Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Non-Profit Spotlight: The Pride Network

Founded in 2008 at Hofstra University, in Long Island, New York, The Pride Network (TPN) is celebrating ten years. 

The mission of TPN is educating and empowering the next generation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) leaders.

With chapters and partnerships in the Tri-State at both high school and college level, TPN is reaching the next generation of leaders where they are – in school.

Students at Hofstra University 
Whether they are high schools like Brownsville Academy in Brooklyn and South Orange High School in NJ or their founding university, Hofstra University on Long Island, or youth service agencies, such as, Hetrick Martin Institute, Ali Forney Center or Hudson Pride Connections, TPN strives to cultivate the safe space in which to develop the next generation of LGBTQ leaders.

Some of the programming produced by TPN includes: Social Justice/Leadership Education conferences, mentorship, weekly lectures, and lunch & learns to name a few. 

Steven Gordon
Executive Director, The Pride Network

In a recent chat with their Executive Director, Steven Gordon, he shared his insights into The Pride Network, what it has meant to him and how he hopes to inspire those around him to join the very worthy cause… Lead with Pride!

How did you find your way to the Pride Network?

I met the founder of The Pride Network when he volunteered at an LGBTQ Community Center in Jersey City where I was consulting, and I was asked to volunteer at a Speak Summit. 

Youth Attending Speak Summit 

What is the Speak Summit?

Speak Summit is a mentorship program. A day-long Social Justice/Leadership Education conference.

How did participating at Speak Summit impact you?

I facilitated a workshop for college and high school age LGBTQ Youth, and I was hooked. The energy and excitement the youth had about changing their community was infectious. 

I volunteered at every Speak Summit since and was invited to join TPN's Board of Director. Last May, I was asked to be the inaugural Executive Director. I did not hesitate in accepting the job offer.

What does an organization such as this, mean to you?

I have spent the last 15 years of my career working in non-profit settings where the organization are charged with solving the problem; not the community. Often, it felt like I was putting a band-aid on systemic issues of poverty, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, homophobia, etc. 

The Pride Network teaches the young people to “be the change they want to see in the world” and empower them to realize their own power. 

What are 3 things necessary for this organization?
  1. We need volunteers to assist us at youth events and fundraisers. 
  2. We are need sponsorship, assistance with financial planning, public relations and communication/media. 
  3. TPN would like to strengthen our professional mentorship program with a larger pool of volunteers to mentor LGBTQ youth with their career aspirations. 

How might the membership at nglccNY help support the work at The Pride Network?

nglccNY can help support TPN in two ways. 
  1. We are currently having a board member drive. Our Board is the heart that keeps TPN pumping. We welcome hard working folks who believe in our mission and are willing to donate time, money, and access to their networks.
  2. Become a donor. Individual donors and sponsorship is a key factor in TPN's equation. All donations go directly to supporting our programming for LGBTQ Youth. The Pride Network is also looking to expand our portfolio of corporate partnerships to support our operations. 
What is your message to the next generation of LGBTQ+ youth?

My message is simple: Here are my shoulders, please stand on them. 

As Executive Director what is the inspiration that keeps you going?

The youth. I truly believe if we can expand our reach, we will help to change the lives of future leaders. Words cannot express the feeling of knowing that you might have influenced a young person to make the world and their own lives a little better. 

What would you like your legacy to be?

I want my legacy to be a sustainable non-profit that will continue to touch the heart and minds of LGBTQ young people for many years after I leave and to have young people remember the principles they learned from me and pass them on. 

What's your message to the universe? 

I truly believe in intention. If you base the work you do with good intention, you will receive good outcomes.

“Let's base all our work, whether in the private or public sector, in mindfulness and good intentions."

What TPN events are on the horizon?

We have a few events coming up. All of which will offer volunteer opportunities.
  • April 6th-April 8th, TPN will be co-hosting with Rutgers Newark a North East LGBTQ Collegiate Social Justice Conference. We are expecting 300 students to attend. 
  • April 29th, we are having a fundraiser as a supporter's brownstone in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. 
  • May 26th will be our next Speak Summit at Rutgers Newark. 
  • On Saturday, June 23rd TPN will be working with Heritage of Pride, assisting with Youth PrideFest. 
To learn more about the ways in which you can “Lead with Pride” check out their website

Feel free to reach out to Steven Gordon via the social channels listed below or chat him up at the next M3. 

Volunteer | Donate

Written by Ingrid Galvez,

Chair, Diversity & Inclusion, nglccNY

Organizational Development Consultant, 

Strategic Remedy Group

Strategic Remedy Group is a certified LGBTBE focused on cultivating collaborative communities to propel business success.

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