Please meet some of the members of our hard-working and dedicated staff.
Bill Harrison, President and Executive Director
Bill Harrison has served as our president and executive director since 2012. Bill brings years of nonprofit experience, having served with the Fan Free Clinic as development and community resources during the height of the HIV epidemic. He was also the first public information officer with the Virginia Department of Health’s Bureau of STD/AIDS. Before joining the Diversity team, for 17 years he was the Government and Public Affairs Director with the American Red Cross, Greater Richmond Chapter. He served the month of October, 2001 at Ground Zero following the terrorist attacks of 9-11.
A longtime activist, Bill co-chaired Richmond’s first pride festival in 1978, also serving with a number of LGBT organizations such as Dignity-Integrity, the Episcopal Diocese Commission on Human Sexuality Communities and the Richmond Gay Pride Coalition.
A prolific writer, Bill’s op-ed that was printed in the Richmond Times Dispatch, “Gay Marriage, the Biggest Civil Rights Issue of Our Time,” was recognized by the Richmond Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America with the “2104 Best In Show Award.” In 2015, Virginia Pride recognized Bill with the inaugural “Fireworks” award. Other recognitions include the ROSMY “Catalyst Award,” for his dedication to LGBT youth programs; the Nationz Foundation Humanitarian Award in 2016 and the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities Humanitarian Award in 2017.
Under Bill’s leadership, our rebranding campaign which included a name change, along with greatly raising the community’s awareness of our organization, are but two of our accomplishments. In 2015 the Association of Fundraising Professionals named Diversity Richmond as “Foundation Philanthropist of the Year,” the first time an LGBT organization had received the recognition.
Dia Idleman, Controller
Dia Idleman has been with the Richmond Gay Community Foundation since February of 2010. She has been working in accounting and financial management since 1998 and in the non-profit sector since 2001 when she began working for Warren Whitney and Sherwood, a Richmond area management consulting firm. She then moved to Preservation Virginia where she worked as Accounting Manager and then as the Statewide Retail Manager. Prior to 1998, Dia was a designer and small business owner in the fashion accessories industry.
Raul Cantu, Events Coordinator
Raul Cantu came on board as our Events Coordinator in early 2020. A Richmond fixture, Raul was the founder of Nacho Mama’s Inc., an award-winning restaurant that was located in Carytown for over 22 years. He has been a successful entrepreneur, opening several successful businesses. Raul was president of the Carytown Merchants Association for over seven years, raising awareness and traffic during his tenure. He created the Carytown Restaurant Week, benefitting Richmond Public Schools. Raul was selected by Style Weekly in their annual “40 Under 4O” recognition of emerging young leaders. He was appointed by former Virginia Governor Gilmore to serve on the Small Business Advisory Board in 1998. Raul also served on the Diversity Richmond board prior to becoming our Events Coordinator.
Evan Smith, Program Coordinator
A Henrico County native, Evan joined Diversity Richmond as the Program Coordinator in November 2020 after working at the Academy Center of the Arts in Lynchburg, Virginia. At the Academy, Evan served as Director of Community Outreach where he was part of a staff responsible for racially integrating an 835 seat historic theater that had not been in operation since 1958. His position focussed on creating accessible arts programs and building relationships, with a special focus on the Black community. In 2018 he was named a Millennial on the Move by Lynchburg Business Magazine.
Before the Academy, Evan worked under a summer fellowship focused on Social Security between the National Urban League Washington Bureau and the National Academy of Social Insurance. During that summer he witnessed the marriage equality decision outside of the Supreme Court. Evan has served on the boards of the Anne Spencer Memorial Foundation, Whirlwind Johnson Foundation, and STEP with Links. Since returning home, Evan has become a member of Richmond for All.