Biography and History

Carol Pitchersky (1947-2004) was a fundraiser and consultant who helped bring financial stability to dozens of public interest groups, notably the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She served as Associate Director responsible for development and strategic planning at the ACLU and as a consultant to other prominent nonprofit organizations.

Pitchersky began her career in Washington in 1968, working for J.R. Taft Corp., an organization that raised money for colleges, arts organizations, and community groups. While there, she wrote The Taft Reporter, the first handbook about nonprofit fundraising. In 1972, she became development director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, an organization founded in the 1960s to promote justice. Under her tenure, the group grew from a relatively small funding base to a stable national organization. She left in 1977 to serve as a special consultant to the Department of Health, Eduction and Welfare, where she helped recruit executives and was a member of the team that ensured the hiring of minorities and women.

In 1979, Pitchersky became the Associate Director in charge of development and strategic planning of the ACLU. In this capacity, it was her responsibility to revitalize the organization's fund-raising programs. When she joined the ACLU, the organization was facing possible bankruptcy. The ACLU largely depended on membership dues and small donations for their budget, averaging $300,000 annually, which was insufficient to allow for building cash reserves or an endowment. However, in 1977 the organization defended the right of the American Nazi Party to mark through Skokie, Illinois, a Chicago suburb that was home to many Holocaust survivors, which cost the ACLU a significant portion of their membership. During her nine years with the ACLU, Pitchersky established a development department and the organization's first comprehensive development program which brought in sufficient funds for growth, building a cash reserve, and establishing an endowment, and she was also involved in the major decisions of the organization as the principal deputy to executive director Ira Glasser.

After leaving the ACLU in 1988, Pitchersky worked as an independent consultant to aid nonprofits in organizing boards of directors and financial networks. Her clients, mostly liberal advocacy groups, included Common Cause, Friends of the Earth, the National Abortion Rights Action League, Planned Parenthood, Amnesty International USA, Children's Rights, Inc., National Environmental Trust, Washington Office on Latin America, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. She was also instrumental in organizing Americans Coming Together, an advocacy group dedicated to aiding Democratic candidates in the 2004 elections.

Pitchersky was born in Brooklyn, New York on October 3, 1947 and earned her B.A. from Hunter College in New York. She married Howard Hoffman and was later divorced. In 1991, she married Morton H. Halperin, who served in the Defense Department under President Johnson and was director of policy planning at the State Department under President Clinton. Pitchersky died of breast cancer on October 19, 2004 at the age of 57.

Source: From the finding aid for MC210

  • Carol Pitchersky Papers. 1963-2008 (inclusive).

    Call Number: MC210

    Carol Pitchersky (1947-2004) was a fundraiser and consultant who helped bring financial stability to dozens of public interest groups, notably the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She served as Associate Director in charge of development and strategic planning at the ACLU and as a consultant to other prominent nonprofit organizations. The papers document Pitchersky's work as a fundraiser at the ACLU during the 1980s and for public interest groups in the 1970s and 1990s.

  • Carol Pitchersky Papers. 1963-2008 (inclusive).

    Call Number: MC210

    Carol Pitchersky (1947-2004) was a fundraiser and consultant who helped bring financial stability to dozens of public interest groups, notably the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She served as Associate Director in charge of development and strategic planning at the ACLU and as a consultant to other prominent nonprofit organizations. The papers document Pitchersky's work as a fundraiser at the ACLU during the 1980s and for public interest groups in the 1970s and 1990s.