Senior Communications and External Relations Director: City Year

At City Year Philadelphia, AmeriCorps members work to address the lack of equitable access to educational opportunities, particularly for students of color and those growing up in low-income households.

Our dedicated and passionate AmeriCorps members work closely with students, providing individualized attention that helps them feel valued and supported in their learning. In addition to 1:1 tutoring, CYP AmeriCorps members mentor students in small groups, organize school-wide events, and run afterschool programs.


• City Year Philadelphia – established in 1997 – is one of 29 City Year sites across the U.S.

• 200 City Year AmeriCorps members, ages 18-25, serve full-time in 16 schools across Philadelphia

• AmeriCorps members mentor and tutor in math, English, attendance, and social-emotional skill building

• In the 2019-2020 school year, nearly 12,000 students received City Year support, with over 35% receiving direct 1:1 tutoring or mentoring

• City Year’s signature Red Jacket symbolizes caring, support, hope, and inspiration

Learn more at and visit City Year Philly on Twitter and Instagram.

Position Overview

City Year Philadelphia is seeking a creative, collaborative, and results-oriented individual to serve as senior communications and external relations director. The position oversees all communication and marketing initiatives and is responsible for designing and implementing a comprehensive communication and outreach strategy to raise and solidify City Year Philadelphia’s profile in the Philadelphia community. The senior communications and external relations director will advance the organization’s education equity goals through strategic marketing and public relations initiatives including media relations, brand management, and creative campaign execution. The position will lead the effort to effectively share City Year’s message with key stakeholders both internally and externally. The senior communications and external relations director will lead the site’s external relations efforts, specifically focused on increasing public awareness and building relationships with strategic partners. The position reports to the managing director of development and will partner with the executive director and site board to lead the government relations and engagement work. Additionally, the position will manage the marketing manager.Job Description

What You’ll Do:

Communications Leadership

  • Develop and implement a cohesive and innovative communications strategy to increase the awareness of City Year Philadelphia and position the organization as a premier education equity leader in the community
  • Lead and help ensure site-wide implementation of City Year messaging with a focus on asset-framed storytelling and systemic inequities
  • Set annual outreach, media, and engagement goals and regularly monitor progress
  • Oversee creation of all campaigns and communications collateral, including multi-media, videos, website, media materials, and other items as needed
  • Support content development for City Year Philadelphia’s blog, social media accounts, e-newsletter, appeals, and other publications
  • Collaborate with the national communications team, site leadership and CYP site on a communications calendar and external engagement plan
  • In partnership with site leadership, oversee all crisis communications

Communications & Marketing Staff Leadership

  • Supervise the marketing manager and provide ongoing support, guidance, and feedback to ensure success as a team member and as a communications professional

Media Relations & Event Support

  • Develop and manage a portfolio of media, marketing, and communications relationships to bolster City Year Philadelphia’s brand recognition and support organizational strategies
  • Manage a messaging calendar, including national and local events, media pitches, and external partnerships
  • Develop the key messages and communication tactics of major annual celebrations, donor events, site engagement activities, and other fundraisers and stakeholder engagements in collaboration with the development team and site leadership
  • Support the executive director and site leadership in development of key messages, talking points, and scripts for key internal and external audiences
  • Lead the effort on all brand building events for the site
  • Support media and messaging needs of major organizational events, and manage the creation of event-specific materials such as collateral, look and feel, speaker invitations, scripts, briefings, and media releases

External & Government Relations 

  • Partner with site leadership to build strong relationships with education and community leaders, elected officials, and other champions to support the overall site goals and advance City Year Philadelphia’s brand in the community
  • Serve as an active member of the government relations committee of the board
  • Collaborate with internal teams to ensure alignment of messaging across external platforms that sparks interest and promotes connectivity with City Year Philadelphia’s service
  • Establish a platform and voice to position City Year Philadelphia’s executive director as a thought leader in the greater community
  • Identify opportunities to share City Year Philadelphia’s voice and story with the broader community; prepare staff, board members, partners, and AmeriCorps members as needed

Site Communications Training

  • Advise and train staff, boards and AmeriCorps members on ways to effectively leverage their messaging and relationships with stakeholders and community leaders
  • Work closely with all departments to ensure external communication and stakeholder engagement are consistent and effective
  • Design and deliver communications training for staff, corps, and Boards to ensure message alignment with stated goals and ensure all staff and corps members are trained to maintain City Year’s brand and communication standards

