September 23, 2022

We're hiring an executive director! Learn more and apply now.

This search is being conducted by Koya Partners, a part of Diversified Search Group. Koya Partners is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Their founding philosophy — The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World — guides their work as they partner with nonprofits and non-governmental organizations, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world. Learn more about Koya Partners here.

ABOUT THE ACLU OF KENTUCKY

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation's guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it's ending mass incarceration, separating church and state, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, advancing racial justice, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties and civil rights cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach.

With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual's rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, disability, national origin, or record of arrest or conviction.

While recognized as one of the nation's leading public interest law firms, the ACLU's strength lies in an integrated advocacy approach which requires collaboration between their legal, advocacy, public education, and communications staff on comprehensive strategies to maximize impact.

Sixty years ago, when Jim Crow segregation was the law, ACLU of Kentucky (ACLU-KY) was founded, and the new organization’s legal docket was designed to address racial discrimination. ACLU-KY has defended communities of people who have been historically, and are currently, denied certain rights that are extended to others. These communities continue to endure discrimination and inequality denying them access to resources and opportunities.

Racial justice has been, is now, and will continue to be central to the mission of ACLU-KY which has dedicated itself to pursuing cases designed to have a significant and wide-reaching effect on communities of color, to work in coalition with other civil rights groups and local advocates to lobby in local and state legislatures, and to support grassroots movement. Through these efforts, ACLU-KY strives to educate and empower the public on how racism impacts the issues that it works on – including but not limited to justice reform, reproductive freedom, LGBT, and immigrants’ rights – and it commits to considering racial impacts when making hiring, policy, and administrative decisions for the organization.

ACLU-KY is freedom’s watchdog, working daily in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people by the Constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth of Kentucky including:

  • The right to freedom of speech, association, assembly, and the press;
  • The right to freedom of religion, supported by the strict separation of church and state;
  • The right to be treated fairly by the government whenever life, liberty or property is at stake;
  • The right to be free from unwarranted government intrusion into personal and private affairs; and
  • The right to equal protection of the laws, regardless of race, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, disability, or other such classifications.

ACLU-KY works to extend rights to those who traditionally have been denied them, including: women; Black, Indigenous, and people of color; immigrants; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals; people who have experienced incarceration or entanglement with the justice system; people with disabilities; and young people.

ACLU-KY has a staff of over 20 people operating with an annual budget of $3 million. It has 8,700 members across the state and is governed by a Board of Directors elected by the membership.

THE OPPORTUNITY

The ACLU of Kentucky seeks a dynamic, experienced, and thoughtful Executive Director who will be responsible for the strategic orientation of the organization and will lead staff and Board through big-picture thinking about the trajectory and evolving mission of the organization as well as leading ACLU-KY to operationalize strategic goals.

The Executive Director will have a working knowledge of and a deep commitment to civil liberties and racial justice. They will be a leader who is adept at balancing internal management with external impact and visibility including being an outstanding communicator who is able to effectively convey the mission and activities of ACLU-KY to a variety of constituencies and stakeholders.

Strategy and Vision

  • Establish a clear vision for the continued growth and expansion of ACLU-KY providing direction to guide programs that align with the organization’s vision for the state of Kentucky;
  • Build on past successes by inspiring the creation and implementation of new state-wide strategies to advance the work of ACLU-KY;
  • Operate strategically in a political and social environment where success on civil liberties issues depends on the ability to work effectively with individuals and organizations across the political spectrum;
  • Exhibit courage and clarity when addressing highly controversial and complex issues and lead the staff and Board through thoughtful consideration of conflicting positions on those issues. 

Staff Leadership

  • Inspire, motivate, and build rapport to cultivate a cohesive staff, ensuring that there is transparent internal communication, participation, and coordination;
  • Work with staff to establish goals for their respective departments with clarity and accountability to specific metrics and goals; ensure staff have the resources needed to accomplish their goals;
  • Attract, recruit, lead, and mentor a diverse staff that works to further the mission of ACLU-KY with enthusiasm and a personal understanding of the work;
  • Provide staff with regular professional development opportunities. 

Organizational Management

  • Ensure by effective management and leadership that the day-to-day operations are professionally and efficiently organized and administered;
  • Oversee the organization’s financial operations including the budgetary process and ensure that sound and transparent financial controls are maintained;
  • Work with development staff and Board in furthering a robust fundraising program that ensures the financial viability of ACLU-KY by cultivating, stewarding, and soliciting diversified donors;
  • Anticipate funding needs and engage program staff as needed to ensure that staff have the resources they need to be successful and have a firm understanding of the finances related to their work;
  • Regularly assess how ACLU-KY is incorporating the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging into internal and external work. 

External Relations

  • Initiate and strengthen relationships and collaborations with organizations and leaders who are connected to ACLU-KY’s mission and purpose – including staff at ACLU National when appropriate;
  • Work with the communications staff to represent ACLU-KY to the media and public, clearly articulating the organization’s positions and communicating its work on a broad array of complex issues to audiences with different levels of knowledge; 
  • Communicate with a wide range of stakeholders, including within the organization, with empathy, emotional intelligence, and respect; work effectively in cross-cultural settings.

Board Relations

  • Collaborate with the Board on regular and periodic audit, oversight, and governance issues through consistent and thorough communications;
  • Work with the Board to identify and help recruit new Board members who add diversity to the Board and whose talents, interests, and commitments help to advance ACLU-KY’s mission;
  • Champion and value equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging in working relationships with the Board and all staff;
  • Engage the Board in meaningful participation to further the organization’s goals including by fostering appropriate relationships between Board and staff.

Candidate Profile

The ideal candidate will have most, if not all, of the following professional and personal qualities, skills, and characteristics:

  • Personally committed to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals, and programs with an understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications;
  • Strong understanding of the roles litigation, community organizing, and legislative advocacy play in protecting civil rights/advancing social justice and how to balance the priorities of each of those paths when they may be in tension;
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically, creatively problem solve and lead change; ability to execute good judgment politically, legislatively, as an advocate, and as a nonprofit manager, who can act decisively on events which may create opportunities or challenges for the ACLU; a working knowledge of Kentucky politics, judicial and legislative system, and social justice nonprofit landscape or willingness and demonstrated ability to learn;
  • Managerial experience required, preferably with a demonstrated ability to manage in a mission-driven organization of similar size and complexity; ability to translate vision into action and lead staff to execute; approach to staff leadership that emphasizes communication, collaboration, and transparency; welcomes staff input and prioritizes staff’s professional development;
  • Commitment to the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging; personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences regarding race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, socio-economic circumstance, immigration status, and record of arrest or conviction;
  • Compassionate leadership style with the ability to listen to Board members, staff, members, donors, coalition partners and the public with respect and genuine openness to constructive input;
  • Experience connecting issue-based organizations to resources and opportunities outside of the organization; a successful track record of raising and managing funds from a variety of sources;
  • High emotional intelligence and a record of success working in partnership with a Board and staff of diverse personalities, talents, and lived experiences;
  • Ability to work both independently and as a member of a team, and to have excellent problem solving and decision-making skills in a high pressure environment that often requires multi-tasking.

Compensation and Benefits

ACLU of Kentucky will offer a salary in the range of $125,000 - $150,000, based on an assessment performed by a third-party firm Nonprofit HR, which ACLU-KY has contracted to determine a competitive salary range for the role based on the job description and candidate’s relevant experience. Excellent benefits offered, including generous health insurance plan, life and long-term disability insurance, 401(k), generous sick, vacation, parental, and holiday leave, and parking.

ACLU-KY’s work is accomplished through a network of volunteers, coordinated by staff primarily located in the Louisville office. Louisville is a multicultural community that enjoys 300+ days of sunshine, a vibrant arts scene and ample access to outdoor sports and activities.

HOW TO APPLY, ACCOMMODATIONS, AND CONTACT

Koya Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Trisha Sutrisno and Amber Gomes of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express interest in this role please submit your materials here or email Trisha and Amber directly at tsutrisno@koyapartners.com and agomes@koyapartners.com. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

Koya Partners is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals living with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email NonprofitSearchOps@divsearch.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


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