Dan Weinberg’s passion is social justice. Perhaps it was only a matter of time before he would find himself heading up an organization that exclusively addresses social justice.
While serving in the Montana State Senate from 2005 to 2009, Weinberg became aware of some important issues in Montana’s criminal justice system. Several incarcerated people had been found to be innocent in Montana. Also, for 19 years the State Crime Lab had been giving false testimony involving forensic hair analysis. Upon doing some research on these and other topics, he learned about the Innocence Network, a nationwide group of local organizations that work to exonerate the innocent and reform criminal justice policy. Since Montana had no such organization, Weinberg founded the Montana Innocence Project (MTIP) in 2008 and has served as the MTIP Board President since that time.
Joining with Jessie McQuillan, MTIP’s founding executive director, MTIP established a home in several vacant offices in the University of Montana School of Law. The location was perfect as an important part of MTIP’s mission is to instruct university students on how to do this important work. MTIP works with students from the schools of law, journalism, criminal justice, social work and paralegal studies. They provide vital help in screening and investigating cases.
Weinberg had a life before founding MTIP and becoming its board president. With his life-long interest in social justice, he joined the United States Peace Corps and served two years in Kenya. After Kenya, he lived in Southern Spain for four years, writing article about travel, economics and politics in Spain, North Africa and West Africa.
With travel out of his system, Weinberg returned to the U.S. and eventually earned a MA in Counseling, a MA in Clinical Psychology and a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. He worked in many clinical settings, the first of which was the maximum security section of a California prison. He later worked in child and family therapy as well as the University of California-Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento.
Moving to Montana in 2000, Weinberg began work on the Wave, a non-profit aquatic and fitness facility in Whitefish. Taking the lead role raising funds and planning the Wave, he opened it for business in February of 2005. He remains on their Board of Directors. The facility has a membership over 6000.
Weinberg wanted to save the best for last: In May 2016 his first grandchild was born, Owen Daniel Weinberg. He also is a proud father of his son, Zachary, daughter, Abigail, and daughter-in-law Amy.