About the ACLU of Kansas

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. The ACLU of Kansas, an affiliate of the ACLU, is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization with a mission to protect and defend the constitutional rights and civil liberties of every individual in Kansas regardless of creed, race, gender, gender identification or class. Their efforts are focused on serving and defending reproductive rights, racial justice, LGBT rights, First Amendment rights, immigrant rights, voting rights, criminal justice reform, and privacy rights.

The ACLU of Kansas protects the civil rights of segments of the population that have traditionally been marginalized, including women, people of color, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender people, prisoners, people with disabilities, immigrants, and the poor. The ACLU of Kansas defends the freedoms of all residents of Kansas without consideration of political partisanship.

The ACLU of Kansas is an affiliate of the national ACLU and has had a presence in Kansas for more than 50 years. The ACLU of Kansas is one of this area’s premier public advocacy organizations. Based in the Kansas City metropolitan area, the organization is led by a Board of Directors and a growing staff of 14. Since 2015, the ACLU of Kansas has adopted a “campaign” approach for its work. This approach has been highly effective and has become a national model for other ACLU affiliates. At the ACLU of Kansas, work is focused on targeted campaigns to achieve measurable goals that expand civil liberties. Campaign work represents the majority of every staff person’s workload.

The ACLU of Kansas comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and the ACLU Foundation of Kansas. Both entities have the same overall mission and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties.


The Opportunity

The next Executive Director will join a strong organization that has experienced considerable growth and expansion under previous leadership. This position will lead and manage the operations and activities of the ACLU of Kansas, direct the work of the staff, and serve as the primary spokesperson for the ACLU. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will ensure that fundraising, communications, and its programs are meeting the needs and interests of its constituents. The Executive Director will understand civil liberties issues and be a leader who is adept at balancing internal management with external impact and visibility. The individual must be an outstanding communicator who is able to convey effectively the mission of the ACLU to a variety of constituencies, including funders, media, and the general public.

The Executive Director’s responsibilities include:

Leadership and Vision

• Establish a clear vision for the continued growth and expansion of the ACLU in Kansas. Provide direction to guide programs that align with the organization’s vision and prioritized campaign approach.
• Exhibit courage, clarity, and an understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging matters when addressing highly evolving and complex situations.
• Initiate and strengthen relationships, funding partnerships and collaborations with organizations and leaders who are connected to the ACLU’s mission and purpose.
• Serve as an effective and visible spokesperson for the ACLU, articulating the organization’s history, programs, and mission.
• Represent the organization in the media, increase public awareness, and broaden the organization’s reputation to strategic constituents.
• Communicate with a broad array of stakeholders, including within the organization, with empathy, sensitivity, and respect; show ability and desire to work effectively in crosscultural settings.

General Management: Finance and Administration, and Programs

• Ensure by effective management and leadership that the day-to-day operations are professionally and efficiently organized and administered.
• Provide direct supervision for 6 senior-level staff, including Director of Finance and Administration, Development Director, Field Director, Legal Director, Director of Strategic Communications, and Policy Director.
• Motivate and maintain a cohesive statewide staff of 14, ensuring that there is strong internal communication, participation, coordination, and accountability; attract, recruit, lead, and mentor a diverse staff; lead with empathy, sensitivity, and respect for staff.
• Create an open, inclusive culture that invites conversation and active listening, enables staff to bring their true selves to work, and ensures personal growth and development.
• Responsible for fundraising and developing other resources necessary to support ACLU’s mission.
• Ensure that the organization has strong financial operations, an approved budgetary process, and sound financial controls.
• Use technology to facilitate organizational management, fundraising, public education, and lobbying.

Board Relations

• Implement policies, programs, goals, and objectives as established by the Board.
• Engage the Board in meaningful participation to further the organization’s goals.
• 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.

Candidate Profile

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

• Knowledge and background in legal issues and policies surrounding civil rights and liberties.
• Ability to envision and convey the organization’s strategic future and growth to staff, board, volunteers, and donors.
• Proven successful leadership, managerial, team-building, and financial management experience at an executive level within the private, not-for-profit, or public sectors.
• A record of success working in partnership with a Board and staff with the ability to listen to Board members, staff, members, donors, coalition partners, and the public with respect and genuine openness to constructive input.
• Strong diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging analyses and commitments, as well as experience successfully leading and integrating diversity into organizational policies, practices, management, and culture.
• Strong written and oral communication skills and an effective public image. Experience listening to and communicating with diverse groups and demonstrated success in communicating effectively in writing and verbally, including excellent public speaking skills
for both formal and extemporaneous presentations to a variety of audiences.
• A successful track record of fundraising from a variety of sources. Major donor experience is preferred.
• Ability to prioritize the multiple pressing civil rights issues facing Kansas while focusing on the campaigns outlined in the strategic plan.
• Proven and successful track record in creating and implementing programs;
• Experience creating partnerships and collaborations with other organizations.
• Fluency in Spanish is a plus.
• Five years of professional experience and a Bachelor’s degree are minimum requirements; an advanced degree is preferred.

Personal Characteristics or Attributes

Ideally, the successful candidate will be the following:
• Personally committed and passionate about advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals, and programs in Kansas, with an understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications, as well as a commitment to racial equity.
• A dedicated leader and representative who can translate vision into action; someone who is passionate about networking and representing the organization to critical constituencies including ACLU members, funders, the public, government, and the media.
• A person who is intelligent and inspiring; able to conceptualize, express ideas, and anticipate and act on events which may create opportunities for the ACLU.
• An innovative leader who is creative, strategic, resourceful, and politically astute; someone who understands the value of creating partnerships with other organizations as a way of accomplishing the ACLU’s goals.
• An energetic person who can handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities; a self-starter who is eager to explore opportunities throughout Kansas – traveling often to meet with members, partners, and funders.
• A team player who inspires collaboration; flexible and well-organized.
• A straightforward leader; one who shares information easily; listens as well as gives advice; respects the abilities of others.


Compensation and Benefits

Compensation for this position is competitive with sector norms. Benefits include health, dental, disability, and life insurance, retirement plan, paid vacation, holidays, educational and sick leave.


Trisha Sutrisno and Amber Gomes of Koya Partners have been exclusively retained for this search.
To express your interest in this role please submit your materials here or email [email protected] and [email protected] directly. All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from all qualified individuals including women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

About Koya Partners

Koya Partners, a part of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world. For more information about Koya Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.