GMHC Taps Civil Rights Lawyer Roberta Kaplan as Co-Chair of Board

By Mathew Katz on June 17, 2014 11:05am 

 Civil rights attorney Roberta Kaplan will take over as co-chair of GMHC's board along with Michael Harwood.
Civil rights attorney Roberta Kaplan will take over as co-chair of GMHC's board along with Michael Harwood.
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Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

CHELSEA — Civil rights attorney Roberta Kaplan and former GMHC vice chairman Michael Harwood were tapped to lead the board of the AIDS service organization this week, GMHC announced.

Kaplan, who represented Edith Windsor in the Supreme Court case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, and Harwood, an attorney at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP, were elected co-chairs of the financially struggling nonprofit's Board of Directors, succeeding longtime chair Mickey Rolfe.

The changes came as GMHC's new CEO Kelsey Louie started work Monday and hired new senior staff members.

Anthony Hayes, a longtime nonprofit adviser and former spokesman for the Port Authority, will be GMHC's managing director of public affairs and policy, the organization said. Bruce Anderson, a former GMHC staffer who was most recently development director at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, will take over as GMHC's managing director of development.

"We are so excited about the new senior management team at GMHC...who will help to lead GMHC's important work in the years ahead," Kaplan said in a statement. "This includes intensifying GMHC's focus on meeting the changing needs of our clients, curbing new infections among vulnerable populations and eradicating the AIDS epidemic once and for all.

"It's now time for our new team to roll up their sleeves and get to work," Kaplan continued. "But at the same time, we all need to acknowledge that none of this would have been possible without the tireless efforts of our prior board chair, Mickey Rolfe, who worked so hard to lay the groundwork for the challenges and opportunities ahead."

Kaplan joined GMHC's board in 2012 and ran the search committee that recently chose Louie to be the organization's new CEO. Harwood joined GMHC's board in 2011 and spent the past year as vice chair.

The leadership changes occurred after a rocky few years at the nonprofit, which has seen dwindling revenue and controversy over its $389,000-a-month rent for a largely empty office on West 33rd Street.

"I'm delighted to have this immensely capable new team behind me as I begin my work here at GMHC," Louie said in a statement.

"Their support and deep experience in the community will be invaluable as I work with clients, staff, board members, volunteers and supporters to develop a comprehensive assessment of GMHC's operations and programs over the next several months." 

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