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By: Andrew Wallace on November 6, 2016

Visionary leader tapped to helm 30-year old network of grantmakers

Grantmakers at retreat

NEW YORK – The Board of Directors of Funders for LGBTQ Issues (“Funders”) today announced the appointment of Ben Francisco Maulbeck as President. Maulbeck, who will assume his post on December 3, 2012, succeeds Karen Zelermyer, who left in June after seven years of distinguished service. Funders mobilizes philanthropic resources that enhance the well-being of LGBT communities, promote equity and advance racial, economic and gender justice.


The Board also offered gratitude to the Search Committee and to Richard Burns, who has served as Interim Director of Funders during the search.


“The board and staff are thrilled that Ben Francisco Maulbeck will be the third leader in the 30-year history of Funders,” said Andrew Lane, Executive Director of the Johnson Family Foundation, Board Chair of Funders and Chair of the Search Committee. “We believe Ben will catalyze the transformation of LGBT issues within philanthropy, and we’re honored and excited to partner with him on our journey forward. We look forward to introducing him to the field in person at our annual retreat in New Mexico in March of next year.”


Maulbeck, 35, a gay Puerto Rican-American, has enjoyed an accomplished career in the third sector. From 2007 to 2012 he held positions of increasing responsibility at Hispanics in Philanthropy (“HIP”), culminating in his role as Vice President. Prior to HIP he was director of programs at the William Way LGBT Community Center and a program associate at The Philadelphia Foundation. He holds degrees from Swarthmore College and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


“Funders has a powerful track record of advancing LGBT rights and the interconnected issues of racial, economic and gender justice,” Maulbeck said. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to build on that legacy — and I’m excited about the opportunities to broaden our reach even further, working with a diverse range of foundations and corporations to expand the scale and impact of grantmaking for LGBT communities.”


The Board acknowledged the significant contributions of time and leadership made by the Search Committee, which, in addition to Lane, included Surina Khan, Director of Gender Rights & Equality, Ford Foundation; Jesse King, Founding Partner & Managing Director, Fulcrum Advisors; Katherine Peck, Senior Vice President of Programs, Gill Foundation; Cindy Rizzo, Vice President of Organizational Learning & Grants Management, Arcus Foundation; and Mitchell Singer, Senior Philanthropic Advisor, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The Board also recognized the team from Isaacson, Miller led by Tim McFeeley for their extraordinary efforts in support of the search.


Finally, the Board offered thanks to Burns, Interim Director of Funders, who will continue his role into December 2012. Said Lane: “Transitions are always hard. Richard made ours that much easier by virtue of his steadiness, passion and good humor. We are deeply grateful for his contributions, the latest in his long history of leadership in the movement for LGBT equality and liberation.”

Praise for the Appointment

“Whether your focus is arts or education or health, all of us in philanthropy — and all who care about social justice — need to engage with LGBT issues,” said Helen Cunningham, Executive Director of the Samuel S. Fels Fund, a leading funder in the Philadelphia region. “Given Ben’s experience and his talent for collaborative leadership, it’s extraordinarily lucky that he’s stepping into this role at Funders, where I know he will do so much good, working with grantmakers to deepen our impact in LGBT communities.”


Kate Kendell, Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said, “Funders for LGBTQ Issues has been an important thought leader in philanthropy for LGBT issues and social justice. I’m thrilled they’ve found in Ben Francisco Maulbeck a leader with the experience and talents to represent our diverse community as our movement continues to grow and build momentum.”


“Providing equity and fairness for people regardless of gender and sexual orientation is one of the important civil rights issues of our day,” said Leslie Winner, CEO of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in North Carolina. “Funders for LGBTQ Issues is fortunate to have an experienced, visionary and committed leader like Ben Francisco Maulbeck to guide its efforts at this important moment.”


About Ben Francisco Maulbeck

Ben Francisco Maulbeck has more than a decade of experience as a leader for LGBT rights, racial equity and social change. He has an exceptional track record of building the capacity of nonprofit organizations and leaders, raising money for underserved communities and developing and implementing innovative grantmaking initiatives.


From 2007 through 2012, Maulbeck worked at Hispanics in Philanthropy (“HIP”) in positions of increasing responsibility, most recently serving as Vice President. During his time at HIP, he played a leadership role in launching several new programs and initiatives, including a national Latino aging initiative and a funding collaborative to strengthen education nonprofits in Puerto Rico. He also oversaw the continued success of the Funders’ Collaborative for Strong Latino Communities, a multimillion-dollar initiative to build the capacity of Latino-led nonprofits, and spearheaded a roundtable of more than 50 philanthropic leaders on LGBT Latino movement-building.


Prior to his service at HIP, Maulbeck served as the director of programs for the William Way LGBT Community Center and as a program associate at The Philadelphia Foundation. He also has significant experience providing independent consulting services to nonprofits and funders, specializing in grantmaking, fundraising, and organizational development. His consulting clients have included Philanthropy New York, the Attic LGBTQ Youth Center, Spiral Q Puppet Theater, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Genocide Intervention Network.


Maulbeck earned a bachelor of arts at Swarthmore College and a master of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, where his areas of study included participatory leadership, social marketing, and international political economy. In 2004 he organized and co-chaired the Harvard University LGBT policy and law conference, with the theme “Gay Rights as Human Rights,” exploring LGBT rights globally. His volunteer service has included the leadership of the boards of the Gay & Lesbian Latino AIDS Education Initiative (“GALAEI”) and the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project (“CHAMP”), steering both organizations through periods of executive transition.


In his spare time, Maulbeck writes fiction under the name Ben Francisco, with stories published in Best Gay Stories 2012, Realms of Fantasy and From Macho to Mariposa: New Gay Latino Fiction. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Hassan El Menyawi, an activist and scholar working on LGBT rights in the Muslim world.


R. Burns, [email protected]

A. Lane, [email protected]

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