Alliance for Justice Announces New Leadership - Alliance for Justice

Alliance for Justice Announces New Leadership

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Zack Ford

President Rakim Brooks Transitions to Senior Vice President at JPB Foundation  

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 12, 2024 – Today, the Board of Directors of Alliance for Justice announced that Rakim H.D. Brooks, AFJ’s President, will be leaving in the coming months to assume an exciting new role as Senior Vice President of Risk and Legal Strategies for the JPB Foundation. The Board of Directors has appointed long-time movement leaders Keith Thirion, Vice President of Strategy, and Betsy Miller Kittredge, Vice President of Operations and Chief of Staff, to serve as Interim Co-Presidents upon Brooks’s departure.

“We are confident in Keith and Betsy’s leadership, working relationships, passion for AFJ’s mission, and alignment with our organizational culture and values,” said Paulette Meyer, Board Chair of Alliance for Justice. “AFJ’s strong, distributed leadership team ensures that this transition will be smooth and productive. The work will continue, uninterrupted, in this critical year while the AFJ Board conducts a national search for its next leader.”

During his tenure, Rakim grew AFJ’s staff from 30 to 45 and the budget from $6.5 to over $9M, developed key partnerships and collaborations within the progressive movement, and built the progressive principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging into AFJ’s organizational DNA. His accomplishments include: building out AFJ’s work on the state courts; growing the organization’s membership by recruiting 33 new member organizations; expanding the reach of AFJ’s highly respected Bolder Advocacy program with new on-demand offerings; working with others in the movement to secure the confirmation of more than 190 professionally diverse federal judges, including Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first African-American woman to serve on the Supreme Court; and developing a timely media campaign to urge Justice Clarence Thomas to resign from the Supreme Court.

“Rakim leaves AFJ with an exceptionally talented staff to carry forward implementation of our exciting strategic plan, and with a refined framework that centers championing, defending, and enhancing constitutional democracy in all aspects of AFJ’s work,” said Vice Chair Maddy deLone.

Following his departure, Rakim will continue to support Interim Co-Presidents Keith Thirion and Betsy Miller Kittredge to ensure a smooth transition. Importantly, AFJ is in a strong financial position thanks to the support of longtime institutional funders and philanthropists who have invested in the organization’s success and new strategic vision.

“I am so very proud of all that we have accomplished during this critical juncture and can’t wait to see what comes next,” said Brooks. “AFJ’s staff are the most talented individuals I have ever worked with, and I have no doubt they will continue to relentlessly pursue a more just, multiracial constitutional democracy. Serving as AFJ’s President has been the opportunity of a lifetime.”

AFJ is well-positioned for its next stage of growth — stronger than ever as it builds the power of nonprofits across the country through its Bolder Advocacy program and leads the fight to transform our courts by championing diverse movement lawyers for federal and state benches. Our strength remains rooted in AFJ’s nearly 150 member organizations, diverse in mission but united in our commitment to justice. As we have been since our founding in 1979, AFJ is on the forefront of the fight to build a stronger constitutional democracy.

Alliance for Justice is profoundly grateful for the outstanding leadership Rakim has provided and wishes him well in his next position.