Alan van Capelle is a nationally recognized leader in the field of civil rights and social justice. As CEO of Bend the Arc, Mr. van Capelle leads a national organization working to fulfill the promise that everyone can share in social and economic opportunity, and enjoy equal rights and liberties.
In his second year as CEO of Bend the Arc, Mr. van Capelle was named to the Forward 50, the Jewish Daily Forward’s annual much-watched list of notable and newsworthy American Jews – in acknowledgment of his career-long activism for social justice and his rising profile in national progressive politics.
Mr. van Capelle began his career as an organizer and contract negotiator in the labor movement, working with house staff physicians and nursing home workers, eventually running the day to day political operations of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ, the largest and most powerful building service union in the country. Before joining Bend the Arc, Mr. van Capelle served as Deputy Comptroller for the City of New York, where he advised the agency on all matters involving public policy, media, and community relations. He has also served as a member of the New York City Banking Commission and was appointed as a representative to the Museum of the City of New York.
Selected by the New York Observer as one of New York’s top “power gays,” Mr. van Capelle won major victories for LGBT rights as Executive Director of the Empire State Pride Agenda. In forming partnerships with labor unions and faith communities, he paved the way for marriage equality in New York, while more than tripling Pride Agenda’s budget.
Mr. van Capelle has been named to the National Leadership Council’s “40 under 40” list, and has been quoted by The New York Times, CNN, New York 1, Newsweek and New York Magazine. Acknowledged as a national civil rights leader with special ties to his home state of New York, he served on the transition committees for Governor Eliot Spitzer and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. He was also selected as an elector of the 2008 New York Electoral College.
Mr. van Capelle lives with his partner, Matthew Morningstar, on the Lower East Side, blocks from where his great-grandmother lived on Rivington Street. Together they are raising their young son, Ethan, who reminds them to find the humor and joy in each and every day.