Pride Foundation Is Number One

From The Puget Sound Business Journal:

Seattle’s Pride Foundation has been ranked the nation’s No. 1 public and community foundation serving the gay community between 1970 and 2010, according to a report by Funders for LGBTQ Issues.

Pride Foundation awarded more than $22.5 million in the 40-year span the report covered in the report. The organization made more than 1,800 grants supporting LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer) issues and HIV/AIDS prevention.

Pride was ranked No. 7 in the more general category of top 10 grantmakers for the same period, although it should be noted that the category of “anonymous funders” – including many anonymous donors lumped together – ranked first with $90 million in spending.

The Seattle-based Pride Foundation has historically received support from prominent individuals in the business community.

The most notable contribution was from Ric Weiland in 2008. One of Microsoft    ’s first five employees, Weiland died in 2006, ultimately leaving $65 million to the Pride Foundation.

“Ric’s gift was a game changer for us,” said Philip Wong, a spokesman for the foundation. “It had a huge impact.”

In fact, it was the largest single gift ever given to an organization dedicated to gay rights. Weiland had been a Pride board member and longtime volunteer.

The Pride Foundation was ranked ninth for its support of LGBTQ youth, spending $4.5 million between 1970 and 2010.

Founded in 1985, the Pride Foundation serves Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.

Pride Foundation’s Executive Director Kris Hermanns told supporters today:

Thank you for being a part of the Pride Foundation family as we work together to envision a world where full equality reaches every corner of the Northwest. Your gifts of time, support, and money have created a legacy of LGBTQ philanthropy that will endure for generations to come. We share our number one title with you.
Pride Foundation’s origins are rooted in the community response to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. From our humble beginnings, donors and volunteers have guided Pride Foundation to support local nonprofit projects that are addressing existing and emerging issues that affect the health and well-being of our community. Pride Foundation’s scholarship program has grown into one of the largest LGBTQ-focused scholarship programs in the U.S. Our Shareholder Advocacy program was instrumental in encouraging companies like Wal-Mart and McDonald’s to add “sexual orientation” to company anti-discrimination policies—and we continue to work with companies to include “gender identity” to those policies.
These are all significant achievements that Pride Foundation could not have reached without your support. Though we may never be able to thank you enough, we will try.
 You know I love and support Pride Foundation (see below)- this is just the icing on the cake…

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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.

Montana’s Last Best Chance

Washington State is soon to add itself to the list of states that have legislated for marriage equality- arguably the most democratic way to achieve human rights there is. Forget referendums- most people don’t know what they’re actually voting for, they just read the synopsis on the ballot and make a two second decision. But I digress.

The question for me is this: Now that the State of Washington has voted for Marriage Equality, what does that mean for Oregon, Idaho, Alaska and Montana?

It means we need to keep up the momentum for full LGBT equality. This is not the time to sit on our laurels. This is the time to step it up.

Kris Hermanns in Red Lodge

The Pride Foundation is the only LGBT organization actively involved for LGBT Equality throughout the entire Pacific Northwest- and it is deeply committed. New Executive Director Kris Hermanns last week said to a gathering of Montanans in Bozeman, “Our commitment to you is clear, and together we will have full equality throughout the Pacific Northwest.”

I am a proud member of the Pride Foundation’s Montana Leadership Action Team- along with a number of amazing people- and we have big plans for Montana.

But without the organizing and financial power of Pride Foundation, this amazing group of people would never have been recruited, organized and utilized- and the tens of thousands of  dollars would never have been spent to support LGBTQ causes, events and organizations in 2011.

I believe that the Pride Foundation is Montana’s last best chance to achieve dignity and rights in the state of Montana.

We can’t do it without you. And I’m going to blatantly ask for your support.

If you believe in equal rights for all, support us. Join us here on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. And please consider financially supporting Pride Foundation- Ken and I are monthly givers.

To do that, click here.

And thank you.