James L. Bennett

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Jim Bennett is the Midwest Regional Director for Lambda Legal and is responsible for expanding Lambda Legal's organizational reach in ten states with a focus on public policy, financial development, educational and media efforts.

Bennett currently serves as Chair of Illinois Unites for Marriage, the statewide coalition working to win the freedom to marry in Illinois. Bennett was also a leading strategist in Lambda Legal's Iowa marriage campaign. In both states, Bennett helped create and implement a broad, layered grassroots program educating thousands and building sustained support for equal marriage rights in America's heartland.

Bennett has extensive experience in advocacy, strategic planning and development, bringing more than 20 years of not-for-profit leadership experience to his work. Prior to his work with Lambda Legal, Bennett served as the Marketing and Development Director for the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law where he led and managed the organization's brand identity project and comprehensive giving program. From 1989 to 1999, he led development, marketing and programmatic (disaster, health) departments and initiatives through leadership positions at the American Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter and the American Red Cross national headquarters.

Bennett serves on the board of RefugeeOne and is a member of Broadway United Methodist Church (known for its vigorous commitment to issues of justice). Bennett has advocated locally and nationwide for full inclusion of the LGBT community in the Methodist denomination. Bennett holds an M.B.A. from the University of Illinois and a B.S. from Illinois State University. Bennett also graduated from the Second City Conservatory and writes and performs sketch comedy.