NEW YORK, May 11, 2021 – Mobilization for Justice (MFJ), a social justice civil legal services provider prioritizing the needs of New Yorkers who are low-income, disenfranchised, or have disabilities, announced today that Tiffany Austin Liston, who served as MFJ’s Interim Executive Director since September 2020, has been named Executive Director. Ms. Liston succeeds Jeanette Zelhof, who served as Executive Director for over 10 years, capping a 30-year career at MFJ.
“Following a comprehensive search for MFJ’s next Executive Director, we are excited to have Tiffany officially take the helm after several months serving as Interim Executive Director,” said Board Chair Marc De Leeuw. “Tiffany brings a warmth and generous spirit to her new role as well as a clear vision for bringing together the organization, legal community, and financial and community supporters to best serve New Yorkers who need legal representation but cannot afford it. We are grateful to Jeanette for her many years of service to MFJ during which MFJ expanded its practice areas and served thousands of New Yorkers in need.”
“I appreciate and am gratified by the Board’s confidence in me, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to lead such a worthy organization – where I started my career. Mobilization for Justice has an amazing staff and history and has proven its commitment over six decades to changing our clients’ lives,” said Ms. Liston. “I’m especially grateful to Jeanette for her leadership, the opportunity to work with her and guidance she has provided to me and look forward to continuing to advance our work with the talented and incredibly dedicated MFJ staff.”
As Executive Director, Ms. Liston will work with staff and the MFJ Board to ensure the organization continues its record of serving the legal needs of New York City’s poor and low-income communities. She is already deeply engaged in advancing MFJ’s mission, promoting racial diversity throughout the organization, finding new sources of funding, and expanding civil legal services throughout the city. Her wealth of experience, passion for excellence, and commitment to clients will serve the organization well and ensure its continued growth and success. Ms. Liston is the first Black woman Executive Director in the history of MFJ.
Prior to serving as MFJ’s Interim Executive Director, she was Deputy Director for Program and Development for three years. In that role, she helped oversee program, development, and strategic organizational initiatives. Ms. Liston designed and implemented lobbying efforts leading to a significant increase in funding from New York State. She led the relaunch, with MFJ’s staff, of the MFJ diversity, equity and inclusion committee, initiated diversity trainings and an organization-wide DEI audit. She led the redesign of MFJ’s Development and Marketing Departments, including an external audit, the hiring of new staff, and obtaining funding from new foundations.
Before joining MFJ, Ms. Liston was General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer for an educational non-profit organization where she oversaw all legal issues, human resources, external relations, finance, and operations. Prior to that, Ms. Liston was a Litigation Associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, where she managed a complex commercial case load. Prior to Simpson Thacher, Ms. Liston interned for Judge Lucy Billings, New York Supreme Court, as well as Mobilization for Justice, where she began her career more than 20 years ago as a legal intern.
Ms. Liston is co-chair of the New York State Bar’s President’s Committee on Access to Justice, and a Board member of New York State Legal Services Coalition (NYSLSC). She is a graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and Harvard College.
About Mobilization for Justice:
Mobilization for Justice was founded in 1963 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side as Mobilization for Youth Legal Services. Mobilization for Justice’s mission is to achieve social justice, prioritizing the needs of people who are low-income, disenfranchised, or have disabilities. We provide the highest quality free, direct civil legal assistance, conduct community education and build partnerships, engage in policy advocacy, and bring impact litigation, with a focus on four key areas: Housing, Economic Justice, Disability & Aging Rights, and Children’s Rights. Mobilization for Justice has two offices, in Manhattan and the South Bronx, with a full-time staff of 125 people. www.mfjlegal.org
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