Diversity Richmond Celebrates 20 Years Of Supporting VA’s LGBTQ Community

by | Nov 21, 2019 | QUEER RVA

Having given over $1 million in grants over the past two decades, tonight’s celebration will see Diversity Richmond award another $50,000 in grants to LGBTQ-friendly local nonprofits.

Tonight’s the night! For the past 20 years, Diversity Richmond has offered essential support to the LGBTQ community in Richmond and throughout Central Virginia; tonight, they celebrate.

The fact that Diversity has not only survived but thrived during a tumultuous time that has seen both the triumph of marriage equality and the tragedy of the transgender military ban shows how essential it has been as a gathering place and support network for Richmond’s LGBTQ community. Indeed, Diversity sees this as their primary responsibility.

“The main emphasis of everything we do is to build community,” stated Diversity Richmond Executive Director Bill Harrison. “Our outreach focuses mainly on the LGBT community, but often our help extends beyond.”

Diversity Richmond 20 year celebration flyer

This shows in the ways Diversity Richmond has given grants not just to LGBTQ organizations over the years, but also to organizations that, while not specifically centered on the LGBTQ community, are nonetheless LGBTQ-friendly. These have included The Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, The Virginia Holocaust Museum, and Jewish Family Services, among many others. This intersectional approach benefits not just the LGBTQ community but many different marginalized minorities in need of support.

As Harrison told GayRVA in an interview earlier this year, “We grab every opportunity we can to help.”

Tonight, Diversity Richmond will offer even more help, announcing over $50,000 in new grant allocations for this season. However, most of the focus for the evening’s events will be a celebration of what the organization has accomplished in the past two decades.

To help sum up the way it all started, Diversity Richmond founder Jon Klein will be in attendance to speak about the early days of establishing the organization, then known as the Richmond Gay Community Foundation. Now based in Boston, where he manages a program that helps the homeless, Klein told GayRVA earlier this year that he is looking forward to the return visit.

Ezibu Muntu African dance troupe
Ezibu Muntu. Photo by Vanessa Nixon, via Facebook

The evening will feature a variety of other highlights as well. Richmond-based African dance troupe Ezibu Muntu will open the ceremony with a performance that will surely be a delight to behold. And the organization will also dedicate American, Virginia, and rainbow flags displayed in their parking lot, which is overlooked by Interstate 95.

“We wanted to do this for a long while,” Harrison said in a statement. “Hundreds of thousands of travelers every day will see those three beautiful flags, which will also be illuminated at night.”

Come celebrate with Diversity Richmond, at 1407 Sherwood Ave, tonight, starting at 6 PM. The event is free and open to the public.

Top Photo by Sara Wheeler

Marilyn Drew Necci

Marilyn Drew Necci

Former GayRVA editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine editor for print and web. Anxiety expert, proud trans woman, happily married.

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