About Us

Vision and Mission

Our vision is an America where all people can freely and privately support ideas and nonprofits they believe in so that all sides of a debate will be heard, individuals do not face retribution for supporting important causes, and all organizations have the ability to advance their missions because the privacy of their donors is protected.

To achieve that vision, our mission is to pursue a holistic reform strategy to advance federal solutions to codify personal privacy rights nationally; lead a 50-state effort to preserve those rights for all Americans until federal protections are in place; spearhead targeted litigation to fortify and expand landmark First Amendment case law; and equip individual donors with giving strategies to mitigate their exposure. Through broad-based, durable coalitions that represent Americans of all beliefs, we teach citizens and policymakers why donor privacy is essential to public debate about the best ways forward for our country.

Organizational Information

People United for Privacy Foundation, a 501(c)(3) educational organization, and People United for Privacy, a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization, were founded in 2018. We are based in Washington, D.C.

People United for Privacy Foundation Board Members

Starlee Coleman, Texas Public Charter Schools Association
Daniel Erspamer, Pelican Institute for Public Policy
Brad Gruber, Forge Leadership Network
Shayne Madsen, Independence Institute

People United for Privacy Board Members

Starlee Coleman, Texas Public Charter Schools Association
Brad Gruber, Forge Leadership Network
Christie Herrera, Philanthropy Roundtable
Amy C. Kjose, Kipling Strategies, LLC
Michael J. Reitz, Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Our Team

Heather Lauer, Chief Executive Officer

Heather brings over 25 years of experience in campaign management, coalition building, communications strategy, digital advocacy, and stakeholder relations to People United for Privacy Foundation. She has served as Chief Executive Officer of the organization since 2018. Heather was the founder and CEO of Villageous LLC, whose clients included prominent public policy campaigns, nonprofit organizations, and high-profile individuals. Previously, she was a partner at DCI Group LLC, a global issues management firm based in Washington, D.C. As a volunteer, donor, and board member for several nonprofit organizations, Heather understands the critical importance of protecting free speech and the privacy of supporters of charities and causes doing important work in communities across the United States. Heather is a graduate of the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University. She divides her time between Washington, D.C. and Hailey, Idaho.

Matt Nese, Vice President

As People United for Privacy Foundation’s Vice President, Matt drives the organization’s day-to-day proactive and defensive legislative strategies in Congress and all 50 states and oversees the organization’s policy and coalition work. Prior to joining PUFPF in January 2022, Matt spent a decade at the Institute for Free Speech as the organization’s Director of External Relations, where he was responsible for the Institute’s legislative, policy, and coalition building activities. Throughout his career, Matt has identified and analyzed hundreds of proposals that infringe upon or promote free political speech and citizen privacy and educated policymakers and national and state-based nonprofits about their impact. His work in this area has earned him a reputation as a nationwide expert on legislative activity pertaining to free speech and association. A Pittsburgh native, Matt is a graduate of The George Washington University and resides in Washington, D.C.

Brian Hawkins, Senior Director of External Affairs

Brian leads People United for Privacy Foundation’s efforts to convene partners in the nonprofit and public policy world to achieve shared goals on citizen privacy and free speech. Prior to joining PUFPF in December 2022, Brian led the external affairs program at Philanthropy Roundtable and managed the free speech policy portfolio at Stand Together Chamber of Commerce. In both positions, he worked extensively on citizen privacy issues. Brian is a veteran of the United States Army where he deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom XIV and served a tour of duty in South Korea. He earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration at George Mason University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Azusa Pacific University. He resides in Washington, D.C.

Dustin Hurst, Senior Director of Development

Dustin Hurst serves as Senior Director of Development for People United for Privacy Foundation, a position he took in early 2023. Prior to joining the team, Dustin served as Vice President and Communication Director for the Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF). His work helped make IFF the most influential public policy voice in the Gem State. During his time there, he served in the same positions for Idaho Freedom Action, a voter engagement organization. Dustin, a graduate of Boise State University, lives in Boise with his wife and three wonderful kids.

Luke Wachob, Senior Director of Communications and Policy

Luke joined People United for Privacy Foundation in October 2022 as Senior Director of Communications and Policy. In this role, Luke handles PUFPF’s media relations and leads the organization’s efforts to provide timely and compelling commentary on donor privacy and free speech issues. Luke previously spent nine years as the Communications Director for the Institute for Free Speech, where he specialized in donor privacy issues and nonprofit advocacy. Originally from Buffalo, New York, Luke holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from James Madison University and resides in Washington, D.C.

Misty Wickizer-Jernigan, Senior Director of Operations

Misty is a seasoned public relations, marketing, and communications professional with over 20 years of experience working in both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. She has worked with clients across multiple industries, including education, real estate, health care, and technology. Misty joined People United for Privacy Foundation in 2017 and serves as the organization’s Senior Director of Operations. A graduate of Arizona State University – West, Misty holds Bachelor’s degrees in Politics and English. A native of Nebraska, Misty resides in Arizona with her husband and their two daughters.

Alex Baiocco, Director of Government Affairs

Alex joined People United for Privacy Foundation in November 2023 as Director of Government Affairs. In this role, Alex develops and executes the organization’s legislative priorities at the state and federal level and works with coalition partners across the country to achieve policy goals. Prior to joining the PUFPF team, Alex spent seven years at the Institute for Free Speech. As a Policy Analyst at the Institute, he provided expertise to lawmakers, partner organizations, the media, and the public on legislation and policy proposals impacting political speech and association rights. Alex graduated from Vanderbilt University with a B.A. in Political Science. After spending several years in Washington, D.C., Alex now resides in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.