The Aspen Leadership Group is proud to partner with ACLU of Colorado in the search for a Director of Philanthropy.

The Director of Philanthropy will lead initiatives that increase ACLU of Colorado’s revenue stream in support of the significant expansion of its influence and impact over the next five to ten years. Building on existing donor relationships and a robust major donor prospect pool and partnering with the National ACLU office on key leadership gift strategies, the Director of Philanthropy will have a significant opportunity to increase investments in ACLU of Colorado and to play a major role in an organization that continues to make a real difference in people’s lives every day.

The Director of Philanthropy will provide visionary, strategic leadership that builds and strengthens lifelong relationships between donors and the organization, toward a goal of generating transformational gifts to support ACLU of Colorado’s current and future strategic goals. The Director of Philanthropy will develop and oversee the program to raise funds for the affiliate, including identifying prospects that have both capacity and demonstrated interest in investing in ACLU to generate longstanding, tangible victories. Working closely with the Executive Director, Senior Leadership Team, National ACLU, staff, and Board of Directors, the Director of Philanthropy will plan, oversee, and execute the organization’s fundraising program, with particular emphasis on the leadership and major gifts program, focusing on donors with the capacity to give $10,000 and above annually.

ACLU of Colorado is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization guided by a mission to protect, defend, and extend the civil rights and civil liberties of all people in Colorado. As the oldest and largest civil rights organization in Colorado, its work is guided by the Bill of Rights, ensuring the freedoms contained within are available for members of marginalized communities, including people of color, LGBTQ+ people, women, immigrants, people experiencing poverty, unhoused people, incarcerated people, and students. ACLU of Colorado relies exclusively on generous donations from supporters to continue this important work. The organization began with a staff of two, an Executive Director and a part-time clerical assistant, and has become a team with more than two dozen staff, a $5.5 million budget, and many loyal volunteers. ACLU of Colorado believes—and works to ground all fundraising efforts—in racial equity and social justice.

ACLU of Colorado focuses on achieving transformational and systemic change that protects and expands civil rights and civil liberties by addressing the root causes of injustice. To accomplish this goal, ACLU of Colorado is continuing its organization-wide transition to integrated advocacy. This approach has three major prongs: (1) winning multi-year, issue-based integrated advocacy campaigns focused in core issue areas and that are powered by ACLU of Colorado's members and volunteers; (2) joining and building powerful coalitions and networks; and (3) educating and empowering the next generation of civil rights and civil liberties champions.
The organization’s multi-disciplinary teams working as a unit on these core issue area campaigns include policy experts, campaigners, organizers, data analysts, litigators, communications experts, and development professionals. These integrated teams combine policy advocacy, organizing, public education, litigation, electoral engagement, communications strategies, and donor engagement as part of a cohesive plan to achieve audacious goals in partnership with local communities whose civil rights and liberties are under threat or that have never been fully realized.

Since its incorporation as an affiliate of the National ACLU in 1952, ACLU of Colorado has achieved many successes. These include: achieving massive prison and jail condition reforms by winning Ramos v. Lamm, which led to the restructuring of the Colorado prison system; winning, as part of a large coalition, Romer v. Evans at the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned Amendment 2, an unprecedented attack on LGBT Coloradans; securing a successful settlement in American Friends Service Committee v. Denver, the “Spy-Files” litigation, which exposed the unlawful surveillance and maintenance of files on people engaged in peaceful political activity by the Denver Police Department and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force; conducting a proactive approach to holding Denver and the U.S. Secret Service accountable for the protection of the public’s right to free speech, dissent, and assembly at the 2008 Democratic National Convention; ending the use of immigration detainers by all Colorado sheriffs in 2014; exposing and ending various debtors’ prison practices in Colorado city and county courts that imprison individuals only because they do not have the economic means to pay court fees and fines; repealing Colorado’s death penalty in 2020; and winning the first jury trial in the nation against the Denver Police Department for illegal use of force during the George Floyd protests in 2020.


The Director of Philanthropy will report to the Executive Director, Deborah Richardson and serve on the Senior Leadership Team. The Director of Philanthropy will supervise the Donor Relations Officer and Development Coordinator, as well as occasional volunteers and interns.


Thank you for your interest in joining the Senior Leadership Team of ACLU of Colorado. We are the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the state, and this year celebrate 70 years of protecting and defending civil liberties and civil rights for all Coloradans.

In 2022, we are also completing our three-year strategic direction. Your role as Director of Philanthropy is essential in identifying and sustaining resources to advance our short and long-term goals.

