Lambda Legal Names Former Board Member Richard Burns as Interim CEO

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October 4, 2018
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Richard Burns

Today, Lambda Legal announced Richard Burns, former Lambda Legal board member and former executive director of the NYC LGBT Community Center, as interim CEO while it conducts a search for a permanent replacement for Rachel Tiven who resigned from the role in August. 

“We are extremely pleased to have a member of the Lambda Legal family, Richard Burns, stepping into this role as the interim while we search for the next permanent CEO. Richard comes with a wealth of experience, having been director at the Center for 22 years and interim for several nonprofits, but he also is deeply connected to the history of this organization. We are glad to have someone who knows Lambda Legal’s mission well and can jump right into the job to help us through this transition,” said Anne Krook, Chair of Lambda Legal’s Board of Directors. “With unprecedented attacks from the Trump Administration, Lambda Legal continues to fight back in the courts on behalf of transgender students, workers fired for being gay, transgender service members, service members living with HIV, and we are winning. We are glad to pass the baton to Richard for this leg of the race.”

“I have a long history with Lambda Legal and a deep commitment to its work,” said Richard Burns. “I’m delighted to join this team during such an important time in Lambda’s and our country’s history. Our democracy is in danger from those who don’t believe in the fundamental rights of LGBT people and people living with HIV and Lambda Legal has a coordinated national strategy with a diverse set of voices to fight the Trump agenda.“

“My job is to help our team at Lambda to do what they do best, to fight for justice and equality for all of us,” Burns added.

Richard will start October 9. He replaces Rachel Tiven, who announced in August she was resigning as CEO of Lambda Legal to work on the 2018 midterm elections.

Richard has been connected to Lambda Legal since its early days. In the late 1970s, Lambda Legal sued on behalf of Gay Community News, where Richard was managing editor, challenging a federal prison policy that banned gay publications. In 1980, Richard joined Lambda Legal’s first national board of directors.

Richard Burns is a nonprofit management consultant who has served as Interim Executive Director of the Johnson Family Foundation, the North Star Fund, PENCIL, the Funding Exchange, Funders for LGBTQ Issues and the Stonewall Community Foundation. He was previously the Chief Operating Officer of the Arcus Foundation and was Executive Director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center in New York City for 22 years, from 1986 to 2009.

Richard serves on the boards of directors of the Proteus Fund, the New York City AIDS Memorial Park, the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee and was a member of the Selection Committee of the New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for HIV Law & Policy. He served as president of the founding board of directors of GLAD in Boston from 1978 through 1986, and was co-founder of Centerlink.

Richard is a graduate of Hamilton College and Northeastern University School of Law.