Gill Foundation | Advocates for LGBT Equality

Letter from Tim Sweeney
President and CEO

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Reflecting on 2008

icon-careerCareer - The American Civil Liberties Union successfully sued the Library of Congress on the grounds of sexual discrimination after it rescinded a job offer to Diane Schroer when she disclosed that she was in the process of gender transition. The judge’s ruling is the first to hold that the federal sex discrimination statute, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, applies to transgender Americans. Sadly, over 150 million Americans still live in states that do not have statewide nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

icon-societySociety - Last year, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) launched an innovative campaign entitled “ThinkB4YouSpeak” aimed at reducing the appalling levels of harassment that young adults perceived to be gay, lesbian, or gender non-conforming endure every day at school. In a series of thought-provoking print and television ads, GLSEN encourages kids to re-think homophobic remarks such as “that’s so gay.” The need for such this campaign was confirmed all too quick. On April 6, 2009, 11-year old Carl Walker-Hoover committed suicide after enduring constant bullying at school, including being called “gay” and “faggot” even though he did not identify as gay.

icon-spiritualitySpirituality - The People for the American Way Foundation is doing some impressive work organizing LGBT-affirming African-American clergy as well as community leaders that share the value of equality for all. A broad coalition of clergy supported marriage efforts in California. All Americans deserve the opportunity to worship and feel secure that their faith accepts them and honors them as they are. That’s one of the many reasons why so many Americans were gratified to learn that the Episcopal Church will bless same-sex unions.

Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado

The Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado advances equality for all people in our home state of Colorado. We do that by strengthening high-impact nonprofits that share our values and contribute to the quality of life of all Coloradans.

We engage our nonprofit partners through a combination of grantmaking, technical assistance, and training. In 2008, the Gay & Lesbian Fund awarded more than $1.7 million in grants throughout the state in four major areas:

  • Arts & Culture: Grants were awarded to 56 nonprofits that reflect Colorado’s rich cultural heritage. We supported groups ranging from El Centro Su Teatro in Denver, the oldest Chicano theater in the country, to the Thunder River Theatre Company in Carbondale.
  • Healthy Families: Our funding provided support to 64 organizations that strengthen the ability of Colorado families to thrive, ranging from Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation and its youth college scholarships, to Project Angel Heart’s life-giving nutritious meals program for people living with HIV/AIDs and other serious illnesses.
  • Civic Participation: We provided funding to 38 organizations that work to strengthen our democracy. Our partners included 9to5 National Association for Working Women, an organization that organizes low-wage workers to advocate for equal pay. And PeaceJam, a group committed to engaging young leaders to solve problems in their school and communities.
  • Public Broadcasting: Our support of 15 public broadcasting stations throughout the state promotes intelligent dialogue about the important issues facing Colorado. From Durango and Paonia and Denver to Fort Collins, these 15 stations reach 94 percent of Coloradans.
  • The Stonewall riots were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City. They are frequently cited as the first instance in American history when people in the LGBT community fought back against a government-sponsored system that persecuted sexual minorities, and they have become the defining event that marked the start of the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.

    — Wikipedia

  • Gill Foundation Grants

    The Gill Foundation celebrates its 15th Anniversary in 2009. Since the foundation began in 1994, we have invested more than $162 million, including $96 million in grants, to support programs and nonprofits that share our commitment to equal rights for all Americans.

    Approximately 80 percent of the foundation’s work and funding is dedicated to LGBT nonprofits — both national and state organizations — that work every day to bring about equality. Funding to these LGBT organizations, including those in Colorado, is provided by the Gill Foundation. Colorado is our home, so the remaining 20 percent of our funding goes to nonprofits in the state that improve the quality of life for all residents. Funding for these programs is given in the name of the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado. The Fund is a program of the Gill Foundation.

  • No Place for Hate

    No Place for Hate® was developed to organize schools to work together and develop projects that enhance the appreciation of diversity and foster harmony amongst diverse groups. The campaign empowers schools to promote respect for individual and group differences while challenging prejudice and bigotry.

    Click here for more information.

  • Straightlaced includes the perspectives of teens who self-identify as straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual or questioning and represent all points of the gender spectrum. With courage and unexpected humor, they open up their lives to the camera: choosing between “male” and “female” deodorant; deciding whether to go along with anti-gay taunts in the locker room; having the courage to take ballet; avoiding the restroom so they won’t get beaten up; or mourning the suicide of a classmate. It quickly becomes clear that just about everything teens do requires thinking about gender and sexuality.

    Coming of age today has become increasingly complex and challenging; Straightlaced offers both teens and adults a way out of anxiety, fear and violence and points the way toward a more inclusive, empowering culture.

    Click here for more information.

