The Open Society Policy Center (OSPC) is a non-partisan and non-profit 501(c)(4) organization that engages in advocacy aimed at influencing U.S. government policy on domestic and international issues, including civil rights and liberties, criminal justice reform, immigration, multilateralism, development assistance, health policy and promotion of human rights, transparency and accountability.
- Stephen Rickard, Executive Director
- Caroline Chambers, Deputy Director and Director of Domestic Advocacy
- Lynthia Gibson-Price, Director of Administration
- Asia Johnson, Executive Assistant
- Washington Advocacy Staff
- Mike Amitay
- Jerry Fowler
- Morton H. Halperin
- Alex Johnson
- Jonathan E. Kaplan
- Angela Kelley
- Lora Lumpe
- Wendy Patten
- Sarah Pray
- Emily Renard
- Jonas M. Rolett
- Christopher Scott
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Stephen Rickard is the executive director of the Open Society Policy Center (OSPC) and a member of the Board of Directors. Under his direction, OSPC engages in policy advocacy on U.S. and international issues, including promotion of human rights and support for open societies abroad.
Rickard has a distinguished career as a Washington advocate for human rights. Before joining OSPC, Rickard served as the director of the Nuremberg Legacy Project, working to promote U.S. support for international justice. Rickard was also the director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights (2000-2001) and the Washington director for Amnesty International USA (1996-2000).
Rickard spent many years working for the U.S. government. He was the senior advisor for South Asian Affairs at the State Department where he focused on economic and global issues including human rights. He also served as senior foreign policy advisor to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. During his time on Capitol Hill, he helped secure Senate approval for numerous treaties on international human rights and labor rights.
In the 1980s, Rickard worked as a litigator with the law firm, White & Case in New York, Washington, and Stockholm. At the firm, he specialized in international arbitration. He helped manage the firm’s pro bono legal aid program and served as secretary of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Legal Assistance.
Rickard received his JD from Yale Law School where he was a member of the Moot Court Board and an editor of the Yale Journal of International Law. He holds a MA in Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School. He graduated summa cum laude from Adrian College with a BA in Political Science and English.
Asia Johnson is the assistant to the executive director of the Open Society Policy Center (OSPC) and serves as the secretary of the board.
Prior to joining OSPC, Johnson served as a Washington, D.C.-based contract translator providing linguistic services to the government and private sector. She also taught in language schools in New York and Chicago. In addition, Johnson worked at CBS Broadcast International, a foreign syndication arm of the network.
She received her MA in American Literature and Applied Linguistics from Warsaw University, Poland.
Director of Administration
Lynthia Gibson-Price is the director of administration for the Open Society Policy Center (OSPC) and serves as the treasurer of the board. Gibson-Price oversees the administrative management issues for the office.
Prior to joining OSPC, Gibson-Price worked as the administrative officer of the Department of Health & Human Services in Arlington, Virginia County. She has also served as the business director of the Psychiatric Division of the University of Maryland Medical Center, the director of administration for Catholic Charities, special assistant to the director in the office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and director of administration for the Washington office of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
She holds a BA in Health Care Management from the University of Maryland, an MPM from the University of Maryland and an Executive Master’s Certificate in Nonprofit Management, Georgetown University.
Deputy Director and Director of Domestic Advocacy
Caroline Chambers is deputy director and director of domestic advocacy at the Open Society Policy Center (OSPC). Chambers works closely with the staff to develop and implement advocacy strategies on critical domestic policy areas, including voting and elections; drug policy; judicial nominations; racial equality; civil liberties; public health; criminal justice; and immigration reform.
Since 1986, Chambers has worked on a broad range of domestic policy issues, primarily for the U.S. Congress and two administrations. Most recently, from 2009 to 2010, she served in the White House as director of confirmations for President Barack Obama. There, she oversaw Senate approval of over 600 of the president’s nominees for high-level administration positions. In 2000, she served in the Clinton White House on the Domestic Policy Council staff as deputy director of the Council on Youth Violence.
