Nancy M. Zirkin has long been active in issues involving civil rights. Since 1971, she has worked to advocate public policy that improves the lives of all people by promoting civil and constitutional rights in education, the workplace, housing, voting rights, and the economy. Her efforts to advance civil rights have included grassroots organizing, lobbying members of Congress and state legislators, and personally supporting candidates who believe in equal opportunity and fair treatment for all Americans.
In February 2008, Zirkin became Executive Vice President (EVP) for the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights (LCCHR), the nation's oldest and largest civil and human rights coalition, consisting of more than 210 national organizations. Zirkin led the coalition’s congressional and executive branch lobbying efforts in the defense and promotion of civil and constitutional rights and liberties. She directed, managed, formulated, and coordinated LCCHR’s public policy, communications/media, and grassroots strategy. Zirkin oversaw the expansion of the Leadership Conference’s public policy department to more effectively promote the policy goals of the coalition and its member organizations. She stepped down as EVP in 2017, and currently serves as senior advisor.
Before coming to LCCR, Zirkin served as Director of Public Policy and Government Relations for the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a 150,000-member national organization. She directed, managed, and coordinated the implementation of AAUW’s public policy agenda in Congress and the executive branch by overseeing the legislative, grassroots, and coalition efforts on AAUW priority issues including: civil rights, education, reproductive choice, and work place issues. As well as having been AAUW’s chief lobbyist, in 1995 Zirkin created and directed the AAUW Voter Education Campaign, which reached more than one million women voters during the 2000 election.
Zirkin’s efforts for the advancement of women began when she worked in the women’s rights division for the Muskie for President Campaign. From 1980 to 1985 Zirkin held several positions at AAUW including: coordinator of the ERA ratification campaign and of the Women’s Vote Project. She left AAUW in 1985 to work in the private sector. She returned to AAUW in 1989 as the Campaign for Choice coordinator and became Director of Public Policy and Government Relations in 1992.
Currently, Zirkin is doing strategic consulting with several public interest organizations. As a volunteer, Nancy Zirkin active on several boards including: The National Boys and Girls Clubs of America; The United States Institute of Peace (USIP); The Peace Academy; The Washington National Opera. In addition, she is Chair of the Leadership Council of No Kid Hungry/Share our Strength and Chair of the USIP International Advisory Board.
Previously, Zirkin served on the board of the Wilson Center, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, and The Women’s Campaign Fund. Zirkin continues to be active in several community-based projects.
Nancy is married to Harold Zirkin, an investment adviser in Bethesda, Maryland. They have four children and eleven grandchildren.