WASHINGTON, D.C. — Kathleen DeBold, longtime executive director for the Mautner Project, resigned her position with the organization April 1. Her resignation was reluctantly accepted by the Mautner Project board of directors. Dr. Kathleen Maloy, who has been serving as interim executive director since Dec. 1 when DeBold went on a paid sabbatical, will continue as interim executive director.
Kathleen DeBold (left) and her partner Barbara Johnson plan to focus their energies on LGBT history and literature.
Under DeBold’s leadership since November 1999, the Mautner Project has evolved from a local health group that primarily supported lesbians with cancer to a national organization that works to improve the health of women through advocacy, education, research and direct services.
The Mautner Project has won numerous awards for outstanding service in health advocacy during DeBold’s tenure, including those from the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association, the Gay Activists Alliance, the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Pride at Work and the Feminist Majority.
Several of the Mautner Project public health awareness innovations under her leadership include:
• Beds, Breakfasts and Breasts
• Breast Health Awareness Campaign
• Spirit Study
• The first national survey of Black Lesbian and Bisexual Women’s Health
• Delicious Lesbian Kisses
• A tobacco counter-marketing campaign
• Removing the Barriers
• An LBT cultural competency training for the CDC’s breast and cervical cancer early detection programs
• The first patient navigation program designed by and for lesbians with cancer
• A holistic, community-based health education program for lesbian and bisexual women of color.
“It has been an honor to be part of Susan Hester and Mary-Helen Mautner’s brilliant vision and loving legacy of lesbians taking care of themselves and each other,” said DeBold, upon tendering her resignation. “For the balance of my life and work, this always will be what inspires me to do more.
“The idea of women taking care of women and fighting for health care equality has touched every chord in my lesbian-feminist heart,” DeBold continued. “I’m blessed to work with wonderful staff members, volunteers, and clients who nurture the Mautner Project’s community of caring.”
“We are deeply grateful to Kathleen DeBold for her outstanding dedication to the cause of the health and well-being of lesbians and women who partner with women,” said Interim Executive Director Maloy. “As chair of the Mautner Project board during Kathleen’s tenure as executive director, it has been my privilege to work closely with Kathleen. She put the Mautner Project in the first rank of American LGBT health organizations, and championed the everyday needs of women from all walks of life. Her leadership and vision inspires our future.”
“Kathleen DeBold has been an incredible gift to lesbian health and to the Mautner Project,” added Mautner Project founder Susan Hester. “Her passion and vision propelled the promise of the Mautner Project and enabled us to make significant gains in visibility, health improvements and empowerment for all women.”
“Given the Mautner Project’s fiscal health, strong executive and board leadership, breadth of donor support, and national reputation — this is the right time for me to figure out my next commitment,” DeBold conceded.
“It is a real privilege to lead the Mautner Project during this period of executive transition,” added Maloy.” We will take our time to conduct an open and wide-ranging search for a new executive director and our programs will continue fully.” Maloy holds a doctorate in health policy, as well as a law degree, and has worked for 30 years on access to healthcare issues.
An articulate feminist and advocate for the LGBT community, Debold and her partner and dedicated Mautner Project volunteer, Barbara Johnson, will continue sharing their passion for LGBT history and literature.