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Celebrate the Best of LGBTQ RVA With Diversity Richmond

Tonight's Diversity Richmond Celebrates event will honor the recipients of the organization's annual grants program, as well as community leaders who contributed to the betterment of Central Virginia's LGBTQ community in 2018.

Taylor Knighting | November 27, 2018

Tonight’s the night! Diversity Richmond will present its annual gala affair, Diversity Richmond Celebrates. And as always, the event’s major highlight will be the announcement of this year’s grant recipients.

Each year, the organization provides grants to LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly organizations, funding projects designed to help Central Virginia’s LGBTQ community.

Bill Harrison, President of Diversity Richmond, says that they are able to continue their grant program thanks to the “individuals and organizations in the community that donate to Diversity Thrift. From the items we sell, a significant piece of that profit is taken and then put back into the community every year through our grant program.”

This year, they had $30,000 in funding to offer, and received proposals from some of the community’s hardest working LGBTQ organizations, The organizations chosen demonstrated the utmost determination to better the Richmond community by supporting the needs of LGBTQ individuals.

Harrison spoke to GayRVA to discuss the selection process for the organizations deserving of the grants. “We try to select organizations that have a lot of unmet needs,” he said. “If needs of a community are not being fulfilled, that is our number one priority.”

Typically, Diversity waits to announce the grant winners until the night of the ceremony. However, this year President Bill Harrison decided to announce the recipients ahead of schedule in order to provide them with ample recognition and celebration for the work they accomplished over the past year.

Among those receiving grants are the Virginia Anti-Violence Project, who are striving to help LGBTQ victims of violence; the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, whose grant will help transgender individuals acquire necessary health care; the Metropolitan Community Church, which will help provide housing and food to up to 100 homeless people weekly; as well as ten other local nonprofits.

“We look for organizations that already have their program started and that have a success record,” Harrison said. “We also ask that when they submit their grant proposals they give us at least two measurable objectives for meeting their goals. The grant is followed up by Diversity in 2019 through two reports the recipient organizations create throughout the year, detailing their accomplishments.”

Since homelessness is such a huge problem in our community, Harrison and the rest of the Diversity felt that their eyes had to be open to combat those particular issues in the community. “So many folks are living paycheck to paycheck; if they miss a check or are out sick, it can create real problems for them,” said Harrison.

At a time when LGBTQ couples’ right to adopt children is still far from guaranteed, Diversity Richmond also sees it as important to work with any organizations that make adoptions easier for those in the community.

“This year, for the first time, we are funding Lutheran Family Services, who have a program where they help LGBTQ people who want to become foster parents, or adopt children,” Harrison said.

Diversity Richmond Celebrates will also commemorate the first Guy Kinman, Jr. Leadership Award, named for the pioneering Richmond LGBTQ activist who passed away earlier this year. The ceremony will also recognize several other leadership award recipients who’ve engaged in bettering the community throughout the year, including Mayor Levar Stoney, Riqia Taylor of the Richmond Human Rights Commission, and many more.

Diversity Richmond Celebrates will take place on Tuesday, November 27 (that’s tonight!) at Diversity Richmond, located at 1407 Sherwood Ave. The ceremony in honor of grant recipients and community leaders begins at 6 PM and will be followed by a reception. The event is free and open to the public. For more info, click here.