  • Angie Zapata

    In order to call attention to Angie’s life and death, a coalition of organizations rallied to bring attention to the various issues at play during the trial of her killer. The group launched a website, placed newspaper ads statewide, and advanced the push for federal hate crimes legislation.

    Click here for more information.

  • The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.

    Founded in 1977, NCLR is a non-profit, public interest law firm which litigates precedent-setting cases at the trial and appellate court levels; advocates for equitable public policies affecting the LGBT community; provides free legal assistance to LGBT people and their legal advocates; and conducts community education on LGBT legal issues.

    Click here for more information.

  • Let California Ring is an independent, nonprofit public education campaign to open hearts and minds about the unique respect, dignity, and support that come with marriage.

    Click here for more information.

  • Relationship Recognition

    States that afford the freedom to marry to all caring, committed couples.

    States with statutes that make available to same-sex couples virtually all of the legal protections of marriage, but not the dignity and societal respect that accompanies the term “marriage.”

    States with very limited legal protections associated with marriage.

    States that recognize out-of-state marriages entered into by same-sex couples, but do not allow same-sex couples to marry.

    No statewide recognition, or legal protections of marriage for same-sex couples.

    Click here for more detailed information.

  • ACLU LGBT Project

    On April 29, 2009, a federal court awarded Schroer maximum damages of $491,190 for back pay, other financial losses and emotional pain and suffering after finding the Library illegally discriminated against Schroer because of her sex. At trial, Schroer testified that she had applied for a position with the Library of Congress as the senior terrorism research analyst and was offered the job. Prior to starting work, she took her future boss to lunch to explain that she was in the process of transitioning and wished to start work presenting as female.

    The following day, Schroer received a call from her future boss rescinding the offer, telling her that she wasn’t a “good fit” for the Library of Congress. The U.S. Department of Justice decided not to appeal a federal court ruling awarding transgender veteran Diane Schroer the maximum compensation for the discrimination she suffered after being refused a job with the Library of Congress.

    Click here for more information on this groundbreaking case.

  • Nondiscrimination

    Statewide employment nondiscrimination statute that specifies sexual orientation and gender identity / expression.

    Statewide employment nondiscrimination statute that specifies sexual orientation only.States with very limited legal protections associated with marriage.

    No LGBT-specific statewide employment nondiscrimination statute.

    Click here for more detailed information.

  • ThinkB4YouSpeak.com

    GLSEN encourages kids to re-think homophobic remarks such as “that’s so gay.”

    Click here for more information.

  • Safe Schools Improvement Act

    “School bullying is a national crisis, and we need a national solution to deal with it. That is why I am here today. Teachers, administrators and other school personnel need additional support and clear guidance about how to ensure that all kids feel safe in school. Congress can make sure they have that guidance and support by making anti-bullying policies mandatory in all of our nation's schools.” — Sirdeaner Walker

    Click here to view the video

  • People For The American Way

    Click here to visit the site

  • El Centro Su Teatro

    El Centro Su Teatro annually produces 4 to 5 original works, adaptations, and other Chicano/Latino plays relevant to the concerns, celebrations, and social issues of our community.

    Click here to visit the site

  • Thunder River Theatre Company

    To better understand the human experience, Thunder River Theatre Company creates professional and provocative theatre for the Roaring Fork Valley.

    Click here to visit the site

  • Pueblo Hispanic Education Foundation

    The foundation focuses on removing financial as well as other barriers that might prevent students from securing an education, and gaining employment.

    Click here to visit the site

  • Project Angel Heart

    Delivering nutritious meals to improve quality of life, at no cost, for those coping with life-threatening illness.

    Click here to visit the site

  • 9to5

    In 1973, a group of office workers in Boston got together to talk about issues which had no names, sexual harassment, work/family challenges, and pay equity. From this beginning, 9to5 emerged as the national organization dedicated to putting working women’s issues on the public agenda. 9to5’s constituents are low-wage women, women in traditionally female jobs, and those who’ve experienced any form of discrimination. Membership is open to all. Now in its fourth decade, 9to5’s mission is to strengthen women’s ability to win economic justice.

    Click here to visit the site

  • PeaceJam

    PeaceJam’s Global Call to Action is an international movement of young people who have decided to work together to solve the most pressing issues of our time. In small groups and clubs, in cities and in villages, Global Call to Action groups are tackling important problems facing our planet — and we are making a difference.

    Click here to visit the site

  • The Gay & Lesbian Fund Building

    The diversity of groups using the space was tremendous. They ranged from the American Red Cross, Colorado Renewable Energy Society, Women’s Resource Agency, Division of Youth Corrections, and Sierra Club, to Iraq Veterans Against the War, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Suicide Prevention Partnership, and All Souls Unitarian Church.

    Click here to visit the site

Throughout this letter, you’ll find useful information and links beyond the written text. Click on the highlighted text for additional information and links.

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