Full-Time Advancing Justice Reform Through Multimedia Storytelling | FUSE Executive Fellowship
he Justice, Care, and Opportunities Department (JCOD) takes a multi-pronged approach to diverting justice-impacted individuals from the carceral system by connecting people, families, and communities with resources and services. As a new, innovative leader in justice reform, JCOD must conduct effective outreach across the County’s diverse communities and stakeholders. The FUSE Executive Fellow will equip JCOD with the tools and approaches necessary to leverage visuals and multimedia for impactful communications.
Fellowship Dates: April 22, 2024 – April 21, 2025
Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.
ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP
FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.
When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.
Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within and across various layers of government, and build partnerships between governments and communities.
In November 2022, the Los Angeles County (LAC) Board of Supervisors established the Justice, Care, and Opportunities Department (JCOD). This Department–the first of its kind in the United States–aims to serve justice-impacted individuals, families, and communities through alternatives to incarceration. By emphasizing re-entry services, investing in organizations that support vulnerable populations, and connecting detained individuals with services rather than incarceration, JCOD aims to disrupt negative feedback loops that rely on incarceration instead of healing.
While the Department is new, it has already had a significant impact. In late 2022, JCOD awarded more than $55M in Care First Community Investment grants to 118 community-based organizations working with vulnerable and justice-impacted populations. It plans to award $104M more in December 2023, emphasizing small community-based organizations.
Given JCOD’s innovative approach and diversity of tactics, communications, and community outreach will be critical to long-term success. Effective communications products will clarify JCOD’s mission, build trust, help residents identify relevant resources, and communicate the Department’s progress and achievements. Strong visual storytelling and multimedia approaches would be particularly compelling in sharing the human and community impact of JCOD’s approach.
In a diverse County like Los Angeles, culturally relevant visuals can be compelling tools. Since the justice system disproportionately impacts people of color, JCOD’s visuals must be inclusive, empowering, and capable of eliciting trust.
Los Angeles County will partner with FUSE to develop JCOD’s visual and multimedia storytelling approach. The FUSE Executive Fellow will create a portfolio of visual and multimedia communications products from photography to video production and digital assets. The fellow will develop a guide to leveraging these products during community engagement activities and identify a methodology to measure the impact of communications efforts in target communities. As a result of this work, Department staff will be empowered to use engaging, culturally relevant visual communications, resulting in a better understanding of JCOD’s work across Los Angeles County.
PROJECT SUMMARY & POTENTIAL DELIVERABLES
The following provides a general overview of the proposed fellowship project. This project summary and the potential deliverables will be collaboratively revisited by the host agency, the fellow, and FUSE staff during the first few months of the fellowship.
Starting in April 2024, the FUSE Executive Fellow will develop deep relationships with a broad range of stakeholders, including Los Angeles County Officials (e.g., JCOD, prosecutors and public defenders, LAC law enforcement, the Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion Initiative), community-based organizations that work with justice-impacted populations, and members of the public, with an emphasis on BIPOC communities. The Executive Fellow will seek to understand the resources, opportunities, reservations, and aspirations these partners have for the LAC justice system and JCOD’s mission. In addition, the Executive Fellow will review best practices for culturally relevant, visually impactful communications in large, diverse communities similar to Los Angeles County.
Next, the Executive Fellow will develop a portfolio of communications products. These products should be culturally relevant and inclusive, emphasize visual and multimedia storytelling (e.g., photography, video, graphic design), be useful across multiple social media channels, and enable JCOD staff to conduct community outreach in diverse communities. If successful, these products will build a solid visual foundation for JCOD staff to use in communications and community outreach efforts for the next several years.
At the same time, the Executive Fellow will develop a guide to leveraging visual and multimedia products in community outreach efforts. This guide should equip any member of the JCOD team with the tools, approaches, and insights necessary to conduct effective community engagement (e.g., public speaking, meeting facilitation, resource fair representation) with diverse communities across Los Angeles County.
Finally, the Executive Fellow will develop a methodology to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of visual communications in outreach activities. If successful, this methodology will allow JCOD to compile metrics on JCOD’s mass communications campaigns and in-person events and contextualize these measures to guide decision-making on future efforts.
By April 2025, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:
- Conduct a Stakeholder Listening Tour – Develop relationships with stakeholders in the Los Angeles County government, community-based organizations, and public members to understand the resources, constraints, perceived opportunities, potential threats, and aspirations affecting JCOD’s work. Conduct extensive best practices research related to culturally competent and justice-oriented communications.
- Develop a Communications and Visual Portfolio – Create a portfolio of visual and multimedia communications products for JCOD to use over the next few years. Products should emphasize inclusive storytelling, culturally relevant visuals, multi-channel use, and community outreach.
- Write a Guide to Visuals & Community Engagement – Craft a guide to empower JCOD staff to use the visual and multimedia communications portfolio to conduct effective outreach across diverse LAC communities.
- Measure Community Engagement Efforts – Develop a methodology to measure the effectiveness of mass communications and in-person engagement and to use metrics to guide future communications strategy.
- Executive Sponsor – Judge Songhai Armstead, Director; Justice, Care, & Opportunities Department
- Project Supervisor – Brenda Duran, Director of External Affairs; Justice, Care, & Opportunities Department
In addition to the qualifications listed below, a background in graphic design and mass communications campaigns in diverse communities is strongly preferred for this project.
- Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
- Knowledge of photography, visual software, and video production.
- Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
- Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to difficult challenges.
- Responds quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
- Communicates effectively verbally and in writing and excels in active listening and conversing.
- Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies in order to support more effective decision-making.
- Establishes and maintains strong relationships with diverse stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, particularly community-based relationships.
- Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
- Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.
FUSE is an equal opportunity employer with diversity, equity, and inclusion core values. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.