OUT for Sustainability’s Five Year Anniversary was a remarkable success. Building on the legacy of the Coming Out Local dinners we hosted a cocktail party, auction, honoring, and program celebrating the accomplishments and impact of the first five years of OUT4S, and looked forward to our vision of the future.
The food was fabulous thanks to Heidi at Maven Meals, particularly the vegan mushroom and winter squash spears. Our group of 60 guests also enjoyed well selected wine and beer, sponsored and tended by Rick at Poco Wine and Spirits. Be sure to check out their new Spanish Tapas menu! And our auction was quite a hit with donations by new and continuing friends of OUT4S like Salish Sea Trading Company (an overnight sailing trip as part of their sail-transport CSA), and SugarPill (a winter wellness package). The uniqueness of the items wasn’t lost on our guests, who bid up items more than any of our previous auctions!
The special moment for me was honoring Marsha Botzer for her work leading the LGBTQ community by intersecting community energy with emerging issues like Transgender equality and LGBTQ immigration rights. She spoke of the promise at the Seattle World’s Fair and how we must take that spirit forward to address real issues of the future.
I was honored to share about past accomplishments, such as:
- Investing over 2,500 service hours at 17 different sites removing many tons of invasives, and planting hundreds of natives. One site is a new park replacing drug deals and prostitution with dog walking and water access to Lake Union.
- Engaging nearly 2,000 guests and well over 100 partners through 41 events ranging from small sustainability tours to a social sustainability conference, all as the only gay environmental group in the world.
- Activating a unique sustainability framework, inclusive of society, environment, and identity, through dozens of articles published, 14 presentations at conferences and other events, and thousands of individuals around the globe through social media.
- Advocating for a greener LGBTQ community, including our “Greener Pride” program where tons of plastic has been removed from the waste stream by working with Pride organizers.
Wrapping up I had the chance to share our vision of a flipped model. Where we facilitate Earth Gay as a national LGBTQ service program through local organizers and organizations around the country. Where we go “inside” other organizations to enhance their programming with fresh content. Where we go beyond the green core to the green curious, engaging a whole new set of LGBTQ environmentally committed individuals through 21st century tools like video. Where we advocate for the big issues of our time as the voice of LGBTQ sustainability, things like cultural competency in disaster relief and other specifics to make measurable impact. This is a unique point in history, where LGBTQ issues and sustainability issues are both at the foreground with massive global implications. OUT4S is committed to integrating these issues of values and identity to see the LGBTQ community as leaders in a more responsible and just world for ALL.
What better way to move forward than to honor those that helped us get this far. It brought happy tears to my eyes to thank outgoing board members for their years of service. Elan the strong, Cynthia the wise, Bart the teacher, Ryan the advocate, and Julian the co-founder. Each of them move on as friends who we will continue to cherish along with other instrumental previous board members: Cory James, Ariyah, and Scott.
Our ongoing board is strong, with Melanie, Matt, John, Jennifer, and myself carrying this new vision forward to map out the details at our December board retreat. And there is room for new ideas, fresh energy from potential board members. If you have interest in joining OUT4S in leadership, activating OUT4S in committee volunteering, supporting OUT4S with resources, I encourage you to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUT4S Founder and Executive Director