What is leadership? Is it a quality you can learn, develop and re-think as required? The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Los Angeles-based philanthropist David Bohnett think so. Since 2002, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute, in collaboration with the David Bohnett Foundation, has sent 91 outstanding LGBT leaders to the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program for intensive leadership and skills building to learn how to better serve their communities.
On Tuesday, July 10, the Victory Institute announced a new grant of $800,000 for the Institute’s David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellows program. “So much is at stake for the next wave of LGBT leaders, and the Leadership Fellows program reflects this pivotal period,” David Bohnett said in a press release. “It empowers LGBT leaders who are making a difference in the world—it hones their skills and furthers their leadership potential.”
Bohnett was in the news recently as NPR explored how President Obama’s re-election campaign took in almost $9 million – much from gay donors – in the three days after Obama announced he supports same sex marriage.
“People who may have sat on the sidelines are now coming out in full force as a result of the president’s and the administration’s support for marriage equality,” Bohnett told NPR’s Ari Shapiro. “There’s no question about that.” (Click here for the full NPR story.)
San Francisco Treasurer Jose Cisneros, a 2006 Fellow, says of the experience:
It is a unique, fantastic opportunity that the Bohnett Foundation is offering folks. To be able to be as successful as we can possible be, even makes each of us, individually, more successful and makes our community more successful.
”We’re grateful for the David Bohnett Foundation’s strong commitment to helping Victory grow the leadership potential of the LGBT community,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Institute. “This gift will help us expand and deepen the Bohnett Leadership Fellows program, and that will pay huge dividends as these leaders go on to brilliant careers in public service.”
Graduates of the program include some of the country’s top LGBT political talents, including Houston Mayor Annise Parker, New York State Sen. Tom Duane, Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez and several leaders from California. For more information on the David Bohnett LGBT Leadership Fellows program, visit here.
The Victory Fund is also holding its 28th annual LGBT International Leadership Conference in Long Beach this year from Nov. 29 through Dec. 2 for “training, skills building, networking and discussion of key issues facing out leaders and their communities.” This is open to everyone to learn from the 1000+ officials expected to attend – especially important post-election. They are offering an Early Bird Special registration right now for $195 for the three days. Click here to see the agenda and read a message from Conference Chair John A. Perez, the openly gay Speaker of the California Assembly.
You can follow the Bohnett Foundation on Twitter: @DavidBohnettFdn.