee provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, marital status or civil union status, past or present military service, or any other protected classification. This policy applies to all employment decisions, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, compensation, and training. 

We encourage applications from community members who have served in AmeriCorps and other national service programs as well as those who live in our primary service area which generally runs from:

The MIlwaukee River to the East 

I-94 Freeway to the South

City of Milwaukee Border to the West 

Mill Road to the North

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