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David Bohnett Foundation Announces Major Gift to Boost Openly Gay Leadership

WASHINGTON, May 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A new partnership between the David Bohnett Foundation and the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute (GLLI) will help openly gay public leaders take advantage of one of the nations most prestigious mid-career executive training programs, the two organizations announced today. GLLI also announced the first ten fellows who will benefit from the program.

The program, to be named the David Bohnett Gay & Lesbian Leadership Fellows, is being funded by a $500,000 grant to GLLI. It will offer scholarships to state and local elected and appointed officials in addition to other public leaders who are openly lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Fellows chosen to participate in the program will have been accepted into Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government for three-week summer sessions in its renowned Senior Executives in State and Local Government program.

We are honored by and excited about David Bohnetts commitment to growing the leadership capacity of the LGBT community, said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute (GLLI). This extraordinarily generous gift means our public leaders will be able to develop their leadership skills at the finest educational institutions in the world.

The 2008 Bohnett Leadership Fellows are:

— Dr. Dana Beyer, senior policy advisor, Montgomery County Council, Rockville, Maryland

— Jeremy Bishop, executive director, Pride At Work AFL-CIO, Washington, D.C.

— Spencer Cronk, senior advisor to the deputy commissioner, City of New York

— Henry Fernandez, school board member, Lawrence Township, Indiana

— Robert Gaiser, councilmember, City and County of Broomfield, Colorado

— Evan Low, councilmember, City of Campbell, California

— David Pierce, state representative, New Hampshire House of Representatives

— Gerrie Schipske, councilmember, City of Long Beach, California

— Debra Shore, commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Chicago, Illinois

— Kevin Vaughn, chief of staff to the city manager, City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The David Bohnett Foundation, which promotes social activism as a means to improve society, has long supported GLLIs work to equip openly LGBT leaders for effective leadership. The Foundations executive director, Michael Fleming, said the grant reflects its desire to improve the lives of gays and lesbians through promoting leaders from among that community. GLLIs work is making a difference by ensuring gay people are well represented among the ranks of public leaders in America. But its not enough that leaders are out. Our leaders should also be outstanding, and that means we have to invest in developing their skills, said Fleming.

The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute is a non-partisan, tax-exempt training and executive development organization dedicating to equipping LGBT leaders for success. Each year hundreds of openly LGBT elected, appointed and community officials take advantage of GLLI programs to grow their ability to lead. For more information, visit

SOURCE Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute