To all of you who so generously support IGLHRC:
I want to let you know personally of a very generous bequest made both to the LGBTI community in general and to IGLHRC by Ric Weiland. As you can see from the attached articles published today in the Chronicle of Philanthropy and yesterday in the Seattle Times, IGLHRC is honored to be one of the designated beneficiaries of the single largest bequest ever made to the LGBT community: $65 million dollars that will be given in differing amounts to 11 LGBT groups, including the Pride Foundation in Seattle which will administer the funds.
Ric Weiland, a long time IGLHRC supporter, died in June 2006 at the age of 53. Under the provisions of Ric's will, IGLHRC will receive approximately $198,000 per year over the next 8 years, for a total bequest of just under $1.6 million dollars.
Needless to say, this is an unprecedented gift for IGLHRC, and one that could not have come at a better time for the organization. As was clear from my conversations with him,Ric understood that organizations need to be able to plan multi-year strategies. His gifts to IGLHRC, when he was alive, had evolved into 2-year pledges that allowed us the freedom to plan and strategize with our partners around the world over a period longer than a single fiscal year. He knew that decriminalizing homosexuality or fighting police violence requires that we adopt long-term strategies in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and all of the places thatIGLHRC's work reaches. His approach encouraged me to ask many of you to pledge your support over the course of several years as well.
Thus, with Ric's example in mind, IGLHRC will be using this unexpected funding in two primary ways. First, to build the next five-year vision and strategy for IGLHRC's work around the world and at the United Nations. That strategy will incorporate a plan for building multi-year support from our individual supporters through our Global Dignity Fund (GDF). As with Ric's bequest,which will be paid out quarterly, having GDF monthly funds to rely on increases our capacity to sustain ongoing work with grassroots groups and respond to human rights emergencies as they occur.
Second, in light of Ric's specific desire to help build strong community groups, IGLHRC will use a portion of the bequest to establish a paid annual fellowship program in one of our regional offices. The program will allow LGBT activists in Africa, Asia, Latin America or the Caribbean to apply for a fellowship to work with our staff on a project to promote LGBTI human rights advocacy in her/his home country.
Ric's death was a painful and difficult loss for so many. There is nothing any of us would have preferred than to have him with us, working in his very gentle way and witnessing the successes that his generosity has provided to our entire movement in the United States for so many years. Yet, in death he acts as he did in life - encouraging long-term vision, trusting our groups'leadership to know how to do that, and contributing to a grassroots-based movement.
There is no individual in the world who has given as generously to the goal of global equality for LGBTI people as Ric Weiland. The lives and work of LGBTI activists in Kenya, Thailand, Chile, China and elsewhere around the world will benefit from Ric's generosity to IGLHRC, and we are truly honored.
We thank you, too, for your extraordinary commitment to fighting for the rights of LGBTI people where ever they live and for your faith in IGLHRC. By building on Ric's generosity, we move closer each day to a world that understands that human rights are the entitlement of all people.
Paula L. Ettelbrick
Published on February 25, 2008 | OutRight Action International an LGBT human rights organization