Bil Browning

HRC Names Chad Griffin New Org President

Filed By Bil Browning | March 02, 2012 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Chad Griffin, HRC, Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese, new executive director

The Human Rights Campaign has announced who will replace Joe Solmonese as the org's President. The organization has hired AFER co-founder Chad Griffin.

Damn. I shoulda laid down money on table. Back on Feb 15 in my post "Who Will Be the Next Leader of HRC," Chad-Griffin-Lance-Black.jpgI said I thought American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten would be the org's search committee's first pick. But...

If Weingarten passes, I'd put my money behind Griffin. With Prop 8 wins under his belt, I think he brings a level of gravitas, potential, and respect that organization needs while still being young enough to energize a new crop of LGBT leaders and activists. He looks good on TV, has easy access to political leaders, and he knows how to raise cash quickly.

The Advocate points out that those are exactly the qualifications that landed him the job.

A major fundraiser for the Obama campaign who began his career in the early days of the Clinton White House, Griffin will replace current president Joe Solmonese at the helm of the $40 million organization on June 11...

In its pick of Griffin as president, HRC has chosen someone who was shaped from an early age by Washington political culture yet who is not defined by it, having spent the vast majority of his career outside the Beltway...

In the past, Griffin hasn't shied away from resisting the prevailing strategy of national LGBT groups -- including HRC. Against the public position of HRC and LGBT legal groups, two gay couples represented by AFER's legal team filed the lawsuit against Prop. 8 in May of 2009, based on the argument that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry...

Griffin began his career in the West Wing at age 19, working under Clinton White House press secretary Dee Dee Myers. As a political strategist in Los Angeles, he has waged pro-environmental and anti-tobacco campaigns, the latter with Hollywood director Rob Reiner.

A founding partner in the consulting firm Griffin Schein, Griffin's former business partner, Kristina Schake, was tapped as First Lady Michelle Obama's communications director last year.

The full HRC press release is after the break.

HRC Names Chad Griffin as Organization's New President

Nation's Largest LGBT Rights Group Selects Visionary Leader of Prop. 8 Lawsuit

WASHINGTON - Chad H. Griffin was appointed today as the next president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, by the organization's Board of Directors. Griffin, a national communications and policy strategist, is widely credited for being the mastermind behind the federal lawsuit to overturn California's Proposition 8, which has now been ruled unconstitutional by two federal courts.

Griffin's appointment follows an extensive six month search by the board that included the consideration of over one hundred diverse and extremely well-qualified candidates from the worlds of business, academia and activism. Griffin will assume his new responsibilities on June 11, 2012. Current HRC president Joe Solmonese will continue to lead the organization until that time.

The founding partner of strategic communications and campaign firm, Griffin|Schein, Griffin has taken on entrenched, well-financed interests like Big Tobacco, Big Oil and the far right, and shaped national policy debates around equal rights, clean energy, universal health care, stem cell research, and early childhood education. He has also led groundbreaking ballot initiative campaigns including the largest ballot initiative ever recorded, Proposition 87: California's Clean Alternative Energy Initiative; the Proposition 10 campaign, which generates $600 million a year for early childhood education; and Proposition 71, which secured billions of dollars for stem cell research despite the Bush Administration ban.

Griffin is a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), the sole sponsor of the Prop. 8 lawsuit. He is personally responsible for recruiting the legal dream team of Theodore Olson and David Boies to successfully argue the case. Griffin will remain on the board of directors of AFER.

A veteran of the Clinton White House communications team, and a native of Arkansas, Griffin was highly motivated by young people in taking this new endeavor. "All over this country in big cities and small towns, there are families and young people who long to be accepted for who they are, and who want be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else," said Griffin. "I'm honored by the board's confidence in my ability to lead HRC. While there's no doubt that we've made tremendous progress on the road to equality, we must not forget that millions of LGBT Americans still lack basic legal protections and suffer the consequences of discrimination every day. Today's generation of young people, and each generation hereafter, must grow up with the full and equal protection of our laws, and finally be free to participate in the American dream. As HRC president, I'll approach our work with a great sense of urgency because there are real life consequences to inaction."

HRC Co-Chair Tim Downing and HRC Foundation Co-Chair Sandra Hartness spoke on behalf of their colleagues on the Board of Directors, "We're ecstatic to have someone of Chad's caliber as our next president. His superior credentials and achievements, both as a visionary and strategist, make him uniquely qualified to lead this organization forward. Chad has a proven track record of consistently delivering results during his career. That's something that our community rightly expects and deserves."

With over a million members and supporters, HRC works to secure equal rights for LGBT individuals and families at the local, state and federal levels by mobilizing grassroots supporters, lobbying elected officials, proactively educating and changing the hearts and minds of fair-minded Americans, and investing strategically to elect fair-minded officials. Founded in 1980, HRC seeks to improve the lives of LGBT Americans by advocating for equal rights and benefits in the workplace, ensuring families are treated equally under the law and increasing public support among all Americans through innovative advocacy, education and outreach programs.

HRC consists of two separate non-profit organizations: the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on research, advocacy and education and the Human Rights Campaign, a 501(c)(4) organization that focuses on lobbying Congress, state and local officials for support of pro-LGBT bills, and mobilizing grassroots action amongst its members. The combined annual budget of both organizations was approximately $40 million in 2011.

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