16 Jun

Through Americorps VISTA, we’re recruiting a motivated new team member unwilling to accept the inequality in Cleveland today, and ready to act for justice. As a part of the Cleveland Owns team, you’ll work in community organizing and co-op development related to our solar portfolio, including Cleveland Solar Cooperative and the Hough Community Solar Garden.

Submit applications via our partner Think Tank, Inc. here by Friday, July 3rd.

About Cleveland Owns

Founded in 2019, Cleveland Owns is a cooperative incubator working to build community wealth and power through collective ownership. We are incubating two solar cooperatives, a food co-op, and a purchasing cooperative of faith institutions. In response to COVID-19, we’re also extending our work into policy advocacy for universal access to basic utilities. We have one full-time employee and nine board members, and we work with over 50 volunteers across Northeast Ohio.

We’re motivated to do this work because we know that in today’s version of racial capitalism, ownership confers control and the power to profit. We must build alternative institutions even as we act to dismantle a system based on white supremacy and worker exploitation that concentrates wealth and power in the hands of the few. We envision a Cleveland where groups of neighbors and groups of workers are equipped to self-organize to take back economic power and pursue justice on their own terms. 

Responsibilities and Duties

As an Americorps VISTA member with Cleveland Owns, you’ll be a full-time member of our organizing team. Your work will focus on two solar projects. The first is the Cleveland Solar Cooperative, Ohio’s first member-owned solar development business (as far as we know!). You’ll be embedded with the newly elected board of directors as they launch this business from scratch. You’ll build strong relationships with them as you serve on committees related to community outreach, financial stewardship, policy, and governance.

The second is the Hough Community Solar Garden, a project led by a group of neighbors working to build Cleveland’s first community solar garden, an innovative model that includes community ownership of a ground-mount solar array. You’ll add capacity to the team as they launch an ambitious collective effort to complete a $3 million project, engage hundreds of residents, and transform Cleveland’s energy system. No big deal.

Your responsibilities will also include some administrative work, primarily reporting to Americorps. There’s an opportunity for you to take on other tasks as your interest and times allows, including contributing to Cleveland Owns social media, governance, and donor relations. 

Qualifications and Skills

To do this work, you’ll receive initial and on-the-job training in community organizing and business development. We’ll teach tactical skills such as conducting a one-on-one, sharing a personal story, building a team structure; creating and implementing a membership outreach strategy, accounting basics, governance principles, and board development. We’ll also offer structured coaching on how to be anti-racist.

We’ll supply the training. Here is what we’re looking for in a new team member: 

  • A collaborative relationship-builder with strong interpersonal skills and high emotional intelligence    

  • Someone with a history of responding to adversity with resourcefulness

  • Reliable and resourceful

  • Detail-oriented, and able to keep an eye on the bigger picture

  • Willing to use a lot of Google Docs and Microsoft Office and Zoom and conference calls

  • A clear commitment to to the health and prosperity of working-class communities of color

  • A demonstrated awareness of the systemic ways white supremacy and capitalism hinder justice

  • A demonstrated commitment to social, economic and ecological justice

Deadline and how to apply

Submit applications via our partner Think Tank, Inc. here by Friday, July 3rd. We will make a hiring decision the following week, though we'll review applications on a rolling basis. The VISTA member will start with an all-state orientation on Monday, August 17th.

Equal Opportunity Employer

Cleveland Owns is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, height, weight, or marital status in employment or the provision of services. Cleveland residents are strongly encouraged to apply.

What past team members have to say about working with Cleveland Owns

"Overall, Cleveland Owns is a fantastic company to work for. I have grown both personally and professionally with Cleveland Owns. This experience helped fulfill my professional goals of developing my knowledge of accounting systems, managerial communications, and research.

"In addition, Cleveland Owns has also assisted in my personal development. I learned about the strength of personal testimonies, how to become more emotionally empathetic with others, and the importance of anti-racism. I have more confidence in myself and my background. I never thought that I would be able to develop emotional empathy and self-confidence through a virtual work experience, but working with Cleveland Owns definitely has that effect.":

- Matthew L., Cleveland Owns intern, summer 2020

“During the summer of 2019 I had the amazing opportunity to intern with Cleveland Owns. High expectations, as well as the culture of learning and growth, allowed me to flourish. Working with Cleveland Owns gave me the opportunity to see that change can come from those who inhabit that community if there is dedication and strategic partnerships. I would recommend any friend or associate that wants to make a tangible social change to consider working with Cleveland Owns.”

- James G., Cleveland Owns intern, summer 2019

"Working for Cleveland Owns gave me the tools that I needed to harness my passions, and gave me the power to coalesce with community members to effect change in Cleveland. Cleveland Owns weaponizes grassroots organizing while creating formidable changemakers who want to see an equitable and justified future."

- Ashley R., Cleveland Owns organizer, winter 2020

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