Arcus Announces Capacity-Building Initiative for U.S. LGBT Movement

Published: May 22, 2013

NEW YORK, NY (May 22, 2013) –– The Arcus Foundation, a leading global foundation advancing pressing social justice and conservation issues, announced the Arcus LGBT Leadership Initiative, an array of resources to support leaders of the U.S. LGBT movement that will complement the Foundation’s grantmaking. Arcus’ intent is to maximize the caliber, connectedness and impact of the leaders who are advancing LGBT equality in the U.S by enhancing their skills and collaboration.

The first two components of the initiative are mentorship and peer networking support programs for new or early-career executive directors (EDs), details of which were announced today.

Over time, Arcus expects to expand the array of experiences and opportunities available to participants. Richard Burns, a non-profit management consultant who is both a former Arcus Chief Operating Officer and past executive director of New York’s LGBT Community Center, will develop and manage the initiative on behalf of the Foundation.

“History makes clear the fact that effective social justice movements require strong, skilled, collaborative leadership,” said Arcus Executive Director Kevin Jennings. “This investment in the health of the movement and environment in which our grantees are doing their work is material to our shared prospects for success.”
Mentorship and Peer Networking

Arcus will match 10 new or emergent executive directors with mentors who have had successful careers in similar leadership positions. Management coaching will provide participants an opportunity to learn, grow and solve specific problems facing them in their day-to-day work with the benefit of consistent and experienced counsel. Participants will be selected for the yearlong program through an application process that includes interviews. Applications may be made online through June 21. Executive directors and institutions selected to participate will align with the focus of Arcus’ social justice initiatives.

The mentorship program will include a retreat for the ten participants and their mentors to set personal and professional goals, explore shared challenges and begin the development of an ongoing network of peer support.

A second element of the initiative will involve the creation of facilitated executive director support groups in several U.S. cities. This aspect of the initiative will strengthen ties and mutual support among U.S.- based leaders and organizations. Participants will grow professionally from exposure to one another’s management challenges and benefit from the ability to apply the experience and perspective of their peers to problems that they face. Arcus is now in the process of identifying these cities and will announce them later this year.

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