Non-profit

A Wider Bridge

Website:

awiderbridge.org

Location:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Tax ID:

45-2643886

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $769,131
Expenses: $728,859
Assets: $231,443

Formation:

2010

Type:

Jewish LGBT Advocacy Group

Founder:

Arthur Slepian

A Wider Bridge (AWB) is a left-of-center nonprofit that focuses on promoting Jewish-oriented pro-LGBT policies related to Israel, including full state recognition of same-sex marriages in the country. The organization also opposes “demonizing and delegitimizing Israel,” promoting “constructive engagement” with the state it calls “the most important project of Jewish people.” [1]

Background

A Wider Bridge was founded in 2010 by Arthur Slepiana political activist involved in several San Francisco-based Jewish and LGBT organizations. [2] AWB has two primary campaigns: Equality In Israel and Equality For Israel. Equality In Israel is focused on promoting LGBT rights in Israel, while Equality For Israel is focused on promoting a more sympathetic view of Israel. [3]

AWB’s Equality In Israel campaign largely focuses on promoting full state recognition of same-sex marriage in Israel, legalization of surrogacy for same-sex couples, and removal of obstacles to adoption by same-sex couples. [4] In August 2018, AWB sent a letter to a number of Orthodox rabbis and the Israeli government requesting that the rabbis retract inflammatory anti-LGBT comments and that the government change a law preventing LGBT couples from using an Israeli surrogate. [5]

2019 D.C. Dyke March

On June 5, 2019, organizers of the Dyke March, a radical-left LGBT parade, announced that they would be banning nationalist symbols such as the American and Israeli flags, with the latter being banned on the grounds that Palestinian-American marchers would feel unsafe. [6] A Wider Bridge and Zioness, a Jewish feminist organization, disagreed with the organizers. AWB’s Communications Director Ronit Bezalel made the following statement: [7]

Our point is to have a seat at the table. We believe in the principles of the Dyke March, and we’re going to be bringing Israeli symbols, the Jewish Pride flag [a rainbow flag with a white Star of David]. Our message is, no one should be policing this. We want to bring our full selves to the table.

On its website, AWB published a formal letter to the Dyke March asking that the March retract its stance relating to Israeli flags and related symbols on the grounds that this violates the Dyke March’s tenet of inclusivity. [8]

Funding

According to A Wider Bridge’s website, it has received funding from the Natan Fund, the Morningstar Foundation, the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund, the Paul E. Singer Foundation, the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago, the Koret Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Broward County, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and the GLBT Fund of America. [9] AWB has GS New York Transportation Specialists and Latham and Watkings, LLP as corporate sponsors. [10]

People

Founder

Arthur Slepian is the founder of AWB and currently serves as a board member on its board of directors. [11] Slepian also serves on the board of trustees of the Jewish Community Federation of the San Francisco Bay Area and as the chair of the LGBT Alliance of the Federation. He also serves on the San Francisco-area Jewish Community Relations Council. [12]

Executive Director

Tyler Gregory is the current executive director of AWB. He previously worked for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) before becoming AWB’s deputy director. [13]

Key Staff

Sheridan Bahar is the operations manager at AWB and an Alumnus of AmeriCorps VISTA, Avodah, and Birthright Israel Fellow. [14]

Roni Belenki is AWB’s Israel Communities manager, and also serves as vice president of Aguda, another Israel LGBTQ group. [15] Before this, Belenki worked at Be Free Israel. [16]

Jeroen Vehrmeijer is the western and midwest states director of AWB, who also previously worked as a content analyst at the Shoah Foundation and as the interim west coast director of development for the American Friends of Israel Museum. [17]

Board of Directors

Alan Schwartz currently serves as board chair for AWB and as principal of AGS Associates. Schwartz has previously worked as the executive director of the Architectural Conservation Trust, Executive Director of Historic Massachusetts Inc, and chairman of the Boston Landmarks Commission. [18]

James Moon is the vice chair of AWB’s board of directors and is also a partner with law firm Meland & Budwick, P.A. Moon has also been a recognized leader within AIPAC. [19]

Carmella Ettinger is the Secretary of AWB’s board of directors, along with the chair of the Overeseas Special Projects Committee of the Portland Federation. [20] She previously served as the chair of Portland’s Pride. [21]

Dana Beyer is a board member on AWB’s board of directors, the chair of the national advisory board of Freedom to Work, writes a weekly column for the Huffington Post, and is the executive director of Gender Rights Maryland. [22] She previously served on the Rules Committee of the Democratic Party. [23]

References

  1. “Mission and Values.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/about/.
  2. “A Wider Bridge: Arthur Slepian.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/a-wider-bridge-arthur-slepian/.
  3. “Mission and Values.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/about/.
  4. “Mission and Values.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/about/.
  5. Oster, Marcy. “600 North American Rabbis Call for Orthodox Rabbis in Israel to Retract Homophobic Letter.” Jewish Telegraphic Agency. August 07, 2018. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://www.jta.org/2018/08/07/united-states/600-north-american-rabbis-call-orthodox-rabbis-israel-retract-homophobic-letter.
  6. Pink, Aiden. “Groups Bearing Banned Jewish Flags Plan To Defy Dyke March.” The Forward. June 07, 2019. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://forward.com/fast-forward/425609/groups-bearing-banned-jewish-flags-plan-to-defy-dyke-march/.
  7. Pink, Aiden. “Groups Bearing Banned Jewish Flags Plan To Defy Dyke March.” The Forward. June 07, 2019. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://forward.com/fast-forward/425609/groups-bearing-banned-jewish-flags-plan-to-defy-dyke-march/.
  8. “By Banning Jewish and Israeli Symbols, DC Dyke March Undermines Its Intended Purpose.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/dc-dykemarch/.
  9. “Our Institutional Funders.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/our-institutional-funders/.
  10. “Our Institutional Funders.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/our-institutional-funders/.
  11. “A Wider Bridge: Arthur Slepian.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/a-wider-bridge-arthur-slepian/.
  12. “A Wider Bridge: Arthur Slepian.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/a-wider-bridge-arthur-slepian/.
  13. “A Wider Bridge: Tyler Gregory.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/a-wider-bridge-tyler-gregory/.
  14. “A Wider Bridge: Sheridan Bahar.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/a-wider-bridge-sheridan-bahar/.
  15. “A Wider Bridge: Roni Belenki.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/a-wider-bridge-roni-belenki/.
  16. “A Wider Bridge: Roni Belenki.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/a-wider-bridge-roni-belenki/.
  17. “A Wider Bridge: Jeroen Vahrmeijer.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/a-wider-bridge-jeroen/.
  18. “A Wider Bridge: Staff.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/about/who/.
  19. “A Wider Bridge: Staff.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/about/who/.
  20. “A Wider Bridge: Staff.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/about/who/.
  21. “A Wider Bridge: Staff.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/about/who/.
  22. “A Wider Bridge: Staff.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/about/who/.
  23. “A Wider Bridge: Staff.” AWiderBridge. Accessed June 10, 2019. https://awiderbridge.org/about/who/.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 2014

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $769,131 $728,859 $231,443 $17,658 N $569,063 $200,033 $35 $0
    2015 Dec Form 990 $562,479 $464,570 $156,471 $25,092 N $364,685 $197,778 $16 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $336,606 $316,762 $40,882 $7,412 N $275,767 $60,831 $8 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $331,461 $316,604 $26,592 $12,966 N $259,619 $71,832 $10 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990EZ $157,042 $157,399 $7,587 $8,818 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    A Wider Bridge

    2912 DIAMOND STREET SUITE 348
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94131-3208