Board of Directors



Gary Boren, Treasurer, received a B.S. degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan and a J.D. in 1979 from the University of Michigan Law School. He is in private practice specializing in bankruptcy law. He is a member of the Michigan Bar Association and admitted to practice in Michigan state courts, as well as the Federal District and Bankruptcy Courts for the Eastern District of Michigan and the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Gary is a former member of the board of directors of the Ann Arbor Area Committee for Peace and the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Association. He is currently on the board of the Minerva Project, Inc., the Washtenaw Area Housing Coalition and the Packard Community Clinic.

Michael Carter is a staff attorney with the Federal Defender Office in Detroit, Michigan.  He is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and the University of Michigan where he received a B.A. in English. Prior to joining the Federal Defender Office, he served as a Staff Attorney with the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, where he represented adults and juveniles charged with serious felonies ranging from armed robberies, to kidnappings, to homicides.  Following law school, Michael worked as an associate attorney for the Law Office of John A. Shea. While there, he represented clients in civil matters, and clients accused of various crimes including state misdemeanors and felonies, and federal offenses.

Laura J. Champagne, Vice President of the ACLU Fund, is an attorney and journalist who has served in the Milliken administration as the Director of the Office of Nutrition and in the Granholm administration as the Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Human Services.  However, the bulk of Laura’s career was with the International Union, UAW where she was involved in contract negotiations, including auto, aerospace and the public sector, and policy development, primarily related to health care. Laura has also been involved in advocacy for long-term-care consumers both at the state and local levels, and is currently the Managing Director for Citizens for Better Care. As to the ACLU, Laura has served on the Board of Oakland County Branch for several years and been a member of the State Board during which time she was an active member of the Branch Development Committee. She currently serves as Board Chair for Gay Elders of Southeast Michigan and is active in the LGBT Older Adult Coalition, both projects of the ACLU LGBT Project. She also serves on a number of other boards for non-profits and foundations.

Brian Cloyd is a recently retired vice president of Global Community Relations for Steelcase Inc., the global leader in the office furniture industry, and previously served as director of Corporate & Community Relations for Steelcase North America. Brian was responsible for coordinating Steelcase efforts in the areas of diversity, government relations and public policy, corporate relations and community giving & volunteer programs. He also worked with the environmental team to ensure that Steelcase’s sustainability strategies are included in the broader point of view. Before joining Steelcase, Brian worked for the City of Grand Rapids as a supervisor. His primary objective was job training for economically underserved people.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Detroit in 1973. In 1976, he received a master of arts from the University of Detroit in public administration.  Brian currently serves on the boards of directors for the West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology (co-founder), National Center for Arts & Technology, Chair and co-founder of Grand Rapids University Prep Association (University Prep Academy), Board of Trustees for University of Detroit Mercy, and Advisory Council for Education Trust - Midwest. Past board memberships include, ArtPrize, Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park (chair), the Economic Club of Grand Rapids, Board of Trustees for Northern Michigan University (Chair), the advisory council for Grand Valley State University College of Business, Cherry Commission (governor appointment), Grand Rapids Community Foundation (Chair), Education Reform Initiative, Michigan Leader for Excellence in Education, Student Advancement Foundation, and the Workforce Development Council, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Board (vice chair, Diversity), City of Grand Rapids Human Relations Commission (Chair), Hispanic Center of Wets Michigan, Grand Rapids Circle) Theatre (Chair), and Heart of West Michigan United Way (Secretary).

Awards Brian has received include, GRCC Giants, Spirit of UDM, Trustee Emeirtus (NMU), Board Member Emeritus (GVSU Siedman School), Living Our Values (Steelcase Inc.), WOW Award (West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology), Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser (American Fundraising Professionals), Extraordinary Leader (Center for Community Leadership - LGR) (Norma Brink Award (Circle Theatre).

