Ellen van Iwaarden, Communications and Outreach Director, combines strategic planning and communications to bring a heightened awareness of the important initiatives The Advocates for Human Rights pursues. She is proud to be a leader in The Advocates’ passionate, dedicated, and generous community that is changing the world for good. Ellen has over 30 years of experience in development work with nonprofits as an Executive Director, Development Director, Communications Director, consultant, and volunteer. She previously led fundraising efforts for The Advocates as the Director of Development. Her experience also includes work with The Fund for the Legal Aid Society, the Smith College Club of Minnesota, the Minneapolis Public Schools, the Southwest High School Foundation, Plymouth Congregational Church, and many more area nonprofits.
Ellen is a cum laude graduate of Smith College and the University of Minnesota Law School. Prior to moving into the nonprofit sector, Ellen practiced law with Lindquist & Vennum, now Ballard Spahr, was a Senior Attorney at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and worked as an attorney with the Minnesota State Board of Law Examiners. Ellen also served as a clerk for Justice Sandra Gardebring of the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Outside of work, Ellen enjoys spending time with her husband Jim, their two grown daughters and other family, walking her dog Callie, cooking, gardening, playing the piano, and exercising.