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March 6, 2017

AUSTIN – American Gateways is pleased to announce that, effective today, Rebecca Lightsey will take the helm of the organization as permanent Executive Director. Rebecca brings decades of experience in Austin nonprofit leadership to the organization, having previously served as Executive Director of Texas Appleseed and SafePlace (now SAFE Alliance), and Interim Executive Director of Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas.

Rebecca has worked with vulnerable populations, including the immigrant community, throughout her career. At Texas Appleseed, she helped change laws and policies around financial practices on immigrant banking and remittances and also undertook a major project focusing accessibility of mental health care in immigration detention facilities. She has also previously worked with migrant farmworkers in the Rio Grande Valley.

Rebecca holds a B.A. and J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin and has won several public service awards including the J. Chrys Dougherty Legal Services Award and the TX Outstanding Public Servant Award.

“I am delighted to be joining one of the premier organizations championing the rights of refugees and immigrants in Central Texas,” says Lightsey. “Having spent my career working with vulnerable families and individuals, I am honored to now be working with American Gateways, which does the critically important work of protecting human rights and dignity every day. This strong, vibrant organization is more important today than ever. I look forward to working with the strong staff and dedicated board and volunteers to serve our neighbors in need.”

Reed Jackson, American Gateways’ Board President stated: “On behalf of American Gateways’ Board of Directors, we wholeheartedly thank Robert Painter for his remarkable service as Interim Executive as we welcome Rebecca. Over the last year, Robert was faced with a number of unprecedented challenges. In each instance, he executed our mission with thoughtfulness, precision, and compassion. We are so grateful for his service and look forward to working with him in his new role as Director of Pro Bono Programs & Communications.”

American Gateways is excited to welcome Rebecca to the team.

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