Peter Hammer is the director of the Damon J. Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State University Law School which is dedicated to promoting the educational, economic and political empowerment of under-represented communities in urban areas and to ensuring that the phrase equal justice under law applies to all members of society. Professor Hammer was instrumental in editing and compiling Judge Damon J. Keith’s new biography, Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith (2013). Professor Hammer has become a leading voice on the economic and social issues impacting the city of Detroit, and has added new courses to the law school curriculum on Race, Law and Social Change in Southeast Michigan and Re-Imagining Development in Detroit: Institutions, Law & Society. Professor Hammer has expertise in the fields of domestic health law and policy, as well as international public health and economic development. He is a recipient of an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and served as lead editor for Uncertain Times: Kenneth Arrow and the Changing Economics of Health Care, a book published by Duke University Press (2003). His most recent book, Change and Continuity at the World Bank: Reforming Paradoxes of Economic Development (2013), combines his training as an economist and a lawyer to takes on questions of international economic growth and development. His scholarship also has examined the role of global health initiatives in health system development and how international law might further the objectives of global child health. Professor Hammer has spent more than 20 years engaging issues of human rights, law and development in Cambodia. He was a founding board member and past president of Legal Aid of Cambodia, an organization providing free legal services to Cambodia's poor. He is presently a board member of the Life & Hope Association, an organization in Siem Reap, Cambodia, founded and run by Buddhists monks to address the needs of orphans, vulnerable children and at-risk young women. Professor Hammer received his undergraduate education at Gonzaga University and completed his professional and graduate education at the University of Michigan, where he received a J.D. and a Ph.D. (economics). Before entering private practice, he clerked for the Hon. Alfred T. Goodwin, former chief judge of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Ponsella Hardaway is the Executive Director of MOSES (Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength) and a native Detroiter. MOSES, a group of diverse congregations, organizes communities, develops leaders and builds relationships to advocate for social justice. Ponsella is also a National Trainer with the Gamaliel Foundation.  She has trained congregation members in South Africa, Swaziland and in the United Kingdom. Ponsella has traveled to Brazil and Mali to study NGO’s work on political and social issues. She lives in Wayne County. 

Katherine Humphrey is a longtime advocate for women, children and families with a passionate commitment to social justice and human rights, including reproductive rights, for all people. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from Duke University and a Master of Science Degree in Counseling from Indiana University and served as President/CEO of Planned Parenthood in west and northern Michigan for 27 years. Throughout her tenure at Planned Parenthood, the affiliate grew from an organization serving eight counties in west Michigan to one serving 52 counties throughout the majority of the western half of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and all of the Upper Peninsula, serving approximately 30,000 people annually.  Previously, Ms. Humphrey worked as a therapist and administrator in the community mental health sector and as a hospital social worker serving terminally ill children and their families. Throughout her career, Ms. Humphrey has served on numerous boards, at the local, state, and national level. She was co-founder of the Progressive Women’s Alliance PAC and co-founder of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. She is currently the Chair of the statewide Planned Parenthood Affiliates and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan Boards, and serves on multiple local community boards and steering committees.

Loren Khogali, President, is an attorney with the Federal Defender Office in Detroit where she represents indigent clients charged in federal court in all phases of criminal cases. She is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and Western Michigan University where she received a B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in French. Following law school, Khogali worked as a law clerk in the Superior Court of Massachusetts where she assisted Justices in all phases of civil and criminal state court litigation.

Gilda Jacobs, Vice President, is CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. From 2003-2010 she was a Democratic member of the Michigan Senate representing the 14th District. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan where she received her bachelors in science with a distinction in education and a master’s degree in behavioral sciences in education and worked as a special education teacher. She was the first woman elected to the Huntington Woods City Commission (1981-1994) and then served as Mayor Pro Tem of Huntington Woods (1993-94), Oakland County Commissioner (1995-1998), and was elected to the Michigan State House of Representatives in 1998 where she served for two terms. She made history as the first female floor leader in either chamber of the legislature and was Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus, vice-chair of the Economic Development, Small Business & Regulatory Reform Committee and the Families and Human Services Committee, and served on Government Operations and Health Policy Committees.

Jessica Lieberman, Vice President, is a 2003 graduate of the University of Michigan Law School where she served on the Michigan Journal of Race and Law where her primary academic interests were in race and gender discrimination, civil rights and poverty law. Upon completing her J.D., she stayed at home to raise her children.

Yolanda Lipsey is the Deputy Chief of Staff & District Director for U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. She initially began working for Rep. Conyers independently, legislative assistant then Congressional Black Caucus Fellow working on various legislative and policy issues. Ms. Lipsey effectively manages the day-to-day operations of the district offices and travels back and forth to Washington, DC. She has written over 200 letters of support for businesses and nonprofit organizations in the Metro Detroit area which helped to secure over $10 million in federal funding. Ms. Lipsey mentors youths of all ages and prides herself on networking. She performs volunteer work with various nonprofits and political campaigns to help uplift, educate and advance the socio-economic status of individuals at large.

