Colorado Rights Blog


  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.

    Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.

    Donate now at

  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people. 

Major Gifts Officer

Job Description

Major Gifts Officer

Department: Development
Supervisor: Director of Philanthropy
Classification: Full-Time Exempt

If you are passionate about protecting the rights of ALL people, there has never been a more exciting time to pursue a career at the ACLU, the nation’s foremost defender of civil liberties and civil rights. As we look toward our 100th anniversary and critical elections in 2020, we are taking our organization to the next level by expanding our fundraising operation, bolstering infrastructure, amplifying public engagement, strengthening our legal firepower, and building the powerful integrated advocacy tools necessary to continue to fight new threats to freedom head-on—and win.

The ACLU of Colorado, founded in 1952 as the Colorado affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, is a strong, growing organization with tens of thousands of members, supporters, and activists across the state. We are a passionate, highly motivated group of community leaders and organizers, coalition-builders, fundraisers, lawyers, and public policy and legislative advocacy experts, and we are looking for exceptional talent to join our team.


ACLU of Colorado is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We believe that having a board, staff, and volunteer base with diverse personal and professional backgrounds enhances our ability to meet our mission and creates an environment where all members of our community can thrive. We strongly encourage applications from people of color, immigrants, women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, those who have been formerly incarcerated, and other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.

The 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, and record of arrest or conviction. We are committed to providing a work environment free from discrimination and harassment.


Reporting to the Director of Philanthropy, the Major Gifts Officer (MGO) works to ensure that the ACLU of Colorado meets fundraising goals by increasing philanthropic support of the ACLU’s work to defend and expand civil rights and civil liberties. The MGO will manage relationships with donors and prospective donors, each with an estimated capacity to support the ACLU with an annual gift of $10,000 or more. The MGO will be responsible for finding new prospects with the interest and capacity to support civil rights at a significant level, as well as building relationships with supporters and within the ACLU in order to maximize financial support. In addition to soliciting major gifts, the MGO will explore ways in which donors can advance the fight for civil rights through their estate plans and transformational campaign gifts.

The MGO works closely with the two members of the ACLU of Colorado’s Development Department (Director of Philanthropy and Associate Director of Philanthropy), the Executive Director, the Deputy Director, and development colleagues at the national ACLU and other state affiliates, as well as with the entire staff of the ACLU of Colorado. The MGO will spend a significant amount of time in direct interaction with donors, to ensure that each donor can fulfill their desire to contribute and support our work in a manner that is consistent with the donor’s values. The MGO will be based in the ACLU of Colorado’s Denver office, and though a large portion of donor work will be focused in the Denver/Boulder area, the position will require regular travel to other parts of Colorado.


  • Manage relationships with approximately 100 major gift donors.
  • Qualify new prospects for assignment to the major gifts portfolio, create a comprehensive strategy for each donor/prospect in the portfolio, and execute that strategy in a manner in which donors are respected, retained, and inspired to increase their support.
  • Directly solicit major and planned gifts, and partner with senior and program staff and/or volunteers on donor engagement opportunities.
  • Provide executive-level support to senior staff in preparation for donor interactions, including thoughtful, concise briefing materials in advance of meetings with donors and prospects.
  • Work with the appropriate staff, clients, and volunteers to learn about the critical impact of donor support on our outreach, education, policy, advocacy, and litigation efforts as well as our plans and priorities for advancing civil rights. MGO will incorporate this information into written materials and talking points directed at individual donors/prospects, such as highly personalized proposals that are in line with donor interests and programmatic priorities, major donor update emails and correspondence, reports that detail progress made because of a particular gift, etc.
  • Develop and participate in strategic donor engagement opportunities, such as small events for select donors/prospects in the portfolio, podcast and newsletter features, and larger donor recognition events.
  • Track key relationship activity and progress. Create reports as required by management that accurately reflect progress toward strengthening relationships and increasing donor support.
  • Maintain working knowledge of state and national programmatic priorities and issues as they occur.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Superior skills in building relationships and comfort in asking individuals to commit their money, time, and/or energy to a cause. This experience may come from a fundraising background or through other experience that demonstrates tenacity, creativity, follow-through, and strong relationship-building skills.
  • A commitment to the mission and goals of the American Civil Liberties Union in protecting and furthering civil rights and civil liberties.
  • Excellent oral and written communication and presentation skills. Demonstrated ability to simplify complex themes and activities into a short, compelling presentation or written piece. Ability to discuss the use of litigation, education, and field advocacy to promote social justice is helpful.
  • Strong people skills.  Ability to communicate effectively and respectfully on the phone, via email/text and in person with donors, board members, volunteers, colleagues, and the general public.
  • Strong organizational skills, ability to prioritize and manage multiple projects simultaneously and to meet deadlines. Ability to develop long-term plans, set objectives, and track progress towards achieving objectives.
  • Proficiency with office technology and information systems.
  • Availability for travel throughout Colorado, as well as limited out-of-state travel.
  • Ability to work beyond the traditional workday and workweek.


  • High ethical standards, strict adherence to donor confidentiality, and genuine interest in developing authentic relationships.
  • Persuasiveness and perseverance in attaining goals.
  • Personal initiative and a sense of humor in order to maintain balance and perspective.
  • Team player who inspires collaboration and functions decisively; flexible and well-organized.

Approximate salary range is in the mid to upper fifties, in accordance with parameters of the nationwide ACLU and the Denver area nonprofit sector, and taking into account skills and experience. Benefits include medical and dental insurance, life and long-term disability insurance, 401k contribution, and paid vacation and holidays.


Send a cover letter, resume, and references in an email with “Major Gifts Officer, ACLU of Colorado” in the subject line to No phone calls, please. Applications should be submitted by Friday, May 3, 2019, to receive full consideration.

For more information about the work of the ACLU of Colorado, please visit our website at


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