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ACLU Foundation of Colorado

Our mission is to protect the civil rights of all people in Colorado through litigation, education and advocacy. We are a nonprofit organization dedicated to fulfilling the promise of equal justice under the law for all Coloradans. Our scope of work is fundamentally defined by the Bill of Rights.

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Staff

Part Time Staff:
Full Time Staff:
25
Contract Staff:
1
Volunteers Annually:
50
Retention Rate:
100%

Jason Chavez, Major Gifts Officer
Start Date: 2019

Jason Chavez is the Major Gifts Officer for the ACLU of Colorado. Before joining the ACLU team, Jason worked as Director of Artist, Venue & Festival Relations for the Love Hope Strength Foundation managing critical relationships and coordinating bone marrow donor registration drives in an attempt to identify life-saving marrow donors for blood disorder patients in need of transplants. Prior to this role, he booked and promoted concerts at music venues along Colorado's Front Range as Talent Buyer for Soda Jerk Presents - Colorado's leading independent concert promoter. In 2010, Jason received a Bachelor of Science in Music with emphasis in business from the University of Colorado at Denver, where he moved in 2006 from the Pacific Northwest. Outside of work, you'll find him backpacking, snowboarding, rock climbing or playing bass with his band at a gig or rehearsal.

Ana Temu, Immigration Campaign Coordinator
Start Date: 2018

Ana Temu is a community activist, political strategist, and coffee maniac. She is a first-generation citizen with roots from Sinaloa, Mexico and Guastetoya, Guatemala. Ana was raised knowing the hardship immigrants face in this country, which is why she started becoming politically engaged through immigrant rights activism helping pass countless pro-immigrant bills in the state, founded a scholarship fund for undocumented students in Boulder County, and worked on immigration reform at the national level with United We Dream. Ana knows that one of the best ways to change policy is to have someone in office that will champion the issues of marginalized folks, so shifted her unapologetic activism to campaigning-running successful campaigns at all levels including gubernatorial and presidential. On her spare time, Ana helps to train others to run for office, support and advise people starting their campaigns. Ana and her family still live in fear of being separated by the harsh immigrant sentiments of today, so she passionately works to ensure immigrants have a community to thrive in through policy and coalition work.

Kassandra Rendón-Morale, Reproductive Rights Campaign Coordinator
Start Date: 2018

Kassandra Rendón-Morale is the Reproductive Rights Campaign Coordinator. She fights every day to make sure Coloradan's reproductive freedom is protected. Before joining ACLU of Colorado, she worked with COLOR, a reproductive justice Latina led, Latina serving grassroots organization. Her worked revolved around teaching comprehensive sexual education to ages 9-21, organized and managed year-round issue-based campaigns in the Westminster area and worked directly with Latina youth around leadership development and advocacy. She holds a bachelor's in Women's Studies and Spanish from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is passionate about mobilizing young people and disrupting the school to prison pipeline. She truly believes young queer womxn of color are the future and believes providing them with tools and access will aid to their success. When she's not working, Kassandra loves to cook, host and spend time with people that make her feel whole. She loves listening to music, reading about conspiracy theories and learning.

Dierdre Brooks, Communications Associate
Start Date: 2019

Deirdre began working in nonprofits in 2008 as an asset based community development trainee. They've worked in education, community development, policy and design over the years always focusing on social justice in the larger community. After working with a youth justice non-profit around policy education, Deirdre joined the ACLU as a communications associate. They've lived and worked in Denver for over 11 years.

Justine Gutierrez, Legal Assistant
Start Date: 2019

Justine Gutierrez joined the ACLU as the Legal Assistant in July of 2019. In her position, she assists the Legal Director and Staff Attorneys with various Legal Department projects. Originally from Washington State, Justine earned her Paralegal Certificate there in 2011 and moved to Colorado Springs shortly thereafter. She has experience in personal injury, medical and legal malpractice, and Social Security Disability. In her free time, Justine enjoys the outdoors, rooting for the Seahawks, and spending time with her partner and their dog, Shandy.

Deanna Hirsch, Media Strategist
Start Date: 2019

Deanna Hirsch is the Media Strategist at the ACLU of Colorado. Deanna graduated from with a Master of Science degree from Columbia Journalism School and was awarded honors in reporting, media law and the master's project. She received her Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Metropolitan State University of Denver where she graduated Cum Laude and was the recipient of The Denver Foundation Colorado Press Association Scholarship. Prior to joining the organization, Deanna was the editor-in-chief of Metrosphere magazine and co-host and producer of Daytime Duo. She has reported and published articles for Evergreen Newspapers; Canyon Courier, Columbine Courier and High Timber Times, Recovering Yogi, and The Uptowner. Deanna also wrote and helped publish, Not Who I Pictured, a collection of non-fiction short stories that became a number one new release on Amazon. A New York native, she now lives in Denver with her husband, daughter and Yorkie.