Dr. Ali M. Metwali teaches at Western Michigan University’s graduate business program and consults.  He is a founding board member (Shora Committee) of the Islamic Mosque and Religious Institute in Grand Rapids.  He was born in Egypt and received his Bachelor degree in Commerce from Cairo University.  He has a M.B.A. degree from Siena Collage in New York State and he earned his Ph.D. in Business Administration from St. Louis University in Missouri.  He served in health care industry in various executive, research, and consulting positions since 1965.  He moved to Grand Rapids in 1980 to teach for Western Michigan University and served as the Director of the MBA program in Grand Rapids campus from 1985 until the end of 1999.  He is a co-founder of MW Stone Importers, LTD.  He served for six years as member of the Board of Director of the West Central Michigan American Red Cross and on the advisory council for the American College of Health Care Executives. He has a long list of publications in a number of academic journals focusing on global business mergers and acquisitions. He published his first book in 2006 in the area of global business with a focus on Mergers and Acquisition in Asia.

Robert Nelson is a former Commissioner of the Michigan Public Service Commission. During his tenure as a Commissioner, he chaired The Telecommunications Committee and two task forces under the auspices of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and testified before three Congressional committees. Following his tenure as Commissioner, he was a shareholder of the firm Fraser Trebilcock, Davis and Dunlap for five years, specializing in energy and telecommunications law and representing non-profit organizations including Michigan 211, The Heat and Warmth Fund and the Michigan Sustainable Energy Coalition. He taught Energy Law and Regulation at the Michigan State University College of Law for three years.  Mr. Nelson received his B.A. from Wayne State University and his J.D. from the University of Michigan. After law school, he was employed by the Federal Communications Commission, the Ingham County Prosecutor's office and the Michigan Public Service Commission as Director of Policy. He headed the Michigan Electric and Gas Association for 11 years before his appointment to the MPSC.  Mr. Nelson has served on numerous boards and commissions, including the Lansing Branch of the ACLU and the Capital Area Community Action Agency. At the ACLU, he has co-chaired the Education and Outreach Committee and has moderated panels on privacy and sentencing guidelines.

Kay Perry has served, since 1989, as volunteer Executive Director of the Michigan Chapter of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants (MI-CURE), a grassroots criminal justice reform organization. The majority of its 3,000+ members are incarcerated; the remainder are largely family members and friends of persons who are incarcerated. She has co-authored self-help literature and regularly provides advice and assistance by answering mail and phone calls. She also served as the Chair of National CURE for 12 years and designed a leadership training program for CURE, which she continues to present from time to time. She has been very active with the League of Women Voters, serving for five years as President of the Kalamazoo Area League. She is the primary author of the LWVMI's biennial Citizen Access to Government Report Card, which was published for the sixth time in 2009. She has served as a board member and volunteer mediator with the Kalamazoo and Barry Counties Dispute Resolution Center.

Portia Roberson was born and raised in the City of Detroit. She is a graduate of Cass Technical High School. She received her B.A. in English from the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and law degree from Wayne State University. Ms. Roberson currently serves as the Group Executive of Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity for the City of Detroit. Prior to her current role, she served as Corporation Counsel for the City of Detroit.

Upon graduation from law school, Ms. Roberson established a private practice specializing in criminal defense law. In 2002, she joined the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office as an Assistant Prosecutor. She began as a trial courtroom prosecutor and eventually served as a principal in the community prosecution unit. In 2004, Ms. Roberson became Associate General Counsel at the Detroit Medical Center. In 2009, Ms. Roberson was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the Director of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Liaison for the United States Department of Justice. During her tenure with the Obama Administration, she also served as the Detroit Lead of Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2), an initiative of the White House Domestic Policy office.

Ms. Roberson is a member of various professional organizations including the Wolverine Bar Association. She was previously a member of the National Black Prosecutors Association, the Recorders’ Court Bar Association and the Women Lawyers Association of Michigan. She serves as the Chair of the City of Detroit Police and Fire Pension Board and is the first African-American Woman ex-officio to hold the position. Within the community, Ms. Roberson is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated (Detroit Alumnae Chapter) and the Detroit Chapter of Links, Incorporated. She serves on the board of Habitat for Humanity and Delta Manor. She is also a regular guest on WDIV’s Sunday morning news show, Flashpoint.

