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Carrying the torch toward a future of lived equality

Julie Jones headshot
Julie Jones

Our world has been turned upside down and our lives look a lot different than we ever expected as our advisory board transitions to a new leadership team. Yet, we remain hopeful for the future and look forward to the momentum we have built over the past few years thanks to so many of you and the hard work of our board.

Even so, we are saddened by our decision to postpone exhALE until June 2021, but we feel it is in the best interest of our donors, being cognizant of the proximity to the Sugar Plum Tour and understanding that the health and safety of our donors is of utmost importance. Knowing that so many have been affected in so many ways by this pandemic, including financially, we want to be sure we do not ask too much of our donors at this time. As we look ahead to the Sugar Plum Tour in December, our Sugar Plum committee is working through a myriad of scenarios to ensure it will be a success, no matter what obstacles we face as a community at that time.

Although the way we do things may change for a bit, I am certain that the amazing group of passionate and dedicated individuals that comprise the Gay Community Endowment Fund Advisory Board, and all of you who support our work, will continue to drive our community toward our goal of lived equality. I am fortunate and grateful to follow the lead of GCEF's outgoing chair, Phil Montgomery, whose leadership helped grow the fund to new levels as we move toward our 20th anniversary.

Our team is working hard to roll with the changes each new day brings to ensure we are in a position to support our community during this time of struggle for so many. Our community is familiar with challenge. The challenges we face today as a community and as a nation remind us of the importance of the work of the Gay Community Endowment Fund. We exist to help, and we know that the world is in great need of helpers today.

We intend to do our part by providing support through grants focused on creating safer environments for LGBTQ+ youth, combating phobias about our community, and supporting mental health and suicide prevention programs for LGBTQ+ people as we continue to advance a lived equality throughout Greater Akron. We know that our goal of lived equality will benefit those in the LGBTQ+ community. We also know that all ships rise with the tide and, thus, our work will help the water rise for all of those who fight for equality.

Although we continue to make great strides through the fund and in our community, there is much more to be done to reach our goals. Our work is as important today as it was at the inception of the fund almost 20 years ago. I am proud to follow all of those who established and have led this fund through so many challenges. I look forward to working quietly when necessary and not so quietly when needed to support those in our community who need our help as we continue to make our community a better place to live for all!

Julie Jones
GCEF Advisory Board Chair

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