Kevin Jennings
The Arcus Foundation Names Kevin Jennings Executive Director

By Daniel Reynolds

Originally published on Advocate.com July 13 2012 5:09 PM ET

The Arcus Foundation announced today that its new leader is Kevin Jennings, a former Obama adminstration member and the founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network.

Arcus, a global foundation dedicated to conservation and social justice, named Jennings as its executive director. He now serves as CEO of the Cambridge-based nonprofit Be the Change, and will join Arcus in September.

"Kevin brings an impressive set of experiences, skills and accomplishments that are perfectly suited to our goals and complemented by a record of infectious leadership," said Arcus founder and president Jon Stryker in a statement. "His qualifications and lifelong commitment to the work and values that are at the core of Arcus make him a natural and compelling choice."

Prior to Be the Change, Jennings served as assistant deputy secretary to the Department of Education, an appointment by the Obama administration. In this position, he helped organize the first National Bullying Summit and devoted resources to suicide prevention of LGBT Youth and other at-risk populations.

Jennings began his education career as a high school history teacher, and he created the nation’s first Gay-Straight Alliance at the Concord Academy in Massachusetts. He later founded the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), the nation’s leading organization dedicated to ending harassment for all students regardless of sexual orientation. Jennings also served on the Advisory Board of You Can Play, a campaign dedicated to ending homophobia in sports.

An author, Jennings has also written six books on education and LGBT rights, including Telling Tales Out of School, which was awarded a Lambda Literary Award in the Children's/Young Adult category.

"I have had tremendous exposure to and admiration for the Arcus Foundation's work since its founding 12 years ago," said Jennings. "I could not be more excited about joining the team and helping to advance the Foundation's ambitions for justice and humanity, which map so closely to my own."