Noel J. Saleh, Representative to the National Board, is an attorney in private practice; specializing in civil liberties and immigration law. He is recognized nationally as a leading immigrant advocate. He has successfully challenged “secret evidence” and “special interest” cases. Noel is the immediate past president of the ACCESS and has served on the ACCESS Board since 1989. From January 2002 until October of 2005, Noel was the Post 9/11, Safe and Free Project Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Michigan. Noel took a sabbatical from his private law practice to help the ACLU outreach to the Arab, Muslim and South Asian communities and coordinate legal work in the wake of 9/11. His responsibilities included community education and outreach as well as development of litigation (in coordination with the ACLU national office) to challenge some of the most restrictive provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act and other assaults on civil liberties. He was lead counsel in the ACLU lawsuit which challenged the State of Michigan’s participation in MATRIX; the Multi-State Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange. He is also a member of the ACLU legal team which filed the first direct constitutional challenge to Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. Noel brings a long history of community involvement.  He has served on the Boards of the National Immigration Forum (NIF); the Rights Working Group; Palestine Aid Society of America; American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; National Lawyers Guild; the Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit and as a member of the Michigan Advisory Committee to the U. S. Civil Rights Commission. He lives in Washtenaw County. 

Lisa Schmidt, Secretary, is an attorney in private practice in Southfield, Michigan. She has operated her practice, Schmidt Law Services, PLLC, since 2011. Before that time she practiced in Berrien County, Michigan. She attended Michigan State University where she graduated with Highest Honors from the College of Arts and Letters, and Thomas M. Cooley Law School where she graduated magna cum laude. Lisa is also happy to serve on the Affirmations Faith Alliance in Ferndale, Michigan, which helps to unite members of the LGBT community with accepting and supportive congregations of faith, and to volunteer providing pro bono legal services through the Family Law Assistant Project.

Nathan Triplett served as on the East Lansing City Council from 2007-2015 and as Mayor from 2013-2015. At 30, he was the youngest Mayor in East Lansing's history. He also served on the Michigan Municipal League's (MML) Board of Trustees and was elected Vice President and President of the Board. Triplett was a prolific and progressive local legislator. He authored East Lansing's first-in-the-state ordinance conditioning economic development incentives on the use of green building practices, as well as East Lansing's Local Purchasing Preference Policy, Other Eligible Individual Benefits Policy, Equal Benefits Ordinance, and an ordinance mandating that landlords distribute voter registration forms and information to tenants in East Lansing. During Nathan's tenure on the City Council, East Lansing became the first Michigan city to earn a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index.

Today, Triplett serves on the Board of Directors of the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA), the MSU James Madison College Alumni Association, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, and the ACLU of Michigan. He is a Past President of the Rotary Club of East Lansing and currently serves as a Rotary Assistant Governor in District 6360. He is also very involved as a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America. Nathan is a recipient of the Governor's Service Award, the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce's 10 Over the Next 10 Award, the GLSEN Pathfinder Award, the Michigan State University Distinguished Young Alumni Award, and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing's inaugural Civic Leadership Award. Triplett graduated from Michigan State University's James Madison College in 2006 with degrees in Political Theory/Constitutional Democracy and Social Relations. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and a Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. Nathan works as Political Director for Equality Michigan. He lives in East Lansing with his wife, Sarah, and son, Teddy.

Daniel Varner has served as Chief Executive Officer of Excellent Schools Detroit since 2011. Excellent Schools Detroit is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that every child in Detroit has an excellent education. Prior to that time, Dan was a program officer with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In this role, he worked with the Education and Learning team to develop programming priorities, identifying and nurturing opportunities to affect positive change within communities. His responsibilities included reviewing and recommending proposals for funding, conducting site visits and maintaining strong relationships with grant seekers and external partners. He managed and monitored a portfolio of active grants, providing technical assistance to grantees on model development, partnership negotiations, leadership capacity building and coaching. He has also served as chief executive officer for the youth development organization Think Detroit Police Athletic League (Think Detroit PAL), which he co-founded as Think Detroit in 1996. Earlier in his career, he worked as an attorney in Detroit, Michigan, at the Federal Defender Office and with Sachs, Waldman, O'Hare, Helveston, Bogas & McIntosh, PC. He earned both a bachelor's degree in history and a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan. Dan has won numerous awards for public service, and currently serves on the board of directors at Think Detroit PAL and the Michigan Fitness Foundation. He has three children, and lives in Wayne County.