The past month has been a wild ride (in the best possible way) for the True Colors Fund and the people we work with and for. Like so many people, we were outraged at the passage of legislation in Indiana (Indiana SB 101) which allowed businesses to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. And, like so many, we were shocked when we heard that a GoFundMe campaign had raised over $800,000 for a pizza place that promised to discriminate. Imagine our surprise when we awoke one morning to find a GoFundMe campaign dedicated to meeting that amount to benefit our work to end LGBT youth homelessness.
Scott Wooledge, the mind behind Memeographs, saw that we had set April 29 as the first #40toNoneDay to raise public awareness about LGBT youth homelessness, and decided to use his creativity and influence for good. Scott set the goal of matching the amount raised for that Indiana pizza place by #40toNoneDay. He called the campaign #Pizza4Equality. An early donor, Jay Farrell, quipped, “Pizza should be used for good, not evil,” and a rallying cry was born!
It went totally viral. In the first five days alone, the campaign raised $125,000 for the effort to end LGBT youth homelessness. By #40toNoneDay, it had topped $160,000 and was shared over 75,000 times.
We’re convinced that over the past 30 days, Scott tweeted at everyone on the planet about #Pizza4Equality. The campaign was getting donations and mentions from tens of thousands of people across the world – not to mention celebrities like Lance Bass, Dan Savage, Ana Marie Cox, and Perez Hilton!
By the time #40toNoneDay rolled around, #Pizza4Equality hadn’t beaten the amount raised by that pizza place in Indiana – but that’s beside the point. Today, the effort to end LGBT youth homelessness is $160,000+ stronger than it was a month ago. This money is going to go a long way to support our programs, which:
- Create opportunities for young people to develop their advocacy, job, and life skills – and engage them directly in the effort to end this issue
- Work collaboratively with communities to build local responses to prevent and end LGBT youth homelessness
- Build policies and advocate within government for public programs that serve all youth experiencing homelessness
- Conduct groundbreaking research about a historically understudied issue
- Raise public awareness and provide people with simple ways to get involved in the effort to end LGBT youth homelessness
We want to thank everyone who donated, promoted, and participated in this empowering campaign. We didn’t see this coming at all. It was a surprise blessing for us and for the young people we work every day to serve. This campaign has demonstrated to people around the world that even when something terrible happens (like the passage of Indiana SB 101), humanity can respond with something absolutely beautiful – something absolutely human. Today, more people than ever before are talking about LGBT youth homelessness, reaching out to their local lawmakers with their concerns, and strategizing with one another around ways they can help young people in their own communities. People are engaged in this issue like never before. And that’s exactly what needs to happen if we are truly going to end LGBT youth homelessness. And we are going to end it.
Scott, we cannot thank you enough. Your dedication to making a difference for something you believe in… Your impressive ability to create something bigger than yourself… Your clear demonstration of the honest truth that it is better to give than to receive… You’ve inspired us at the True Colors Fund and people around the world. You’ve mobilized so many people to make a difference. You’ve given an energy to this movement that cannot be denied.
Words can’t express what this campaign has meant for us and for our work, so we’ll let the work speak for itself. Incredible things are happening in this movement. It’s up to all of us to end LGBT youth homelessness.
Inspire your friends! Share this story on Facebook and Twitter! There’s still time to contribute to this incredible campaign!