An event, long talked about and long overdue, will come to pass this week in Michigan.
This state's two preeminent LGBT education, rights advocacy, and lobbying organizations, The Triangle Foundation and Michigan Equality combined this past January to form an as yet un-named agency. This Thursday at 11:00 AM (EST) the new organization will officially launch during a live video conference and Q&A session.
Details after the jump.
Triangle Foundation continued uninterrupted operation while Michigan Equality ceased public functions as of December 31, 2009. An outside firm, Real Change Partners, and a committee of board members from both organizations steered the state's two largest LGBT groups through the merger process.
Along the way everything was looked at with an eye toward better serving the LGBT communities statewide. Triangle Foundation held focus groups and performed surveys seeking information from people across the state to help determine what the new organization's priorities should be.
Alicia Skillman, Executive Director, provided TBP with the following comment:
"We're excited for the launch of the new organization's name and objectives Thursday. The community has provided us with invaluable feedback that directly impacted our strategic planning process. It was a top priority to have input from across the state on what is needed in the LGBT community. We're confident that we are now well-placed to move forward and truly be the statewide equality agency Michigan needs."
According to Triangle Foundation Communications Director, Heidi Lovy, no advance registration for the conference is required. "Click on the link at 11 a.m. Thursday and join the conference! We encourage you to ask questions live, or submit them in advance to Heidi Lovy. We look forward to sharing this historic moment with you!"
The conference will feature the roll-out of the new name and graphics as well as comments from Executive Director, Alicia Skillman and Board of Directors President, Denise Brogan-Kator.
Personally, I am excited to see this day come. I was connected to Michigan Equality prior to the merger and have stayed on as a board member. I see this as something the state has needed for some time.
Even with the best of intentions for Michigan's LGBT persons, existence of two state level organizations was problematic at best. Triangle and Michigan Equality would, at times, find themselves duplicating efforts or worse still, at unintentional cross purposes. Lacking proper coordination, neither group was able to provide effective guidance to Michigan's legislators and would often be competing for the same dollars from funders.
A single, high profile statewide organization, will be positioned to process input from the state's LGBT citizens and translate it effectively into action. Whether that action takes the form of community education or legislative appeal will no longer be a crap-shoot. One organization can coordinate all facets of an in-house effort needed to advance LGBT equality causes.
The Triangle Foundation has a long and venerable record with effective victim's rights advocacy. Happily, this important function carried on during the merger process and will continue unimpeded once the launch has taken place.
I will say, (with a twinkle of perverse pleasure in my eye) that I know the new name and have seen the new branding. They are both great but, I can't reveal them without my health being in peril. You will just have to tune-in Thursday morning to see and hear for yourself. I will be online and I hope many of you will join us too.