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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 grow the field of public interest technology. She works closely with the team at Ford to make the case for the field across four sectors: academia, government, civil society, and the private sector. She also currently works with the Center for Responsible Lending on their efforts to close the racial wealth gap. Additionally, she is partnering with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on their Culture of Health Prize which honors communities who are addressing structural racism to advance health equity.

She also worked closely with several civil rights organizations, led by the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights, to protect the 2020 Census from disinformation threats. Based on that work and academic research, Ellie wrote and designed Spitfire’s Just Truth guide for communicators to combat disinformation. She has trained several groups graduate students and organizations on Just Truth including grantees of the Heising Simons Foundation. Ellie has also trained 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.

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.