GRDC Member News and Kudos

Bowen Leaves Rochester Gay Alliance as Executive Director
Accepts Position as Leader of Statewide Georgia Gay & Lesbian Organization
Executive Director Chuck Bowen has resigned from The Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley to accept the position of Executive Director with Georgia Equality and Foundation.

“We are saddened to see Chuck leave us,” said Emily Jones, President of the Gay Alliance Board of Directors. “Under his leadership, the Gay Alliance has grown to a professionally managed, well-known organization. The experience and skills he brought to Rochester, along with those he gained as GAGV Executive Director, will create the foundation for his success in the Georgia lgbt community.”

Bowen has served as Executive Director of the Gay Alliance since March of 2003. During his term, the agency increased its funding, added an anti-violence project and opened a new youth center.

“LGBT persons in Georgia are at an important crossroads in their fight for equality,” said Bowen. “I hope to be a part of accelerating the change,” he said.

Georgia Equality is the political advocacy voice of Georgia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered citizens and their allies. Founded in Atlanta in 1995, it has grown into a statewide organization and is known nationally as one of the leaders among state and local lgbt groups.

“The Gay Alliance is delighted that Mr. Bowen has agreed to lead the GAGV through the celebration of its first Corporate Equality Luncheon on November 6, 2004,” said Jones. “We also look forward to working with him in his new capacity as the Executive Director of Georgia Equality.”


Georgia Equality Announces New Executive Director - Charles G. "Chuck" Bowen to Lead Statewide Organization
Georgia Equality, the state's largest education and advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Georgians, announces the appointment today of Charles G. "Chuck" Bowen as the group's new Executive Director.

A native of South Carolina, where he worked as a lobbyist at the state capitol and as a business owner, Mr. Bowen most recently served as Executive Director of the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley (GAGV), a non-profit agency serving the LGBT community in Rochester, NY.

"We are thrilled to have someone of Chuck's experience, talent and reputation to lead Georgia Equality," says Sharon Semmens, Chair of Georgia Equality's Board of Directors and current acting Executive Director. "Chuck has a unique set of skills that will be put to work to make Georgia Equality an even stronger voice for equality not only in Georgia, but also throughout the southeast and across the nation."

As Executive Director of GAGV, Bowen substantially increased the agency’s budget, brought on new staff, and expanded programs that served the community. He forged strong ties with Fortune 500 companies to support the GAGV's efforts and worked with many national, state, and local organizations to raise the group’s profile and, most importantly, put LGBT issues on the front burner of the local media.

Bowen's first order of business will be to prepare for the 2005 Legislative Session that opens in January. With a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, civil unions and domestic partner benefits slated for the November 2nd ballot, Georgia Equality anticipates a renewed zeal in extremists’ attempts to attack gay and lesbian families in the 2005 session. These include proposed legislation to ban gay adoption or domestic partner benefits, and to challenge the validity of any legal documents drawn up by same-sex partners.

Georgia Equality cites Bowen’s involvement in the Rochester-based Interfaith Advocates as evidence of his ability to address religious-based anti-gay bias. While in Rochester, Bowen was able to motivate the group, which includes leaders from all faiths, to speak out against the campaigns of misinformation from religious extremists.

"Chuck's lobbying skills will help stop bills that hurt LGBT Georgians from becoming law and, even more importantly, promote the passage of good laws,” says Semmens. “His ability to build bridges across party, gender, and racial divides will unite the LGBT community and ensure that its voice is heard in the corridors of power. And his experience in business and successfully leading a non-profit agency will help Georgia Equality grow stronger for the future.”

“This is an exciting time to be working in our battle for equality,” says Bowen. “Our success in Georgia will hinge on our ability to build and strengthen partnerships within all areas of the community. This is the task which energizes me the most about my new position.”

Bowen will move to Atlanta in October and begin work shortly thereafter. Georgia Equality has been without a full-time executive director since April 30, 2004, when Allen Thornell departed for another job. Georgia Equality conducted a nationwide search for Thornell's replacement.

Georgia Equality, Inc. is the advocacy voice of Georgia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens and their allies. Visit the Georgia Equality website at



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