Gay Religious Groups and Community-Based Nonprofits, Not Large Advocacy Organizations, Get Highest Ratings
Menlo Park, Calif., July 7, 2009 — Community-based nonprofits and religious gay groups get top ratings in the GreatNonprofits 2009 Pride Choice Awards. Local LGBTQ nonprofits focusing on education, service, and advocacy received more positive ratings than large national nonprofits. Religious organizations, surprisingly, also made a strong showing in the list of winners.
The contest, held during Gay and Lesbian Pride Month in June, asked people to submit reviews and ratings about nonprofits serving the LGBTQ community. The contest was sponsored by GreatNonprofits, GuideStar and Queerty. The results provide surprising insights into the diversity of organizations that are considered effective and important by volunteers, donors and stakeholders of the gay and lesbian population.
Over the course of Pride Month, more than 32,000 people visited the GreatNonprofits Web site, and 736 reviews were posted about more than sixty LGBTQ organizations.
“The Awards gave voice to many of our constituents that we don’t hear from,” says Charles Robbins, Executive Director of The Trevor Project, which won for best LGBTQ organization with an annual budget over $1 million. “It was incredibly meaningful for our staff to hear youth saying ‘I was saved because of the work of The Trevor Project.’ It’s monumental.” Bonnie Rosenbaum is the Deputy Director of Keshet, Inc., the winner among organizations with budgets between $250,000 and $1,000,000. She says, “We are both humbled and fiercely proud of the feedback we have received from our community by participating. Statements such as, ‘my life is better because they exist’ inspire us as we work towards a day when all Jewish children – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – have a valued place in Jewish life.”
While big organizations such as Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force were available for review, those groups didn’t see the kinds of results that their smaller counterparts did.
Gay Christian Network and Keshet, Inc. are two of the top three nonprofits, and both work to support gays and lesbians who want to be a part of religious communities. The success of religious organizations in the 2009 Pride Choice Awards shows the large impact these groups have on the LGBTQ people they serve. It suggests that today’s gay and lesbian population wants a connection with religions that have spurned them in the past.
“There are so many great nonprofits that don’t have an advertising budget and are not household names. Similar to what Yelp has done for small restaurants, we enable grassroots nonprofits to gain recognition,” says Perla Ni, CEO and founder of GreatNonprofits. “Now there’s an even playing field through the genuine testimonials and reviews of people who have seen the work of a nonprofit first-hand. Donors and volunteers now have a source of information for which nonprofits are accountable and effective.”
The winning organizations of the 2009 GreatNonprofits Pride Choice Awards are:
Annual Budget Less Than $250,000
Gay Christian Network
GCN helps individuals reconcile their faith and sexuality. Best known for its online “safe space” community, GCN also offers a weekly podcast, a YouTube series, and a groundbreaking new documentary. It builds networks of supportive Christian communities and promotes the full acceptance of LGBT people.
“GCN was an amazing resource and source of support for me as I struggled with what it meant to be both gay and Christian, and how to reconcile these two supposedly contrary notions. The website's various forums provide ample opportunities for individuals to find their own niche, and local gatherings take the sense of community fostered online one step farther, into the real world, where GCN can reach out not only to the GLBT community but also to the larger Christian community.”
-Honorable mention: Golden Rainbow Senior Center
Annual Budget Between $250,000 and $1 Million
Jamaica Plain, Mass.
In addition to their nationally recognized documentary film Hineni: Coming Out in a Jewish High School, Keshet offers social and cultural events, support, education and resources to ensure that GLBT Jews are fully welcomed in the Jewish Community in Boston and across the USA.
“I was trained as a facilitator by keshet as part of their Hebrew school educational programs. I know that through that program and others like it keshet is generating important conversation within the Jewish community around issues of inclusion, inclusion of glbt folks, and inclusion of others. Keshet is a vital force in Boston and nationally.”
-Honorable mention: Immigration Equality
Annual Budget More Than $1 Million
The Trevor Project
West Hollywood, Calif.
Between the free and confidential Trevor Helpline that receives tens of thousands of calls each year, the extensive resources on the web site, and the confidential “Dear Trevor” platform for youth to ask about sexual orientation issues, The Trevor Project is the leading organization focusing on crisis and suicide prevention among LGBTQ youth.
