Dig In For Our Community

Wasatch Community Gardens is working to empower people of all ages and incomes to participate in urban families. WCG offers garden space, educational programs, and community events to help people of all ages and incomes grow healthy, organic food.

Now, Wasatch Community Gardens has created a place where community members can come together and learn about urban farming. The future Wasatch Community Gardens Campus at 629 E 800 S in Salt Lake City will be an incredible resource for everyone in Salt Lake who wants to learn, share, and connect through a shared love of gardening and healthy food.

To reach this goal, WCG has a fundraising goal of $6.2 Million, and to help them reach that goal, the Alternative Vision Fund has generously offered to match donations to the Campus received from 6/1/19 – 1/1/20, up to $2 million!

Read more about this story at the Peace and Possibility Project site here.



Stop Conversion Therapy in Utah

For teenagers in Utah, the leading cause of death is suicide. This risk is even higher for those in the LGBTQ population.

In 2018, Governor Gary Herbert created a Suicide Task Force to explore the issue.  Since then, Equality Utah has worked to lower the suicide rate in Utah. One of the best ways to do this is to end conversation therapy, which studies find increases suicide rates and suicidal thoughts for those subjected to it.

Click here to read more about this, and what is being done to stop conversion therapy in Utah.

The 20th anniversary of “and Justice for all” – A great success!

In June earlier this year, “and Justice for all” hosted over 600 attendees with the goal of providing civil legal services for those who need them in Utah. For instance, “and Justice for all” partner “The Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake” recently helped a single mother of two secure a protective order against her abusive husband.

I’m proud to say that this year’s event, the organization’s 20th anniversary, was an incredible success, raising over $450,000!

Read more about the event at here.


Legislative Wrap-Up

The 2019 Legislative Session came to a close this month, and this year I have closely watched several pieces of legislation. Equality Utah sponsored two essential bills, one banning conversion therapy and the other creating a hate crimes statute. In addition, I observed three bills supported by the United Way of Salt Lake that would increase early childhood education funding and increase scholarship opportunities. Some of these important bills passed, and unfortunately some didn’t.

Read more about my analysis of the 2019 Legislative Session at my Peace and Possibility Project Blog here.

Ending Conversion Therapy in Utah

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.

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Reflections on Matthew Shepard

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.

Please click here to read more about Matthew Shepard and what he means to us.

Recapping the 2018 Power of Your Purse Event

Utah’s tech sector is growing rapidly as job opportunities increasingly present themselves across the state. But currently, women hold less than one-fourth of jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math. Without more STEM opportunities for women and girls, women will continue to be left behind in technology professions.

Tami and I attended the United Way of Salt Lake’s 2018 “Power of Your Purse” Event. This annual event raises money to give Utah teachers access to professional development opportunities so they can teach STEM in their classroom more effectively.

Find out more about the 2018 Power of Your Purse event here!


Kate Kendell and Fighting for Justice.

Tami and I went to San Francisco for the 41st anniversary celebration of the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) back in May. The 2,000+ people gathered at the Palace of Fine Arts were, along with celebrating NCLR’s work, there honoring my friend Kate (Kathy) Kendell.  Kate will retire at the end of 2018, after 22 years of being the Executive Director of NCLR. Along with tributes to Kate, the program was honoring two plaintiffs in Doe vs. Trump, the NCLR lawsuit which challenged President Trump’s ban on transgendered people’s military service.  While I listened to the two young individuals, I knew that Kate Kendell had helped to create this world.

Read more about Kate Kendell in the full article here.

My Family’s Expedition into Disconnection

To celebrate my turning 65 years young, earlier this month I convinced my family to go on a five-day rafting trip. Exploring the vastness of the Utah desert and the serenity of the Green River, my family of eight (my wife, our adult son and daughter, son-in-law, two grandsons and granddaughter (aged between 11-15)) survived a rickety plane ride to the middle of nowhere and set off.


It was a trip of many laughs, self-discovery, family bonding, and the welcomed chance to unplug from the world for a few days. The experience of being outside, surrounded by red rock and family, surrendering ourselves to will of Mother Nature, reminded us while we can’t control external events, we do have the ability to control our attitudes toward them.

Read the full story here.

Power of Your Purse 2017 – Empowering Girls Through Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Every year, The United Way of Salt Lake hosts its annual Power of Your Purse Gala, raising funds for and celebrating the work of the Women’s Leadership Council. The efforts of the Women’s Leadership Council are focused upon Women for Education Achievement, which aims to help young girls and women reach their potential through education.

The Women’s Leadership Council is a group of over 250 local women leaders with a goal of increasing the educational opportunity and achievement for all girls and young women in our community. Their focus, the Women for Educational Achievement, shoot to make a positive impact through tracking key metrics such as:

· Increasing the percent of elementary students testing proficient or higher in math and reading by the third grade;

· Pushing middle school students to play a more active role in engaging in their education by showing they understand its value and importance to their future success;

· Measurably improved high school graduation rates; and

· A major focus on the entrance to and completion of post-secondary educational programs such as technical training or college.

To influence students in pursuing these goals, the Women’s Leadership Council has made efforts to change the narrative and cultural factors regarding women’s place in education and the workforce. By coordinating with local partners promoting education in the community, progress has been made in all of these key areas, but a lot of work must still be done. Funding curriculum that highlights the importance of post-secondary education, as well as raising awareness of and addressing financial issues that impact the ability to pursue continued education remain top priority for the Council.

The annual Power of Your Purse event is held as the signature event to bring awareness and raise funds for these issues, and more. This year’s focus will be on launching new science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) initiatives for low-income students across the Salt Lake Valley. Keynote speaker Reshma Saujani will discuss the importance of equipping young women with the technological and computing skills necessary to pursue high quality careers in the 21st century. She is the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national leader on closing the gender gap in computer science and technology jobs. Her recent TED Talk on empowering girls and young women by teaching them bravery through risk-taking and the embracing failure, as well as the importance of mentorship, has over 3 million views.

While tickets to this event have sold out, you can still make a donation to support STEM initiatives for low income students by clicking here.

Jane and Tami Marquardt are proud to support this event and the work of the United Way of Salt Lake.