Farand Gunnels, Regional Development Organizer in Eastern Washington

Farand Gunnels, Regional Development Organizer in Eastern Washington

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” – Peter F. Drucker (American Educator and Writer)

As I prepare to go on sabbatical later this month, I wanted to share with you some reflections that have kept me motivated and excited to work with Pride Foundation throughout my 10 years here. I’ll call them my prideful moments.

These moments are a reflection of our many achievements and efforts to bring together people, ideas, and resources and create change that advances equality for the LGBTQ community. These include:

Last November, I celebrated with friends, family, and co-workers who were involved in making marriage equality a reality in Washington state. Participating in this movement—along with many of our volunteers and donors—and making history will always stay with me.

In 2010, Pride Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary by holding events throughout our five-state region in recognition of the generous support from donors and volunteers who have helped build our legacy. Thinking back to when I first started at Pride Foundation, it is amazing how we have grown from a small group of people hosting house parties in Seattle to an organization that has become the largest LGBTQ community foundation in the country.

As a board member of the Montana Two Spirit Society, I had the great opportunity to participate in Pride Foundation’s Racial Equity Initiative (REI). This initiative brought organizations of color together to support the amazing work they were doing to strengthen their communities. REI had an impact on seven nonprofits and the countless lives of the people who are a part of these incredible groups.

Through shareholder advocacy, Pride Foundation has worked with more than dozen companies such as Walmart, McDonald’s, and Amgen to update their non-discrimination policies to include sexual orientation and/or gender identity and expression. These are important steps to getting federal protections for everyone. So, you can imagine how thrilled I was when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced last April that discrimination on the basis of “gender identity, change of sex, and/or transgender status” is discrimination on the basis of sex and thus protected under Title VII of federal law.

It’s been almost three years now since Pride Foundation put full-time staff members on the ground in Montana, Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Having representation and support across our five-state region made me realize that we were strategically growing and positioning ourselves to make a deeper and meaning full impact throughout the Northwest.

Fifteen years ago was my first time volunteering on Pride Foundation’s local grant review team. That I, as a volunteer, could help support organizations that were making an impact in our LGBTQ community made me proud. Despite spending my whole life in the Northwest, this experience left me feeling more connected to, more invested in, and more educated about the work that was happening throughout the region.

Throughout my 10 years as a staff member with Pride Foundation, I have met many amazing friends and worked with such caring and thoughtful individuals in Eastern Washington and the greater Pacific Northwest region. These are the people making an impact in our communities, and they make me so proud. It’s the support of our donors and volunteers that has made each of these moments possible.

During my time away, I plan on spending time traveling through Montana and Wyoming visiting family and friends, spending some quality time in the great outdoors with my husband, and recharging to come back refreshed and excited to continue the great work this amazing organization is planning in the future.

Gunner Scott is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Washington. Email Gunner. 

Posted In: Blog, Connecting Leaders, Blog, Washington