In the U.S. Senate from 1995 to 2001, Chambers was policy director for Senator Byron Dorgan, legislative director for Senator Paul Wellstone, and staff director of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee (DPC), the policy and research arm of the Democratic leadership under Majority Leader Tom Daschle. In addition to directing the work of the DPC, Chambers advised the leadership on policy development and legislative strategy on most major domestic issues, including health care, labor, education, government reform, budget and tax policy, and Senate floor procedure.
From 1991 through 1994, she served as senior policy advisor to U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper of Tennessee and, in that capacity, served as a congressional representative on the White House Health Care Reform Task Force. From 1986 to 1990, she conducted advocacy before Congress and federal agencies on consumer protection issues related to telecommunications and utility regulation for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
Chambers received a BA in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.
Senior Strategic Advisor for Immigration
Angela Maria Kelley is the senior strategic advisor for immigration at the Open Society Foundations and Open Society Policy Center where her work focuses on the policies and politics of immigration and integration issues at the state and federal level.
From 2015 to 2017, Kelley served as the executive director of the Center for American Progress Action Fund and a senior vice president at the Center for American Progress (CAP). In 2014, she served as a White House advisor on immigration executive actions. From 2009 to 2014,Kelley was CAP’s vice president for immigration policy. She also was the director of the Immigration Policy Center and the deputy director of the National Immigration Forum where she managed the organization’s legislative, communications, and policy work.
Kelley, a daughter of South American immigrants, began her career as a legal services attorney, representing low-income immigrants. She received a JD from the George Washington University Law School and she was a Georgetown University Law School Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow.
Senior Policy Advisor
Emily Renard is a senior policy advisor for Africa for the Open Society Foundations in Washington, D.C.
She joined Open Society after serving at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. While at the State Department, Renard was detailed to the Congressional Research Service to provide analyses on west and central Africa for members of Congress and their staff. She also published extensively on global trends in restrictions on civil society.
She previously worked for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at the U.S. Department of Defense where she developed programs to promote human security. Renard also worked for the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal and the Modern American Language School in Sana’a, Yemen.
Renard received a BA in international relations and an African Studies certificate from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and an MA in public policy and management from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. She also received a graduate certificate from the University of New England in social sciences and radio documentary.
Jonathan E. Kaplan
Jonathan E. Kaplan is the communications officer for the Washington, D.C., office of the Open Society Foundations. Kaplan works closely with the staff to develop and implement communications and advocacy strategies on behalf of the Foundations.
Since 1996, Kaplan has worked on a wide range of domestic and international policy issues as a journalist and a communications director and speechwriter. From 2009 to 2012, he served in the U.S. Department of State as the communications director and speechwriter for the Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, Ellen Tauscher. He also worked for Deputy Secretary of State Thomas R. Nides.
From 2002 to 2009, Kaplan was a senior staff writer for The Hill newspaper and the Washington, D.C., correspondent for the Portland Press Herald-Maine Sunday Telegram. His freelance work has appeared in ForeignPolicy.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, and New York Times.
Kaplan received a BA in government from Colby College and an MA in public policy from the University of Chicago’s Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy.
Senior Policy Advisor
Christopher Scott is a senior policy advisor at the Open Society Foundations focusing on criminal, civil, and racial justice. Specifically, Scott advocates for educational equity, reducing disparities, strengthening family structures, and increasing economic opportunity for vulnerable populations. Scott promotes policy initiatives for the Open Society Campaign for Black Male Achievement and helps convene the Justice Roundtable, a coalition working to reform the U.S. justice system.
Prior to joining the Foundations, Scott served as youth policy analyst for the Center for Law And Social Policy, where he worked on policies affecting disconnected youth and the Black Men and Boys 2025 campaign, and managed the Communities Collaborating to Reconnect Youth Network. Scott also served as a legislative fellow for Congressman Bobby Scott, where he was the chief staffer responsible for the congressman’s legislative agenda on K–12 education.
Scott attended Oregon State University on a football scholarship where he earned a BA in political science and an MA in public policy.