Helen Griffiths, Public Policy Associate
Start Date: 2019

Helen had a peripatetic childhood, attending seven schools in six countries on four continents. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Colorado College where she received the Fred Sondermann Award for excellence in political science as well as four grants to fund independent research on immigration and political ideology in France and the US. Her work experience spans academics, international affairs and American politics. At the American Embassy in Mozambique, Helen interned in Public Affairs and in Public Health Communications, as well as for Congresswoman DeGette and Senator Bennet in Denver. Helen was a research assistant at the Marshall Center for European Security Studies in Germany and the Political Science department at Colorado College, where she was also a staff writer for The Catalyst newspaper. Helen founded the Democratic Dialogue Project, which fosters open dialogue between the Air Force Academy and Colorado College. In her free time, she loves to read, write fiction, travel, and explore beautiful Colorado.

Rachel Pryor-Lease, Director of Philanthropy
Start Date: 2012

Rachel Pryor-Lease is the Director of Philanthropy for the ACLU of Colorado. She is responsible for directing all fundraising efforts, including our annual Bill of Rights Dinner. Prior to joining the Colorado office, she has worked for the ACLU of Washington, the LGBT Community Center of New York, and Yale University. She also had a second career as a pastry chef. Rachel grew up in Colorado but has lived on both the West and East coasts. She and her wife, Leah, live in Denver with their twins and their dog.

Julian Camera, Administrative Assistant
Start Date: 2018

Julian Camera joined the ACLU as an Administrative Assistant in March 2018. In that position, he assists the Deputy Director, Legal Assistant, the Directors of Philanthropy, as well as other various departments. Julian received a degree in Communications and Anthropology at the University of Colorado Denver and was a part of the Denver Foundations Non-profit Internship program. Being a Denver native and a strong advocate of civil rights, Julian is proud to be a part of the ACLU of Colorado.

Elizabeth Hinkley, Reproductive Rights Policy Counsel
Start Date: 2017

Lizzy joins the ACLU of Colorado from her native Massachusetts, where she practiced as a legal services attorney for four years, representing indigent clients in state and federal court with a variety of civil legal issues, including housing, foreclosure, consumer protection, and immigration. A 2012 graduate of University of Virginia School of Law, Lizzy clerked for Hon. Frederick H. Weisberg of the D.C. Superior Court. In law school, Lizzy was selected to be a Dillard Fellow, serving as a teaching assistant for the Legal Research and Writing program. A two-time Public Interest Law Association grant recipient, Lizzy volunteered at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Justice, and did clinical work at the Legal Aid Justice Center in Charlottesville, VA. She graduated summa cum laude from the George Washington University with a B.A. in International Affairs, and worked as a paralegal at the Department of Justice for two years prior to law school. Lizzy holds a certificate in investigative research, is conversationally fluent in Spanish, and is an enthusiastic follower of local and national politics. Lizzy is thrilled to join her partner and bulldog in the Denver area, and is looking forward to taking advantage of the many outdoor opportunities sunny Colorado has to offer.

Jennifer Samano, Campaign Coordinator
Start Date: 2017

Jennifer Samano is a community organizer and civil rights advocate living in Denver, CO. Prior to working with the ACLU, Jennifer worked as a campaign organizer for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains to develop an accountability campaign, which worked in coalition with community partners to mobilize Coloradans in defense of the Affordable Care Act. She also organized for the 2016 election cycle in the Sixth Congressional District. Jennifer previously worked as an intern with SEIU Local 105, where she helped in the fight for fair wages. She lived at the intersection of many justice issues in her many years of service industry work. Before moving to Colorado in 2009, Jennifer lived in Chicago, the birthplace of community organizing. She is relentlessly dedicated to Coloradans' voting rights, women's access to healthcare, and independent journalism.

Patricia DeLuna-Zickefoose, Accountant
Start Date: 2006

Patricia is the staff accountant for the ACLU since 2006. She has had her own accounting practice since 1984 and other non-profit clients include the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, The Denver Justice Council, the Cherry Creek Arts Festival, and Wedontwaste, as well as for-profit corporations, partnerships and individuals. A California Bay Area native, she has resided in Colorado since 1983.

Arash Jahanian, Staff Attorney
Start Date: 2017

Arash Jahanian joined the ACLU of Colorado as a staff attorney in May 2017. He previously worked at the civil rights firm Rathod | Mohamedbhai LLC, where he represented victims of police brutality, prison abuse, and employment discrimination. Arash was one of the attorneys in the Wyoming marriage equality cases and is currently president of the Colorado LGBT Bar Association and Vice Chair of the Denver LGBTQ Commission. He was recognized as the Colorado Bar Association's Outstanding Young Lawyer in 2015, and was part of three different teams winning the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association's Case of the Year Award. A graduate of Georgetown Law, Arash has also worked as an associate in Crowell & Moring LLP's Washington, DC office, a judicial clerk for the Honorable Wiley Y. Daniel of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado, and a middle school teacher in Chicago through Teach For America.

