About ACLU of Mississippi

The ACLU of Mississippi (ACLU of MS) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to promote and defend civil liberties and civil rights through legal, legislative and public education approaches including criminal justice reform, equality for all Mississippians, and freedom of speech and expression as well as privacy rights, and more.

The ACLU of MS plays an important role in the national discussion on civil liberties and is one of the state's premier public advocacy organizations.  The State of Mississippi and the ACLU of MS are regularly in the national spotlight due to the state's history as a battle ground for civil rights and continuing challenges as a predominately conservative state to offer protection and freedom to progressive communities.

Based in Jackson, the ACLU of MS has not only the opportunity, but also the responsibility, to further education about civil liberties and to advocate for individual and community rights in Mississippi.  The affiliate maintains an operating budget of approximately $1.3 million, is led by a Board of Directors and a staff of six, and is additionally supported by the ACLU's national Strategic Affiliate Initiative (SAI) which deploys significant resources to build the infrastructure and program of the ACLU of MS.

For more information, please visit www.aclu-ms.org

The Opportunity

The ACLU of MS seeks an experienced and visionary Executive Director to lead a strategic and effective civil liberties agenda throughout Mississippi.

The Executive Director will have primary responsibility for managing the organization's day-to-day operations, leading the organization's fundraising efforts, directing the work and development of a professional staff, and serving as the primary spokesperson of the organization.  The Executive Director will ensure that the organization is fiscally sound and that its internal and external communications, fund development, and programs are meeting the current and emergent needs and interests of its constituents.

The Executive Director's essential duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to the following:

Leadership and Operational Management

  • Serve as an articulate marketer, fundraiser, communicator and spokesperson for the ACLU's mission and programs
  • Provide coordination and oversight of programmatic activities to include legal, legislative, communication, and advocacy programs to preserve and extend civil liberties in accordance with the strategic goals.
  • Oversee fiscal planning, budgetary planning, and ensure the affiliate maintains compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations regarding nonprofit organizations
  • Foster the organization's relationships with federal, state and local agencies (such as DOJ, FBI, State Attorney General, MS Legislature, EEOC, and local offices of human rights), and with other civil rights advocacy organizations.
  • Motivate and maintain a cohesive staff, ensuring that there is strong internal communication and coordination, recruit new staff when appropriate and evaluate performance


  • Lead the organization's fund development efforts - utilize a staff-driven program model that focuses on increasing the number and capacity of major donors
  • Ensure continuity of funding and pursue new funding sources

External Relations

  • Represent the priorities of the ACLU-MS as the lead official representative of the organization to the press and public, articulating the organization's positions and communicating its mission to increase the organization's visibility and public's understanding of the work
  • Maintain and encourage relationships with legal and social science scholars, educators, activists, civil liberties/civil rights and social change advocates so that the Board and staff have the expertise and knowledge they need to confront a wide-range of policies and challenges
  • Lead a communications strategy that values a diverse set of voices to represent the organization's position on its work

Board Relations

  • Recommend new policies, programs, goals, and objectives to the board
  • Work with the board to identify and help recruit new board members who will add diversity to the board and whose talents, interests and commitment will help to further the ACLU's mission 
  • Regularly brief the board on the status of the organization
  • Engage the board in meaningful participation to further the organization's goals

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have the following professional skills, qualities, and competences:

  • Demonstrated commitment to advancing the ACLU's values, mission, and goals, with an understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications
  • Ten years of professional experience preferred, proven managerial experience in the private, not-for-profit, and or/public sectors; a JD with prior nonprofit experience is preferred
  • Ability to think strategically, creatively problem solve, exercise good judgement and lead change 
  • Experience connecting the ACLU to resources and opportunities outside of the organization; a successful track record of raising funds from a variety of sources
  • Facilitative and collaborative leadership style. Proven ability to work in a dynamic national team and build working partnerships
  • Success supervising and mentoring staff and supporting professional and leadership development.  Experience developing staff work plans and maintaining oversight of staff and volunteers to implement affiliate strategic priority initiatives
  • Excellent communicator and writer with experience as a spokesperson who can articulate messages to different audiences to include but not limited to state and local forums, conferences, inspire and mobilize individuals, as well as print journalists and broadcast media
  • Maturity, professionalism, excellent interpersonal skills, and an ability to exercise diplomacy are critical; Ability to work effectively and collaboratively with diverse staff including remote colleagues, coalitions and community groups, motivate volunteers, work across the political spectrum, and value differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstances

Compensation & Benefits

The ACLU of MS offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefit package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU of MS compensation scale.


ACLU of MS has engaged Koya Leadership Partners to help in this hire.  Please submit a compelling cover letter and resume to Trisha Sutrisno here (https://ats.k2-app.com/jobPosting/apply/3691).

Candidates should also send their cover letter and resume to the ACLU of MS Board of Directors Search Committee: Cassandra Welchlin - cwelchlin@hotmail.com, Patricia Herlihy - p1herlihy@gmail.com, Stephen Silberman - ssilberman@comcast.net, Rhonda Cooper - rcooper@midtownlawoffice.com, Abram Orlansky - aorlansky@watkinseager.com and Melanie Deas -mdeas@link-centre.org.

ACLU of MS is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from people of color, person with disabilities, women, and LGBT applicants.

About Koya Leadership Partners

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that work exclusively with nonprofit and social enterprises.  We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them.  For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit koyapartners.com (http://www.koyapartners.com/).