2012 Business Equality Luncheon Speech

2012 Business Equality Luncheon Speeches

My job here today is to talk about the business of Cream City Foundation, and how our work is advancing the work that everyone in this room is here to celebrate and learn about today.

Since arriving in Milwaukee on March 1, I have had 227 meetings, and because this is a business luncheon… that is an average of 28.3 meetings a month or 1.5 meetings a day…and more than 150 can be counted as meeting new people…and I am so happy and grateful to see so many of you here today.

I have had a great introduction to Milwaukee thanks to Cream City Foundation’s board of directors, and to all of you in the room who have spent time with me and helped to make Milwaukee feel like home.

I have had the pleasure of speaking at Harley-Davidson’s first ever LGBT lunch and learn, Marquette University’s first ever LGBT faculty and staff event, GE’s GLBTA Alliance, and will be giving a presentation at Froedert Hospital next month.

Cream City Foundation has hosted, and moderated, several community round tables, including Assistant Secretary of HUD Mercedes Marquez on LGBT housing issues, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin and Congresswoman Gwen Moore on issues facing our community now and in the future.

We had the distinct pleasure of launching our first Cocktails with Cream City Foundation event with the then U.S. State Department Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism on The Nexus of Anti-Semitism and LGBT Human Rights – who, as of October 15 is the new President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Milwaukee, my dear friend Hannah Rosenthal. Please join me in welcoming Hannah to Milwaukee and to our luncheon today.

We have partnered with the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center and our allies at Victory Garden Initiative to host weed dating; it’s like speed dating for gardeners. We have hosted Art and Philanthropy, My Best Friend is Straight, and today’s luncheon all with record setting attendance. I have been interviewed on WUWM’s Lake Effect, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Louis Weisberg of the Wisconsin Gazette and I have known one another for more than 20 years, we just meet, eat, and thankfully nothing we talk about is on the record…and just between us, I think after 20 years…Louis no longer finds me interesting enough to interview.

In August Cream City Foundation’s Board of Directors approved new mission, vision, and values statements and a 3 year strategic plan, which will guide our work and hold us accountable to one another and to you. You will find the highlights of the plan in your program book.

So far this year, through the foundation as well as through our donor advised funds, Cream City Foundation has granted nearly $55,000, with the goal of granting another $60,000 before year’s end.

As you can see in your program book today, our grants have provided opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in schools, in the arts, and in healthcare, to name a few, addressing the needs of homeless young people, those impacted by HIV and AIDS, those impacted by breast cancer, and families choosing adoption.

We have supported organizations advancing fairness and equality for all people in Southeastern Wisconsin, including LGBT people such as Fair Wisconsin, Equality Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, and the ACLU.

Cream City Foundation is living its mission, and honoring our values of inclusion, stewardship, integrity, partnerships, and commitment. At the same time we are addressing the goals we set for ourselves in August, to be completed by year end, 2015.

The first week in November we will release new grant guidelines, which simplify our grant making application and process for those seeking grants from the Foundation.

In the year ahead, we will make an unprecedented investment in Southeastern Wisconsin and partner with University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and its Center for Urban Initiatives & Research, along with McAlpine Consulting for Growth, and more than a dozen corporations, foundations, as well as community based and faith based organizations  to conduct a 7 county lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender needs assessment for Southeast Wisconsin.

The results of this survey will inform the Foundation’s work in the years ahead, and the work of many others. The results will of course be made public, but in addition, we will gift the raw data to the LGBT archives at UWM so that other researchers, or really anyone who is interested, can access the data for their own use.

Some of you may remember the Gay Neighbor Campaign the Foundation did a few years ago. Thanks to Denise Cawley and the generosity of her firm Circore Creative, the Gay Neighbor website is still up and running and gets between 3 and 400 hits a month. We will build on the success of that visibility campaign to launch a new campaign in the years ahead.

As many of you know, the last year has been one of challenges and renewal for Southeast Wisconsin’s gay and transgender community.

Since I came to town last March, a volunteer group of leaders led by Karen Gotzler, Peter Larson, Jennifer Morales, and Paul Williams have moved the Milwaukee LGBT Center from the brink of collapse towards a very viable future and recently welcomed Tom Hanly as Director of Programs and Operations.

When the Cream City Foundation board and staff were in retreat for strategic planning, after much thoughtful discussion, we chose to make the success of The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center a strategic priority for the Foundation. To that end, our board treasurer Paul Milakovich and I have been meeting with the center regularly, lending our support whenever and wherever we can.

