ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest nonprofit progressive advocacy organization, announced Monday that Executive Director Ian Silverii will step down sometime in the coming months.
"It's time for me to step out of the spotlight" and let someone from the progressive community step in, he said. "It's been fun to be the tip of the spear for the professional left," Silverii told Colorado Politics Monday.
Silverri joined ProgressNow as executive director in June, 2016. ProgressNow, which was founded in Colorado by Michael Huttner, has affiliates in 23 states.
“Since our founding all the way back in 2003, ProgressNow Colorado has played a central role in the evolution of this state not just from red to blue, but into an example of a cohesive and functional progressive movement that achieves tangible, long term results,” Silverii said in a ProgressNow statement Monday. “Over the last four and a half years, I’m proud to have assembled a team of some of the best digital organizing, video production, and political communications professionals to be found anywhere in the commercial or nonprofit sectors."
ProgressNow Colorado Board Chairwoman Leticia Martinez added that under Silverii's leadership, "we’ve been able to completely redefine our organization’s role in progressive advocacy in Colorado, and the results speak for themselves. Whether our brand is on the work product or we’re providing logistical and creative support for partner grassroots activists behind the scenes, we’ve never been more successful at our core mission of promoting progressive solutions to community problems and holding conservatives accountable than these past few years. We’re grateful to Ian for all he’s done to make this organization into the powerhouse it is today and are excited to find someone who can fill his massive shoes.”
A native of New Jersey, Silverii holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Rutgers. He became active in Colorado politics in 2008 as a legislative aide in the Colorado House. Between 2010 and 2016, he held a variety of roles with the House Democratic caucus, including media relations, as legislative director and as chief of staff to Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder. He also worked on the state party's House Majority Project, including as executive director in 2014.
Silverii told Colorado Politics he's most proud of taking the organization, "three white dudes with beards, two of whom named Ian," and turning it into a 13-member diverse group. Under his leadership the organization added video marketing, trainings and outreach, and content creation.
He cites as his proudest work being able to unify the activist world, including new activists after the 2016 election. "We built a sturdy bridge between the activist and advocacy worlds." He also pointed to ProgressNow's work, along with numerous other activists, to take down Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, who lost his re-election bid last November. That included the creation of "Cardboard Cory," a cutout featured at town halls and bus tours all over the state, in an effort to reinforce Gardner's lack of engagement with voters.
Silverii said he plans spend more time with his one-year-old son, Davis, whose mom is state Sen. Brittany Pettersen, D-Lakewood. Silverii pointed out that Davis was born in an election year and just before the start of a pandemic.
ProgressNow announced it will undertake a nationwide search process for the next executive director. Silverii added that he will stay on to help the next executive director get settled into the job before announcing an official departure date.