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An Interview with Kevin Bolling — Executive Director, Secular Student Alliance — Session 4


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/02/15

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: A more personal question: you were the director of philanthropy at the Gay Men’s Chorus of LA. It is a major LGBTQ arts organization. Did you take part in the choir as well?

Kevin Bolling: I will say for the pleasure of everyone. I did not. No. No one wants to hear me sing. I volunteered with the chorus before I started working there. I volunteered probably at least a decade. So, I always have been volunteering with something.

I started working at their concerts, helping them fundraise money, and took over most of those responsibilities about coordinating all their volunteers for their concerts and their programs and events. Then I started working on doing different fundraising events for them.

I started working on all their social media. So, it became more and more involved. It is an organization which we love. So, I worked for the organization for two years. But a lot of people know gay and lesbian choruses in their cities, there are 140 of them around the country.

I love being involved in what they were doing to change the younger generation of our country. Again, there are some strong similarities there between what we’re doing with GMCLA, with youth, and what SSA does where primarily with college students but also high school students.

So for GMCLA to have their live music project, which has been going on for a decade now, they go to middle schools and high schools and do LGBT education, anti-bullying work. So, that is outreach of 60,000 students with that.

There is a tour that goes around for a week residency in small towns all across the United States. They go into high schools and colleges; they work with politicians and leaders. It all ends with a stage performance with stories, which talk about their inclusion and diversity and anti-bullying and, of course, LGBT issues as well.

So, that is 50,000 students. 50,000 people touched with that, then one of the last things I did when I was there was integral. It was the new outreach into the youth correctional system in LA County, so literally going into youth prisons and working with the youth there on self-esteem and anti-bullying and awareness of LGBT issues.

It was and is extremely important. There is no LGBT group that we know of that is doing that work. That is the part I am proud of all the things that the course does and having impact on not only the LA community but across the United States.

Jacobsen: Also, you have been building on the work of August Brunsman, the previous executive director and the co-founder of Secular Student Alliance. What was the best advice August gave you?

Bolling: August has been fantastic in helping me on board into the organization. He’s candid and honest with the history of the movement, individual politics, and how that all plays out. So for someone coming in, you want that background in how it relates directly to the organization, who the players are, and all that stuff.

He’s candid and has a tremendous background in all of this, has been involved so long with it. So to me, that is invaluable. He clearly has a passion for the organization, what the organization does.

So, him sharing some of his personal insights and those sorts of things has been great. He understands that the organization continues to grow and will grow anew in different directions. He’s excited about that as well.

The first thing that came to mind when you said that. He always says, “Do not be good, be awesome.” That is a great little motto that I will always keep with me from August, to guide the organization into where it is going next.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


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