Meanwhile, in Racine, the LGBT Center of Southeastern Wisconsin, led by its Executive Director Jolie McKenna is doing extraordinary work in Racine, Kenosha, and Walworth counties, providing home visits to our elderly, teaching cultural competency to police and fire departments, and providing a safe place for drop-in, and a plethora of social services and social activities.

On a national level, along with my colleagues from Fair Wisconsin, Diverse and Resilient, the LGBT Center of Southeast Wisconsin, PFLAG,

Planned Parenthood, Freedom Inc., and GSafe, traveled to Washington DC to attend the State Trans Summit, hosted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task force…where we began to develop strategies for transgender inclusion in Wisconsin’s non-discrimination laws.

And finally it seems appropriate on Milwaukee’s very first Business Equality Day that Cream City Foundation announces the re-launch of QShare, our business networking and giving circle.

For those of you who are already members, we will be meeting in November to choose your grant recipient, and in January we will host a kick-off event for the New Year.

There are brochures available on your table, for those of you interested in learning more about becoming a QShare member.

We are giving QShare a new face…so to speak…by partnering with Wisconsin’s newest state wide LGBT business association, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, led by its executive director Jason Rae. On November 8, we will host the kick-off of the new Chamber at Cocktails with Cream City, and I hope you all will join us to hear Jason introduce the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, learn about its mission, and about its partnership with QShare and Cream City Foundation.

When Hannah Rosenthal presented on the Nexus of Anti-Semitism and LGBT Human Rights at our first Cocktails with Cream City, her talk was the buzz around town for weeks afterwards. And when it was announced she was coming to Milwaukee to lead the Jewish Federation, so many people called or came up to me to congratulate and thank me for bringing her to town permanently. I am sorry, but the gays cannot take credit for bringing her here. We have our friends at the Jewish Federation to thank for that.

But when it came time to find a keynote speaker for today’s luncheon, I called Hannah, she said let me think about it and within five minutes I got an e mail from her saying…I just talked to Dan Baer…and you should too, with his number. So we have Hannah to thank for bringing Dan to Milwaukee. As many of you have learned about me… you have learned there are a few things that drive me crazy, among them are acronyms – which is why you haven’t heard yesterday’s language referring to Cream City Foundation as CCF…and another is for someone to read what is already printed in your program book. Clearly our speaker today is smart, and doing amazing work around the world. What the U.S. Department of State bio does not tell you is that he is also funny.

I had the opportunity to have coffee with him when I was recently in DC. We were sitting in the front window at Starbucks on DuPont Circle, getting to know one another when I asked if he wanted to bring his partner or anyone else with him. He said his partner’s mother was coming up from Chicago, and then sort of looked off in the distance and said, what do you call your partner’s mother anyway? Sue…we’ll call her Sue.

And we are happy to have Sue Walsh with us today as well.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome, from the United States Department of State, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Dr. Daniel B. Baer…

Thank you Terri, for those kind words, and welcome to Cream City Foundation’s Fourth Annual Equality Business Luncheon. If you haven’t dropped your business card in the raffle drum, you should do that right now, you could be the lucky winner of 2 Southwest Airline Tickets.

Harley-Davidson Motor Company has been extraordinary to work with to make today happen. To be clear, for our purposes today, hosting means underwriting the costs of today’s luncheon. Specifically, I want to thank Tonit Calaway, Techernavia Rocker, and Cream City Foundation Board member and 20 year veteran of Harley Davidson Terri Coughlin. But most of all I want to thank Kimberly Cosby, who coordinated everyone here with Chuck and me at the foundation, with precision, grace, and humor.

The partnership we have formed with Harley-Davidson works not just today, but throughout the year, to advance equality and fairness in the workplace. Please join me in thanking everyone at Harley-Davidson for their generous support of Cream City Foundation.

And while we are proud of our partnership with Harley-Davidson, we are equally proud to partner with the more than 35 companies represented here today. Each of you have chosen to invest in Cream City Foundation, and in our mission to advance the human rights and respond to the human needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Southeastern Wisconsin…and we are grateful.

Some of you may have noticed there is a new bank in town, and Cream City Foundation is proud to count them among our Gold Sponsors. Sadly Raquel Filmanowicz is unable to join us, so doing double duty for BMO Harris, please welcome Ed Wills….

While BMO is the new kid in town, our next sponsor has been doing business in Milwaukee since 1857. For 3 of the 4 years the Foundation has hosted this luncheon, they have been with us…doubling their gift each year, which brings them to the Gold Sponsorship level today. Please welcome Northwestern Mutual and Gregory Jones…

Also with us for the past 3 years is our final Gold Sponsor and they fly in and out of Milwaukee all the time, on time, and with smiles on their faces. And here to bring a big ol’ smile to one of your faces, please welcome Southwest Airlines, Ana Schwager.

