CHARLESTON, S.C. – Following a nationwide search, the ACLU of South Carolina is excited to welcome ACLU veteran Frank Knaack as its new Executive Director. He will step into the leadership role after thirteen years of implementing and advancing social justice initiatives across the country.
“I first joined the ACLU family as an undergraduate intern at the ACLU of the National Capital Area in 2001,” said Knaack. “Since that time, I have worked in the ACLU national office as well as with its Texas and Virginia affiliates on priorities including criminal justice, racial justice, school-to-prison pipeline, government surveillance, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, and immigrants’ rights. The ACLU of South Carolina has been at the forefront of many of these issues, and I look forward to being part of the team that continues to work toward a South Carolina that treats all people equally and is welcoming to all.”
In addition to his roles at the ACLU, Knaack previously served as Executive Director of the Montana Innocence Project and, prior to that, as Executive Director of the Alabama Appleseed Center for Law and Justice. His experience developing and leading statewide organizations is accompanied by a proven track record of integrating strategic communications, statewide community outreach and mobilization, research and documentation, and legislative advocacy to achieve major public policy victories. Under Knaack’s leadership, the Alabama Appleseed Center played a pivotal role in ending judicial override in capital sentencing; stopping Alabama sheriffs from personally profiting from jail food money; and mobilizing the public around court debt, marijuana policy, civil asset forfeiture, and the school to prison pipeline.
“We are proud that Frank will become the new Executive Director of the ACLU of S.C. in January,” said ACLU of S.C. Board President James Morton. “Having previously served the ACLU and other nonprofits that are advancing civil rights, we are confident that he shares the core values that we cherish here in South Carolina. Frank’s expertise in protecting the rights of those most marginalized and in repairing a broken justice system will help us expand our reach and effectiveness, and we are very excited to have someone of his caliber to lead us in this new chapter.”
Knaack will take the helm of the organization during a time of strategic growth, including the recent addition of dedicated staff in the areas of legislative advocacy and criminal justice litigation, policy and organizing. “The ACLU of South Carolina has a long history of protecting and expanding the civil rights and civil liberties of all South Carolinians," Knaack said. "I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to join its dedicated staff and board and to build on this legacy.”
Knaack will begin his position on January 21st.