Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Fast Forward

Neil Spears, former JCC leader in LA, to head Jewish LGBTQ Donor Network

Founded during the pandemic, the organization provides support for the Jewish queer community

A charity dedicated to supporting LGBTQ Jews will soon have a new leader.

Neil Spears is set to take charge of the Jewish LGBTQ Donor Network on Jan. 9, the organization announced on Tuesday.

In a press release, the Donor Network described Spears as a “seasoned educator and community builder” who holds a master’s degree in education policy and management from Harvard University.

Spears was previously the executive director of the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles and sits on the board of JQ International, another nonprofit that offers support services for LGBTQ Jews. 

“Neil is the ideal candidate to maximize the already considerable impact of the Jewish LGBTQ Donor Network,” said Donor Network co-founder Stuart Kurlander in a press release, adding that he anticipates Spears will enable the organization “to drive grant-making opportunities, and to significantly grow partnerships with well-established philanthropists that will meaningfully impact the lives of LGBTQ Jews and enhance their roles in the broader Jewish community.”

Founded during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 by a trio of Jews with roots in Tel Aviv, Washington, D.C., Miami and New York, the Donor Network has operated primarily online until now.

Kurlander told the Forward the past two years have been spent primarily on getting organized and getting acquainted with possible donors. Spears’ hiring, he said, was the organization’s first big move and one that he hopes will herald greater activity in the coming months. The Donor Network will shortly begin taking solicitations for grants that will range from $5,000 to $50,000.

“We have already begun that process a bit and, frankly, I think soon, with our executive director on board, we’ll be awarding the funds to programs initiatives and organizations that meet certain requisite criteria for funding,” he said.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.