Cathy Cha, President and CEO, Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
Dear Ms. Cha,
In a time where states are actively legislating against trans children competing in sports and putting forward “Don’t Say Gay” bills we are dismayed that your organization recently announced that you would be winding down your LGBT equality program over the next two years.
Even the title of your announcement, “Winding Down Our LGBT program,” has a negative tone to it. While we have certainly made gains over the past decade, with every advancement we have made, such as the Windsor and Obergefell decisions affirming marriage equality and, more recently, the Bostock v. Clayton County decision confirming that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees against discrimination because they are gay or transgender, opponents of our community’s civil rights have come back at us with what often seems like a ten-fold response. Now is not the time to stop investing in our community.
The Personal Stories Project is a small non-profit, one of several that operates from the grass roots level, providing small but consistent support to, in their case, 22 other small, community-based organizations serving the LGBTQ community. Their average outgoing donation is less than $300 per year, and on a good year their annual budget is around $15,000 – that’s when there isn’t a global pandemic going on. Obviously budgets have been much less over the past two years.
The ancient adage “With great power comes great responsibility” comes to mind when we think about the void that will be left to fill in your absence. While we, and organizations like ours, will continue to do our part, there’s no way we will be able to fill the void that is left when your funding is gone.
We urge you to reconsider your decision. While you’ve indicated that this isn’t a “cut and run’ scenario and that you plan to work with the organizations you currently support during the wind down period we still fear for the worst in your organization’s absence and hope you fully realize what this decision will ultimately do to our community long-term.
Charles Chan Massey, Co-Founder and Executive Director, The Personal Stories Project