Matthew Shepard Foundation Needs Your Vote

It's among 25 charities nationwide vying for up to one million dollars

The Matthew Shepard Foundation is among 25 charities in the country currently competing for grants ranging from $125,000 to $1 million from the American Giving Awards presented by Chase. Winners will be selected based on the public’s votes on Facebook and

The foundation was created by Shepard’s parents after their son became the victim of a vicious hate crime in 1998 in Laramie, Wy. Today, the nonprofit promotes equality for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation. During a time in which bullying is making national headlines, the nonprofit also provides support for LGBT people who face bias in their daily lives.

“The foundation is incredibly honored to be among this group of extraordinary charities,” says Judy Shepard, president of the foundation board and its co-founder. “Even a $125,000 grant would be an incredible boost to our ability to support school and workplace diversity programs, and provide information and inspiration to young people who are bullied, discriminated against and made to feel alone because their peers see them as different.”

The foundation is hoping to create new online educational programs to help combat bullying and help victims develop skills to cope with and avoid harassment. With offices in both Casper and Denver, the foundation has already reached several million people through school assemblies, media interviews, support of productions of The Laramie Project, its online community for young people called and other outreach programs.

There are five categories of charities competing in the first round of voting. The top vote-getter from each category will compete in the second round of voting in December.  You can cast your vote by clicking here from now until noon (EST) on October 5.