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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 13 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 28
Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund gets $800K donation
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Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund gets $800K donation

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Millionaire technology mogul David Bohnett has donated $800,000 to the Victory Fund, the group announced July 10.

The donation will help the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Institute continue to train Gay and Lesbian public officials.

Institute CEO Chuck Wolfe said Bohnett's money 'will help us expand and deepen the Bohnett Leadership Fellows program, and that will pay huge dividends as these leaders go on to brilliant careers in public service.'

'So much is at stake for the next wave of LGBT leaders, and the Leadership Fellows program reflects this pivotal period,' Bohnett said in a statement released by the Victory Fund.

'It empowers LGBT leaders who are making a difference in the world - it hones their skills and furthers their leadership potential.'

The Victory Fund program named for Bohnett is an intensive three-week course at the John F. Kennedy School of Government (aka Harvard Kennedy School) designed for senior-level executives working with state and local governments - including appointed officials, nonprofit leaders, and elected officeholders.

Graduates of the program include some of the country's top LGBT political leaders, including Houston Mayor Annise Parker, New York State Sen. Tom Duane, Dallas Sheriff Lupe Valdez, and San Francisco Treasurer Jose Cisneros.

'It is a unique, fantastic opportunity that the Bohnett Foundation is offering folks,' Cisneros told NPR. 'To be able to be as successful as we can possible be, even makes each of us, individually, more successful and makes our community more successful.'

Among the 2011 graduates are four state legislators, three directors of nonprofit agencies, two city council members, a fire chief, an airport manager, and a civil rights attorney.

Bohnett is also a major donor to President Obama's reelection campaign.

'People who may have sat on the sidelines are now coming out in full force as a result of the president's and the administration's support for marriage equality,' Bohnett told NPR reporter Ari Shapiro. 'There's no question about that.'

Bohnett was one of the founders of GeoCities, a media and e-marketing company subsequently bought by Yahoo. He has also been involved with NetZero, LowerMyBills, and PlanetOut.

He currently lives in California and New York with his partner, radio personality and Huffington Post blogger Tom Gregory.

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