Tami and I support Equality Utah and its mission of securing equal rights and protections for LGBTQ+ Utahns and their families. We especially support Equality Utah’s work to stop the damaging practice of Conversion Therapy in Utah. Eleven states and the District of Columbia have already made conversion therapy illegal for state-licensed mental health providers. Despite this, conversion therapy is still being implemented in Utah County and Salt Lake County. Read more about what is being done to change this here.
Earlier In 2018 Matthew Shepard was finally interred in a place of honor in the Washington National Cathedral.
My friends and I in the gay community in northern Utah were rocked to our core by the senseless murder of Matthew Shepard back in 1998. Not only were the details horrible, but the college town of Laramie, Wyoming was similar to my town of Ogden, Utah. As a lesbian who had only been open about my sexuality for a few years, the striking reality of what homophobia could lead people to do lingered in my mind. Standing in Dupont Circle 20 years later, holding a candle in the dark with a couple hundred strangers, I recalled the feelings of horror I felt when I learned about his murder. And yet, despite that, it was affirming to hear the words of the speakers calling on people to continue to protect marginalized communities from violence.
Last month, the Community Foundation of Utah hosted a celebration of Utah not-for-profit organizations that support and empower the LGBTQ community, as well as the collective good that has been accomplished by all allies who contribute to the LGBT Community Endowment Fund. The event was held on September 16 at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah. Grant check which ranged in size from $1,000 to $5,000 were awarded to a dozen different nonprofits, totaling as much as $40,000 awarded overall. Held to honor the incredible work accomplished by all nonprofit organizations in attendance, the event will highlight the successes of each group in the preceding year, as well as their upcoming projects to continue working for the betterment of Utah’s LGBTQ community members.
Representatives from each nonprofit grantee offered a one-minute pitch of their project or organization which at times resulted in as much as an additional $1,500 in funding. Jane Marquardt was proud to serve on the board of select judges in attendance who weighed in on these pitches, along with fellow selection committee members that included Jim Dabakis and Michelle Turpin (among other donors and supporters).
The nonprofit grantees who sent representatives included:
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah
- Equality Utah
- J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah
- Office of Inclusion and Outreach, University of Utah
- OUTreach Resource Centers
- Pioneer Craft House
- Senior Charity Care Foundation
- UMOCA Utah Museum of Contemporary Art
- Utah Film Center
- Utah Pride Center
- Westminster College
- Youth Futures
The LGBT Community Endowment Fund is just one of more than two hundred different philanthropic funds that the Community Foundation of Utah oversees. This specific endowment represents a united effort to support the LGBT community be creating space to receive and direct the largest, most meaningful contribution of donors willing to fund positive change and progress within the state of Utah. Since its establishment in 2011, the LGBT Community Fund has granted $243,600 to 20 nonprofit organizations.
Grants typically range from $1,000 to $5,000 in size and have been allocated to a dizzying variety of efforts. These include arts performance, youth mentoring, education, legal aid, anti-bullying, aid to rural organizations focused on the LGBT community, college internships, and more. This collective action illustrates the power of LGBT philanthropy and the community’s dedication to the safety, health, and happiness of all Utah’s citizens, regardless of sexual or gender identity.
Hosted at the Weber State University’s LGBT Resource Center, the Marquardt Peace & Possibility Speaker Series continues to work to improve the university’s culture of tolerance and acceptance by inviting leading LGBTQ activists and advocates to campus. This work aims to nurture a sense of inclusion and allyship. Jane and Tami donated a substantial sum to ensure the project is properly funded to achieve this important goals.
When she spoke at the center, Jane shared, “For decades, Weber State has been the leader in northern Utah in promoting conversations surrounding diversity and the LGBT community. I am so proud of the leadership demonstrated by Weber State, and the opportunities the university is opening for people of all backgrounds throughout Utah.”
The LGBT Resource Center Coordinator, Jayson Stokes, stated the value of their donation in empowering the center to stay open and to eventually expand. It was the first large endowment granted to the newly minted LGBT Resource Center and represents what will hopefully be just the first in a long line of symbolic investments in the center’s mission. Jane Marquardt had previously gifted the university a sum which became the Phoenix Achievement scholarship for Women. Jane is closely associated to the university, a relationship which dates back to the 1980’s when she taught as an adjunct professor there, as well as served on the Board of Trustees.
