Rising for Justice Leadership News

Dear Rising for Justice Friends and Supporters,

I am writing to share important news: our Executive Director, Grace Lopes, has announced that she is stepping down in June. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to thank Grace for her many invaluable and lasting contributions to Rising for Justice. 

Since joining Rising for Justice (“RFJ”) in late 2019, Grace skillfully led the organization through the many challenges of the pandemic. During her tenure, Grace more than doubled the organization’s budget and expanded the scope and depth of its programs. Thanks to Grace’s leadership, RFJ has strengthened its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and bolstered hiring and professional development practices. Grace also established RFJ’s impact litigation program, increased law school enrollment in the Tenant Justice Program, launched a law firm associate training pilot program, added subsidized summer internships for law students from local HBCUs, and more than tripled the staffing of the organization’s social work program. Notably, at the beginning and height of the pandemic, Grace’s work as an expert appointed by the federal district court in a class action related to COVID-19 mitigation practices served as the basis for emergency relief impacting over one thousand of the District’s prisoners.

Please join me in expressing our sincere gratitude for these and the many other ways Grace has helped RFJ not only survive but thrive during these unprecedented times. We wish her the very best and continued success in the future. 

The Board has engaged the executive search firm LeaderFit to conduct the search for Grace’s successor. We will send another message in the coming weeks with additional details regarding the search.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at hdooley@tandemse.com.

Thank you for your continued generosity and support of Rising for Justice.


Helen Dooley

Board President

A Message from Grace M. Lopes


Thank you for all of your support and partnership during the past several years. It has been a true honor and privilege to work alongside such talented and committed colleagues on our staff and Board of Directors. The work of Rising for Justice is as important as ever, and I believe our future is bright. I look forward to continuing to be a friend to the organization and to each of you. 

My very best,

Grace M. Lopes

See the Executive Director Job Listing at LeaderFit

Position Summary

The Executive Director (ED) is responsible for ensuring RFJ successfully achieves its mission through a clearly defined vision and strategy, a diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizational culture, and best practices in all operational, programmatic, and financial management functions. Reporting to a highly engaged Board of Directors, the ED will lead a 5-member senior team and 30-member staff. The ED also will deepen and expand relationships with community organizations, funders, law schools, the courts, law firms, and other key stakeholders. We are seeking a people-centered leader with a proven ability to create a culture where all staff belong, thrive, and collaborate. Top candidates also must bring a demonstrated commitment to social justice and first-hand experience with the Washington, DC legal services and policy advocacy ecosystem. Active DC Bar membership (or ability to waive-in) is required.