Person

Brad Clark

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Gay Marriage Activist

President, Gill Foundation

Brad Clark is the president and CEO of the Gill Foundation, a foundation based in Colorado that finances gay marriage and related causes across the country. Before this, Clark worked as a gay rights activist in his native Iowa, the southeastern United States, and in Colorado.

Clark has served as president and CEO of the Gill Foundation since the end of 2017, after its former president moved on to another position. Before this, Clark served as the foundation’s vice president in charge of partnerships. He is also an occasional supporter and donor to other left-wing causes and campaigns.

Early Life

After graduating high school, Clark went to Central College, a Christian liberal arts university, in Pella, Iowa. He once again got involved in student government, being elected the student-body president. In 2002, he had come out as gay to friends and family members. At the time, he was serving in a leadership position in a Christian religious organization. Once the organization found out that he was gay, he resigned from his position.[1]

Iowa Gay Activism

After graduating Central College in 2003, Clark became an activist for gay rights in Iowa. He became the director of the youth-focused Iowa Pride Network. He served two years in that role.[2]

In 2005, he became the executive director of the GLBT Youth in Iowa Schools Task Force.  In that capacity, he began working on behalf of gay kids who were bullied in schools. He helped organize a Governor’s Conference on LGBT Youth in February 2006 which was one of the first in the country. During his time at GLBT Youth, began to experiment with the left-wing concept of “intersectionality”, which ties together various minority groups such as racial, religious, and gender minorities to fight against what they see as oppression.[3]

“And the misguided opponents who argue the Task Force is too narrowly targeted have clearly never met Clark. When he speaks of school discrimination he doesn’t end the sentence at LGBT youth, but continues that racial, religious and gender minorities are also victimized. He points out that curriculums aren’t just hetero-centric, but also “whitewashed,” shortchanging people of color of the respect and dignity they deserve. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a social justice activist so humble in his own privileges (“I, as a white male, need to stand up and advocate for racial justice and gender equality”) and determined to wield his influence to the widest benefit.” wrote the City View alternative newspaper. [4]

Clark then became the executive director of Iowa Safe Schools. In that capacity, he helped lead a coalition that passed a safe schools law and protections from discrimination for gay Iowans. Then he became the campaign director for One Iowa. During his time there, the Iowa Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in a ruling.[5]

In addition to advocating for same-sex marriage legislation in Iowa, Clark became an advocate for broader left-wing causes. He testified in February 2010 on behalf of a pro-union measure called the “Fair Share” bill. The bill would have repealed Iowa’s right-to-work law, allowing unions to collect dues from non-union employees. Clark said the bill was about “fairness and justice.”[6]

Colorado Same-Sex Marriage Advocacy

In May 2010, Clark was hired by One Colorado to serve as their executive director. One Colorado is partially funded by the Gill Foundation.[7]

That year, Clark gained notoriety for attacking then-U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck (R) for impolitic remarks about homosexuality. Clark helped organize a press conference where he called on Buck to retract his comments.  Buck did not retract his comments and his bid for U.S. Senate was defeated. [8]

Between 2011 and 2012, he gave political donations to various Colorado Democratic politicians, including former U.S. Senator Mark Udall and then-U.S. Rep. Jared Polis. [9]

Human Rights Campaign

Also see Human Rights Campaign (Nonprofit)

In September 2013, Clark was hired by the Human Rights Campaign to lead state-level campaigns.[10]By November 2014, Clark was testing pro-gay marriage messages in Mississippi. Clark and the HRC spent $310,000 on a campaign called “All God’s Children” that involved TV commercials, phone-banking, canvassing, online advertising, and public engagement. [11]

Returning to Colorado

Clark returned to Colorado and joined the Gill Foundation as its vice president of partnerships in January 2015. Clark was later promoted to president and CEO of the Gill Foundation in 2017.[12]

The Gill Foundation an advertising campaign with the Ad Council in 2018 called “Beyond I Do.” It was used to push for expanded protections for LGBT people after the Supreme Court mandated state recognition of same-sex marriages.[13]

References

  1. “Cover: People Making A Difference”. 2005. Dmcityview.Com. http://www.dmcityview.com/archives/2005/dec/12-08-05/cover.shtml.
  2. “Cover: People Making A Difference”. 2005. Dmcityview.Com. http://www.dmcityview.com/archives/2005/dec/12-08-05/cover.shtml.
  3. “Cover: People Making A Difference”. 2005. Dmcityview.Com. http://www.dmcityview.com/archives/2005/dec/12-08-05/cover.shtml.
  4. “Cover: People Making A Difference”. 2005. Dmcityview.Com. http://www.dmcityview.com/archives/2005/dec/12-08-05/cover.shtml.
  5.  “Activists Bring Gay Marriage Focus To Iowa Legislature”. 2010. The Courier. https://wcfcourier.com/news/local/activists-bring-gay-marriage-focus-to-iowa-legislature/article_cd52c3cc-ffb0-11de-a49f-001cc4c002e0.html.
  6.  Price, Dave. 2010. “Fair Share Public Hearing”. Whotv.Com. https://whotv.com/2010/02/17/fair-share-public-hearing-5/.
  7. McWilliams, Heather. 2010. “Gay-Rights Group Hires Director From Iowa”. The Denver Post. https://www.denverpost.com/2010/05/03/gay-rights-group-hires-director-from-iowa/.
  8. Roberts, Michael. 2010. “Ken Buck’s Homosexuality-To-Alcoholism Line: Take That Back, Says One Colorado’s Brad Clark”. Westword. https://www.westword.com/news/ken-bucks-homosexuality-to-alcoholism-line-take-that-back-says-one-colorados-brad-clark-5829974.
  9.         “Browse Individual Contributions – FEC.Gov”. 2018. FEC.Gov. Accessed November 19. https://www.fec.gov/data/receipts/individual-contributions/?two_year_transaction_period=2012&contributor_name=Brad+Clark&min_date=01%2F01%2F2011&max_date=12%2F31%2F2012&contributor_state=CO.
  10. “HRC Hires Brad Clark To Expand Movement For Full Equality | Human Rights Campaign”. 2013. Human Rights Campaign. https://www.hrc.org/press/hrc-hires-brad-clark-to-develop-new-strategies-to-achieve-full-equality.
  11. Sneed, Tierney. 2014. “Fight For LGBT Rights Heats Up In The South”. US News And World Report. https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2014/11/12/human-rights-campaign-tests-pro-lgbt-message-in-mississippi.
  12. “Brad Clark”. 2018. Gillfoundation.Org. Accessed November 19. https://gillfoundation.org/staff/brad-clark/.
  13. Rose, Jonathan. 2018. “‘Beyond I Do:’ Denver Foundation’s New Ad Campaign Focuses On LGBT Discrimination”. Bizjournals.Com. https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2018/04/19/beyond-i-do-denver-foundations-new-ad-campaign.html.

Connected Organizations

  1. Colorado Donor Alliance (Non-profit)
    Vice President
  2. Gill Foundation (Non-profit)
    President and CEO
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