Gabrielle L. Kurlander

Chief Executive Officer

About

Gabrielle L. Kurlander is a nonprofit entrepreneur, theatre director and actor.  She is a founder of the All Stars Project, Inc. (ASP), and as its CEO over the last three decades she has led the organization’s transformation from a small, New York City-based, all-volunteer effort into a national nonprofit. Using an innovative performance approach, ASP provides afterschool development opportunities for poor and underserved young people and builds bridges between diverse communities.

Gabrielle expanded the board of directors to include business leaders from Wall Street and other diverse fields. ASP also received its first significant seed capital from these leaders to establish its flagship location: a 31,000 sq. ft. performing arts and development center on 42nd Street in New York City. Since then, ASP has expanded to Newark in 1999, the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007, Chicago in 2008 and Dallas in 2013.

Gabrielle pioneered the ASP’s “involvement philanthropy” model, which personally engages C-suite leaders, Fortune 500 executives and other caring adults to create a greater direct impact in the communities where ASP reaches young people. With an unparalleled track record of 20+ years of annual growth during her tenure, ASP teams have raised $150 million in private support from hundreds of thousands of individual supporters and more than 500 corporations and foundations nationwide.

As a leader who protested racial injustice from her earliest days as a grassroots organizer in the late 1980s, Gabrielle continues to champion racial equity and lead in diversity initiatives. In 2021, ASP was featured in the Chronicle of Philanthropy as a highly successful model for diversity and culture change within the nonprofit sector. Gabrielle established ASP’s Council of Grassroots Organizers, a forum for ASP leaders to explore urgent issues of our time—including racism, identity, poverty and justice. In 2020, Gabrielle and ASP Vice President and Dallas City Leader, Antoine Joyce, co-created Operation Conversation, ASP’s virtual performance-based, bridge-building initiative that addresses the social and racial divides in America.

ASP received several awards under Gabrielle’s leadership, including the Southern Methodist University’s 2016 Simmons Luminary Award for ASP’s extraordinary commitment to improving lives through education. One year earlier, ASP received the International Association of Chiefs of Police/Cisco Community Policing Award for its innovative police–community relations program, Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids, in partnership with the New York City Police Department. The Volunteer Referral Center honored Gabrielle in 2014 at their 25th Anniversary Gala for her leadership in volunteerism. The musical Sally and Tom (The American Way), which she directed in 2012, won five AUDELCO Awards for Excellence in Black Theatre, including for best director.

Gabrielle has decades of experience in all aspects of performance and theatrical production. She began her career as a working actor, touring nationally with the Broadway tour of Biloxi Blues. In the early 1990s, Gabrielle raised investment capital to help establish a performance-based, organizational change company called Performance of a Lifetime (performanceofalifetime.com), which trains corporate clients worldwide.

In her spare time, Gabrielle enjoys golf, reading philosophy and doing stone masonry. She has a B.A. from SUNY Empire State and resides in Dallas, Texas, and New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @ASP_CEO.

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