BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
About 200 LGBT community leaders in South Florida recently attended a national leadership forum in Fort Lauderdale sponsored by Our Fund, a new foundation "connecting the LGBT Community."
The forum was moderated by attorney Paul Smith of Washington, D.C., who successfully argued Lawrence v. Texas before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003. Panelists included Michael Adams, executive director of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE); Rea Carey, executive director, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force; Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal; and Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida.
"Part of the mission of Our Fund is educating donors. We wanted to bring to light how organizations on a national level work together," said Our Fund CEO/President Anthony Timiraos. "We're a South Florida LGBT organization. Bringing the heavy hitters on a national level should help show the local nonprofits how organizations can work together."
According to Timiraos, a recent study by the Horizons Foundation in San Francisco showed that of all gay people living in the Bay area, only 2.1 percent contribute to local LGBT organizations. "That means 98 percent are not donating," he said.
The reasons, he said:
"Usually donors don't contribute because they're not asked, they're disconnected or they're had a negative experience."
Our Fund, which launched earlier this year, has applied for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. Other South Florida philanthropic foundations provide some money to local gay organizations, but the LGBT groups are not their primary focus, Timiraos said.