Ellen Samuel first became involved with ACLU-NJ while working to defeat anti-abortion legislation in Trenton. As a retired executive director of Planned Parenthood of Middlesex County with ten years of experience running private abortion facilities, Ellen joined the ACLU-NJ board in 1995. She served as Board President for 10 years from 1999 until 2009. It was under Ellen's leadership, working in concert with board and staff, that ACLU-NJ more than doubled its membership and dramatically increased fundraising to initiate civil liberties advocacy programs that would rise to the challenges of the times, particularly in post-September 11 America.
In the reproductive rights arena, Ellen founded the statewide Choice New Jersey coalition and was the representative for Women's Rights on the Florio Roundtable. Pro-choice advocacy was a perfect fit with Ellen's other interests including privacy, racial justice and LGBT issues.
Ellen has two daughters, Mimi Samuel a professor of Law at Seattle University, and Joanne Goldblum the founder and President of The Diaper Bank, a charity providing diapers to low income women. Ellen has an MSW from Rutgers University and an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts from Kean College.