Executive Director Transition
February 1st, 2011 Update from the Astraea Board of Directors
On behalf of the Astraea board and staff, I am thrilled to write you today to share some exciting news. After an extensive international search, Astraea has named J. Bob Alotta as Executive Director. Bob will join the Foundation in April of this year. I want to introduce you to Bob and share our excitement about her experience, vision and dedication.
Bob will work closely with the Board and Interim Executive Director Aimée Thorne-Thomsen to ensure a smooth transition. We hope you will have the opportunity to meet Bob personally at one of a series of events in several cities in the coming months–stay tuned! In the meantime, we invite you to meet Bob online through her video message.
Bob brings a unique combination of skills and passion to steward Astraea into its next phase of global philanthropic leadership. A lifelong activist and accomplished filmmaker, Bob has an impressive track record of exponentially expanding organizational capacity through skillful management and fundraising. She is adept at developing strong partnerships with diverse communities, donors, institutional funders and corporate stakeholders.
Bob has deep experience in Astraeas grantee partner community. From 2006-2010 Bob served as the Board Chair of FIERCE, a longtime Astraea grantee partner and effective policy advocate working to build the leadership and power of LGBTQ youth of color. During her tenure, Bob worked with board and staff to more than double FIERCEs budget and engaged in two strategic-planning processes resulting in a ten-year plan for the organization. In 2009, on behalf of the FIERCE Board of Directors, Bob was awarded the Stonewall Foundations Alan Morrow Prize for Excellence in Board Leadership.
Bobs philanthropic work reflects a commitment to community-centered fundraising as a vehicle to raise funds and awareness and strengthen movements. In addition to innovative individual fundraising campaigns at FIERCE, she also developed successful philanthropic partnerships with Apple, Adobe and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. In grantmaking, Bob served for six years as a grant reviewer for the Community Fellowship Program at the Open Society Foundations.
Throughout her career as a filmmaker, Bob has used film to elevate the lived experiences of LGBTI communities. Bob directed Outspoken, an award-winning project of the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center. Outspoken is a peer-led HIV-prevention project that uses video and social media tools to prevent HIV transmission in communities of color. Her innovative viral video campaign, Caster Runs for Me, leveraged social media to support the World Championship runner during the 2009-2010 controversy surrounding her gender. The project garnered international media coverage. Bob has produced a considerable body of work that is technically sophisticated, aesthetically interesting, commercially viable and rooted in social justice principles.
Since 2007, Bob has served as Director of Digital Media and Content at Zeitbyte Digital Media. At Zeitbyte, Bob grew the firms staff ten-fold as the principal executive responsible for technical, financial and staffing infrastructures. Earlier in her career, Bob was the Director of Digital Technology for Film at Columbia Universitys School of the Arts, one of the most highly regarded film programs in the U.S., where she expanded the program and secured multi-million dollar gifts.
Bob will work closely with the Board and Interim Executive Director Aimée Thorne-Thomsen to ensure a smooth transition. We hope you will have the opportunity to meet Bob personally at one of a series of events in several cities in the coming months—stay tuned! In the meantime, we invite you to meet Bob online through her video message.
As we look toward the future, we are grateful for the leadership of Katherine Acey, Astraea’s founding Executive Director, and the incredible work of our staff and our partners. As a result of this groundwork, Astraea is in a strong position to address core human rights and social justice issues and to engage an even larger group of advocates, donors and partners. For more than three decades, Astraea has supported hundreds of innovative organizations working for deep and lasting change to improve the lives of LGBTI people. We have a talented staff, a dedicated Board of Directors, a loyal base of donors and funding partners, and an incredible group of grantee partners. We are ready to welcome and leverage new leadership for LGBTI human rights and social, racial, economic and gender justice worldwide.
Chair, Board of Directors
Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice