WASHINGTON - August 5 - The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force today announced the selection of three statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocacy organizations as partners in an ongoing capacity building project.
The new partners — PROMO (Missouri), the Triangle Foundation (Michigan) and Equal Rights Washington — join Kentucky Fairness Alliance and Equality Maryland, which were selected in the first phase of the project in December 2004.
The capacity building project, a program of the Task Force's Movement Building department and funded by the Gill Foundation and the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund, provides intensive assessment, technical assistance, leadership support and funding over a two-year period to help build the infrastructure of the LGBT rights movement nationwide. The goal is to support organizations in moving to the "next level" more quickly than might otherwise be possible. A total of $500,000 is expected to be distributed in annual grants of up to $50,000 to the partner organizations to help them tackle the most pressing needs they have identified. The Task Force has no role in directing what steps or priorities a partner organization will take to build its capacity — rather, those markers will be determined by the organizations themselves.
"The 2004 election was a potent reminder that our communities are under siege and that grassroots strength is the key to prevailing over the long term," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "The fact is that the vast majority of our movement's statewide organizations are significantly under-resourced and it's critical that our movement invest in these essential and amazingly productive institutions."
In 2003, the Task Force, together with the Equality Federation, conducted an intensive analysis to find out what the core challenges are facing our movement's organizations. It underscored the fact that the vast majority of our movement's statewide organizations are significantly under-resourced and, given the enormous day-to-day demands of responding to ongoing legislative and political challenges, are hard-pressed to also focus on institutional capacity issues. To address this need, the Task Force expanded its efforts and developed the capacity building project, the first program of its kind in the nation.
"The capacity building project is a response to the specific needs of our movement. Our goal is to partner with statewide groups so that together we can turn the tide away from hate and anti-gay public policy," said Russell Roybal, the Task Force's director of Movement Building. "We want to help build a movement infrastructure that survives and thrives far into the future."
Organizations participating in the project were selected through a rigorous application and screening process. Review committee members included Task Force staffers, former Task Force Executive Director Kerry Lobel, now of the Change Group, and Toni Broaddus, executive director of the Equality Federation.
From the LGBT organizations:
"Statewide organizations are our first line of defense against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and our families. As a movement, we cannot underestimate the importance of strong LGBT organizations and leadership. Capacity and infrastructure building is not an abstract concept — it is critical to the success of the LGBT civil rights movement. The Task Force's capacity building project is designed to help our movement build stronger organizations on the ground in the states — and this means our movement will be better prepared to meet the challenges and overcome the obstacles we are faced with in our struggle for equality for all LGBT Americans."
—Toni Broaddus, executive director of Equality Federation
"Many of the gains in rights for our community have occurred because of the work of small, statewide LGBT organizations that operate on shoestring budgets with very small staffs. These groups fight in state capitols from Annapolis and Sacramento to Austin and St. Paul to keep discrimination out of constitutions, create protections for gay couples and families, and promote anti-discrimination laws. That the Task Force recognizes the need to strengthen the capacity of these forward-marching groups shows that it is a true leader in the strengthening of our movement."
—Dan Furmansky, executive director of Equality Maryland
"The Task Force's willingness to make a significant investment of time and money in PROMO will help us ensure that we continue to strengthen our existing organizational capacity and build LGBT grassroots political power in Missouri."
—Julie Brueggemann, executive director of PROMO
"Triangle is poised to harness the energy and resources, and the creative, agile vitality that has defined our work for more than a decade. This partnership will be an important boost, and help propel us on our trajectory to greater growth and effectiveness."
—Jeffrey Montgomery, executive director of the Triangle Foundation
"Equal Rights Washington is very honored to have been selected to participate in this program and is looking forward to working with the Task Force on ending discrimination for all Washingtonians."
—Fran Dunaway, executive director of Equal Rights Washington
"The capacity building project has helped KFA strategically build strength in a time of serious political challenges. We appreciate having this strong financial and technical support from the Task Force."
—Andrea Hildebrand, executive director of Kentucky Fairness Alliance
Equality Federation (National)
Toni Broaddus, 415.377.7771
Dan Furmansky, 301.587.7500 or 301.461.4900
Equal Rights Washington
Fran Dunaway, 206.324.2570
Kentucky Fairness Alliance
Andrea Hildebrand, 502.897.1973
Julie Brueggemann, 314.862.4900
Triangle Foundation (Michigan)
Jeffrey Montgomery, 313.537.3323, ext. 106
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Roberta Sklar, 646.358.1465