Published: Wednesday, April 15 2015
Written by Bill Harrison
(Richmond, Va.) -- April 15, 2015 – For more than 10 years, the Richmond Gay Community Foundation and its rainbow-hued community center on Sherwood Avenue have been at the epicenter of progress for Richmond’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered citizens. Today, the organization celebrated another chapter in its history by presenting $33,330 to LBGT-friendly organizations, recognizing trailblazers and unveiling a new look and name.
Going forward, the organization will be known as “Diversity Richmond,” a nod to its long-standing commitment to inclusion, fairness and equality.
“Despite having given more than $855,000 to community partners in the last 10 years, we lack the name recognition that you’d expect,” explained executive director Bill Harrison. “The truth is, we have been supporting Richmond in ways large and small, and we decided it was time to more effectively tell our story, beginning with a new look and name.”
The organization raises money through Diversity Thrift, one of Richmond’s most popular thrift stores, as well as through building rentals and its ever-popular bingo games. Those proceeds are used to fund programs to support LGBTQ+ programs and LGBTQ+-friendly organizations in Richmond. For example, Diversity Richmond has long supported the Fan Free Clinic and its HIV/AIDS outreach programs, Richmond Triangle Players and ROSMY, but also partners the Black History Museum and Cultural Arts Center of Virginia, Richmond Region Tourism, Virginia State University and the Virginia Historical Society.
Today, Diversity Richmond presented checks to 16 partner organizations and recognized supporters and trailblazers (list attached). Attorney General Mark Herring, a long-time supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, was part of the celebration, along with Carol Schall and Mary Townley, the lesbian couple who were plaintiffs in Virginia’s marriage equality lawsuit. Their daughter Emily was also honored with a $1,000 college scholarship. Among others recognized were retired Richmond Police Chief Ray Tarasovic and Richmond Police Major Odetta Johnson.
“Today we celebrated a strong and vibrant community that continually works for a healthier, united society,” said Harrison. “It was very encouraging to see so many segments of a diverse Richmond come together as one. Barriers that divide only bring defeat. United we are heathy.”