Paul Di Donato Announced as New President, CEO of Proteus Fund
AMHERST — Proteus Fund appointed activist, advocate, nonprofit executive, and philanthropic leader Paul Di Donato as its new president and CEO. He brings a wealth of experience from his 30 years of fighting for justice and equality in the areas of LGBTQ rights, HIV/AIDS and public health, gender and racial justice, and other rights and social-change issues. He has served as interim president of Proteus Fund for the past year and worked at the organization for more than nine years.
Di Donato served for eight years as director of the Proteus Fund’s Civil Marriage Collaborative (CMC), a funder collaborative that granted more than $21 million in its 11-year existence to advocacy organizations engaged in comprehensive public-education and organizing efforts. The strategic philanthropic leadership provided by the CMC contributed to the massive turnaround in public opinion and support on this issue, culminating in the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling extending marriage equality nationally.
“We couldn’t have asked for someone with greater philanthropic, leadership, and networking skills, combined with a deep understanding of Proteus’ social-justice work,” said Jason Franklin, chair of Proteus Fund’s board of directors. “Paul played a central role on a critical issue where our side had a clear win — civil marriage. Philanthropy must play an even greater and more aggressive leadership role to achieve these types of victories which will be needed now more than ever.”
This past year as interim president, Di Donato has successfully overseen a record-breaking grant-making year, a deepening of the scope and impact of the program portfolio, and development of important new work opportunities. He feels the organization’s greatest strength is that it engages philanthropists as strategic partners, utilizing a collaborative approach to create outcome-oriented social-justice grant-making initiatives.
“Of central importance to our success is the ability to master the delicate balance between crafting and executing effective long-term philanthropic strategies while remaining flexible enough to shift tactics and priorities in response to evolving circumstances on the ground,” Di Donato said. “Every program, every issue area we work on is more relevant and urgent than ever given this current social, economic, and political climate.”