News and analysis
July 08, 2016

Knight First Amendment Institute Gets Founding Director

Shaul Schwartz

Longtime ACLU official Jameel Jaffer has been named the founding director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

Knight First Amendment Institute

Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, was appointed founding director of Columbia University’s Knight First Amendment Institute, a new organization created with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that will work to preserve and expand freedom of expression and freedom of the press in the digital age.

Mr. Jaffer has been at the ACLU since 2002 and also served as director of its Center for Democracy, where he created a project on speech, privacy, and technology and oversaw an expansion of the nonprofit’s work on civil-liberties issues in the online world. He has litigated several cases regarding national security and civil liberties, including one related to the National Security Administration surveillance programs disclosed by Edward Snowden.

Community College of Aurora Foundation

John Wolfkill, executive director of KIPP Tulsa College Preparatory, was appointed executive director.

Huairou Commission

Maureen Friar was named executive director. She previously served as strategic-development officer at Community Access, a New York nonprofit that provides housing for low-income families and formerly homeless individuals.

Immigrant Justice Corps

Jojo Annobil, attorney-in-charge of the Immigration Law Unit of the Legal Aid Society, will be executive director.

Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science

Frank Steslow, chief operating officer at the museum, was promoted to president. He succeeds Gillian Thomas, who retired on July 1 after leading the museum for 13 years. She will serve as an adviser during the transition.

Other notable appointments:

Jason Baxendale, senior director of gift planning at the Chicago Community Trust, was promoted to chief development officer of the organization.

Valerie Barker Waller, vice president for marketing and communications at United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, will be senior vice president and chief marketing officer at YMCA of the USA.


Jack Taylor, founder of rental-car company Enterprise, died on July 2. He was 94.

Mr. Taylor gave more than $187 million through his family foundation in 2015, making him the 11th biggest donor on The Chronicle’s Philanthropy 50 list.

Send an email to

Send an email to Anais Strickland.