A growing ACLU Nebraska sees change in top spots

By: - March 29, 2022 12:05 pm

Mindy Rush Chipman, legal director of ACLU Nebraska (Courtesy of Chad Greene Photograpy)

A civil rights attorney who led a Lincoln human rights agency and earlier was a prison librarian has been named the new legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska.

Mostly recently, Mindy Rush Chipman led the Lincoln Commission on Human Rights, a city agency that works to prevent and respond to illegal housing, employment and public accommodation discrimination. 

She formerly served in leadership roles at the Immigrant Legal Center and Legal Aid of Nebraska. Before launching her legal practice, she helped incarcerated Nebraskans access the courts through her librarian role with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services.

Search for permanent leader

Maria Funk, interim executive director of ACLU Nebraska. (By Rebecca S. Gratz for ACLU Nebraska)

“People know her as an effective attorney who is passionate about equity and access to justice,” said Maria Funk, ACLU of Nebraska’s interim executive director. “We’re all excited to see our impact grow over the coming months and years with Mindy leading our litigation work.”

Meanwhile, the state ACLU chapter is preparing to launch a search for a permanent executive director to oversee the advocacy organization.

Funk was the organization’s deputy director in charge of compliance, financial and human resources before she temporarily assumed the top role in mid-March following the resignation of Danielle Conrad. 

Legislative candidate

Conrad had headed the state ACLU since 2014, during which time it grew from a staff of four to a team of 10 full time staff with two contract lawyers. It earned legal victories in areas including LGBTQ equality, open government, reproductive rights while engaging also in legislative bills.

Conrad has filed as a legislative candidate in hopes of returning to Lincoln’s District 46 seat. She served in the Legislature from 2007 to 2015 before she was term-limited out of office.

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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics.