Pride Foundation Named One of Top Twelve Nonprofits

 

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Dear friends,

After a year that has included many celebrations at the local and national level, we have one more exciting headline to share.

Pride Foundation was just named one of the Top 12 high-impact nonprofits working in the field of local LGBTQ equality and support.
 This esteemed award from comes from Philanthropedia, a division of GuideStar. The rankings are based on in-depth surveys and conversations with hundreds of experts, including academics, foundation leaders, policy makers, and consultants.

Pride Foundation is honored to be recognized for such a prestigious award. We are also thankful to each of you—we reach our successes only with your support. As the holiday season continues, we are reminded of what matters most in our own lives and in the life of an organization like Pride Foundation. We are so grateful for the opportunity to champion for inspired students and innovative nonprofits all year long.

Here is a link to two stories 
of one scholar (Andrew Nichols) and one grantee (Gay Straight Alliance at Salish Kootenai College) that exemplify what can happen when you take the risk to do what you believe in and when you have a community of friends at your side. These stories also point to the reason Pride Foundation was honored with this award—together we are transforming the lives of people in the Northwest.

I understand that so many of you have contributed generously to many causes this year. Knowing that achieving full equality for all is important to you, I would ask that you consider making a personally significant year-end gift to Pride Foundation. To those of you who have already given generously, thank you. Your gift will be joined with the voices and momentum of the entire community and region. And you never know—you may profoundly change or even save a life.

Thank you.

With Pride,

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Kris Hermanns, Executive Director

Pride Foundation

 

 

Greer Among Young NW LGBTQ Leaders Invited to The White House

So proud of my friend Jamee….


VP Biden and Dr. Biden to celebrate the next generation of LGBTQ leaders
 
Jamee Greer has been told in public meetings that his kind deserves to be sentenced to death and ridiculed as “Tinkerbell” by a prominent gun lobbyist. Last week, the White House confirmed what members of the LGBTQ Montanans and their supporters have long known: That Greer is one of the finest leaders in the country, and his policy and organizing expertise is essential to ensuring dignity and fairness for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
 
Greer will join other Northwest LGBTQ leaders including Josh Parrish of the ACLU of Idaho, Heather Purser of the Suquamish Tribe (Washington), and Kyle Rapiñan of Seattle Queer Youth Center for a tour of The White House, LGBTQ policy roundtable, and end-of-summer BBQ reception in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, September 19. A fifth community leader, Christian Baeff of CAUSA (Oregon), was invited but is unable to attend.
 
“Jamee’s work on non-discrimination ordinances in Missoula, Helena, and Bozeman, and his steadfast advocacy for all the underdogs in our society made him a clear choice for this invitation,” explains Kris Hermanns, Executive Director of Pride Foundation, the Northwest LGBTQ community foundation that was asked by The White House to suggest people that are leading change in their LGBTQ communities.
 
“Each of these young leaders inspire change by working with their local communities—their dedication to and passion for full LGBTQ equality is inspiring,” adds Hermanns.
 
Greer is employed as a full-time community organizer and lobbyist for the Montana Human Rights Network, a longtime grantee and partner to the foundation.
 
“It’s an incredible honor and very humbling to be chosen for something like this when there are so many qualified LGBTQ Montanans working every day for equal treatment under the law, and I couldn’t even think of this sort of opportunity happening without their help, including from the folks at Pride Foundation,” Greer said.
 
Greer was born and raised in Bozeman and has worked for the Montana Human Rights Network since the 2009 Legislature. He was lead organizer on the campaign to pass Montana’s first LGBTQ non-discrimination protections through the Missoula City Council in 2010 and is currently leading the campaign to pass a similar ordinance in the state capital of Helena. During legislative sessions, Greer lobbies for MHRN, working on policy related to social and economic justice, including reproductive freedom, LGBTQ equality, immigrant rights, and access to health care.
 
Greer previously worked as an HIV/AIDS tester and counselor with the Montana Gay Men’s Task Force and as a volunteer organizer through the Western Montana Gay & Lesbian Community Center.
 
 
Founded in 1985, Pride Foundation is dedicated to inspiring a culture of generosity to connect and strengthen organizations, leaders, and students who are creating LGBTQ equality across the Northwest states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, visit www.pridefoundation.org or email Caitlin@pridefoundation.org.

