The board cochairs of the Human Rights Campaign and the HRC Foundation on Thursday announced the promotion of Winnie Stachelberg to serve in the organization's newly created position of vice president of its foundation. Stachelberg previously served as political director of HRC. The appointment is effective immediately. "We know that to maximize our effectiveness in the political arena, we must change hearts and minds in America," said HRC interim executive director Hilary Rosen. "To pave the way for victories in Congress, statehouses, and the ballot box, we must also win at the water coolers, kitchen tables, and places of worship across the country. Choosing Winnie to expand HRC's work in this way illustrates a real commitment to working beyond the Beltway. She is uniquely qualified to bring our public education and outreach efforts to a new level."
According to a statement from HRC, one of Stachelberg's primary tasks will be to launch a Religion Project to research and develop language and messages to more effectively discuss gay issues with people of faith. The project will build and strengthen relationships with faith-based organizations and cultivate spokespeople; create forums for dialogue; and develop and implement strategies to challenge the extremism of the religious right. In addition, Stachelberg will establish a think tank to greatly expand the research capabilities and knowledge base on gay issues. She will also lead the
foundation's ground-breaking work in corporate equality and family services, broaden the National Coming Out Project, develop programming for a straight allies project, and increase educational efforts around GLBT health issues and HIV and AIDS.
Stachelberg's promotion is part of a comprehensive restructuring at HRC, said spokesman Steven Fisher. Several top-level departments at HRC have been reorganized under a new Policy and Strategy division. Communications, political operations, the Marriage Project, and legal policy will now be overseen by a new vice president of policy and strategy. Former HRC communications director David Smith has returned to the organization to head up the new policy and strategy division, after a one-year stint as spokesman for Massachusetts senator Ted Kennedy. Fisher said the restructuring is "about making the organization leaner and meaner and more efficient."