Gay rights activist Jennings to lead social justice group


Longtime gay rights activist Kevin Jennings has been hired to lead The Arcus Foundation, a leading global foundation on social justice and conservation issues.

The foundation announced the appointment of Jennings as executive director in a news release on July 13. He starts work there in September.

Jennings currently is the CEO of Be the Change, Inc., where he was instrumental in launching the “Opportunity Nation” campaign to promote economic opportunity and social mobility in the United States.

“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. “His qualifications and lifelong commitment to the work and values that are at the core of Arcus make him a natural and compelling choice.”

“I have had tremendous exposure to and admiration for the Arcus Foundation’s work since its founding 12 years ago,” Jennings said in a news release. “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.”

Jennings has served as assistant deputy secretary of education under President Barack Obama.

He also founded and led the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students and educators. 

Prior to founding GLSEN, Jennings taught high school history at the Moses Brown School in Providence, R.I., and at Concord Academy in Concord, Mass., where he was the faculty advisor of America’s first gay-straight alliance.

Jennings also was instrumental in promoting gay history month in October.