Maxim Thorne

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Maxim Thorne
Maxim thorne hrc sized.jpg
Senior Vice President of the NAACP
In office
October 1, 2008 – Incumbent
Personal details
Born November 24, 1974
Georgetown, Guyana
Nationality American

Maxim Thorne is an American writer, philanthropist and civil rights advocate, who teaches Philanthropy in Action at Yale College, Yale Law School and Yale School of Management. He is the founder of JusticeInvestor, the very first litigation finance company to crowdfund environmental and social justice cases where investors take a stake in the proceeds of plaintiffs' recoveries. "JusticeInvestor's market solution to environmental and social justice violations will finally begin to fix our broken legal system - we are David versus Goliath - and bad acting defendants can no longer believe that they can outspend and outlast even the most meritorious claims just because they are rich and have litigation insurance."

He served as a senior leader for the NAACP.[1][2] He was instrumental in establishing the first LGBT Task Force at the NAACP's Centennial Convention in 2009, and later was the first to tweet on May 19, 2012 that " The NAACP Board of Directors has just endorsed marriage equality unequivocally. Only two opposed! An historic moment." The NAACP endorsement came just days after President Obama also endorsed same sex marriage. Thorne helped argue Abbott v. Burke on behalf of Head Start and the NAACP.[3][4][5]

Early life[edit]

Thorne was born in Georgetown, Guyana on November 24, 1964, but spent his early years in Nassau, Bahamas attending St. Thomas Moore's Primary School, until he was 10 and then returned to Guyana where he attended St. Margaret's Primary School and then Queen's College.[6] His mother, who is of mixed Indian and Chinese descent, met his father, who is also multi-ethnic (Black, Scottish, Indian and Chinese); while in Georgetown, Guyana. He immigrated to the United States in 1984.

He is the great grandson of Alfred Athiel Thorne ((A. A. Thorne) Barbados August 14, 1871 - April 23, 1956), one of the first blacks to earn a masters degree from a British University[1] who founded the first high school (Middle School, Georgetown) for African boys and girls in 1892, and was active in his advocacy for education and labor equality issues.


Maxim Thorne holds a bachelor's degree with cum laude honors in economics and political science [6][6][7] from Yale College[1] and a JD from Yale Law School.[8] He won every oratory and rhetoric prize at Yale, and won or was nominated for many others including the Mellon Fellowship, Coggins Fellowship, Rhodes Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship and Yale in China Fellowship.

Thorne attended Queens College in Georgetown, Guyana from 1976–1983, for secondary school where, winning Best All-Round Student Award.[9]


Thorne's career has focused on philanthropy and both corporate law and litigation, with a significant commitment to educational opportunity and social justice.[10][11] For spring term of 2012, he teaches Philanthropy in Action at Yale College, Yale Law School and Yale School of Management.One innovation is that his students give away [ $100,000 at the end of each semester. He has interviewed notable philanthropists including Mimi Gardner Gates, Harry Belafonte, Julian Bond, Donna Dubinsky, Bruce Cohen, Jesse Fink, Liesel Pritzker among others.

Thorne has led the Paley Center for Media's (where he served as Executive Vice President) and the NAACP's national fundraising and communications efforts during its Centennial Year and its National Corporate Headquarters on Bryant Park in New York City. He oversaw a $1,000,000 gift from Tyler Perry, the movie mogul.[12][13][14][15]

Thorne was active in the 2008 Obama presidential campaign, serving on the Finance and Policy Committees, LGBT Leadership Council and African American Leadership Council. He resigned from the LGBT Council after a personal email flap criticizing the Clinton campaign became public.[16][17] Currently, Thorne is Senior Vice President of the NAACP. Prior to that, he was CEO of Brooklyn Child and Family Services, that provided comprehensive social services to children and families.

Thorne founded Weekend Renewing America's Promise (WRAP), a nonpartisan training retreat, which brings together business and other leaders from around the globe to discuss important issues of the day.

Previously he served at Human Rights Campaign and Human Rights Campaign Foundation the nation’s largest LBGT civil rights organization as the Chief Operating Officer and Vice President.[18]

Formerly, Thorne was Executive Director of New Jersey Head Start, an association of all the Head Start programs in New Jersey. While at the NJHSA, he oversaw the implementation of Abbott v. Burke, the New Jersey Supreme Court decision that mandated parity in funding and Whole School Reform. Thorne had represented Head Start, the New Jersey NAACP State Conference and daycare centers in the Supreme Court Abbott v. Burke litigation [19] while he worked at Passaic County Legal Aid Society.[20] For its efforts, he and the agency recently won the first annual Lawyer as Problem Solver Award of the American Bar Association.[21]

Thorne has also worked at Goldman Sachs, Wachtel Lipton Rosen and Katz, and Lowenstein Sandler Fisher Kohl and Boylan, as well as for the Federated States of Micronesia, serving as a representative for Micronesia to the UN Convention on Climate Change, UN Convention on Biological Diversity, UN Convention of Population, UN Convention on Small Island Developing States, and the Law of the Sea Conference.

He is the founder of Weekend Renewing America’s Promise (WRAP), which serves as a non-partisan training retreat for leaders from diverse fields.[22]


  1. ^ a b c "NAACP press release". 2011-03-29. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  2. ^ "Metro Weekly". Metro Weekly. 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  3. ^ "A Truce in New Jersey's School War - New York Times". 2002-02-09. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Newlin, Eliza (2010-08-02). "National Journal Online - Education Experts - Contributor Profile". Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  6. ^ a b c "PROGRAM.indd" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  7. ^ "AYA Blue Print :: Black Alumni Gather in New York". 2005-06-17. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  8. ^ "The League". Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  9. ^ "Directory of Guyanese on the Internet". 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  10. ^ http://www.encyclo
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Baltimore Sun Home". Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  13. ^ Keith, Amy (2009-11-24). "Tyler Perry Donates $1 Million to NAACP - Good Deeds, Tyler Perry". Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  14. ^ "Article Details". Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "'Live with Dan Abrams' for March 12 - msnbc tv - Morning Joe -". MSNBC. 2008-03-13. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  17. ^ Akanimo Uwan. "National Journal". Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  18. ^ BBC News[dead link]
  19. ^ "Poverty Law". Poverty Law. 2002-02-22. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  20. ^ "Italian Voice endorses Maxim Thorne". 2002-03-21. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  21. ^ James, George (2002-12-15). "NY Times". NY Times. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  22. ^ "WRAP website". Retrieved 2011-04-29. 

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