The last several months have been an unexpected adventure in so many ways! The way we interact with others has changed dramatically and the need to distance has challenged us all.
Even so, we came together to encourage the City of Holland to adopt the comprehensive Non-Discrimination Ordinance ensuring that we can all live, work, shop, and play here! The nearly unanimous vote was wonderful to see and also the result of the many stories, voices, and persistent hopes that got us here. Thank you! We at OOTL are incredibly grateful for the support shown to LGBTQ+ people who are our families, friends and neighbors through this entire process.
While we celebrate this truly significant victory, it’s also true that the arguments voiced against it were painful and revealed that our work here is far from done. The needs are still many as an intergenerational community of LGBTQ+ people seek to not only live on this lakeshore but to thrive here too.
As the needs of this community evolve, we at OOTL are also making some changes in response. In January, OOTL will welcome PFLAG Holland/Lakeshore (Parents/Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and Gender S.A.F.E. (Supporting All For Equality) into our organizational structure. These groups have worked collaboratively for several years and PFLAG and Gender S.A.F.E. will soon become program branches within OOTL, uniting under one roof to better serve. Together.
We are also launching our first formal fundraising initiative because we need your support as we grow.
The OOTL Community Campaign has begun and will run until December 31, 2020. We’ve been fortunate to receive large grants in the past from the Holland Zeeland Community Foundation and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Our LGBT Fund. Those along with other grants and gifts allowed us to have a strong beginning from which to build, and now we need your support too!
With a lean operating budget of $70,000 per year (and growing,) during this first Community Campaign our goal is to raise half of that for a total of $35,000. Through the presence of the OOTL Community Center and all of the programs and events that flow through it, we become the kind of community it takes to help LGBTQ+ people and families thrive. Your contributions make a difference. They always have. And they always will.