Jonas M. Rolett
Senior Policy Analyst for Southern Central and Eastern Europe
Jonas Rolett is the senior policy analyst for Southern Central and Eastern Europe at the Open Society Policy Center (OSPC). He serves as a liaison between foundation networks in Eastern Europe and the Western Newly Independent States (NIS) and the international policy community in Washington, D.C. Rolett works with the U.S. Congress and other Washington-based policy makers to inform and influence U.S.policy toward Central Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
Rolett has a notable history of working on Central and Eastern European issues. He has worked extensively with parliaments, political parties, and civic groups on a variety of initiatives designed to open the political process, promote good governance, and defend human rights. He lived in Albania during the 1990s and has stayed closely involved in political and social developments there.
Prior to joining OSPC, Rolett was a senior program officer at the National Democratic Institute (NDI), where he promoted democratic development in Eastern Europe. Rolett managed programs related to governance, civic participation, and political party building, and established domestic election monitoring organizations in five countries. Before joining NDI, Rolett worked as the political training director for Campaigns & Elections Magazine, running a “campaign school” for candidates and campaign managers. He also served as the communications director for the United Way of Greenville County, South Carolina.
Rolett is a member of the International Committee of the Council on Foundations. He holds a BA in Literature and Psychology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Program Officer, Fiscal Governance Program
Sarah Pray is a program officer in the fiscal governance program.
She previously served as senior policy analyst for Africa at the Open Society Policy Center, where she works closely with colleagues from the Open Society Africa foundations and the broader OSF network to advance OSPC’s advocacy priorities in Washington D.C.
Prior to joining OSPC, Pray was the coordinator of the Publish What You Pay United States coalition, advocating for corporate and government transparency and accountability in the oil, gas and mining industries. Pray also worked at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Human Rights as a human rights attorney, where she partnered with Delphine Djiraibe to establish the first ever public interest law firm in Chad.
Pray serves as a member of the Advisory Board of EG Justice, a human rights organization focusing on Equatorial Guinea. Pray received a JD from Boston College Law School and a BA from the University of Michigan.
Senior Policy Advisor
Wendy Patten is a senior policy advisor at the Open Society Foundations in Washington. She works to develop and implement advocacy strategies on immigration, human rights, and counter-terrorism issues. Patten has worked on many issues as a legal aid lawyer, government official, and advocate for prominent NGOs.
Prior to joining Open Society, Patten was the U.S. advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, where she handled legislative, policy, and media advocacy on human rights in the United States.
From 1997 to 2002, Patten held several senior positions in the U.S. government. She served as senior counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice, focusing on criminal justice, violence against women, and immigration, and as special counsel on trafficking in persons in the Civil Rights Division. Patten also was the director of multilateral and humanitarian affairs at the National Security Council at the White House, managing a portfolio that included refugee, migration, and human rights issues.
In 2010 and 2011, Patten was appointed to a high-level post at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, serving as the first Special Representative of the OSCE Chair-in-Office on Gender Issues.
Patten began her legal career as a Skadden Fellow and legal aid lawyer at Ayuda, where she represented immigrant and refugee women in domestic violence, family law, and immigration matters.
Patten received her JD magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and an AB from Princeton University. She studied international relations in Strasbourg, France and taught international women’s human rights at Georgetown University.
Advocacy Director for Security Sector Governance
Lora Lumpe is a advocacy director for security sector governance in the Washington, D.C., office of the Open Society Foundations. Lumpe develops and executes advocacy strategies to ensure that U.S. foreign military assistance is more transparent and effective, and that it does not undermine human rights and governance.
Prior to joining Open Society, she lobbied the U.S. Congress on behalf of the Friends Committee on National Legislation and coordinated the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines and Cluster Bombs. Lumpe has served as a consultant on U.S. military assistance and civilian protection issues to numerous government and human rights organizations, including the UN Department of Disarmament Affairs, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, the World Bank, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.
From 1998 to 2001, Lumpe was the research director for the Norwegian Initiative on Small Arms Transfers at the Peace Research Institute Oslo, a coalition of humanitarian relief organizations working to diminish the impact of gun trafficking on humanitarian operations.
Her books include Running Guns: The Global Black Market in Small Arms (2000) and The Arms Trade Revealed: A Guide for Investigators and Activists (1998).
Senior Policy Advisor for Europe and Eurasia
Alex T. Johnson is the senior policy advisor for Europe and Eurasia at the Open Society Foundations in Washington, D.C. Johnson is a former Obama Administration appointee at the Department of Defense where he served as Special Advisor for Russia/Ukraine External Affairs in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy). In this role he coordinated public affairs, strategic communications, and congressional engagements for teams supporting the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia.
Johnson served from 2007 to 2015 as a policy advisor at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), where he advised bicameral and bipartisan contributions to U.S. multilateral diplomacy on fundamental freedoms and human security in Eurasia, Europe, and the Near East. His service included almost four years as Representative of the Helsinki Commission at the United States Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna, Austria.
Johnson was a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation fellow in the office of U.S. Representative Alcee L. Hastings and a consultant for local government initiatives in Portland and Corvallis, Oregon. Johnson holds a BS in natural resources and an MPP, both from Oregon State University.
Senior Policy Advisor for Multilateral Affairs
Jerry Fowler is the senior policy advisor for multilateral affairs at the Open Society Policy Center (OSPC), where he advocates for effective multilateralism in U.S. foreign policy and for improvements in multilateral institutions.
He previously served as president of the Save Darfur Coalition from 2008 to 2010. His previous positions include founding director of the Committee on Conscience at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and legislative counsel at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. His publications include “Out of that Darkness: Preventing Genocide in the 21st Century,” in Century of Genocide: Eyewitness Accounts and Critical Views (Routledge, 2004). He also directed the short film A Good Man in Hell: General Romeo Dallaire and the Rwanda Genocide. He created and hosted Voices on Genocide Prevention, the Holocaust Museum’s award-winning interview program and podcast series.
He has taught courses on human rights and related issues at Claremont McKenna College (where he was the Podlich Distinguished Visitor in 2006-2007), George Washington University Law School, George Mason University Law School, and the American University Summer Human Rights Institute. From 1983-1987, he served in the United States Army in the Federal Republic of Germany. Fowler received a JD from Stanford Law School and a BA from Princeton University.
Morton H. Halperin
Morton H. Halperin is a senior advisor to the Open Society Policy Center (OSPC). In this capacity, he provides strategic guidance on U.S. and international issues. Halperin previously served as the executive director of OSPC.
Halperin has a distinguished career in federal government, having served in the Clinton, Nixon, and Johnson administrations. In the Clinton administration, Halperin was director of the Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State (1998-2001), special assistant to the president and senior director for democracy at the National Security Council (1994-1996), and consultant to the secretary of defense and the under secretary of defense for policy (1993). He was nominated by President Clinton for the position of assistant secretary of defense for democracy and peacekeeping. During the first nine months of the Nixon administration, Halperin was a senior staff member of the National Security Council staff with responsibility for National Security Planning (1969). In the Johnson administration, Halperin worked in the Department of Defense where he served as deputy assistant secretary of defense (International Security Affairs), responsible for political-military planning and arms control (1966-1969). He serves on the Board of the Millennium Challenge Corporation having been nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate.
Halperin also has a long record as a Washington advocate on national and international issues. He spent many years at the America Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), serving as the director of the Washington office from 1984 to 1992, where he was responsible for the national legislative program as well as the activities of the ACLU Foundation based in the Washington office. Halperin also served as the director of the Center for National Security Studies from 1975 to 1992, where he focused on issues affecting both civil liberties and national security.
Halperin has been associated with a number of universities and think tanks including Harvard University where he taught for six years (1960-66), the Council on Foreign Relations and the Center for American Progress (CAP). He has been widely published in newspapers and magazines across the world, and has authored, coauthored, and edited more than a dozen books.
The recipient of numerous awards, he serves on the boards of J Street and ONE.
Halperin holds a PhD in International Relations from Yale University. He received his BA from Columbia College.
Senior Policy Advisor for the Middle East and South Asia
Mike Amitay is the senior policy advisor for the Middle East and South Asia at the Open Society Foundations in Washington, D.C.
From 1996 to 2005, Amitay served as executive director of the Washington Kurdish Institute, a nonprofit organization he helped establish to address issues affecting Kurdish communities worldwide. The institute initiated humanitarian medical treatment and research programs in Iraqi Kurdistan to address long-term health effects of exposure to chemical weapons using geographic information systems to correlate weapons of mass destruction attack sites with health and environmental data.