Organizational Initiatives & Site Support

  • Serve as a member of the City Year senior leadership team (SLT), providing strategic insight into site priorities
  • Engage in structured discussion and training on diversity, belonging, inclusion, and equity (DBIE) aimed at developing stronger cultural competency, both individually and collectively as a site
  • Work collaboratively with other site departments, other City Year sites, and City Year headquarters on a frequent basis
  • Represent City Year Philadelphia at meetings, conferences, trainings, and workgroups both within and outside of the City Year network
  • Support and attend all major site events, including fundraisers, service days, trainings, and other activities and initiatives
  • Partner with City Year Philadelphia’s departments and staff to ensure that site-wide goals are met, including, but not limited to, the AmeriCorps member applicant interview process, stakeholder engagement, event and service day participation, and cross-departmental committees
  • Attend internal and external engagement and training activities throughout the year

What You’ll Bring

  • At least 7 years experience in communications role, including time within a leadership position, either within an organization or an agency, with proven ability to deliver strong, measurable results
  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism, marketing or related field preferred
  • Solid experience serving as a spokesperson and a keen understanding of media relations, including a demonstrated ability to develop and execute creative campaigns
  • Knowledge of state and local government relations and proven experience building relationships with elected officials
  • Excellent written, oral, and organizational skills; high level of attention to detail
  • Awareness and experience in engaging in conversation about race and all aspects of identity, as well as experience developing practices grounded in diversity, belonging, inclusion, and equity
  • Strong connection to education equity and to the values of belief in the power of young people, social justice, empathy, inclusivity, and teamwork
  • Ability to work the flexible hours demanded of a deadline-driven position
  • Ability to adapt and excel in diverse, high energy, entrepreneurial, and rapidly-changing environment
  • Attitude essentials: growth mindset, passion for City Year’s mission, detail-oriented, resilience, committed to teamwork

How You’ll Grow

City Year values diverse skill sets and encourages staff members to seek continuous growth.  A successful instructional coach will bring and continue to develop themselves in the following competencies:

  • Communication: clearly articulates information and ideas orally and in writing; communicates with confidence and credibility; listens carefully and is responsive to feedback; uses brand and storytelling strategically to inspire diverse audiences and coaches others to do the same; communicates effectively even in highly visible or adversarial situations
  • Problem Solving and Decision Making: applies broad knowledge, seasoned experience, most critical information and multiple perspectives to generate and develop insights and creative, strategic solutions;  creativity, and critical thinking in solving challenges; looks beyond the obvious for answers; uses sound judgment to make well-informed, ethical decisions; drives timely organizational decision-making to advance strategic initiatives
  • Relationship Development:  establishes and builds diverse, mutually beneficial, and sustainable partnerships within City Year, throughout partnering organizations, and in the communities we serve; demonstrates openness, approachability, and understanding of other perspectives; maintains and builds relationships by recognizing and responding to the needs of others; strategically directs critical relationships to advance City Year’s mission; enables and supports City Year members and partners in their efforts to build strategic relationships by making connections and removing obstacles
  • Drives Vision:  demonstrates commitment and leads with “the why” to connect teams to vision; translates strategies into clear objectives, action plans, and measurements; creates a climate in which others feel connected to the organization’s strategy and effectively leads through change

Compensation and Benefits

The anticipated start date range for this position is in late April/early May 2021.

Salary range for this position is in the mid $70,000s.

Compensation and Benefits

Full time employees will be eligible for all benefits including vacation and sick days and organization holidays. You may participate in all benefit programs that City Year establishes and makes available to eligible employees, under (and subject to all provisions of) the plan documents that govern those programs. Currently, City Year offers medical, dental and vision, life, accidental death and dismemberment and disability coverage, Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA), other benefits including 401(k) plan(s) pursuant to the terms and conditions of company policy and the 401(k) plan document.


Please complete the online application and attach a resume and thoughtful cover letter in the “Resume/CV” field on the “My Experience” page. Internal applicants should apply through cyresource.

Qualified applicants should apply and submit a resume with cover letter, ALONG WITH A WRITING SAMPLE.  No phone calls, please.