Carol Pitchersky, 57; Fundraiser Credited With Saving ACLU

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Carol Pitchersky, 57, whose fundraising skills were credited with saving the American Civil Liberties Union from bankruptcy and establishing several other public-interest groups’ solid financial standing, died of breast cancer Tuesday at her home in Washington, D.C.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and a graduate of New York’s Hunter College, Pitchersky moved to Washington in 1968 to work for J.R. Taft Corp., a fundraiser for nonprofit groups.

From 1972 to 1976, she was development director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and in 1977-78 she helped recruit executives for what was then the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.


She joined the ACLU in 1979 as members and donors were leaving in the wake of the organization’s fight for the right of the Nazi Party to march in Skokie, Ill. -- a Chicago suburb with a large Jewish population, including Holocaust survivors. By the time Pitchersky left as associate director in 1988, she had increased annual donations from $300,000 to $3 million and set the course for the organization’s current endowment of $150 million.

Pitchersky later worked as an independent consultant, helping establish boards of directors and financial networks for such nonprofit groups as Common Cause, Friends of the Earth, the National Abortion Rights Action League, Planned Parenthood and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.