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Executive Director

American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Job Type:
Job Status:
Full Time
  • Executive
American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii
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Job Details


The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai`i (ACLU-H) seeks an excellence-driven individual who is ready to embrace Hawai`i. This is a rare opportunity to work in a magnificent multi-cultural and island environment. The next executive director will helm an organization with a strong track record as a tireless and effective advocate in the vanguard – and poised for the next level of critical and dynamic work.


Hawai`i is an affiliate (since 1965) of the national ACLU ­– the country’s leading civil liberties and civil rights organization founded in 1920. The next leader will take charge of a $1 million+ budget and manage a diverse and energetic staff of seven (7).


Hawai`i is home to the nation’s largest share of multi-racial Americans (24%). A population of 1.4 million residents co-exist with over 8 million visitors annually. There are no racial and ethnic majorities. Hawai`i’s core identity comes from the history and experience of the original people of Hawai`i, Native Hawaiians.


Accountable to the Board of Directors, the executive director will also be a strong partner with leadership to further advance an affiliate that has made gains in many core ACLU issues including criminal justice reform, immigrant rights, LGBT equality and much more.


The next leader will further advance the affiliate’s litigation, legislative and public education programs in new ways to meet emerging challenges – all within a very special cultural and political environment where relationships are crucial to success.


We are seeking a highly collaborative leader who will be sensitive to how the local ACLU can remain a fearless advocate while being mindful of Hawaii’s special history and the significance of multi-cultural relationships in an island community. Such a leader will increase the vitality of a strong and stable organization and help build new capabilities. The successful candidate must be an exceptional leader with a deep commitment to civil liberties and civil rights. And, must have the ability to work productively with grassroots and all levels of government, within a non-partisan framework.


The Executive Director must have a strong knowledge of civil liberties and civil rights issues and be an effective manager who is adept at balancing internal non-profit governance best practices with external impact and visibility. The individual must be an outstanding communicator who is able to convey effectively the mission and activities of the ACLU-H to a variety of constituencies, as well as be able to lead year-round fundraising initiatives for the affiliate through the cultivation of existing and new major donors.


The ACLU-H is headquartered in Honolulu on the island of O`ahu. Our integrated-advocacy staff team consists of seven (7) full-time members plus a team of regular in-office volunteers and interns.


The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer.  We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture.  The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status.

The ACLU undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.




 Leadership and Vision


  • Serve as an effective and visible spokesperson for the ACLU, effectively articulating the organization’s program and mission. Represent the organization in local and national media, increase public awareness and broaden the organization’s reputation to strategic constituents.
  •  Establish a clear vision, in partnership with the Board, for the continued growth and expansion of the ACLU-H. Provide direction to guide programs that align with the organization’s vision, and formulate ideas for new program development.
  •  Lead the organization’s fundraising efforts by increasing the number and capacity of major donors.
  •  Initiate and strengthen relationships and collaborations with organizations and leaders who are connected to the ACLU-H’s mission and purpose – without compromising ACLU policy.
  •  Continue the efforts to build a vibrant, larger, and more diverse membership base.
  •  Serve as an engaged and collaborative colleague to the National ACLU and with other Executive Directors in affiliates across the country.


General Management, Finance, Administration and Program


  •  Ensure by effective non-profit management and leadership that the day-to-day operations are professionally and efficiently organized and administered.
  •  Direct legal, policy, and communications programs.
  •  Oversee the organization’s financial operations; oversee the budgetary process and ensure that sound financial controls are in place.
  •  Motivate and maintain a cohesive staff, ensuring that there is strong internal communication and coordination; evaluate & recruit new staff when appropriate.


Board Relations


  •  Implement policies as established by the board.
  •  Work with the board to identify and help recruit new board members who will add diversity to the board and whose talents, interests and commitments will help to further the ACLU’s mission.
  •  Regularly brief the board on the status of the organization.






The next Executive Director will be an inspiring, accomplished, and experienced leader with outstanding interpersonal, listening, communication, and negotiation skills as well as a commitment to the protection of civil liberties and civil rights. While no one person will embody them all, the successful candidate will bring many of the following professional qualifications and personal qualities:




Professional Experience and Qualifications


  •  A record of success in a leadership position in the government, not-for-profit, or private sectors. Minimum 6 years experience.
  •  Understanding of Hawai`i strongly preferred but not required.
  •  Experience with the wide array of advocacy strategies (legal, policy, political, public education, and coalition building) and a track record of achievement as an advocate.
  •  Knowledge of the principles and practices required for the effective leadership and management of a nonprofit advocacy organization.
  •  Excellent written and oral communications skills and an ability to articulate a vision of civil rights and civil liberties that is compelling to the public, donors, partners in advocacy, and policymakers.
  •  A record of recruiting and inspiring a dedicated, diverse, and talented staff.
  •  A demonstrated record of raising money from major donors as well as an appetite and aptitude for fundraising.
  •  An ability to work in coalition with other organizations.
  •  Experience using traditional and new media creatively and effectively.
  •  A demonstrated ability to work with complicated legal issues and explain them to a wide range of audiences.
  •  Successful experience working with a Board of Directors.
  •  A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent; a graduate degree preferable.




Personal Qualities


  •   Sensitivity and openness to developing a deep understanding of island living within a multi-cultural climate that affects the relationships needed to advance advocacy
  •   A deep and demonstrated commitment to the promotion and protection of civil liberties and civil rights.
  •  Strong political and diplomatic skills including comfort with controversy, chaotic and complex situations. An ability to balance, negotiate, and network among conflicting points of view.
  •  Ability to build coalitions among organizations with divergent and often competing agendas.
  •  A leadership style that is at once proactive and decisive as well as collaborative, flexible, and collegial.
  •  An ability to work with communities from diverse backgrounds.
  •  A good listener who inspires trust and confidence and remains open to the ideas of others.
  •  Willingness and ability to work demanding and flexible hours.
  •  Unquestionable professional integrity, self-confidence, a thick skin, and a sense of humor.






Salary based on experience. Excellent benefits include paid vacation, medical and dental insurance, 401(k) plan, long-term disability insurance, sabbatical and generous paid holidays.






All applications are held in strict confidence.


Applicants are asked to send a cover letter, resume, and references to:


Executive Director Position


ACLU of Hawai`i, P.O. Box 3410, Hon. HI 96801




Electronic submission of applications and correspondence is strongly preferred.  If sending documents via e-mail, please send all materials as PDFs rather than Microsoft Word documents. 


Review of nominations and applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. Please indicate in your cover letter where you found this job listing.




The ACLU of Hawai`i comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai`i and the ACLU of Hawai`i Foundation. 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 next leader will be the executive director of both.

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