A longtime advocate for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender equality, Gregory Lewis is nationally recognized for his vision and leadership. In 2008, he worked with Cyndi Lauper and her co-founders to launch the True Colors Fund and has served as its executive director ever since. Under Gregory’s leadership, the True Colors Fund has grown into the leading national organization addressing the issue of gay and transgender youth homelessness, as well as an influential resource in encouraging straight people to “give a damn” about equality for all. Gregory built the organization from the ground up, creating the infrastructure and development streams critical to its success. He also conceptualized and developed the True Colors Fund’s two signature initiatives: the Forty to None Project and the Give a Damn Campaign.
Prior to joining the True Colors Fund, Gregory served as the Managing Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Under his leadership, the organization achieved significant growth and defined programmatic direction in its efforts to erase hate. He started his career working for equality at the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization in the country. He spent 7 years in HRC’s development department, the last 4 years serving as the Associate Director of Development Operations and Special Projects, overseeing the operations of a more than $30 million fundraising and membership department, as well as focusing on the creation of new revenue streams.
For more than a decade, Jama Shelton has worked in the field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth homelessness. After receiving an MSW in 2004, Jama began an 8 year stint at the Ali Forney Center, an organization that provides housing and supportive services for gay and transgender youth experiencing homelessness. Having worked in various roles – first as a direct service provider, then developing and directing the expansion of AFC’s housing program, and finally as a researcher, program evaluation and trainer – Jama brings a comprehensive understanding of the issues facing both homeless gay and transgender youth and also the service providers with whom they work. As a trainer, Jama has led numerous workshops and has provided technical assistance to service providers throughout the United States and Canada. Jama received her doctorate in Social Welfare from the CUNY Graduate Center. Her award-winning dissertation examines the unique needs and experiences of transgender and gender non-conforming youth experiencing homelessness. She is also a professor at both the Hunter and NYU Schools of Social Work.
For more than a decade, Joe Moran has worked in the digital space as a nonprofit techie and creative producer. Prior to joining the True Colors Fund, Joe served as Director of Communications and Technology at Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC), where he spent eight years building the communications and technology department. Joe also lead digital strategy for Marriage Equality New York, OutAstoria, and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce NY.
In addition to his work in the nonprofit sector, Joe has worked in the entertainment industry as an actor, producer, and writer. He was a founding member of Stone Soup Theatre Arts, a theatre company that creates collaborative work based on contemporary social issues. He also co-founded MorGold Productions, a New York-based digital media production company.
Nicolas Seip joins the True Colors Fund after recently graduating from Susquehanna University with a B.A. in English. As an undergrad, Nicolas was awarded the Carl H. Hitchner Fellowship for Sexual and Gender Minorities and Social Justice for the 2011-2012 academic year. As Hitchner Fellow, Nicolas developed and oversaw a campaign that used social media, round-table discussion, and musical performance to explore the ways in which racial, sexual, and gender identity are normalized on college campuses. Nicolas also served on Susquehanna’s Bias Response and Education Team as a student representative to provide counsel to student witnesses and targets of acts of bias, as well as recommend solutions for such acts.
In addition to his work in the social justice field, Nicolas worked as a student assistant at Susquehanna’s Office of Event Management and student taught Language Arts at Selinsgrove Area Middle School in Selinsgrove, PA.
Emily joins the True Colors Fund in the final year of her Master’s program at Hunter College’s Silberman School of Social Work. She is currently studying Community Organizing, Planning and Development, and is interested in addressing the systemic issues that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth face nationwide. Prior to delving into social work macro practice, Emily served as the Center Coordinator for the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Victimization and Safety, a program providing technical assistance to domestic violence survivors with disabilities. Emily is an active member of the Sexuality and Gender Alliance at Silberman (SAGA).
In addition to her work with the Forty to None Project and Hunter College, Emily works as a barista serving coffee and smiles to downtown New Yorkers.
Vladimir Martinez joins The True Colors Fund during his senior year at Marymount Manhattan College, where he is studying Political Science and Sociology. As President of MMC’s Student Government Association, he is working towards encouraging a diverse and inclusive community of students that are sensitive to issues facing racial, ethnic, and sexual minorities. He also serves as a Peer Leader, helping to guide first year students through their initial weeks of higher education. In addition, Vladimir is a member of the college’s Strategic Planning Committee. Vladimir’s internship at True Colors Fund serves as his introduction to non-profit work, and he hopes the experience will provide him with some of the tools necessary to have substantive conversations about the issues facing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth.