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Nonprofit Advocacy Spotlight: Claire Gastanaga, ACLU of Virginia

Claire Gastanaga joined the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Virginia as its Executive Director in June 2012, bringing with her decades of experience as an attorney, lobbyist, nonprofit leader, and fundraiser. Among many honors and awards, in 2010 she was named as one of the 50 Women of Influence in Virginia.

Claire worked for the decade before joining the ACLU as a lobbyist for Equality Virginia, the Virginia Coalition for Latino Organizations and the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. She has been a key player in state government, serving as Chief of Staff and Special Counsel to the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates and as the first woman Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia.

The ACLU of Virginia is a private, non-profit organization that promotes civil liberties and civil rights for everyone in the Commonwealth through public education, litigation and advocacy with the goal of securing freedom and equality for all. The ACLU is non-partisan and doesn’t engage in electioneering on behalf of any candidate or candidates at the local, state, or national level.   In addition to the litigation for which the ACLU has been best known, they also educate the public, inform the media, lobby legislators, organize grassroots activists, and disseminate information about constitutional freedoms through membership and volunteers.

As the Executive Director, Claire focuses on empowering and mentoring the next generation of advocates with the ACLU of Virginia.  She encourages other nonprofits to consider their role in advocacy because, advocacy not only advances one’s organizational mission, it can lead to organizational sustainability and survival when, “the issues go to the heart of what we do and how we do it – tax laws, reporting and licensing, etc.” Claire says that, “you will be rewarded with greater visibility for your organization, impact enhancement and donor/supporter engagement.”

Read more about Nonprofit Advocates, Emily Griffey with Voices for Virginia’s Children, Ross Catrow with RVA Rapid Transit and Justin Doyle with the James River Association.

Want to learn more about Justin’s work and how local nonprofits can get involved in advocacy?  Join us the Community Foundation at our “Kickoff Panel Session”, where Justin will be one of several panelists that will share more about this important topic:

What is Advocacy? Learning Session and Panel

February 28, 2019

9:00 am to 11:00 am

The Community Foundation

3409 Moore St.

Richmond, VA 23230

Free – Registration Required

What is nonprofit advocacy? Whether you know the answer, think you know, or have no idea – this free panel session is for you! From educating the public to lobbying on Capitol Hill, advocacy plays a vital role in the nonprofit sector.

Come learn more about this topic and related legal, social, and practical guidelines and impact as we “kick off” our advocacy convening and learning for the year.


Facilitator: Claire Gastanaga, Executive Director, ACLU Virginia

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