Montana Gay-Friendly Health and Mental Health Providers

Looking for a doctor who isn’t freaked out by your sexuality? Or a dentist that will work with you if you have HIV? Or a therapist that has experience with gay couple’s therapy?

The Montana Gay Men’s Task Force has a list of gay-friendly healthcare providers for the State of Montana which they have compiled through a referral and questionnaire network. The providers listed have also given their assent to be on the list.

Check it out here.

Oh, and if you have a fabulous healthcare professional who isn’t listed- you can help them get on the list here.


Red Lodge Ski Event to Raise Money for Scholarship


Billings Group Hopes to Establish LGBTQ Scholarship for Montana

RED LODGE, MT — The Billings-based group TAP 365 will bring Slide 4 Pride to the Beartooth Recreational Nordic Center on Saturday, March 17, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  This family-friendly cross-country ski event aims to raise money to start a scholarship fund for a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or straight-allied Montana student, and will also accept donations for the Beartooth Recreational Trails Association.

“Gay students are more likely to lose family support and even face homelessness after they come out,” explained Suzie Eades, a volunteer with TAP 365 and Pride Foundation who is planning the ski event after two successful 4 Pride fundraisers earlier this year in Billings. “It’s important that our community step up and show these students that we believe in them and know they can succeed in college.”

TAP 365 is a new nonprofit aimed at raising awareness about LGBTQ issues east of the Continental Divide and to build bridges with heterosexual allies. TAP 365 hopes the 4 Pride events will raise enough money to endow a scholarship fund, which will be managed by Pride Foundation and perpetually support a Montana LGBTQ student who is pursuing a degree or post-secondary certification in Montana.

“We are thrilled to partner once again with TAP 365 and the 4 Pride Event Series,” said Caitlin Copple, Montana’s Regional Development Organizer for Pride Foundation.  “It’s great to see the energy and enthusiasm coming out of the Billings community for LGBTQ equality, thanks to the work of these volunteers.”

Slide 4 Pride is a free event featuring beginning cross-country ski instruction, food, and music under a heated tent. All donations are tax deductible, and sponsorships from the Pride Foundation, Jason Webinger of Farmers Insurance in Billings and Café Regis of Red Lodge helped underwrite event costs.

Pride Foundation provides grants and scholarships to strengthen the LGBTQ equality movement across the Northwest states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.  It is the single largest provider of scholarships for LGBTQ students in the nation, and will give away $380,000 in community scholarships this year.  To learn more, visit www.pridefoundation.org or email Caitlin@pridefoundation.org or call 406.546.7017.

Pride Foundation: Big Plans for Montana

By Caitlin Copple, Montana Regional Development Organizer, Pride Foundation

During new Executive Director Kris Hermanns’ inaugural visit to Montana, the state’s Leadership Action Team volunteers convened at a retreat center in Red Lodge January 28 to assess the first year of Pride Foundation’s regional expansion in Montana and to help set the course for 2012.

“The Montana retreat recognized, created and harnessed some of the most encouraging energy I’ve been a part of in a long time,” said volunteer and monthly donor Greg Smith of Bozeman. “There is a unity of purpose and vision among us that’s palpable, and we are absolutely committed to LGBTQ equality in Montana.”

Added volunteer and donor Mary Stranahan of Arlee: “It was a good whirlwind of networking and making connections across the state, and I am very glad to have met Kris.”

Among the highlights were the notable increase in the number of LGBTQ events around the state, feeling more connected as a statewide community, giving away more money than ever, and feeling like we are working to create a better world through social change.  Wishes from team members included the need for more political and legal change, more visibility to reach people outside the “choir” of progressive and LGBTQ activists, and to diversify in fundraising strategies.

LAT Members with Pride Foundation's Amy White

The team, which functions much like a statewide board, decided to split into three subcommittees focusing on fundraising, visibility and communications, and leadership development.  The fundraising committee, co-chaired by Aaron Browning of Billings and Ginny Furshong of Helena, will focus on major donor and monthly giving development and donor retention, as well as connecting with Montana’s many “expats” who have left the state for either coast but remaining committed to social justice here.

The communications committee will develop Montana-specific “talking points” about the impact of Pride Foundation and its grantees in Montana, and work to present to businesses and service clubs.

The leadership development committee will focus on power-building by providing capacity building and technical assistance to grantee organizations and allies, as well as providing greater volunteer support to grantees, especially those focused on advocacy and education.

