Philanthropy Friday: Equality PA

Every Friday we spotlight a local LGBT nonprofit in Philadelphia. This week: Equality PA, the statewide organization that works to advance equality and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pennsylvanians.

Who are you? Equality PA is the commonwealth’s largest organization advocating for LGBT equality. Working with supporters from Butler county to Allentown, Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, and even in Tawanda, Pa., we are the voice of the LGBT community in Harrisburg. We want to make sure that the nearly 300,000 LGBT people in Pennsylvania are being heard by our elected leaders.

When was Equality PA founded? In 1996 as the Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, later growing into Equality Advocates PA, and finally becoming Equality Pennsylvania in 2010. We’re the only organization in the Commonwealth advocating exclusively for equality for LGBT Pennsylvanians.

What’s Equality PA’s shining moment to date?: On May 19, 2014 all Pennsylvanians, including LGBT couples, were granted the freedom to marry by the court. Ted Martin, executive director of Equality PA said it best that day: “It’s always a good day in Pennsylvania when love wins. Equality PA members have been waiting for this day for a long time. Marriage really matters to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender couples in deeply important ways.”

Representatives from Equality PA with legislators in Harrisburg.

Representatives from Equality PA with legislators in Harrisburg.

What would you do if a check for $1 million found its way to my doorstep? Many people are surprised to learn that it is still legal to be fired from their jobs, evicted from their homes, or turned away from a business just for being gay or transgender in Pennsylvania. If Equality PA were to recieve a $1 million gift we would immediately hire more organizers and even more do more public relations work to gather support from every corner of the state to convince our legislature to update the state’s discrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity. (And while we are at it, we’ll convince them to update hate crimes protections to include sexual orientation and gender identity, too.) Everyone deserves to have the same opportunity to earn a living for themselves and their families, put a roof over their heads, and live in peace and dignity, free from fear.

Special events coming up? On January 27th we are launching our non-discrimination campaign for 2015. We will be at the Constitution Center with business supporters, faith community supporters, and community members to educate the public about the fact that is it still legal to discrimination in Pennsylvania. Now that so many states have marriage equality, we need to move on to make sure we end legal discrimination. We’re not done! (Not even close . . . ) Watch the news for us.

Are there other ways I can contribute without giving money? We always need volunteers! Please sign up to volunteer here.

How can I donate money? Your support is always appreciated and any amount that people can give really expands our reach in the state. You can give here.