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ADF Announces Next CEO

Kristen Waggoner speaking at an event

ADF Announces Next CEO

Alliance Defending Freedom is pleased to announce that Kristen Waggoner has been named CEO, President, and General Counsel.


ADF is the world’s largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, the sanctity of life, parental rights, and God’s design for marriage and family. Since 2011, ADF has won 14 U.S. Supreme Court cases, including serving on the Mississippi legal team that overturned Roe v. Wade.

In this video, Kristen outlines what ADF is working on in this new season.

A Message From Kristen Waggoner

Growing up, my father was also my school’s principal.

I’d find myself in his office quite a bit. Sometimes because I had gotten in trouble. But most often just because I was waiting for him in the quiet hours before and after school or I wanted to share something that had happened with him.

In those times and throughout my childhood, my dad always pushed me to discover my talents—and then use those talents to honor God. He said I’d waste my life if I didn’t find and pursue God’s purpose for it.

After many of those talks, at the age of 12 or 13, I knew that God was calling me to become a lawyer to protect religious freedom.

As I went from high school to college to law school, I realized why: Religious freedom is our first freedom, and our other liberties are directly connected to it. I wanted to be a part of that—that fight to be able to freely share the Gospel and to ensure my children and future grandchildren can live out their faith.

But when I came to Alliance Defending Freedom in 2013, I never thought I’d one day serve this ministry as CEO, president, and general counsel.

God had other plans.

This is my first week on the job. And as I look to the future, I’m filled with excitement, anticipation, and a deep, solemn resolve.

Even before coming to ADF, I appreciated the ministry’s comprehensive strategy to protect freedom inside and outside the courtroom and legislative halls. That’s not something any organization can accomplish alone. It takes a strong alliance.

I’ve also learned that, with partners like you at our side, God has helped us to have the courage to take on difficult tasks—tasks that others won’t handle because they’re not popular even though they’re right.

Another distinctive of ADF is our mission. We exist to keep the door open for the Gospel. Come what may, we are committed to that mission and to living out the Gospel itself. Like Paul, we are “not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).

God has called on us to take on some challenging issues together. I believe He’s about to call on us do even more—in the midst of a culture that’s lost and increasingly hostile to our core convictions.

I’m also convinced that the next season is going to require courage from you, from me, and from every committed friend of freedom.

How the Lord calls us to be courageous will look different for each of us. But the question is not whether we will have the opportunity to stand—it’s what we will do when those moments come. Will we live out the Gospel?

There is often a cost to standing for freedom, but that cost can result in legal victories—and it always results in eternal ones.

God is not surprised by this moment. Nor is it a coincidence that He called us to live in it. Psalm 90 reminds us that we are like the new grass of morning. While we pass swiftly, we are called to nourish—to plant, to cultivate, to grow —in our season.

I’m incredibly thankful for partners like you who stand with us to protect, preserve, and promote religious freedom, free speech, life, marriage and family, and the rights of parents.

My promise to you is that Alliance Defending Freedom will always run toward the fray, not away from it—and be faithful to Christ in working to keep the door open for His Gospel.

Thank you again for your support. I look forward to serving you and your family as we partner to preserve your fundamental freedoms and God-given rights.

With gratitude,

Kristen Waggoner

Kristen Waggoner
CEO, President & General Counsel