Director of Applied Research

The Organization

Woodstock Institute is a leading nonprofit research and policy organization in the areas of fair lending, wealth creation, and financial systems reform. Woodstock Institute works locally and nationally to create a financial system in which lower-wealth persons and communities of color can safely borrow, save, and build wealth so that they can achieve economic security and community prosperity. Our key tools include: applied research; policy development; coalition building; and technical assistance. Woodstock Institute has been a recognized economic justice leader and bridge-builder between communities and policymakers in this field since it was founded in 1973 near Woodstock, Illinois. Now based in Chicago, we work with community and philanthropic groups, financial institutions, and policymakers. Funded by foundation grants, consulting fees, and charitable donations, we conduct research on financial products and practices, promote effective local, state, and federal policies, convene a coalition of community investment stakeholders working to improve access to credit, and help people use our work to understand the issues and develop and implement solutions.

The Position

The Director of Applied Research designs and conducts applied research projects to examine the relationships between economic and demographic characteristics and disparities in access to economic opportunity and to support Woodstock Institute’s policy advocacy. The position gives qualified research professionals an unusually good opportunity to see the results of their research have an impact in policy changes. 

Key Organizational Relationships

The Director is a member of the senior management team and reports to the President. The Director supervises the research staff, including the Research Associate, interns, and independent contractors. The Director collaborates with local and national colleagues on research projects, and works in close collaboration with the policy, communications, development, and administrative staff.

Growth Potential

The Director creates an annual professional development plan and has opportunities to attend trainings, seminars, conferences, and webinars to improve skills and maintain a professional license. The Director is eligible for promotion to Senior Research Director and Vice President of Research based on performance, experience, and qualifications.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Design and conduct applied research projects in support of Woodstock Institute’s mission
  • Produce and publish reports, Community Lending Fact Book, fact sheets, and presentations
  • Supervise research team, including updates of online Data Portal and Mapping Tool and operation of Technical Assistance Program
  • Play a major role in foundation, corporate, and contract fundraising, including writing grant proposals and reports, responding to RFPs, and soliciting and implementing research contracts  
  • Stay abreast of developments in the field and participate in professional development activities
  • Participate in communications, media, and advocacy outreach  
  • Collaborate with local and national colleagues on research and coalition work
  • Other duties, as assigned



  • Experienced researcher with a graduate degree in economics, urban planning, policy, or related field, with strong quantitative research and analysis skills
  • At least 5 years’ experience in research and policy advocacy in areas of fair lending, wealth creation, community development and/or financial systems reform, including work with HMDA, CRA, mortgage, small business, and consumer lending data, and public data at the local level
  • Excellent English language writing, public speaking, and presentation skills; demonstrated ability to write, edit, and publish research reports and related policy recommendations
  • Demonstrated commitment to social and economic justice issues, as evidenced by professional or personal work
  • Warm and collaborative interpersonal skills; comfortable with diverse groups, including community groups, nonprofit advocates, funders, policymakers, regulators, and academics
  • Ability to work independently and to juggle multiple tasks and deadlines
  • Fundraising and grant writing/reporting experience
  • At least 2 years’ experience in hiring, training, and supervising junior staff and/or interns
  • Punctual, reliable, and willing to put in extra hours, when necessary
  • Willing and able to travel within the state and across the country


  • Ph.D. in a related field
  • Spanish language skills would be a plus


Salary depends on experience and qualifications. Starting range for a person with a master’s degree and minimum required experience is $75,000.

How to Apply

To apply, send a resume, cover letter, writing sample, and list of three professional references to Patricia Woods-Hessing, Administrative Director, Deadline to apply is midnight Central Time on August 9, 2019.

Woodstock Institute is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages qualified applicants from diverse backgrounds and protected classes to apply.