As you know, philanthropy for social services cultivates resources and relationships to respond to immediate needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. However, social justice philanthropy, according to the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), cultivates funding for the explicit goal of long-term systemic change specifically targeted to benefit underserved communities. Our North Star is to shine a light on and address historical injustices with sustainable, equitable change within existing institutional and political structures in our state, and by extension the country.

As our work and successes are inextricably entwined, I want to share more about myself. In March 2021, I accepted the position of Executive Director. In January, my husband and I packed up and moved 1k miles from Atlanta to Denver. I see this role as a culmination of my life’s work of demonstrated commitment and record for advancing social change, towards the ultimate goal of social justice. My leadership way of being was shaped by my upbringing in Atlanta during legal segregation. Atlanta was more than a southern city.
It had the unique role as the think tank of the American Civil Rights Movement. Many of the movement’s leaders either attended one of the five HBCUs in Atlanta or were drawn there by the national civil rights organizations’ headquarters. I had the good fortune to live in a community where many of these icons were neighbors.

However, my influencers were everyday people, primarily women, who were bridge leaders of the movement. Before and after the big speeches by the positional leaders that drew headlines, there were everyday folk on the ground, building relationships, organizing, and planning the execution of the strategies. I recently penned an op-ed in the Denver Post, reflecting on the organizing behind the 1963 March on Washington.

My own life experiences, and the wisdom of Ella Baker, informs my approach to leadership. Ms. Baker was clear that the people who are the most impacted are the ones who are the experts on the solutions. Therefore, three months into my tenure, an ACLU of Colorado team and I planned and executed a series of statewide listening tours—Expanding the Table for Justice: The Table is Not Complete Until Everyone has a Seat. Over the course of the year, we held 37 conversations across the state with more than 300 participants from civic, community, advocacy, and youth groups and non-affiliated individuals. In every conversation, we asked, “What are the issues that are important to you and how may the ACLU of Colorado partner with you to address them?” Their input informed our strategic planning, and in a few weeks, we will release a report on our findings.

As we plan our way forward, the Director of Philanthropy joins us at a pivotal moment. We have identified three target areas for our strategic direction: housing security, immigrants’ rights, and criminal justice reform. Our approach and tactics will be through a systemic equality lens, centering on intersectional solutions for BIPOC, immigrants, LGBTQ+, and marginalized Coloradans.
The Greek meaning of philanthropy is the love of humanity and Rev. Dr. King, Jr. gave us a vision for a beloved community, where economic and social justice are centered. In the beloved community, poverty, hunger, and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.

In closing, ACLU’s National President, Deborah Archer, reminds us that, “The work of the ACLU is about closing the gap between the America that was promised and the America that is.” The Director of Philanthropy will join our leadership team with both the responsibility and privilege of cultivating donor partners in order to advance our mission during this critical moment in the history of our democracy. You will be the linchpin, as we embrace opportunities to move Colorado forward toward the beloved community.
—Deborah Richardson, Executive Director


ACLU of Colorado is an equitable opportunity employer. It believes that having a board, staff, and volunteer base with diverse personal and professional backgrounds enhances its ability to meet its mission and creates an environment where all community members can thrive. It strongly encourages applications from all qualified persons, including people of color, immigrants, women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, those who have been formerly incarcerated, and other members of underrepresented and marginalized groups.
ACLU of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or record  of  arrest  or   conviction.   It   is   committed   to   providing   a   work environment that   practices equitable and inclusive treatment and is quick to act to prevent and address harassment or discrimination of any kind.