From 1987 to 1996, Amitay served as a professional staff member at the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), a Congressional body that monitors human rights, security, and economic issues among participating states in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Amitay coordinated activities related to Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey.
In 1995, Amitay founded Human Rights Access, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that promoted human rights through arts and education.
Amitay received an MA in international history from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in history from Brown University.
Tom Perriello is executive director of the Open Society Foundations’ U.S. Programs, which supports efforts to advance equality, fairness, and justice with a focus on marginalized communities in the United States. Perriello has dedicated his career to organizations and campaigns fighting injustice, climate change, economic inequality, and crimes against humanity. Prior to joining Open Society, Perriello served as CEO of the Center for American Progress Action, a cofounder of Avaaz.org and FaithfulAmerica.org, and an advisor to the Reverend James Forbes’ Prophetic Justice Principles and the International Center for Transitional Justice.
As a member of Congress (VA-05), Perriello supported landmark legislation, including the Affordable Care Act, the DREAM Act, and climate and stimulus legislation. In his 2017 campaign for Virginia governor, he advanced robust policies for addressing the racial wealth gap, reproductive health, resurgent monopolies, and corruption. He also served in the Obama Administration as special representative for the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review and as U.S. special envoy to the African Great Lakes Region. Perriello has taught at the University of Sierra Leone and the University of Virginia School of Law on human rights and transitional justice.
Perriello is a graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School.
Alexander Soros graduated from New York University in 2009 with a BA in history and is pursuing a doctorate in late modern European history at the University of California, Berkeley. He is an honorary fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at Central European University in Budapest, an associate fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and the Humanities at Bard College, and was formerly a postdoctoral fellow at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna.
Soros sits on the boards of Bend the Arc, which supports grassroots efforts to strengthen lower-income neighborhoods across the United States; Global Witness, which exposes and breaks the links between natural resources, conflict, and corruption; and the Gordon Parks Foundation, which preserves the photographer’s work and supports educational and artistic activities that promote his values. His Op-Eds have appeared in the Guardian, the Forward, the Miami Herald, Politico, Reuters, and the Sun-Sentinel.
Soros is the founder of the Alexander Soros Foundation, a grant-making organization promoting civil rights, social justice, and education in the United States and abroad. Media coverage regarding the foundation has appeared in Bloomberg News, Forbes, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere.
Andrea Soros Colombel
Andrea Soros Colombel is the founder and president of the Trace Foundation and the board chair of the Acumen Fund. The Trace Foundation supports the continuity and development of Tibetan culture, language, and places, improving lives and strengthening communities on the Tibetan Plateau. The Acumen Fund is a social enterprise investment fund that uses “patient capital” as an alternative to traditional aid or pure market approaches to address the critical problems of poverty in the developing world.
In addition, she is a cofounder and trustee of the Tsadra Foundation, which promotes authentic understanding of Tibetan wisdom traditions in the West. She serves on the board of the French American School of New York and as an advisor to Scenic Hudson and the Bard MBA program.
Colombel received her BA from the University of Chicago with honors in literature and holds a graduate certificate from the Bard Center for Environmental Policy.
Executive Director, Open Society Policy Center
Member of the Board of Directors, Open Society Policy Center
Stephen Rickard is the executive director of the Open Society Policy Center (OSPC) and a member of the Board of Directors. Under his direction, OSPC engages in policy advocacy on U.S. and international issues, including promotion of human rights and support for open societies abroad.
Before joining Open Society, Rickard created and ran the Freedom Investment Project and served as director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights and as Washington director for Amnesty International USA. He served as the senior advisor in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of South Asian Affairs during the Clinton administration. He also worked for Senator Moynihan and the Foreign Relations Committee in the U.S. Senate. In 2011, he was a Franklin Fellow in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
In the 1980s, Rickard worked as a litigator with White & Case in New York, Stockholm, and Washington, D.C. He received his JD from Yale Law School, an MPA from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a BA from Adrian College.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Open Society Policy Center
President, Open Society Foundations
Patrick Gaspard is president of the Open Society Foundations. He joined the Foundations as vice president in 2017.
