Pride Foundation: An Investment In Montana’s Future

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You may have noticed that I’m a big fan of the Pride Foundation.

I’d like to explain why.

When I was growing up in Montana in the 70’s, there were no resources for kids like me- no gay role models, no resources, no way for me to combat the prevalent message that I was deformed, debilitated or disordered. I just assumed that I was. It’s a painful way to live. In fact, it was so painful I attempted suicide.

I survived.

Some of our kids haven’t.

When I moved back to Montana as a reasonably well-adjusted gay man, I made myself a promise: I would do everything in my power to make sure that kids growing up here would have role models and support and resources to stand against the messages of hate and bigotry that still find a place in our culture.

Pride Foundation is a big part of that for me.

When I worked at Seattle Counseling Service, Pride Foundation was a major supporter of our mental health and substance abuse work with LGBTIQ and HIV-infected people. They are proud partners in creating community health. That makes Pride Foundation a natural partner for my life goals as a gay man in Montana. Pride Foundation has made it a point to create a culture of giving and support for organizations and individuals to create safe and sustaining places for LGBTIQ people- and our allies- in Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Oregon and Washington. Creating better and more inclusive communities for all.

Since 1985, Pride Foundation has given more than $39 million dollars to thousands of organizations and scholars across the Pacific Northwest.

If you’ve been looking for a way to be involved, here’s your chance. Volunteers serve on grant and scholarship review teams, work at local events and provide important input for our mission in every state across the region.

And, if you’re looking to get an amazing return on your philanthropic dollar, I hope you’ll consider a gift that will keep on giving for decades to come.

I currently serve- with Shelley Hayes from Billings- as one of Montana’s Pride Foundation Board Members. I’m also the Pride Foundation Montana Leadership Action Team Chair, and I’m doing everything in my power to ensure that Pride Foundation’s generous culture of philanthropy and stewardship continues to benefit Montanans and LGBTIQ persons in the Pacific Northwest for years to come.

I’d like you to join me.

Here’s the Pride Foundation donor link. It’s very easy. Ken and I give $50 every month- and it’s simply taken from our debit card. Plus, for every dollar you give to Pride Foundation over $3.00 comes back to Montana! That’s unheard of in this day and age.

https://www.pridefoundation.org/giving/give-online/

  •  All donations from Montanans stay in Montana supporting grants and scholarships here.
  • For every $1 raised in MT last year, $3.80 came back to the state.
  • Caitlin has driven over 10,000 miles since being hired as the first staff on the ground two years ago.
  • We’ve given away nearly $500,000 in Montana total, including nearly $50,000 this past year.  

We plan to award even more this next year thanks to our supporters- people just like you.

Whatever you can offer is deeply appreciated. We appreciate your time as well as your resources. Seriously. We treat all of our donors and volunteers as part of our family.

Thanks in advance for helping make the future brighter for LGBTIQ people under the Big Sky!

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Do you Know Where YOUR Envelope Goes? Catholic Church Hierarchy Spending More Than A Million Dollars Against Marriage Equality

From The Human Rights Campaign:
by Dan Rafter, Online Campaigns Manager

click for full story

The Catholic Church is funneling unprecedented dollar amounts into the four states where marriage equality is on the ballot this fall – Minnesota, Maryland, Maine and Washington – and in many cases, parishioners may not even be aware that their dollars are being used to fund discrimination. The new HRC report finds that the Church has spent at least $1.1 million as part of its broader effort to deny loving, committed couples the right to marry. In addition, a close ally of the Church and past co-conspirator, the National Organization for Marriage, has spent nearly $1.4 million on the four ballot measures. In the aggregate, the Church and NOM are the single largest funders of discrimination, responsible for funding nearly 60 percent of all anti-equality efforts in Minnesota, Maryland, Maine and Washington.

A significant portion of the Catholic-affiliated funding -more than $640,000 – comes from the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal organization within the Church. The Knights of Columbus have an established history of using their money to fight marriage equality dating back to 2005. Equally Blessed, a coalition of pro-LGBT Catholic groups, will be releasing an extensive report in partnership with HRC today detailing the Knights’ longstanding financial support for anti-equality measures.

