Executive Director

The Opportunity

ACLU California Action seeks applicants for a full-time Executive Director. ACLU California Action as part of a power building strategy, advocates for the defense and advancement of civil liberties and civil rights in the State Capitol in collaboration with ACLU’s three California Affiliates: ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of Southern California, and ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. We work to secure greater equality, equity, justice, and freedom for all Californians, working in coalition with communities that have been impacted by the denial of justice. Our policy priorities are aimed at dismantling systems rooted in oppression and discrimination through an integrated advocacy approach that employs rigorous policy analysis, lobbying, communications, coalition-building, and member development. ACLU California Action is a 501(c)(4)* organization governed and funded by ACLU’s three California affiliates for the purpose of statewide advocacy.

Position Overview

The primary duties of the Executive Director are: 1) Manage and lead ACLU Cal Action and staff; 2) Work collaboratively with the three ACLU affiliates, supporting statewide strategic alignment and impact; 3) Enhance the ACLU’s impact on state policy by power building and providing strategic guidance and leadership on key policy priorities of ACLU in California; and 4) Maintain a deep sense of the electoral and political landscape and work in partnership with the affiliate staff to better position the ACLU in California to influence policy makers, state/local agencies, members and voters. In addition to leading ACLU Cal Action, the Executive Director serves as a senior member of key statewide strategy and executive teams, which provide overall guidance to the statewide collaboration of the three ACLU California affiliates. ACLU Cal Action has an operating budget of $4 million and a staff of 15.


Sacramento Based or Remote but must reside in California and be willing to travel regularly to Sacramento and other ACLU affiliate offices, as needed.


Full-time, Exempt


Unrepresented- not a bargaining unit position

Primary Responsibilities

The key duties for fulfilling this job’s purpose include:

Management: The Executive Director is the primary person responsible for the effective leadership and management of ACLU Cal Action, including:

  • Develop a strong team: hire and/or supervise hiring of staff; ensure team is cohesive on its own and well-integrated with the ACLU affiliates statewide;
  • Directly supervise the Directors of the organization.

Planning and Collaboration: Ensure thoughtful planning at every stage including:

  • Provide oversight of the annual legislative and state-level policy planning process working with the Director of Statewide Collaboration to: o Identify major annual and long-term goals and resource needs.

Policy Impact and Legislative Agenda: Enhance the ACLU’s impact on state policy by providing strategic guidance, leadership and power building on key policy priorities of ACLU in California, including:

  • Guiding the Director of Government Affairs in the development and execution of:
    • An ambitious and comprehensive state legislative and policy agenda for the ACLU each year and over the long-term, in consultation with the ACLU Cal Action staff and the staff of the three ACLU affiliates;
    • Provide oversight of budgets for major campaigns and work with key constituencies to develop robust campaign plans.

Cultivating Influence and Ensuring Accountability: Maintain a deep sense of the electoral and political landscape and work to better position the ACLU in California to influence policy makers, state agencies and voters including:

  • Working with the Director of Communications to provide oversight of a statewide policy and legislative communications strategy leveraging traditional and new media.


  1. At least ten years substantial experience in political, legislative, organizing, community programs, advocacy or law-related work;
  2. Demonstrated management experience, including supervising full-time staff, showing the ability to inspire and motivate teams to work with a clear direction and purpose;
  3. Ability to work effectively and collaboratively with diverse staff including remote colleagues and coalitions, work across the political spectrum, value and respect differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and abilities.
  4. Commitment to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission and goals with an understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications. Ability to recognize and balance a range of civil liberties interests and concerns, often competing ones, and to represent the nuanced and specific positions unique to the ACLU in the legislative process.

Compensation & Benefits

This position comes with a generous compensation and benefits package. This includes top-quality, employer sponsored medical, dental and vision coverage for you and your family; a retirement plan with a 2% employer contribution—up to 5.5% with matching contributions; 22 paid vacation days, 10 days of sick time, and 20 paid holidays of the employee’s choice annually; and robust life, disability, accidental death and dismemberment, and critical illness insurance plans. Salary range for this position is from $215,000-240,000 depending on the applicant’s experience.

Selection Process

Please submit your resume no later than November 30 to [email protected] for consideration. If you have any questions about the position or our process, please reach out to Jack Zwald at 916-824-3263 or [email protected].

ACLU California Action is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please contact Jack Zwald at [email protected] or 916-824-3263. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request accommodation during the interview process.
ACLU Cal Action advances equity and inclusion in the workplace by providing equal employment opportunity to all as part of a work environment free from discrimination. We encourage and welcome applicants who will work to further this commitment and add to the diversity of our organization on multiple dimensions including race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, exercising the right to family care and medical leave, genetic information, marital status, sex (includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and related medical conditions), gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, military and veteran status, political affiliation, or arrest or conviction record.

*Please note that as a 501(c)(4) organization our team members are not eligible to participate in most student loan forgiveness programs.