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The Be the Change nonprofit announced today that Kevin Jennings, currently serving in the Obama administration’s Education Department as the assistant deputy secretary and the head of the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, will be leaving that role this summer to become the new president and CEO of Be the Change.
Jennings — who is a prominent out gay member of the Obama administration — was the subject of significant right-wing outrage when named to the administration position, a topic he discussed in a lunch event with D.C. interns this past summer.
In a news release from Be the Change, Jennings said of his new role, “It has been an honor to serve in the Obama Administration and specifically on Secretary [Arne] Duncan’s leadership team at the Department of Education. I am incredibly excited to return to the nonprofit sector by joining the Be the Change team and working on issues like promoting public service and increasing economic opportunity, the kinds of critical challenges we must solve if America is to continue to thrive in the 21st century.”
Be the Change was founded in 2007 by current president and CEO Alan Khazei, the co-founder of City Year. Jennings will be the second leader for the organization, a move praised by Be the Change board chair Josh Bekenstein of Bain Capital.
“We are delighted to draw a leader of Kevin’s caliber to succeed Alan,” Bekenstein said in the release. “His experience both leading a national nonprofit as well as working in the federal government makes him the ideal leader to take the reigns as Alan takes on new challenges.”
According to Be the Change, Jennings — best known as the founder of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network prior to working for the Obama administration — will begin his new role at Be the Change on July 25.
According to the organization, Be the Change is “a nonprofit that creates national issue based campaigns by organizing coalitions of non-profits, social entrepreneurs, policymakers, private sector and civic leaders, academics, and citizens.” The organization points to ServiceNation as “the first campaign launched from Be the Change, Inc.’s platform,” citing that the effort had “over 270 organizations in its coalition [and] helped to achieve the strongly bi-partisan Kennedy Serve America Act — the greatest expansion of national service in our country in 60 years.”
A request for additional comment from Jennings made through the Education Department was not immediately returned.
Read the release: jenningsannouncement.pdf