Job Opportunity: Executive Director

Attention Leaders in Harm Reduction

The staff and Board of Directors of the Chicago Recovery Alliance (CRA) are launching a search for the position of Executive Director. We explicitly encourage applications from people with lived experience of substance use, sex work, and/or incarceration. The right candidate will also have a proven commitment to the field of Harm Reduction and a desire to respectfully collaborate with People Who Use Drugs (PWUD) to assist any positive change as a person describes it for themselves.

The closing date for this position is: TBA

About the Chicago Recovery Alliance

CRA is a comprehensive, street-based harm reduction organization operating principally in Chicago but also across the State of Illinois and throughout the Midwest. We offer the nation’s largest overdose education and naloxone distribution program, distribute several million syringes for HIV/HCV prevention annually, provide HIV/HCV testing and linkage to care, provide respectful safer substance use counseling and materials, and deliver training and technical assistance on a wide range of innovative topics locally and nationally.

One of CRA’s 13 founders, John Szyler, suggested the core of our mission statement: “Any Positive Change.” We expanded the statement to reflect CRA’s affirmation of agency among people who use drugs: “Any Positive Change as a person defines it for themself.” That has been CRA’s guiding principle since 1991. Today, we embrace and actualize our mission as we serve the entire City of Chicago via mobile outreach vans, a South Side office and drop-in center, a West Side office and drop-in center, collaborative service delivery through more than a dozen agencies citywide, and on-demand cell phone/delivery seven days and nights a week for 355 days a year.

Several staff have been with CRA for over 20 years. Another one of CRA’s 13 founders, Dan Bigg, served as the executive director since its inception in 1991 until his death in August 2018. Our organization shares a lot of love and is like a family. We have experienced many changes over our nearly 30 years of operation. Some changes we initiated (e.g., mobile methadone, naloxone distribution, peer vaccination), and some we just had to roll with (lean finances in the mid-2000s, unexpected passing of Dan), but we never lose sight of our mission: Any Positive Change.

Our new executive director will be someone who embraces change, can envision creative ways to promote the well-being of people who use drugs and do sex work, eagerly fills in outreach shifts when necessary, and is firmly committed to collaborative, respectful approaches to countering the racist, classist impacts of the War On Drugs.

We have 9 full-time and 4 part-time staff and have an annual budget of approximately $1.5 million, most of which is government and foundation grants.

Application Process

Interested candidates should send a resume and cover letter to Erica Ernst, President of CRA’s Board of Directors at The cover letter should include a description of background, qualifications, specific examples that illustrate requisite skills, and a description of the candidate’s experience with harm reduction leadership. If you have questions you can also call Erica at (312) 566-7069.

Where are we today?

Van and outreach locations for  
CRA Newsletter
Chicago Recovery Alliance
3110 West Taylor Street
Chicago IL 60612
© 1992, Chicago Recovery Alliance
Any Positive Change