Jessica Howard, Community Education Manager
Start Date: 2012

Jessica Howard is the Community Education Manager for the ACLU of Colorado. Prior to her new role, she worked as the affiliate's paralegal for six years. In her role as Education Manager, she oversees the development and implementation of public education programs, including "Know Your Rights" training workshops. In addition to her work at the ACLU, she is a passionate disability rights advocate, having served on the Colorado Developmental Disabilities Council, Denver Public School's Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC), and Disability Law Colorado's Protection and Advocacy System for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI). Jessica holds a bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado and a Paralegal Certificate from the Community College of Aurora. Her other interests include photography, hiking, and trying new foods.

Delana Maynes, Field Director
Start Date: 2016

Delana Maynes is the Field Director for the ACLU of Colorado working to implement strategies to build wider public support for civil rights in Colorado. Before joining the ACLU, Delana was the co-founder of a community group that led the fight to stop a voucher program in Douglas County schools. She has worked on numerous campaigns for candidates and ballot issues. Delana holds a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Colorado, Denver. She lives in Highlands Ranch with her husband, two wonderful children and a crazy dog.

Vanessa Michel, Director of Communications
Start Date: 2017

Vanessa Michel first joined the ACLU of Colorado as a volunteer, then in April 2017 began as the New Media Strategist, and in November 2018 become the Director of Communications. She previously worked for Artforum International Magazine and Bookforum Magazine. Vanessa graduated from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Fine Art and also received a fellowship to attend the Yale University Summer School of Art and Music. She has exhibited her artwork in Santa Fe, San Diego, and New York and had her work featured on the cover of Pasatiempo magazine. She currently lives in Denver with her husband Pablo, and their two dogs Deedee and Osito Santo.

Sara Neel, Staff Attorney
Start Date: 2011

In October 2011, Sara Neel was hired as staff attorney at the ACLU of Colorado, for the first time in our history bringing our cadre of legal eagles to three. Sara was an Associate Attorney at KILLMER, LANE & NEWMAN, LLP, where she represented clients in civil rights cases involving constitutional law, federal civil rights statues and Colorado State law. A graduate of Indiana University at Indianapolis where she received her Juris Doctorate, Neel is well-known for her defense of detainees at Guantanomo Bay, Cuba. That work earned her the Southern Center for Human Rights Frederick Douglass Human Rights Award. She was also a co-recipient of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association Access to Justice Award. A former President of the Colorado Plantiff Employment Lawyers Association and a former Vice-Chair of the Civil Rights Committee of the Colorado Bar Association, Neel also was once restaurant general manager at a Keystone, Colorado ski resort.

Caryn Osterman, Director of Operations
Start Date: 2007

Caryn joined the ACLU of Colorado Development team in January of 2007. As Director of Operations, she oversees the Legal Intake Department, coordinates the Education, Volunteer, IT and Human Resources programs and manages overall office operations. Caryn received her Bachelor's degree in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts and an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Colorado, Denver. A New York native, Caryn enjoys working on a variety of projects that support the ACLU's mission and is honored to have the opportunity to work with the many wonderful and committed individuals who volunteer and support the organization. Caryn is a Child Care Health Consultant and the owner of CO2 Designs.

Rebecca Wallace, Staff Attorney
Start Date: 2010

Rebecca T. Wallace was hired as staff attorney at the ACLU of Colorado in August 2010. Rebecca had previously served on the organization's Board of Directors and was a member of the Legal Panel. Prior to accepting her position at the ACLU, Rebecca was an attorney at the civil rights law firm of KILLMER, LANE & NEWMAN, LLP, where she devoted her practice to vindicating the rights of the underdog. Rebecca's work at the firm was twice recognized by the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association, most recently as co-recipient of the Case of the Year Award for Hall v. Zavaras, holding a prison guard and the Colorado Department of Corrections responsible for the sexual assault of a female prisoner. In September 2010, LAW WEEK recognized Rebecca as one of Colorado's Up and Coming Lawyers.

Becca Curry, Criminal Justice Research and Policy Counsel
Start Date: 2015

Becca Curry began at the ACLU of Colorado in November 2015. She previously served as the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the ACLU of Mississippi, focusing on police bodycams, LGBT student rights and Medicaid expansion. Becca graduated from Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. A recipient of Loyola's Gillis Long Public Service Award, she volunteered with the ACLU of Louisiana, the Jefferson Parish Public Defender's Office, and Loyola's Stuart H. Smith Law Clinic. She also served as an overseas intern with International Bridges to Justice in Cambodia, focusing on the systemic issues of mass incarceration and torture of criminal detainees in rural prisons. Originally from Houston, TX, Becca received an undergraduate degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado. She enjoys teaching yoga and spending time with her dog Cleo.

Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, CEO/Executive Director
Start Date: 2012

Nathan Woodliff-Stanley was the founder and executive director of the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits, the first statewide association and management support center for nonprofit organizations in that state. For 10 years he represented the nonprofit sector; built a strong network of more than 300 nonprofit organizations; taught seminars on strategic planning, management, fund raising and advocacy; and published a monthly column on nonprofit management for the Mississippi Business Journal.

An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, Woodliff-Stanley has led Golden and Summit County congregations in immigration, gay rights and anti-poverty advocacy and service projects. He was responsible for budgeting, stewardship and strategic planning, strengthening and integrating these social responsibility programs into church life.

Mark Silverstein, Legal Director
Start Date:

Mark Silverstein is the Legal Director. He is a 1989 graduate of the Illinois College of Law. He served for a year as law clerk to Judge James Moran of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and another year as law clerk for Judge Harry Pregerson of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In 1991, he began working as a staff attorney for the ACLU of Southern California in Los Angeles. Since 1996, he has worked as Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado, where he oversees the ACLU's litigation in a wide variety of cases raising issues of civil liberties and constitutional rights.

Stephen Meswarb, Deputy Director
Start Date:

Stephen Meswarb is the Deputy Director. A Colorado native, he returned home to work for the ACLU of Colorado in June 2010, bringing with him nearly 20 years of non-profit fundraising experience, including more than eight years working for the national ACLU. He spent three years managing the ACLU's $335 million Leading Freedom Forward campaign, the largest campaign on behalf of civil rights and civil liberties in the country's history. He is now responsible for managing all aspects of operations, finance and administration.

Denise Maes, Public Policy Director
Start Date:

Denise Maes is the Public Policy Director. Former White House Office of Administration General Counsel, she returned in November 2011 to Denver, her adopted home, to work for the ACLU of Colorado. Pronounced one of the Top Seven Women Lawyers by LAW WEEK Colorado in 2009, Denise left the firm of Berenbaum Weinshienk & Eason, where she was partner, to serve as General Counsel for the White House Office of Administration in the Executive Office of President Barack Obama. Later, she directed Budget and Finance operations for the Office of Vice President Joe Biden. A co-founder and former Director of the Colorado Latina Initiative, Denise served as Chair of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Chair of Mi Casa Resource Center for Women, Director of the Downtown Denver Partnership, and as Director of the Colorado Women's Bar and Hispanic Bar associations. Celebrated in the legal, business, social justice and Latina/o communities, she was lauded in 2010 as "Barrister of the Year" by The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Colorado (The Center). Reach her at dmaes@aclu-co.org.

John Krieger, Director of Campaigns
Start Date: 2019

John Krieger is the Director of Campaigns for the ACLU of Colorado. Previously, he was a staff attorney, lobbyist, and Communications Director for the United States Public Interest Research Group in Washington D.C., where he led successful media and grassroots organizing campaigns on issues ranging from public health and product safety to eliminating waste and fraud in federal contracting. He has secured quotes and placed media in several national and local outlets, including the New York Times, Associated Press, Denver Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He directed a national field campaign to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which The Hill recognized as one of the top 10 lobbying victories of 2010. He earned his law degree from the University of Richmond and a Master's of Law specialized in International Protection of Human Rights from American University. He serves on the Alumni Board of Directors for Flagler College, where he earned an undergraduate degree in journalism and public relations, and he was awarded the Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2010.

Boards

Board Type:
Local
Meetings per Year:
7
Term Length:
3
Term Limit:
2
Total # of Board Members:
17
Clients on Board:
No
# of Client Board Members:

Board Demographics:

Female:
11
Male:
6
Transgender Female:
0
Transgender Male:
0
Gender Other:
0

Black or African American:
4
Asian:
0
White:
11
Hispanic or Latino:
2
Multiracial:
0
American Indian or Alaska Native:
0
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander:
0
Other Ethnicities:
1

Average Number of Years Current Board Members Have Served on Board

5

Attendance Percentage for Board Meetings

93%

Percentage of Board Members that Contribute Dollars

100%

Percentage of Board Members that Contribute In-Kind

100%

Percentage of Board Members that have Completeted the Colorado Secretary of State's Nonprofit Board Member Course:

0%

Nonprofit completed the Colorado Nonprofit Association's Excellence in Principles & Practices Recognition Program?

No

Committees

Audit
Board Development / Board Orientation
Executive
Finance
Governance
Legal / Litigation
Nominating
Special Events

Key aspects of this profile information have been reviewed by Community First Foundation staff. Each organization is exclusively responsible for the content that appears on the profile page. Community First Foundation offers general guidance as to the purpose of each area but does not require or encourage charities to include anything in particular in each section.