Sunday, April 13, 2008

Wingspan Names Jason Cianciotto New Executive Director

The Wingspan Board of Directors is pleased to announce that it has selected Jason Cianciotto as Wingspan's new executive director. His selection was the result of an extensive search conducted by a board-appointed search committee, comprised of community, staff and board members. Their national outreach resulted in 21 candidates and three finalists. Jason's tenure begins on April 16; a public reception to welcome him will be held May 15, 5- 7 pm at Wingspan.

"Jason brings to Wingspan tremendous national LGBT policy and advocacy experience. We are confident that his vision and leadership will result in a deepening of our impact on the community, regionally and across the country," says Carol Lohmann, Wingspan board president.

Prior to joining Wingspan, Jason was employed by the Washington, DC-based National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (the Task Force), where he was research director of the Task Force's Policy Institute in New York City. Jason is a nationally recognized expert on public policy issues affecting LGBT populations. He has written and published a variety of reports and studies, including several on LGBT youth, Hispanic and Latino/a same-sex couple families, and marriage equality. Jason served as a primary spokesperson for the Task Force at press conferences, before legislative bodies, and in LGBT and mainstream media.

Jason brings a personal connection to Wingspan, as a former member of the youth group and one of Wingspan's first employees and grant writers. He is also an alum of the University of Arizona, where he earned a master's degree in public administration.

"Tucson is the community that mentored and inspired me to make the pursuit of equality for LGBT people my life's work," says Jason. "I understand the role Wingspan plays in changing the lives of LGBT people not only in Southern Arizona, but also throughout the country. The personal impact Wingspan had on my life, combined with my professional experience, is part of the foundation that forms my passion, vision and commitment to Wingspan. What an honor and privilege it is to come home to Wingspan and give back to a community that has given so much to me."

Wingspan celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2008, making it one of the most established LGBT centers in the country. It has more than doubled in size over the past seven years, to a staff of 20 employees, 300 volunteers, a budget of $1.2 million, and more than 20,000 individuals served each year. Wingspan offers a range of programs -- anti-violence, health and wellness, youth and family-focused -- that are responsive to a diverse community.

"Since May 2007, the organization has been in transition," says Carol. "We used this period -- a pivotal time in our development -- to assess the organization. This led us to develop new strategic initiatives that not only strengthen and enhance existing programs, but also provide a vision for future growth."

"I am inspired by the work the staff, volunteers and board have done during this interim period," says Jason. "Their collective knowledge, effort and commitment to Wingspan is part of the reason I chose to return home to this organization and community."

"This is an exciting time for the LGBT and allied community," says Carol. "There has been much progress toward achieving Wingspan's mission of freedom, equality, safety and well-being for LGBT people - and there are still challenges to achieving that mission. Wingspan is well-poised to be a catalyst for change over the next 20 years. Jason brings the energy, experience, and passion to advance our mission and lead us through this new chapter in our history."

The Board of Directors extends its thanks and appreciation to the people who served on the search committee: Cynthia Garcia, Joyce Bolinger, Ken Godat, Alan Taylor, Carol Galper, Alison Davison, Luanne Withee, Madeline Porta, Sarah Jones, and Carlos Torres.

No comments: