Leadership transition news at Bend the Arc

Leadership transition news at Bend the Arc

June 24, 2021

Today we are sharing the news that after 16 years at Bend the Arc, our CEO Stosh Cotler is beginning her leadership transition.

Read on for a note from Stosh and from our outgoing and incoming Board Chairs.


A Note from Bend the Arc’s Outgoing Chair and Incoming Chair:

Today we are sharing the news that Stosh Cotler will begin transitioning out of her role as Bend the Arc’s CEO. Stosh has spent sixteen years growing and building Bend the Arc, including seven as CEO. This time represented a sea of change for Bend the Arc as we have faced greater challenges as a nation and played a growing role in the progressive movement and the Jewish community. We are grateful to Stosh for the leadership, tenacity, and creativity she brought to her term as CEO during this time.

Bend the Arc’s board and staff leadership have laid out a long runway for this transition. Stosh will continue to run Bend the Arc as CEO through June 2022, or until the transition to new leadership is complete (whichever is earlier). This will allow a smooth and stable transfer of institutional knowledge and relationships as we identify the next right leadership to step into the role.

We are particularly grateful to be able to conduct this transition at a time of financial and strategic strength for Bend the Arc. This week, following a yearlong collaborative process with Bend the Arc’s board and stakeholders, the Bend the Arc board has passed a visionary and ambitious new strategic plan to leverage all of our power and resources toward the just and liberated world we envision. We are excited to share more about this in the coming weeks and months as we start the work of identifying the executive leadership best equipped to steward this exciting next phase of Bend the Arc’s work. Our board is convening a transition committee that will be evaluating executive leadership models for Bend the Arc and candidates for the CEO position. This committee will be soliciting input from stakeholders, including Bend the Arc staff and movement partners.

We would like to take a moment to celebrate just a few of Stosh’s achievements and examples of her exceptional leadership over the past 7 years. Under Stosh’s tenure, Bend the Arc has more than doubled its annual dollars raised for our work, expanded field operations from three to twenty-six cities nationwide, and grown its electoral work to an unprecedented scale, raising over $1 million for Bend the Arc’s PAC and mobilizing tens of thousands of Jewish volunteers to make over 5 million calls and texts in the 2020 election, contributing meaningfully to wins in several swing states. We’ve raised and invested over $3 million in programs supporting the leadership development of Jewish leaders of Color with a focus on field-wide interventions to shift the broader Jewish community, and took a leading role in the progressive and Jewish communities during the Trump years, exposing and mitigating white nationalism, authoritarianism, xenophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry, racism and antisemitism and broadening the space for Jews to join other progressives in defining safety in terms of collective solidarity.

Sixteen years growing and building an organization like Bend the Arc, including seven as CEO, is a significant achievement under any circumstances; Stosh’s leadership over these particularly challenging seven years has been extraordinary. We’ll be sharing more reflections and celebrations of Stosh’s leadership as we approach our 10th anniversary celebration. Thank you, Stosh. May we all go from strength to strength.

Mamie Kanfer Stewart, outgoing Chair, Bend the Arc Board
Sue Reinhold, Ph.D., incoming Chair, Bend the Arc Board

A note from Stosh:

Building and leading Bend the Arc has been the honor of my life. As we approach our tenth anniversary, I am overwhelmed with pride and gratitude for all we have accomplished together.

Through the relentless years of the Trump Administration, significant security threats, a global pandemic, and a political insurrection, this organization approached the work of transforming our Jewish communities and our country with vision, courage, and tremendous love. I am particularly proud of the bold actions we led against the cruelty of the Trump administration: Sitting down on the floor of the Senate office buildings together with scores of Jewish leaders, wearing our tallitot and kippot, in a direct nonviolent action in support of Dreamers. Supporting Pittburgh’s grieving Jewish community to tell Trump he was not welcome in their city following the antisemitic mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, and bringing forward a new national conversation about white nationalism. Opening the New York Times to see our full-page ad, signed by over 600 Jewish organizations and synagogues that collectively represent the majority of American Jews, explicitly supporting Black Lives Matter as the civil rights movement of our time.

I came to Bend the Arc when it was still Jewish Funds for Justice (one of our predecessor organizations), with an ambitious vision for this nascent organization and for the American Jewish community more broadly. Because of all of you — our members, supporters, partners, and our brilliant staff and board — we are becoming the organization many of us have yearned for.

As we move into our next stage, guided by a gorgeous vision and strategic plan, I couldn’t dream of a higher note to leave on. I am honored to be able to make space for the next generation of Bend the Arc’s leadership, and I am extraordinarily confident that we will have the right people to lead this organization into its future.

With endless gratitude,