The Director of Philanthropy will

  • develop and execute a comprehensive donor-centered fundraising program that includes specific fundraising goals and targets, with a focus on the acquisition of leadership gifts ($10,000+ annually) from high-level prospects and donors;
  • research and identify prospects for cultivation and solicitation;
  • identify and create strategies to expand, recruit, retain, and quantifiably grow the base of donors at all levels who self-identify as Black, Indigenous or Persons of Color;
  • participate actively in decisions made to further the strategic goals set forth by the organization,
  • specifically considering development’s role in integrated advocacy;
  • secure meetings with major gift prospects capable of making five-, six-figure or greater gifts to the organization;
  • manage a significant portfolio of major gift donors including cultivation and direct solicitation;
  • support the development efforts of other key primary relationship managers assigned to donors, including the Executive Director, other members of the Senior Leadership Team, staff and Board members, including conducting prospect research and preparing briefing materials in advance of donor meetings;
  • with the Donor Relations Officer and Development Coordinator, engage in year-round strategic stewardship of donors and major gifts prospects;
  • develop and implement a comprehensive, strategic, goal-based development plan;
  • make effective use of national ACLU development staff, research tools, and other resources;
  • work with the Deputy Director to develop and implement a comprehensive annual grant management program;
  • manage a comprehensive planned giving program, in coordination with national ACLU staff;
  • develop and manage formal programs to strengthen relationships with the ACLU’s contributors;
  • work closely with the Communications Department and others in the development of messages, materials, and explanations of ACLU of Colorado's work used in strategic donor communications;
  • with the Development Coordinator, organize and oversee fundraising events, including an annual fundraising dinner that draws approximately 300 supporters, including the solicitation of law firm and corporate sponsors;
  • with the Development Coordinator, manage effective systems of data entry and donor records, donor recognition, and fundraising reports;
  • prepare regular fundraising and department activity reports for the ACLU of Colorado Board and Senior Leadership Team, and attend Board meetings at the Executive Director’s request;
  • contribute leadership and promote teamwork, meeting regularly with senior and full staff; and
  • maintain familiarity with ACLU’s programs and positions and represent ACLU of Colorado in public gatherings as needed.


Deborah Richardson
Executive Director

For more than 30 years, Deborah Richardson has led nonprofit organizations in advancing transformational social change. She is currently Executive Director of ACLU of Colorado, the state’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. She is the first African American to lead the 70-year-old affiliate. She has served as Executive Vice President of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (Atlanta) and Founding Director of its International Human Trafficking Institute; Chief Program Officer, Women’s Funding Network (San Francisco); Chief Executive Officer, Atlanta Women’s Foundation; Founding Executive Director, Fulton County Juvenile Justice Fund (now YouthSpark); Director of Program Development and Evaluation, Fulton County Juvenile Court; Managing Director, National Black Arts Festival; and Branch Director, Phyllis Wheatley YWCA.

As a trailblazer, Richardson founded the International Human Trafficking Institute of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights; created, Angela’s House, the first safe house, east of the Mississippi, for sexually exploited girls; and opened the first night shelter and transition home for unhoused women and children in Atlanta.

Richardson is a nationally recognized expert in identifying and dismantling gender and racial injustices. She testified before Congress, advised advocates and elected officials in creating, enacting, and implementing local, state, and federal public policy reform. She was the convenor of numerous multi-sector coalitions of grass-top, and grassroots groups demonstrating her belief that in order to advance social change, those most impacted, must have a seat at the table. During her first year as ACLU of Colorado’s Executive Director, she launched a series of statewide listening tours called Expanding the Table for Justice to hear firsthand what issues are of concern to Coloradans, and how ACLU of Colorado may address them. The data collected informs the affiliate’s three-year strategic plan.

Richardson served on the founding team of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (The Center) in Atlanta. Opened in 2014, The Center is the only public institution that displays the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Papers, and interactive exhibits showcase the stories of everyday people engaged in the American Civil Rights Movement and create a footprint that continues to inform modern-day movements for global human rights. Richardson led The Center’s $100 million capital campaign and created its community outreach, issue-based programming, and Power to Inspire, The Center’s signature annual recognition of local, national, and global change agents. Previous awardees include Estela Barnes de Carlotto, Sherrilyn Iffel, Johnathan Greenblatt, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Vernon Jordan, Kerry Kennedy, Hon. Andrew Young, Alina Diaz, Mari Copeny, and Dr. Denis Mukwege. In 2021, Richardson was the 2021 Power to Inspire recipient.

Under The Center, Richardson founded the International Human Trafficking Institute (IHTI) in 2014. Her commitment to ending sexual and labor exploitation of children and youth began in 2000 during her tenure as Director of Program Development of Fulton County Juvenile Court. She was among the first advocates to identify this as both a global and local illegal activity and spearheaded the coalition which fought for the passage of the state of Georgia’s first legislation making pimping and pandering a child a felony. During her tenure at the Women’s Funding Network, in 2010 she testified before House Judiciary Committee against Craigslist Adult Services site, which was generating more than $30 million dollars per month advertising and facilitating online transactions selling minors for illegal sexual services. Her testimony, among others led to the shut-down of the site.
In preparation for the 2019 Super Bowl hosted in Atlanta, IHTI launched the Human Traffick Proof the ATL campaign. Richardson convened more than two hundred multi-sector stakeholders representing private, public, faith, and community-based partners to commit to a three-year strategy to address strategies to address the socio-economic conditions of vulnerable children and interrupt market demand for those buying and selling children for exploitation. In partnership with the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee, she coordinated efforts to train 50,000 volunteers to learn something, see something, do something to end child and labor exploitation. She also lobbied local elected officials and police departments in metro Atlanta jurisdictions to implement sting and deterrent arrests for buyers of sex with young children leading up to and during the sporting event.

