Current executive director to leave post in the spring

DENVER The ACLU of Colorado is announcing the departure of its current executive director, Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, in March 2020.

The ACLU of Colorado’s Board of Directors will immediately launch a national search for a new executive director. The board will appoint an interim director following Woodliff-Stanley’s departure until his successor is selected. 

“We deeply appreciate Nathan’s dedicated and impactful service to the ACLU of Colorado and to the people of our state,” said Cathy Sparkman, board chair. “Under his leadership, the organization has grown in every measurable way, and the legacy he leaves is a strong institution ready to take the next step into a future in which its fight for the civil rights and dignity of each person will be more important than ever.” 

Woodliff-Stanley has headed the organization for more than seven years. During his tenure the staff has doubled to 25 employees, the organizational budget has tripled to roughly $3.9 million and the membership has quadrupled to more than 30,000. 

With federal issues like immigration, reproductive rights, and criminal justice reform looming large, the ACLU both nationally and in its state-level affiliates has expanded beyond its traditional work pursuing civil liberties through the courts and through public policy to grassroots activism and organizing. 

“With the new and uncertain environment at the federal level, the work of the ACLU has never been more needed or more critical. As the ACLU of Colorado has grown in response, it has become a different organization than the one I joined nearly eight years ago. While I continue an absolute commitment to the mission, I find myself ready for a different focus in my work, preferably closer to my roots in ministry and reconciliation, global issues and empowerment of nonprofit organizations,” Woodliff-Stanley said. “It is also my strong hope that the board of directors will use my departure to find outstanding new leadership more directly connected to the impacted communities we serve to lead this organization into its future.”

Woodliff-Stanley became executive director of the ACLU of Colorado in October 2012. He is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister who worked for eight years in social justice ministry at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden. Before moving to Colorado in 2002, he served for a decade as the founder of a statewide association in Mississippi providing management support for charitable organizations.

The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. A private institution funded exclusively by supporters’ donations, its mission is to protect, defend and extend the civil rights and civil liberties of all people in Colorado through litigation, education and advocacy.


The ACLU of Colorado is the state’s oldest civil rights organization, protecting and defending the civil rights of all Coloradans through litigation, education and advocacy.