This was the task handed to the Top 100 charities in Chase Community Giving. We at GLSEN had one goal in mind when contemplating that question: Make the biggest impact for the most students possible. Then we thought, why stop there? Why not come up with something that could potentially benefit every student in the country?
GLSEN's Big Idea is to send our newly updated Safe Space Kit to every middle and high school in the country, public and private.
We want every school in the country to have a guide to help educators create safe spaces for LGBT youth in school that also provides concrete strategies for supporting LGBT students, educating about anti-LGBT bullying and advocating for changes in schools.
So if you help us win $1 million by voting for us Friday, Jan15-22, we will provide every middle and high school in the country with a resource to make schools safer for every student.
Because every student deserves a safe space. And safe spaces save lives.
GLSEN is one of 100 finalists in Chase Community Giving, a project with Facebook to award $10 million to charities. Top vote-getter in the final round of voting (Jan. 15-22) is awarded $1 million. The next five vote-getters will be awarded $100,000 each.
We are proud to say that two of our partners working to make the world a safer place for LGBT youth, Matthew Shepard Foundation and The Trevor Project, are also finalists. Luckily, every Facebook user is given five votes starting Jan. 15. We hope you'll use three of your five on us.
More to come later this week.
From our joint press release:
In a joint statement, GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard, Matthew Shepard Foundation executive director Jason Marsden and The Trevor Project executive director Charles Robbins said:
"We are grateful for the overwhelming support Facebook users have already shown GLSEN, the Matthew Shepard Foundation and The Trevor Project in the first round of the Chase Community Giving program. Our three organizations have worked together for years to create a safer and better world for LGBT youth. Because of this partnership and the scarcity of resources available to fund crucial support for LGBT youth, we have decided to work together to ensure that each organization has the best chance to further our important work through the grants awarded as part of the Chase program. We ask our supporters to use three of their five votes for GLSEN, the Matthew Shepard Foundation and The Trevor Project."
>You did it! GLSEN finished in the Top 100 in the first round of the Chase Community Giving campaign on Facebook.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who voted for GLSEN. We are extremely humbled by the support of so many who believe in our mission to ensure safe schools for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
By placing in the Top 100, GLSEN will receive a $25,000 donation toward our work to create a world where all students are valued and respected, a world where words like "fag" and "dyke" are no longer considered acceptable phrases in some schools and classrooms, a world where nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT students no longer experience harassment in school each year because of their sexual orientation, a world where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes in creating a more vibrant and diverse community.
A world where young people like Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover no longer make the choice that not living is easier than enduring constant bullying and harassment at school.
Voting in Round 2 starts Jan. 15. Please consider voting for GLSEN again, or for the first time. The overall winner receives a donation of $1 million.
See the full list of the Top 100 here.
And thank you again.
>Fantastic news out of Oklahoma: the Oklahoma City School Board voted 5-2 yesterday to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of categories protected in the Oklahom City Public Schools anti-bullying policy.
Oklahoma is one of 38 states that does not protect students from bullying and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression (see the states here and a handy map below), so this news is particularly important for students in Oklahoma City schools.
It's also important to remember that these protections extend beyond LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students because bullying based on perceived sexual orientation is also rampant in schools. You don't have to be gay to be called a fag.
>$5 million is being given away to the organizations and charities that receive the most votes through the "Chase Community Giving Program" on Facebook.
GLSEN is in the running. And we need your help to win!
Here's how it works:
Round 1 - ends December 11th (Vote now!)
DECEMBER 15 - The top 100 will be announced. Each will receive $25,000.
These 100 organizations or charities will also advance to the final stage of voting.
Round 2 - Second voting cycle is January 15-22, 2010.
FEBRUARY 1 - Announcement for the finalist with the most votes will win $1 million. The first five runner-ups will receive $100,000 each.
But you have to hurry. The first round of voting ends Friday, December 11th!
So, please, click the Chase button or any link in this article and vote for GLSEN now! And, after you’ve voted, you can find buttons at the bottom of the Chase voting page to help you spread the word on Facebook, Twitter. Or you can get an embeddable button for your blog or web site.
Remember you only have until Friday, December 11th to vote and to help GLSEN be in the first round of winners.
>GLSEN is the beneficiary of a performance Tuesday of the upcoming Off Broadway show Santa Claus is Coming Out as a fundraiser to help support our programs that work to make schools safe for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
Focus on the Family is not happy:
"Yet more evidence revealing the dark side of GLSEN–the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network—has surfaced. ... At issue this time is a GLSEN fundraiser featuring a theatrical play called Santa Claus is Coming Out!"
Please join us if you're able to make it to New York City on Tuesday. If you can't make it, you can show your support for GLSEN by voting in the Chase Community Giving campaign on Facebook. Top 100 charities get $25K.
As an aside, Focus on the Family has a tag counter on their blog. "GLSEN" is tagged more times than "President Obama" and "religious freedom." Things that make you go ... hmmm.
>Brendan Burke is a student manager for the Miami of Ohio hockey team, one of the top programs in the country, and the son of Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke. He's also an out gay man. ESPN tells his coming out story and provides a hopeful look at what should happen some day: the players, coach and community accept and respect Brendan and are even attempting to think before they speak.
From Miami Coach Enrico Blasi:
I think having Brendan as part of our program has been a blessing. We are much more aware of what you say and how we say it. I am guilty as anyone. We need to be reminded that respect is not a label, but something you earn by the way you live your life.
>According to a recently released FBI report, the number of reported hate crimes in 2008 increased since the previous year, from 7,624 incidents to 7,783. Of these cases, 51.3% were motivated by a racial bias, 19.5% by religious prejudice, and 16.7% by bias against sexual orientation. Hate crimes motivated by the victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation increased 11% since 2007.
>You may have already heard about Will Phillips, the 10-year-old from Arkansas who refuses to stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance because he feels LGBT people aren't treated equally in this country. Will has to be one of the most principled and courageous 10-year-olds I've ever seen (not to mention articulate! When I was his age, one of every five words that I spoke probably had something to do with Pokemon).
[Facebook folks, click here to watch]