National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Weekly Update
January 23, 2008

In the News:

Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman to step down
       after five years
In the states: Florida
Creating Change program book now ready for download!
Leadership Council event a success
New York Leadership Awards kick-off event on Jan. 28


Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman to step down after five years

Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman will step down in April to lead the Gay & Lesbian Program at the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund. Foreman has led the Task Force for five years and helped propel the organization to national prominence as an outspoken and unwavering advocate of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. The Haas, Jr. Fund, located in San Francisco, provides more grant support to LGBT organizations than any non-gay-identified foundation in the nation.

“I will always love the Task Force, our work, our board, and our staff,” he said. “Having served for 18 years as the executive director at three LGBT organizations, I’m incredibly privileged to be able to continue to work in and for the movement in a new role at the Haas, Jr. Fund. I have no doubt that the Task Force will continue to be the uncompromising progressive voice of the LGBT movement and to thrive and help lead our community to complete equality,” said Foreman.

[ Get full details here ]


In the states: Florida

The Task Force has dispatched a team of seasoned organizers to Miami, Fla., to assist SAVE Dade in preparing for the largest-ever, volunteer-driven action in opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment that would ban marriage and civil unions for same-sex couples and possibly domestic partnerships for both same- and opposite-sex couples. Right-wing forces in Florida are working feverishly to gather the remaining 22,000 (of a total 611,000) signatures needed by Feb. 1 to qualify the amendment for the November 2008 ballot.

The Task Force, which has offices in Miami and holds two major annual community events in the area (Winter Party Festival and Miami Recognition Dinner), is working with SAVE Dade to recruit volunteers who will be stationed near polling places during Florida’s Jan. 29 presidential primary. Throughout that day, volunteers will be talking with voters face to face about the harm the amendment would cause to Floridians and identifying fair-minded supporters who stand for equality. Volunteers may also be asking voters to refuse to sign petitions by the opposition if present in Miami-Dade County. Task Force organizers are working with SAVE Dade to recruit these critical volunteers through phone banks, community events and campus outreach.

To volunteer, call 305.751.7283 or e-mail


Creating Change program book now ready for download!

Get all the details about the upcoming National LGBT Conference on Equality: Creating Change by checking out the new program book, ready for download here. There’s only two weeks left before more than 2,000 LGBT rights advocates from every corner of the country converge in Detroit, Mich., on Feb. 6–10 to strategize, socialize and mobilize for LGBT equality. The program book contains full details of the more than 100 workshops, caucuses and other events occurring at Creating Change.

The conference’s powerhouse lineup of speakers include NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson, national LGBT rights leader and Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman and musical legends Bernice Johnson Reagon and Toshi Reagon are the featured keynotes; well-known comic and social commentator Kate Clinton will emcee the plenaries. Read more here. The new Task Force Academy for Leadership and Action will also mark its debut with some of the LGBT movement’s most seasoned and talented trainers and faculty leading top-notch sessions.

Don’t miss our Creating Change video and register for the conference right here.


Leadership Council event a success

Board Co-Chair Mark Sexton and his partner, Kirk Wallace, hosted a Leadership Council event at their home in New York on Jan. 18. Members of our national board of directors as well as senior staff joined more than 70 people for an update on the Task Force’s work nationally and locally. The hosts also announced a $25,000 challenge grant to encourage new or upgraded support for the Leadership Council, the Task Force’s major donor recognition program. Approximately $15,000 was raised that evening, a portion of which will be credited toward the challenge. For more information, or to make a gift, please contact Jose Lugaro, director of major gifts, at or by calling 646.358.1477.


New York Leadership Awards kick-off event on Jan. 28

Join us on Monday, Jan. 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Design Within Reach, 408 West 14th St. (between 9th and 10th Avenues) in New York City to learn about how you can be part of this year’s New York Leadership Awards, honoring director John Waters and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. RSVP to Janice Thom, director of special events, at or 646.358.1467.

The 2008 New York Leadership Awards will be held April 7 at the New York Times Center in midtown Manhattan.


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