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Task Force donates $200,000 to The Miami Foundation’s GLBT Community Projects Fund

June 29, 2011

Russell Roybal, Task Force deputy executive director of external affairs presents Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of the Miami Foundation with a $200,000 check.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force announced this year’s donation of $200,000 to The Miami Foundation’s GLBT Community Projects Fund at a June 23 reception at Bacardi USA’s national headquarters in Miami. Nearly 200 supporters, volunteers, charity representatives and VIPs attended. The donation represents two-thirds of the net proceeds from the 2011 Winter Party Festival and the 14th Annual Recognition Dinner. The remainder of the proceeds will go to the Task Force’s efforts to achieve LGBT equality throughout the U.S.

As he presented the giant symbolic $200,000 check, Russell Roybal, Task Force deputy executive director of external relations, said:

We at the Task Force have a very special relationship with Miami. Since taking over Winter Party and the Recognition Dinner a few years ago, we have ‘partied with a purpose’ at Winter Party and honored community leaders at the Recognition Dinner, all while raising a total of more than $1 million to support local community organizations and the amazing work they do.

In 2005, the Task Force assumed responsibility for the Miami Recognition Dinner and Winter Party Festival after the previous owner, the Gay and Lesbian Foundation of South Florida, closed its doors. In acquiring the events, the Task Force agreed to return the majority of the net proceeds of both events to the local community through The Miami Foundation, which in turn, established the GLBT Community Projects Fund to administer the donations through grants.

“When the Task Force took over these two iconic events, we created a shidduch,” said Jerry Chasen, chair of the GLBT Community Projects Fund.  “And while not a marriage in the literal translation of the word, it has become a match between the wonderful staff and volunteers of the Task Force and the local community in which we live.”

Chasen then asked for a show of hands from charity representatives who have directly benefited from The Miami Foundation grants made possible by the Task Force donations.  Nearly two dozen guests responded as the other guests cheered and applauded. Previous grant recipients have included ACLU Foundation of Florida, Aqua Foundation for Women, Equality Florida, Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, Pridelines Youth Services, Miami Beach Gay Pride, Safe Schools South Florida, SAVE Foundation and Switchboard of Miami.

The upcoming Miami Recognition Dinner, “Sparkle,” will be held Oct. 15, 2011, at the Fontainebleau Hotel. Winter Party Festival 2012 will be February 29 to March 5 at venues throughout Miami Beach. For more information on these events or on the mission and work of the Task Force, visit www.thetaskforce.org.

Each year the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, based in Washington DC, produces two signature events for Greater Miami’s GLBT community – the Winter Party Festival in the spring and the Miami Recognition Dinner in the fall. Thanks to the efforts of local GLBT leaders, a share of the proceeds from these events stays in the local community. In 2007, these leaders turned to The Miami Foundation to create the GLBT Community Projects Fund, through which grants are awarded each year to deserving nonprofits in Greater Miami.

The Task Force had a commitment to ensuring that funds raised through these events in Miami‐Dade County remain in the community. The Miami Foundation had a long-standing history of grantmaking to nonprofits working on gay and lesbian issues at the grassroots level. That combination provides Greater Miami an annual source of grant dollars dedicated to advancing education and public awareness around GLBT issues and supporting the local GLBT community. The Fund is staffed by the Foundation. An advisory committee of local leaders serves as partners to define priorities, review requests and make grant recommendations to the Board of the Foundation.

Awards have helped organizations like Equality Florida makes schools safer for GLBT youth by pursuing anti-bullying policies that specifically protect these youth. Family Counseling Services of Greater Miami has been able to provide support groups and counseling to these youth, so often ostracized by classmates and family. Support for the Miami Gay Men’s Chorus allows them not only to provide quality musical entertainment for the community, but also a positive social outlet and connections for its members. The annual Miami Beach Gay Pride festival provides a community wide occasion Greater Miami’s gay and lesbian residents and the broader community to come together for a celebration of community pride.

The program has enabled the Foundation, the Task Force and local leaders to advance the values of inclusion and fairness that we all share.

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