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|Georgia Equality seeks end-of-year fundraising goal|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|December 19, 2012 13:24|
Georgia Equality, the state's largest LGBT advocacy organization, has set a fundraising goal of $15,000 before the end of the calendar year. The money, Executive Director Jeff Graham says, will go toward helping fund GE's upcoming participation in the Georgia General Assembly's 2013 legislative session.
“Some of it will used to pay for lobbyists,” Graham says. “Some will be used to pay for advocacy costs. Some will be used for staff time to coordinate interns, volunteers and to be able to monitor hearings and to participate in hearings.”
GE's annual budget is much higher than $15,000, but the money raised from this fundraising drive will go to a variety of causes and initiatives in the coming year. Through Friday, Dec. 21, a private donor has promised to match up to $1,000 in donations to GE. This donor has pledged $4,000 in matching donations, Graham says, and has already matched more than $3,000 so far.
“We will once again work with [State Rep.] Karla Drenner on the Fair Employment Practices Act with a number of new legislators to get them on-board,” Graham said of GE's priorities for the upcoming session. “We'll continue to work with the 53 or so supporters we have coming back and hopefully have hearings on that.”
GE will also continue to advocate for stringent anti-bullying legislation and Medicaid expansion, which Graham says would help more Georgians living with HIV/AIDS receive care.
So far, Graham says GE has raised more than $9,000 toward its $15,000 goal. Any additional money raised could help GE have a voice in the upcoming special elections to be held next month.
“We're well on our way to that and we're very appreciative of our donors,” Graham says. “If we could raise that amount, and maybe even a little more, we can help get out the vote for special elections happening Jan. 8.”
And while the holy grail continues to be marriage equality for Georgia's gay and lesbian couples, Graham says he believes marriage rights are still a few years away but having employment protections is an important step in that direction.
“While it's specific to ensure that LGBT employees are protected on the job, it's an important first step we need to eventually repeal our marriage effort,” he says. “That effort is many years away.”
To make a tax-deductible donation to Georgia Equality please click here.
Top photo: Members of Georgia Equality at the 2012 Atlanta Pride parade (by Bo Shell)
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