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Ellie Klerlein

Managing Senior Vice President

Ellie Klerlein Headshot

Ellie brings more than a decade of experience in strategic communication, digital strategy, coalition management, and advocacy communication to Spitfire. She loves to conquer new challenges and enjoys working with clients who are willing to experiment and try new approaches to take on society’s toughest problems. She currently works with the Ford Foundation on a groundbreaking effort to prop up the field of public interest technology. She works closely with the foundation president and international director of Technology and Society to make the case for the field across four sectors: academia, government, civil society, and the private sector. She also works closely with several civil rights organizations, led by the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, to protect the 2020 Census from disinformation threats.

Ellie helps organizations craft strategic digital communication to achieve their policy objectives and enhance their advocacy campaigns. She applied her digital chops to supporting Just Label It, a campaign to pressure big food companies to support mandatory labeling of GMOs. She also partnered with the Campion Foundation, Alaska Wilderness League and like-minded conservation organizations on a campaign to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Ellie trains numerous organizations on digital strategy and implementation, including grantees of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Office of Adolescent Health and Blank Foundation, participants in Spitfire’s Executive Training Program, and local partner organizations of the United Way and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

She partnered with the New Americans Campaign to provide technical assistance, storytelling, and strategic counsel to 18 markets throughout the US where organizations are working hard to encourage eligible immigrants to apply for citizenship. She helped NeighborWorks America’s Sustainable Homeownership Pilot and Family Services, Inc. refine their brands to reach new homeowner audiences. She also helped the National Council of La Raza prepare its staff for and roll out its new brand, UnidosUS. Ellie partnered with the Lown Institute to create messages to describe its important work transforming the health system in the U.S. She joined a team of Spitfires in designing and implementing training with RWJF staff to infuse equity messaging into how they talk about their work and the Foundation’s vision to build a Culture of Health.

Before joining Spitfire, Ellie served as the deputy digital director at the National Council of La Raza (now UnidosUS) – the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States – where she was responsible for growing the organization’s digital presence and starting its mobile/SMS program. Ellie directed advocacy and voter engagement campaigns with NCLR Affiliates and the organization’s digital activist network on national campaigns to advance immigration reform, fair housing practices, and health care reform.

Ellie has also worked internationally, most notably in Costa Rica and Singapore. She trained members of Costa Rica’s tourism industry to recognize and report the commercial sexual exploitation of children as part of her work with Fundación Paniamor, a prominent children’s rights organization in Costa Rica. In Singapore, she worked with the Riverkids Project, an organization that operates child trafficking prevention programs in Cambodia.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. in biology, Ellie also earned her master’s degree in international development from American University. In her spare time, Ellie enjoys hiking in Shenandoah National Park which reminds her of home, the mountains of North Carolina.