In Minnesota alone, the opposition to marriage equality has received more than $180,000 from dioceses across the nation. Much of this funding likely came without the knowledge of parishioners; and as diocesan schools and important programs like soup kitchens struggle for resources, the Catholic Church has instead chosen to fund hateful, misleading political campaigns targeting loving, committed couples.

Learn more about the work of the Church hierarchy and its allies in fighting marriage equality this election cycle at www.hrc.org/catholicreport.

Pride Foundation In Montana: Promoting Equality And Generosity- With A New Website

Pride Foundation launched a new website this week, making it much easier to focus on the great work we are doing throughout the Pacific Northwest. And yes, I say we. And so should you.

Since 1985, Pride Foundation has been promoting a culture of philanthropy and generosity among LGBT people and our allies- most recently supporting Marriage Equality in Washington State. And we’re not stopping there.

Pride Foundation is proud to support LGBTQ equality in Montana. Building on the first Montana grant awarded in the 1990s supporting a LGBTQ youth conference, we have been growing support for Montana organizations and scholars thanks to donors and volunteers with more than $300,000 awarded to date. For every $1.00 given in Montana, $3.80 is returned to Montana by Pride Foundation.  Seriously. That’s a firm and amazing commitment.

As a donor-supported community foundation and a catalyst for change, we support transformative philanthropy, programs, and individuals in the Northwest that help people find joy and strength in who they are and where they are—in urban, rural, and remote communities.

Caitlin Copple is Pride Foundation’s full-time Regional Development Organizer in Montana, based in Missoula. But Caitlin travels throughout the Treasure State meeting donors, volunteers, grantees, and scholars—building a community to move LGBTQ equality forward in Montana. She’s on the road for Pride Foundation every week.

Contact Caitlin to learn more about Pride Foundation’s work in Montana and to find out how you can get involved. Be sure to sign up for Pride Foundation’s monthly eNewsletter to learn more about our supporters, grantees, and scholars. You can also read all of Caitlin’s Montana stories online.

Local Leadership: For Montana, By Montana

Local leadership makes Pride Foundation’s work meaningful and relevant as local Montana volunteers help award our grants and scholarships in Montana. Montana’s Leadership Action Team is one group of volunteers that provides guidance and advice to staff. I am proud to be a part of this group of amazing individuals. With representation from Arlee, Billings, Bozeman, Helena, Kalispell and Missoula, the members of the 2012 Leadership Action Team are:

  • Chris Bedoian
  • Rep. Bryce Bennett (D-Missoula)
  • Aaron Browning
  • Suzie Eades
  • Mel Fisher
  • Ginny Furshong
  • Shelley Hayes
  • David Herrera
  • Pat Kemp
  • Tom Marsh
  • Greg Smith – Chairperson
  • Mary Stranahan
  • Mike Wessler
  • Bobbie Zenker
Look for us this summer at Montana Pride- and remember, groups/events can request sponsorships ($50.00 to $500.00 separate from the larger grant cycle) from Pride Foundation through a quick and easy form. Pride Foundation is committed to LGBT Equality and philanthropy in Montana- we want you with us. Remember, for every dollar given by Montanans to Pride Foundation, $3.80 comes back to Montana. That’s an incredible return on your investment.
And our lives here are more than worth it.

Living The Generous Life

Ode Magazine, something I look forward to every month, has an article entitled “Reflections on The Generous Life”- an antidote to the massive consumerism that infects the world at this time of year.

Hymns Children Generosity

Image via Wikipedia

For 30 years, most of us in the Western world have been having a party. We have been encouraged to be self-sufficient and independent, to become successful and rich, to search for true happiness and find “the real us.” We’ve been encouraged to buy our own homes, invest in shares, become entrepreneurs, travel the world and borrow as much money as we liked to consume “things” that upon cool, calm reflection we didn’t really need—or use. We have been ­cleverly and ruthlessly advertised and marketed at to buy a lifestyle rather than get a real life. We thought we had it all.

But now, the world is not in a happy state—and neither are most of us. We are nationally, corporately and individually bust, owing unimaginable trillions that would make our more prudent forebears groan with disbelief and which will take our children decades to repay.

I think it is time to change the world, for every one of us to wake up and decide that we, as individuals and in groups, can tackle the challenges our society faces. We can all become leaders and authors of change by living more generous, proactive lives, by inspiring each other and by setting an example for our friends and our children.

 Generosity, giving, sharing, change- things I love.