Prior to joining Open Society, Gaspard served as the U.S. ambassador to South Africa from 2013 to 2016. Gaspard has extensive experience in presidential and congressional campaigns. Most recently, he served as a senior aide to President Barack Obama, as the executive director of the Democratic National Committee, and as an assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Political Affairs. He was the national political director for Obama for America in 2008.
He began his career as a union organizer in New York City. Gaspard was the executive vice president and political director for the Service Employees International Union. He also served as a senior aide to former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, the Manhattan borough president, and on the New York City Council.
Gaspard attended Columbia University in New York City.
Gara LaMarche is a Senior Fellow at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. From 2007 to 2011, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Atlantic Philanthropies, an international foundation focused on aging, children and youth, health, and human rights operating in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States, and Viet Nam. During his tenure at Atlantic, the foundation made the largest grant ever made by a foundation for an advocacy campaign – over $25 million – to press for comprehensive health care reform in the U.S., embraced a social justice framework for grantmaking, and worked closely with new governments in many of its geographies to take advantage of opportunities to achieve changes in HIV/AIDS and nursing policies in South Africa, civic engagement and democratic reform in Ireland, a more secure peace in Northern Ireland, and many other areas.
Before joining Atlantic in April 2007, LaMarche served as Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs for the Open Society Institute (OSI), a foundation established by philanthropist George Soros. LaMarche joined OSI in 1996 to launch its U.S. Programs, which focus on challenges to social justice and democracy. During his tenure there, OSI (since renamed the Open Society Foundations) became the leading funder of criminal justice reform, launched and supported a number of fellowship programs in justice, law, medicine and community engagement, established an office critical in the revitalization of Baltimore, and helped create and foster a network of urban high school debate leagues.
LaMarche previously served as Associate Director of Human Rights Watch and Director of its Free Expression Project from 1990 to 1996. He helped build the organization’s work in the United States and on lesbian and gay rights; conducted human rights investigations in Egypt, Cuba, Greece, and Hungary; and wrote reports on freedom of expression issues in the 1991 Gulf War, Miami’s Cuban exile community, and the United Kingdom. He was Director of the Freedom-to-Write Program of the PEN American Center from 1988 to 1990, when PEN played a leading role in campaigns to lift Iran’s fatwa against Salman Rushdie and challenged restrictions on arts funding in the United States.
He served in a variety of positions with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), with which he first became associated with in 1972 at age 18 as a member of its national Academic Freedom Committee. LaMarche was the Associate Director of the ACLU’s New York branch and the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. At the Texas ACLU, he led campaigns to provide adequate representation for death row inmates and oppose discriminatory treatment of persons with AIDS in the early days of the epidemic.
LaMarche is the author of numerous articles on human rights and social justice issues, which have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Nation, American Prospect, Huffington Post, Texas Observer, and Wharton Magazine, and many other publications, and is the editor of “Speech and Equality: Do We Really Have to Choose?” (New York University Press, 1996). He teaches a course on philanthropy and public policy at NYU’s Wagner School and has been an adjunct professor at New School University and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He also blogs at http://garala.typepad.com/ and many of his speeches and articles can be found there.
LaMarche has been recognized as a “Good Guy” by the Texas Women’s Political Caucus and as a Voice for Justice by the Fifth Avenue Committee. He has received the John Dewey Award for Distinguished Public Service from Bard College, the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil and Human Rights Award from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the Progressive Leadership Award from USAction, the President’s Award from the National Council of La Raza, the Champion Award from the Center for Community Change, and the Hope Award from Providence House. From 1988 to 1989, he was a Charles H. Revson Fellow on the Future of the City of New York. He has also served as a judge for the Sundance Documentary Fund, the PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award, the ACLU’s Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty, the Roosevelt Institute’s Four Freedoms Award, The Samuel Heyman Awards of the Partnership for Public Service, and the Lodestar Foundation’s Collaboration Prize.
LaMarche serves on the boards of StoryCorps, ProPublica, the Roosevelt Institute, and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy.
A Westerly, Rhode Island, native, LaMarche is a graduate of Columbia College at Columbia University in New York.