Laurence (Lars) Jahns is a social advocate, fundraising professional, and organizational developer who has dedicated his life to social change, equality, and justice.
As a non-profit administrator with 30+ years of experience in philanthropy, Lars has raised over $2.7 billion for social services, education, and the arts to improve lives and reduce barriers to access for all.
Lars was the founding development director for Robin Hood, a national innovator in poverty-fighting. He partnered with Paul Tudor Jones, David Saltzman, and a pioneering board of Wall Street and civic leaders to grow a historic new model of philanthropy and social change. Under Lars’s two-decade fundraising leadership, Robin Hood’s annual revenue increased 25 X. He also co-produced and oversaw fundraising for some of the largest live benefits in the country, including Robin Hood’s annual gala at the Javits Center, as well as the historic 9/11 and post-Hurricane Sandy concerts at Madison Square Garden.
More recently, Lars headed the development team at The Public Theater (including Free Shakespeare in The Park), where over the course of three years, he launched a capital campaign, recruited new Board members, and – in response to the pandemic – launched a multi-million dollar Resiliency Campaign.
Previously Lars created and oversaw the major gifts division for GMHC (Gay Men’s Health Crisis), the nation’s first and largest AIDS service organization. He also held positions at Rockefeller University, The American Film Institute at the Kennedy Center, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Additionally, he has consulted for social service organizations and national cultural institutions across the country and advised high net worth individuals on their personal giving.
Lars has an M.B.A. in Non-Profit Management from the University of Wisconsin School of Business and completed post-graduate programs at Harvard University’s Kennedy School, as well as Columbia University’s Business School, New York University, and Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy. He also has guest lectured at Columbia School of Business and New York University graduate school.
Lars resides in Jersey City, NJ. He is married to his husband of 27 years, Ronald Dabney, and enjoys biking, scuba diving, gardening, and fighting injustice.