At the Women’s Funding Network, Richardson coordinated programmatic and funding investments, advocacy campaigns, and technical assistance to over 110 women’s funds on six continents. She oversaw over $20 million dollars in strategies advancing women’s economic security, ending violence against women, supporting women leadership, and developing emerging philanthropists. She chaired the planning and implementation of Salzburg Global Seminar, Session 465, Smart Change: Investing in Women and Girls—Leveraging Philanthropy for Global led the Women’s Funding Network’s delegation to the International Colloquium on Women’s Empowerment, Leadership Development, International Peace, and Security in Monrovia Liberia, co-convened by Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Liberia) and Tarja Halonen (Finland).

Richardson is a noted public speaker and scholar-activist. She delivered the commencement address for St. Mary’s College of California School of Graduate and Professional Studies and the University of Georgia School of Social Work; Keynote during the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) in Cape Town, South Africa; Lecturer in Education for Sustainability and Human Rights for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) at Kennesaw State University; and the Alonzo F. and Norris B. Herndon Human Rights Expert in Residence at Georgia State University Honors College. Richardson co-authored Ending Sex Trafficking of Children in Atlanta.

Recognitions for her work and commitment to social change include a number of awards: Power to Inspire, National Center for Civil and Human Rights; Liberty Bell, Atlanta Bar Association; Grassroots Justice, Georgia Justice Project; Community Service, Spelman College Board of Trustees; Unsung Hero, Atlanta Regional Commission; Beloved Community, Spelman College Social Justice Institute; Trailblazer, The Links Incorporated; Deborah Richardson Day Proclamation, Atlanta City Council; Pathbreaker, Shared Hope USA; Voice For Children, Georgia Voice for Children; and Lives of Commitment, Auburn Theological Seminary.

Richardson is a doctoral candidate at Union Institute & University in Public Policy and Social Change, with specializations in Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and Women and Gender studies. Richardson holds an M.A. in Leadership (Organizational Development) from St. Mary’s College of California, a B.S. in Political Science with a minor in Women Studies from Georgia State University, and Certificate in Performance Measurement in the Nonprofit Sector from Harvard University, John Kennedy School of Government.


ACLU of Colorado seeks a Director of Philanthropy with

  • a commitment to the mission of ACLU of Colorado—to protect, defend, and extend the civil rights and civil liberties of all people in Colorado through litigation, education, and advocacy;
  • experience in the solicitation, closing, and stewardship of gifts with significant institutional impact from a diverse pool of donors;
  • experience developing long-term cultivation and solicitation strategies for high-level prospects and donors;
  • a broad understanding of multi-faceted campaign planning, implementation, and management;
  • a commitment to diversity and a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance including an ability to work with diverse individuals within the organization and broader community;
  • superb leadership, interpersonal, oral, and written communication and presentation skills;
  • an ability to communicate effectively, comfortably, and respectfully with donors, staff, and lay leaders, as demonstrated by the ability to synthesize and present complex themes and activities in a digestible and compelling way, whether in conversation or in print;
  • an ability to work well with people and as a part of a team in a collaborative environment;
  • experience and comfort with donor database management and systems to track donor history, interests, and activity;
  • knowledge of budgeting and financial management principles;
  • an ability to adapt quickly to changing organizational priorities and deadlines, flexibility, and a willingness to take on new tasks as the responsibilities of the position evolve; and
  • a confident and professional work style and the ability to work independently, exercise good judgment, and handle stressful situations with grace and maturity.

At least seven years of experience managing a complex, nonprofit development program including significant experience in major donor fundraising, planned giving, event management, and grant writing is required for this position. A bachelor’s degree or an equivalent combination of education and experience is preferred.


The salary range for this position is $110,000 to $150,000 annually. ACLU of Colorado offers comprehensive benefits including medical and dental insurance, life and long-term disability insurance, 401k contribution, paid vacation, and holidays.


The Director of Philanthropy may work from any location within the State of Colorado with regular access to Denver.


All applications must be accompanied by a cover letter and résumé. Cover letters should be responsive to the mission of ACLU of Colorado as well as the responsibilities and qualifications presented in the prospectus. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the successful candidate has been selected.

To apply for this position, visit:
Director of Philanthropy, ACLU of Colorado.

To nominate a candidate, please contact Steven Wallace,

All inquiries will be held in confidence