Since opening in the beginning of 2015, the LGBT Resource Center has organized and cosolidated campus resources available for LGBT students and allies who need them. They also invest in organizations that provide access to legal support for communities in need.
Marriage is a major moment in most anyone’s life. Naturally, there is the tradition, the ceremony, and the celebration. All of these receive vast amounts of attention in pop culture. People pour their money, time, and effort into bringing the dream of a perfect wedding to life. However, the wedding itself is only ever symbolic. It represents something much bigger than the sum of its parts.
A marriage is the commitment of two individuals to join into a union. Two become one in a perfect partnership of love. That’s the true reason the day is so often described as “the perfect day,” regardless of what anyone wore, how the food tasted, or what music was played. Recently, Jane Marquardt shared with the Huffington post how she came to have more than a week’s worth of perfect days.
Jane’s story is winding and inspirational, especially for people who may not yet understand the huge advances in LGBT rights that have only been witnessed recently. These developments have had very real, positive, and immediate impacts on the lives of so many Americans. In celebration of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling which finally put to rest the dwindling debate on this civil rights issue, Jane spoke candidly about what it was like to grow and find love with her longtime partner, Tami. These two women proudly fought time and again to express their love and confirm their partnership in the eyes of what was, at the time, an ever-changing legislative landscape. Ultimately married six times in multiple states, as well as in Canada, before the U.S. Supreme Court decision this year cemented their union’s legal legitimacy, Jane and Tami continue to work towards wider acceptance and empowerment of the LGBT community in their home state of Utah and beyond.
Read Jane Marquardt’s full story in her own words on the Huffington Post here.
Downtown Salt Lake City is buzzing with eager anticipation as this year’s Utah Pride Festival approaches. Held this week from Thursday, June 4 to Sunday, June 7, the celebration showcases our state’s proud lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Organized and managed by the Utah Pride Center, the event hosts a massive array of exciting and positive activities, including Utah’s second-largest parade, the Pride Parade. The theme for 2015 is Pride Is…, purposefully designed to encourage everyone to reflect on and embrace the meaning of Pride for them personally.
The Utah Pride Festival began in 1974 as a small, informal gathering in City Creek Park of proud residents who were ready and willing to celebrate their community. Joe Redburn and the staff of the Sun Tavern loosely organized it. In the decades since, it has grown to meteoric proportions and become a staple of the city’s annual calendar, serving as a bright and bold opportunity to come together, educate, and revel in the robust diversity of the community. These days, the Festival attracts over 35,000 participants – and that number grows every year! Nearly 1,000 volunteers will cover 1,400 shifts and vendors will staff hundreds of booths. The Pride Parade alone included 143 entries last year and drew about 25,000 spectators.
The 2015 iteration includes a number of exciting activities for LGBTQ community members, families, friends, and allies. On Thursday, the Community of Christ will host an Interfaith Service at First Baptist Church. The following evening begins with the Grand Marshal Reception. This year’s Grand Marshal is Janet Mock, the prominent advocate, speaker, and New York Times bestelling author. In addition to receptions, the Grand Marshal leads the Pride Parade. Afterwards, there will be poster making and rallies, followed by a kick-off party and Opening Ceremonies.
Saturday afternoon, the Festival Gates open at 3pm. Festival organizers have planned a number of “zones” for different activities and to cater to different visitors, including a SAGE Zone (for everyone), a Youth Zone, a Family Zone, a Gender Zone (to celebrate and support transgender identities), a Health Zone, a Pet Zone, a History Zone, and several more. At 8pm headliner DEV will take the stage. The rest of the evening is dedicated to a dance party. Sunday starts with a Pride Day 5k Fun Run at 9 in the morning, followed by the beloved Utah Pride Parade at 10. The Festival Gates open again at 11am, with entertainment scheduled (including headliner XELLE) until the Festival closes at 7pm.
The Utah Pride Center oversees the Festival, in addition to a growing portfolio of ongoing and annual services, events, and activities that support the state’s LGBT community. The Center evolved from the Utah Stonewall Center which was founded in the early 1990s.