“Volunteering with and donating to Pride Foundation means being a part of something bigger than myself without losing my individual identity – or my voice,” explains LAT member and monthly donor Greg Smith of Bozeman. “In fact, Pride Foundation amplifies my voice because it is the vehicle for change in the Pacific Northwest for all LGBTQ persons and our allies, urbanand rural. Pride Foundation’s investment in my home state of Montana couldn’t be clearer- it’s professional, it’s consistent and it’s becoming stronger every day.”

Moving forward, the Leadership Action Team plans to meet quarterly in person and monthly in subcommittees.  If you have feedback or suggestions for how Pride Foundation can better serve your community, please contact Caitlin@pridefoundation.org or one of your local LAT members.

“Fair Is Fair Tour”: Exploring The Connections Of Race, Sexuality And Faith

Can the struggle for gay equality be compared to the black civil rights movement? What are the similarities and differences? And how can people of faith participate in both movements? These are the questions panelists and audience participants will explore during the cross-Montana Fair is Fair Tour in September.

The tour, sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana and Truth in Progress, will visit six Montana cities over nine days, including Billings, Bozeman, Missoula, Kalispell, Great Falls and Helena, and feature Rev. Gil Caldwell, an esteemed civil rights activist who started working for equality in the South of the 1960s and has never looked back.

“Most of us have been wounded by others for a variety of reasons. Some persons and some systems have hurt us because of our race, gender, sexual orientation, economic and educational poverty, religion, politics, same sex partnered relationship, physical characteristics, etc,” says Caldwell. “I look forward to talking about the ‘solidarity of our woundedness’ and how we who have been hurt for a multiplicity of reasons, can discover healing for ourselves as we seek to enable the healing of others.”

Caldwell, documentarian Marilyn Bennett and ACLU of Montana LGBT Advocacy Coordinator Ninia Baehr, plus special guests in some cities will discuss how communities can support gay and lesbian couples’ work for relationship recognition, and how that struggle parallels and differs from the racial justice movement.

“These are different histories. These are very different experiences,” says Bennett. “But the fight for civil rights, and acknowledging equal rights have important similarities.”

Rev. Caldwell is a retired United Methodist Minister who participated in the “Mississippi Freedom Summer” of 1964, the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, and the March on Washington. He is a founding member of the United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church and the Black Methodists for Church Renewal. Today Rev. Caldwell is exploring how faith communities and all people can support work for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality with Bennett through the Truth in Progress project.

Baehr is the ACLU of Montana’s LGBT Advocacy Coordinator and spearheads the Fair is Fair project. Through her work she has been reaching out to clergy members who support domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

“We’re happy to be working with churches on this tour,” Baehr said. “Nearly 100 clergy members across the state have already stood up for fairness and signed onto a statement supporting justice, compassion and defense of basic human rights for same-sex couples.”

All events are free and open to the public.

Billings — Saturday, Sept. 17
5 p.m.
Grace United Methodist Church, 1935 Avenue B

Bozeman — Monday, Sept. 19
7 p.m.
Montana State University, SUB 233-235
With special guest, Dr. Walter Fleming, MSU Native American Studies Department Director

Missoula — Tuesday, Sept. 20
8 p.m.
University Congregational UCC, 405 University Ave.
With special guests, David Herrera and Steven Barrios, board members of the Montana Two-Spirit Society

Kalispell — Wednesday, Sept. 21
7 p.m.
Christ Church Episcopal, 213 Third Ave. East

Great Falls — Saturday, Sept. 24
10:30 a.m.
Great Falls Public Library, 301 2nd Ave. N
With special guest Steven Barrios, board member of the Montana Two-Spirit Society

Helena — Monday, Sept. 26
7 p.m.
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Corner of Logan and Lawrence
With special guest Jamee Greer of the Montana Human Rights Network, who will discuss work for an LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance in Helena

“You Are Loved”

I’ve written about the importance of Rural Pride Celebrations before- but if you want to see it firsthand, or if you ever wondered what the 2011 Montana Pride Celebration was like- well wonder no more.

Wet Paint Studios beautifully chronicled the event with this amazing piece of film:

From the Wet Paint Studios’ description:

“You Are Loved” is a documentary chronicling Montana Pride- celebrating the diversity of all walks of life.

The documentary explores what it means to be an LGBTQI in Montana, a rural state of not even a million people. The response from the community in Bozeman, MT was overwhelming, and without it, this documentary would not be possible. Enjoy the show!