After earning his Masters in Public Administration from the University of Arizona, Jason joined the team at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute. As Research Director, he authored the first-ever analyses of U.S. Census data on the impact of anti-LGBT laws and policies on Hispanic/Latino same-sex couple families and their children, created and co-authored Youth in the Crosshairs: The Third Wave of Ex-Gay Activism, and conceived and managed the production of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness, which helped procure the first-ever federal funding for shelters serving LGBT youth. He also became an issue expert and agency spokesperson featured on MSNBC, The Hallmark Channel, and in the New York Times.
As Executive Director of Wingspan, Southern Arizona’s LGBT Community Center, Jason helped procure multi-year, federal funding for youth and anti-violence programs, and he co-led the coalition in the only county to defeat Arizona’s 2008 anti-marriage ballot measure. He stewarded the agency through the beginning of the Great Recession with a strategic restructuring plan that reduced expenses by over 60%, maintained core, grant-funded programs, and helped raise $25K in new grant funding to explore merging with sister LGBT and HIV/AIDS agencies.
As an author and consultant focused on applied research, government affairs, and policy advocacy, Jason co-authored with Sean Cahill LGBT Youth in America’s Schools, published by the University of Michigan Press. The book was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title by the Association of College and Research Libraries, included in the Rainbow List of Recommended Books for Adults by the American Library Association, and was nominated for a Stonewall Book Award from the GLBT Roundtable of the American Library Association. He also conducted original, qualitative and quantitative research and analyses of U.S.-based nonprofits interested in new State Department funding to support LGBT populations abroad.
At Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), Jason served as Director of Public Affairs and Policy, as well as Managing Director of Special Events and Major Gifts. He helped raise over $600K in multi-year funding from the Ford and MAC AIDS foundations and helped procure over $1.91M in New York City Council discretionary and initiative funding. He led and worked in coalitions that advanced policy and budget priorities of New York State’s Plan to End AIDS by 2020 and created New York’s meningitis vaccination law. With his husband, Courter Simmons, Jason also created and produced The GMHC Annual Howard Ashman Award and Benefit Cabaret in 2013 and 2014. Awardees included Howard Ashman (posthumous) and Terrence McNally, celebrated by Broadway star performers including Tyne Daly, Marin Mazzie, Jerry Mitchell, and Chita Rivera. Jason also represented GMHC in media, including the Associated Press, CBS Morning News, Chelsea Now, and WNYC radio.
Prior to his tenure at the Tyler Clementi Foundation, Jason served as Vice President of Policy, Advocacy, and Communications at Harlem United. There, he helped procure over $300,000 in New York City Council discretionary and initiative funding, helped increase federal Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) funding by $21M, and created a new, client-led grassroots advocacy program that reduced measures of internalized HIV stigma by nearly 30%. He grew the agency’s press list by 435%, Facebook page likes by 195%, and Twitter followers by 26%, with social media engagement rates nearly double the nonprofit industry average. He managed Swallow This, a corporate-funded, $300K PrEP education campaign that generated 75M print and 4.3M digital ad and video impressions, with over 33K webpage visits. He also represented the agency in media, including the Advocate, Mic.com, NBC News, and Rolling Stone.
Jason lives in Queens, NY with his husband, son, and two of the most well-traveled cats that ever lived.