Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association

Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association

Health Justice Community Organizer
(Full Time)

Based in the South Bronx, NY


Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc. is a community development corporation founded in 1978 to contribute to a revitalized, safe, and economically vibrant South Bronx through the development and management of affordable housing and provision of targeted human services. Banana Kelly seeks to empower residents through supportive services and vocational, education, and cultural programs that assist in the retention of affordable housing and the improvement of the quality of life for all residents. It is our mission, through the coordination of these efforts, to foster self-sufficiency and collective capacity through self-help, mutual aid, and cooperation.

Banana Kelly is only possible because residents, who were part of one of the most dramatic urban debacles of American history, were unrelenting in their fight to save their neighborhood – this despite the general consensus from outside the community that there was no future for the South Bronx, at least not for those who lived there. Given this history, where local residents built this organization from nothing, we are compelled to respect and promote local resident capacity in our ongoing work. To this end, our Community Organizing department is fundamental to achieving our mission.

Job Description: Health Justice Community Organizer (Full Time)

Background: In the South Bronx, community gardens are some of the most important assets we have in the fight against dire health disparities that unfairly burden the low-income communities of color we serve. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this fight is more important than ever, which is why Banana Kelly seeks a dynamic and talented Health Justice Community Organizer to lead our health organizing and programming work based in a network of community gardens connected to our buildings. The organizer will work with building residents and the broader community, including youth, to connect their work to larger structural health issues, build community connections, increase the collective problem-solving capacity of residents, and develop thriving spaces that help restore social fabric and trust.

Job Responsibilities: The Health Justice Community Organizer will lead our Health Initiatives work, coordinating programming and meetings related to gardening, healthy eating/living, and leadership development through a network of gardens connected to Banana Kelly properties. They will organize tenant associations in buildings to work with resident leaders in the planning and design of spaces and programming at the gardens and other related community spaces, while increasing the level of resident and community participation and leadership. They will help grow our Banana Kelly Resident Council and work closely with members to develop campaigns related to larger structural health justice issues including healthy buildings, policing and mass incarceration, access to health care and services, displacement threats, access to open spaces and neighborhood stability. The Health Justice Community Organizer will be responsible for developing partnerships and generating goals and outcomes for all of our health-related work, as well as reporting back to the organization and funders. They will work closely with the Director of Organizing.

The organizer will also support the overall organizing department goals which include:

  • Support residents of Banana Kelly and other rent stabilized buildings in forming tenant associations
  • Participate in base building activities including, but not limited to:
    • Door knocking
    • Conducting one-on-ones
    • Phone banking
    • Surveying / Distributing fliers
  • Preserve and expand low income housing through participation in city-wide coalitions
  • Research housing data to identify buildings to organize in and create campaign strategies
  • Collect, manage and report data on organizing activities
  • Facilitate turnout of tenants for local, borough-wide and city-wide actions
  • Conduct trainings and support overall leadership development activities
  • Build and maintain relationships with other neighborhood partners and stakeholders, including elected officials
  • Expand representation and participation of Banana Kelly residents in the Resident Council
  • Act as Banana Kelly’s main liaison for the Neighborhoods Now Project, revitalizing our garden spaces during the time of COVID-19
  • Support the larger Banana Kelly mission through coordination with other departments


  • Highly motivated individual with a passion for engaging communities, ideally a self-starter with creative vision and excellent follow-through
  • 1-3 years applicable work experience, including health justice work and/or tenant or youth organizing
  • Ability to work evenings and some weekends
  • Experience working with the land, gardens, horticulture preferred
  • Strong commitment to building leadership in Bronx residents; someone who holds our members in high regard
  • Ability to work in diverse communities with people from various backgrounds
  • Ability to be in challenging situations, and who is teachable/coachable
  • Demonstrated commitment to an anti-racist community organizing model of change
  • Spanish/English bilingual is a big bonus
  • Basic computer skills required; knowledge of Google Suite, Microsoft Office Suite, and Salesforce preferred
  • Strong relational skills and ability to connect, engage, and inspire community members
  • Strong and effective communicator; attentive listener who is able to ask open-ended questions as well as make clear and specific requests; competent writing skills
  • Able to make connections between individual experiences and collective, systemic and structural forces and to polarize a situation as necessary

Desired Attributes: Commitment to racial and economic equity and justice, generous spirit, curious mind, friendly yet fierce, experience living through challenging circumstances, heart for the people, engaging, humble

Health benefits available. Salary commensurate with experience.

To Apply:
Interested candidates should send a cover letter and résumé via email to Director of Community Organizing, Ian Gray-Stack at: igraystack@bkcianyc.org.

Banana Kelly is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Qualified persons are encouraged to apply regardless of their religious affiliation, race, sex, sexual orientation or nature of disability

WHEN APPLYING: Be sure to indicate that you saw this information at UNIONJOBS.COM.