“It's a wonderful thing that allows you to communicate with others and really feel like you're not alone. Like you're not weird. Even when some of your closest friends seem to not 'get it', you know that there's someone out there who does. That there are other people out there like you. Support, resources, information, and friends. All in one place. What more could you ask for?”
-Honorable mention: L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
Best of Northeast
Straight Spouse Network
SSN provides personal, confidential support and information to heterosexual spouses and partners of LGBTQ mates. With 52 support groups in the US and other countries, SSN is the only support network of its kind in the world providing courage and hope for families and couples during this difficult time.
“This organization literally saved my life. When my wife of 34 years announced she had fallen in love with a woman my world fell apart. Fortunately, I found my way to the Straight Spouses Network. Through their online group and through a local chapter face to face group I found support, understanding and a community.”
Best of Southeast
Whosoever Ministries is an online magazine for GLBT Christians. Through biblical scholarship, personal testimonies, and prayerful commentary, Whosoever Ministries creates a safe and sacred space and builds welcoming communities of faith both online and in local regions.
“When I found Whosoever I thought it was just wonderful! Helpful information, great articles, wonderful answers and scripture references dealing with same sex love. I love the fact that they have the Whosoever Rainbow Fish groups for online support groups and networking. I have met some of the greatest people through it.”
Best of Midwest
Cream City Foundation
The Cream City Foundation funds initiatives in southeastern Wisconsin that target system-level changes through collaboration, and seek the advancement of the quality, dignity, and health of the LGBT community.
“I have volunteered with Cream City Foundation for over two years, and working with the staff and board has been a pleasure. From working behind the scenes and at events, I've been impressed with the loyal support and high energy members of the LGBT community and our allies have shown. CCF is a powerful advocate for equality and social change in Wisconsin.”
Best of Southwest
Utah Pride Center
Salt Lake City, Utah
A community-based organization focusing on both the LGBT community and its allies, The Utah Pride Center provides social programming, youth activities, educational opportunities, and health-related resources. One can find everything from Bingo to HIV testing at this Salt Lake City center.
“I have been a volunteer at the Utah Pride Center for over two years. As an extremely busy individual with limited time to volunteer, I work with the Pride Center because I believe it is an organization that actually contributes to the community. Whether it is supporting other LGBT groups in the area or working with queer youth groups on the weekends, the Pride Center is one of the only LGBT groups in Utah that has enough resources to reach a broad set of folks in our diverse community along the Wasatch Front.”
Best of West
San Francisco, Calif.
Shanti aims to enhance the quality of life, health, and well being of people living with breast cancer or HIV/AIDS. One of the first organizations to respond to San Francisco’s AIDS crisis, Shanti focuses on providing medical care, patient advocacy, and health counseling for community members, and consultation for organizations.
“I can't help but be thankful for all the support that SHANTI has given me and other people who have had issues with HIV+... Since I've attended the SHANTI L.I.F.E. work group, I've been more careful to take better care of myself (hopefully living better and happier). With the SHANTI group, I've also felt that I had a place to go when I've felt like a recluse. I've met so many good people THERE with hearts that hug.”
About the 2009 Pride Choice Awards
The awards were hosted by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user-generated ratings and reviews of nonprofits. Reviews appear on GreatNonprofits.org, Queerty.com, as well as GuideStar.org, the premiere source for donor research on nonprofits. Nonprofits with the most positive reviews in their budget category were determined the winners of the 2009 Pride Choice Awards. Those who submitted reviews were eligible to win prizes such as delicious Alter Eco fair trade chocolate, a subscription to Stanford Social Innovation Review, a getaway at Kimpton hotels (thanks Academic Ambassadors!) and more. Reviews submissions took place from June 1st to July 6th, 2009.
- Cream City Foundation
- Gay Christian Network
- Golden Rainbow Senior Center
- Human Rights Campaign
- Immigration Equality
- Keshet, Inc.
- L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center
- National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
- Shanti Project
- Straight Spouse Network
- The Trevor Project
- Utah Pride Center
- Whosoever Ministries