21st Century Fellows group photo

Inaugural Cohort of 21st Century Fellows Announced

Increasing diversity in the movement for gay and lesbian equality

22 leaders have been selected to take part in a year-long leadership development program for people of color managers at LGBT organizations.

The Pipeline Project announced the selection of 22 individuals who will participate in a year-long leadership development program for people of color managers at lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organizations. The group is the inaugural cohort of the 21st Century Fellows Program, a $450,000 initiative underwritten by the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, the Arcus Foundation and the Gill Foundation.

Each of the fellows named today is a manager at an LGBT organization that is a current grantee of the Haas Jr. Fund, Arcus Foundation or the Gill Foundation. The fellows include 20 managers from U.S. LGBT organizations and two from Africa.           

The program, managed by the Pipeline Project, in collaboration with the Haas, Jr. Fund’s Flexible Leadership Investment Program and Rockwood Leadership Institute, is aimed at bringing more diversity to the leadership of the LGBT movement.

“The plain truth is that our movement’s leadership has not reflected the real diversity of our community, and that has limited both our reach and effectiveness as a force for justice and equality,” said Matt Foreman, director of gay and immigrant rights programs at the Haas, Jr. Fund.           

“One reason for this deficiency is that we have not done a good job in retaining and sustaining people who have committed themselves to a career in the movement.” said Roz Lee, who leads the Arcus Foundation’s Racial Justice, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Program. “This initiative will support these outstanding individuals in their leadership roles and is just one part in building an ever-larger community of leaders of color for and within the LGBT movement.”   

“Through this program, leaders of LGBT organizations will have access to a wide range of leadership development supports intended to help them advance in their careers and become stronger leaders,” said Katherine Peck, Vice President of National Programs at the Gill Foundation. 

The inaugural program will run from October 2009 to September 2010. All Fellows will participate in a residential five-day leadership retreat kicking off the program, as well as three additional multi-day retreats during the year. During the retreats, Fellows will engage in a 360-degree assessment process, skills training and team-building exercises, and peer learning opportunities. Fellows also will be matched with experienced consultants who will help them design individual leadership development plans.            

“We are incredibly excited about this program,” said Clarence Patton, the Pipeline Project’s Director. “This program both acknowledges the excellence and accomplishments of the Fellows, as well as the commitment of their organizations and the program’s funders to honoring that excellence and furthering those accomplishments.”           


About the Pipeline Project

The Pipeline Project works to achieve significantly increased levels of diversity within LGBT advocacy and service organizations and in the leadership of those organizations with a program that focuses on: recruitment and retention of diverse talent for LGBT organizations; mechanisms, programs and strategies to advance people of color to leadership positions within LGBT organizations; and strategies to prepare LGBT organizations for significant levels of diversity and inclusion.            

About the Flexible Leadership Investment Program

The Flexible Leadership Investment Program, a project of the Tides Center, was established by the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund to provide leadership development support to the organizations that are critical to the work the Haas, Jr. Fund cares about. The FLI provides consulting, training, peer learning opportunities and other support to strengthen the leadership capacity of staff and boards of organizations that receive the Fund’s Flexible Leadership Awards, Leadership Capacity Grants and other leadership investments.            

About Rockwood Leadership Institute

The Rockwood Leadership Institute was founded in 2000 to provide individuals, organizations and networks in the social benefit sector with powerful and effective training in leadership and collaboration. Each year Rockwood delivers its programs to more than 250 national leaders working in important grassroots and policy reform sectors that help improve the well-being of our communities and world. Rockwood teaches skills and tools that help these leaders overcome organizational challenges; inspire and align individuals and organizations toward producing quality outcomes; develop collaborative skills; decrease "burn-out"; and create organizations that celebrate sustainability and diversity.

About the Haas, Jr. Fund

The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund is a private family foundation established by Evelyn D. Haas and Walter A. Haas, Jr. that has awarded more than $332 million in grants since its founding in 1953. The Fund is located in San Francisco, California. The Fund strives to contribute in meaningful and effective ways at the local, state and national levels to create a just and caring society where all people are able to live, work and raise their families with dignity.

About the Arcus Foundation

Founded in 2000, the mission of the Arcus Foundation is to achieve social justice that is inclusive of sexual orientation, gender identity and race, and to ensure conservation and respect of the great apes. Arcus Founder and President Jon L. Stryker and board members Cathy J. Cohen, Daniel Schwartz and Darren Walker lead the organization. Urvashi Vaid is the Foundation's Executive Director. The Foundation has offices in Kalamazoo, Michigan; New York City and Cambridge, UK.        

About the Gill Foundation

The Gill Foundation is one of the nation’s largest funders of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights work. The goal of their work is straightforward: to create an America in which all people, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, are treated equally. Over the course of its history, the foundation has invested more than $162 million, including $96 million in grants, to support programs and nonprofit organizations across America that share our commitment to equal rights for all Americans.