Volunteer and guest writer Kori Rodley with Teri Schlesinger on their wedding day

Kori Rodley, a Pride Foundation grants volunteer, shares the experience of what it was like to get to give the money away to great grantees.

 

 

As someone who has written dozens of grant proposals, the opportunity to be on the “giving” side of the granting process was one I just couldn’t pass up. While mission, purpose and work plans are important to any nonprofit endeavor—whether it be performance, direct human services, or advocacy—having the financial support from like-minded funders is what really makes the magic happen. I think it is especially critical for LGBTQ issues and challenges—we need funders like the Pride Foundation who truly understand the realities of our regional and local work, and we need a way for individual donors to get involved and connected with the Pacific Northwest community.

I volunteered to be part of the grants program—first as part of the committee reading and evaluating letters of inquiry and then as part of the committee evaluating and awarding final grants for Oregon—for a variety of reasons. My initial motivation was really curiosity—I wanted to know how the process worked and how decisions were made? I also wanted an “insider’s” look at what all the other organizations and activists were doing statewide: where was our movement headed? As executive director of Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC), part of my job is to cultivate vision and connect our local work on LGBTQ rights and issues with those regionally and nationally. We do a great deal of cross-issue social justice work and I was eager to be inspired by the work that others are doing too!

In thinking about what my contribution might have been to the granting process for this most recent round, I believe my age (45) and experience as a grassroots organizer and activist, as well as an understanding of the benefits of supporting smaller, rural, or cross-issue organizations came in handy. After years of doing this work, I tend to see the “big picture” and understand that movement building has various phases. Sometimes, one or two thousand dollars can have an enormous impact on a small town or rural county—more than $20,000 does in a large urban area. The more organizations the Pride foundation can fund and support, the stronger our LGBTQ community is statewide and around the region!

We have a responsibility to create a stronger community for future generations—both for those who are LGBTQ and those who are not. This means strengthening the infrastructure of our community—everything from PFLAG chapters to care options for our elders. For my partner Teri and I, donating to Pride Foundation was another obvious way for us to contribute and encourage the work we value so intensely. We move in the world as out lesbians, as mothers of five young adults and as foster parents to a previously homeless, queer high school senior—our home life, work life and community involvement are motivated by our passionate desire to create a world that is safe, inclusive and respectful for everyone. Our involvement with the Pride Foundation fits perfectly.

Posted In: Blog, Building Organizations, Blog, Oregon