Chris Ott to Step Down as ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director, Organization Plans National Search for Successor
MILWAUKEE — Christopher Ott, who has served as executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin since 2017, will step down in mid-July. The organization will conduct a nationwide search for his successor. Ott previously worked 10 years for the ACLU of Massachusetts, and shared his plans with the Wisconsin organization in May.
“After 14 years working for the ACLU, I care deeply about this organization,” Ott said. “Since the ACLU does so much important work in so many areas, there is never a convenient time to leave. But after helping our staff, board members, volunteers, and supporters to respond to the challenges of the Trump years, the pandemic, and historic new demands for racial justice, it is time for me to move on, and for the organization to bring in new talent for the challenges ahead. In addition to colleagues who do the ACLU’s great work every day in Wisconsin and across the country, I especially want to thank our members and donors, who have made our growth possible. I plan to remain a lifelong ACLU member myself.”
“The ACLU of Wisconsin has grown exponentially under Chris’s leadership,” said William F. Sulton, board president of the ACLU of Wisconsin. “During his time with us, Chris secured funds and technical assistance for our affiliate through the national ACLU’s Strategic Affiliate Initiative (SAI). Chris grew the human and fiscal capital of our organization. Due to Chris’s hard work, our board was in a position to create new income normalization and strategic reserve funds. Chris added departments and expanded our geographic footprint in the state, such as through work for voting rights and criminal justice reform. And Chris has created opportunities for staff that will continue to benefit us after his departure.”
The board of directors plans a nationwide search for a permanent successor, and will name an interim executive director before Ott’s departure.
The ACLU of Wisconsin is the state affiliate of the national ACLU and is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. The ACLU of Wisconsin has more than 18,000 members statewide and is dedicated to defending the civil liberties and civil rights of all Wisconsin residents. During its 91-year history, the ACLU of Wisconsin has taken on groundbreaking work on issues such as discrimination in education, housing and policing; the cruel treatment of children in juvenile detention; the state’s cumbersome and restrictive voter ID law; free speech rights; marriage equality and discrimination against LGBT people. The ACLU has a staff of 18 in Wisconsin, and more than 1,000 nationwide. Annual dues begin at $20.
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