Thank you so much Dan. And now for the final business of the day on this, Milwaukee’s first Business Equality Day…

30 years ago Cream City Foundation was founded. In 1982, the total philanthropic giving in the United States to support LGBT issues was $215,000 or less than .01% of total giving. In 2011, that number has grown to $123 million. However, when we understand that total giving to charitable organizations was $298.42 billion last year, only 0.2% of all charitable dollars in this country support the work we have been talking about for the past hour.

Corporate giving accounts for 5% of the total giving in 2011, and we are grateful to every corporation and small business in this room for doing their part today.

As in previous years, the majority of giving came from individuals. Specifically, individuals gave 73% or 9 out of every 10 dollars donated last year.

The largest sector to receive donations went to religious organizations with the next largest sector to education.

Donations were up to health charities, to public benefit charities, to arts, culture, and humanities charities, to International charities, to human services charities, and to environmental and animal charities.

In 2011 Donations to foundations were down 6.1%.

Ahhhh, I can see the looks on your faces, “now I see where he is going with this”.

If 73% of the individuals here today would join 100% of the businesses in this room by making a donation today of at least $100, we would raise an additional $16,900 today to support Cream City Foundation’s work.

If the remaining 27% of individuals in the room make a gift of $1000 or more, that would raise an additional $63,000 for a grand total of $79,900.

And when you add that to the $30,000 we have already raised through all of your generosity, Cream City Foundation will raise $109,900 this afternoon.

Business Equality Day is really about moving the business of equality and fairness for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people forward…

in the workplace, by the rule of law, in the health care system, in our schools, and in our cities and state.

Understanding that some of you will give more, and some less, if everyone thinks for a moment about Dan’s inspiring, and sobering words today, and if everyone embraces Cream City Foundation’s mission, vision, and values… Together we can make this the most profitable day in Cream City Foundation’s 30 year history.

Thank you again Dan, thank you Harley, and most especially thank you to all of you for joining us today.

Chuck and Pat are standing at the back of the room, and are ready to take your envelopes on your way out.

Mayor Barrett’s Biography

He was elected Milwaukee’s 40th Mayor on April 6, 2004, and has been reelected with over 70% of the vote in both 2008 and 2012.

As Milwaukee’s Chief Executive, he is making neighborhoods safer by strengthening the Milwaukee Police Department, targeting gangs and illegal guns and forging partnerships with faith-based groups and neighborhood organizations to strengthen the community’s role in reducing crime.

He continues to strengthen the City’s economic toolkit to create family-supporting jobs and provide assistance to entrepreneurs to expand or open small businesses. He is creating hope in the lives of young people throughout the city with a number of workforce initiatives, including his Youth Builds program which offers a comprehensive approach to education, training and employment for young adults, and his Summer Earn and Learn initiative which has placed more than 12,000 students in summer jobs, His Manufacturing Partnership, launched in 2011, connects area employers with potential employees through a unique and tailored skills training program.

Through efforts that bring families together like the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative and the partnerships to reduce Teen Pregnancy and Infant Mortality, he seeks to strengthen our community’s moral compass and future.

He has enacted his vision for a greener Milwaukee through the formation of Milwaukee’s Green Team the establishment of Milwaukee’s Office of Sustainability. The Office of Sustainability promotes cost-effective environmental sustainability practices that meet Milwaukee’s urgent environmental, economic and social needs while enhancing long-term economic growth. He is also one of the region’s greatest champions for the Great Lakes and currently serves as Chair of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, a binational organization comprised of mayors and other local officials that works actively to advance the protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

We would also like to acknowledge his work on behalf of Marriage Equality in Wisconsin as well as the strong stance he took against the proposed constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and civil unions.

He grew up on Milwaukee’s West side, graduated college and law school from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was a member of both the Wisconsin State Assembly and State Senate and was elected to five terms in the U.S. Congress.

On a personal note, I met him the second week I was in town, and later Cream City Foundation board member Tim Clark arranged for me to meet with him privately, and he has turned out to be one of those people I seem to run into everywhere I go. At one point I thought perhaps I should assure him that I was not stalking him, rather that while as gay and transgender people we have specific issues relevant to our community, we are a multi-dimensional community interested in advancing a civil society for all people. While he sometimes looked surprised to see me at non-gay events, he never looked scared, so today, I welcome the opportunity to assure him, he is safe with me, and I am grateful to him for being so warm and welcoming to a new guy in a new city.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to Milwaukee’s own…The Honorable Mayor Tom Barrett.

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