Jackson, Mississippi

Deadline date

July 1, 2022


The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi (ACLU-MS) is seeking nominations and applications for the new position of Chief Program Officer (CPO) to help set programmatic and campaign strategies for the next phase of its work and to support the growth and development of its team. Reporting to the Executive Director and serving on the Senior Leadership Team, the Chief Program Officer will provide oversight and guidance to the ACLU-MS’s legal, policy, and community engagement programs. The CPO will ensure all programmatic efforts are integrated, focused on the organization’s strategic goals, and that those programs operationalize racial equity and improve the lives and protect the civil liberties of people in Mississippi.

The ACLU of Mississippi

The Mississippi affiliate of the ACLU was founded in 1969 in the thick of the Civil Rights Movement. In Mississippi at that time, Civil Rights workers were being beaten, arrested and killed for demonstrating against unjust laws and institutionalized discrimination. Basic Constitutional rights were being violated daily, from the right to vote, to the right to speak out against one's government without arrest, to the right of equal treatment under the law.

The ACLU-MS is undertaking a new strategic plan and growing to meet the critical needs of individuals and communities across the state. In addition to adding new staff, the ACLU-MS is taking on key campaigns through an integrated advocacy model that combines community engagement, policy advocacy, and litigation to bolster existing freedoms and to bring about new wins in the face of ongoing racism and injustice.

The ACLU-MS works to defend and advance constitutionally guaranteed rights to people who have historically been denied those rights on the basis of race, gender, immigrant status, religion, and sexual orientation. In particular, although generations of civil rights activism in Mississippi have made significant strides toward racial equality, the fight for equality is far from won. The ACLU-MS challenges the systemic racism that continues to manifest itself in laws and policies throughout the state. With a storied past of working on groundbreaking and controversial issues, ACLU-MS strives to live its values of courage, integrity, justice, people, and progress.

Currently a team of 13, the ACLU-MS expects continued growth over the next few years and is focused on building the internal supports for that growth, including the hiring of this new Chief Program Officer, upgrading infrastructures, and ongoing investments in creating an environment rooted in Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (EDIB).

As it grows and moves to a new model of integrated advocacy, the Chief Program Officer will serve as a member of the senior leadership team, partner to the Executive Director, and conductor and facilitator for the legal, policy, and community engagement teams. Core areas of this role will include:

Vision & Strategy Development

Lead the program teams in developing shared visions and goals for integrated advocacy campaigns and issues areas.

Collaborate with the Executive Director and other senior leaders to develop new initiatives, long-term goals, and operating plans to advance civil liberties, equity, and racial justice.

Work with the Executive Director and senior leadership team to manage an integrated strategic plan and maintain the team’s focus on its strategic goals so that the ACLU-MS’s activities and resources effectively advance the organization’s mission, vision, and values. Assist in developing and overseeing program budgets and other reporting systems that support and improve delivery of programs.

In collaboration with the legal director, oversee the development and pursuit of a strategic vision for the legal program that advances the ACLU-MS’s overall civil liberties and civil rights agenda, as well as oversee and support the development of potential cases and legal theories.

In collaboration with the advocacy and communications director, oversee a statewide Public Policy program designed to fulfill the outcomes and priorities outlined in the strategic plan. 

Provide guidance on public policy advocacy, legislative engagement, and lobbying efforts aligned with organizational priorities in: education, government accountability, immigrants’ rights, individual autonomy, legal justice system, and voting rights.

Leadership and Team Management

In consultation with the Executive Director, manage and supervise directors of the legal and advocacy programs and assure coordination across and integration of the three areas.

Lead internal work to clarify programmatic decision-making processes, strengthen crossteam communication, and support prioritization and accountability for shared goals and agreements.

Foster a culture that promotes creativity, collaboration, and teamwork and supports professional growth and development.

Work with the Executive Director to recruit, develop, and retain highly talented program staff and participate in all program-staff personnel issues.

Contribute to a positive work atmosphere by behaving and communicating in a matter that fosters inclusion and belonging as well as thoughtful communication practices in a fast-paced environment.


The salary for this position will be between $108,000 and $120,000. A range indicates the intention to accommodate those with varying years of relevant experience, as determined by the salary scale.

Benefits include paid vacation; sick leave; employer-paid medical insurance for employees; 401(k) retirement benefits plan with employer match; life insurance; extended medical leave including parental leave after an eligible period; professional development opportunities; and a flexible remote work environment.


The Chief Program Officer will be a talented manager and organizational leader with the commitment and understanding to lead an integrated advocacy team. They will be dedicated to the mission and values of the ACLU of Mississippi, including racial justice, and to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging and will have many of the following abilities, strengths, and experiences:

  • Experience utilizing different strategies to achieve goals, ideally including policy advocacy, litigation, and community organizing in an integrated advocacy model.
  • Experience leading collaborative strategy and goal setting and implementation.
  • Organizational development and change management abilities, including the ability to support teams in developing and clarifying organizational or programmatic decision-making, communication, and accountability processes and practices.
  • Demonstrated experience partnering with individuals and communities directly impacted by racial injustice.
  • Leadership or supervisory experience in the community, non-profit, or legal fields.
  • Ability to delegate and supervise work effectively by providing clear direction, priorities, and deadlines, solving complex problems under pressure, and managing accountability on concurrent projects in a fast-paced, stressful environment.
  • Ability to provide meaningful and critical feedback and coaching to supervisors and staff.
  • Excellent analytical and communication skills, with the ability to quickly grasp complex issues and ask key questions that clarify and lead teams to understanding and agreement.
  • The ability to balance collaborative and efficient decision-making in a fast-paced, high-stakes environment.
  • Familiarity with office technology and information systems, including databases, online communications, and word processing.
  • A commitment to the highest ethical standards and the values of the ACLU of Mississippi.

The following knowledge and experience may also be helpful to the Chief Program Officer:

  • A J.D. from an accredited law school or significant experience collaborating with and managing attorneys.
  • Substantive knowledge and understanding of constitutional law, civil rights and civil liberties issues, and criminal legal reform matters.

Application Process

To apply, email a cover letter and resume to jdortch@aclu-ms.org and include in the subject line of the email: your name and Chief Program Officer. In your cover letter, please indicate where you learned of the posting. Applications will be accepted until COB July 1, 2022.

The ACLU of Mississippi is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Mississippi encourages applications without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status.