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Legacy Project appoints board of directors
News update posted Sunday, May 29, 2011
2011-06-01

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The Legacy Project—a non-profit corporation committed to fostering awareness of the vital roles LGBT people have played in the advancement of world history and culture—has announced the appointment of its formal board of directors, according to a press release. This group is composed of leading activists, fundraisers and ambassadors for the LGBT community.

The project's board of directors includes:

—Laurie Dittman, board chairperson: Dittman is one of the legendary "Gang of Four" that coordinated the efforts to pass the Human Rights Ordinance in 1988. According to the project, "Dittman's work has been paramount for LGBT rights through the years and her patience, experience and knowledge will be extremely important as the Legacy Project embarks on its mission."

—Paul Fairchild, board vice-chairperson; former chief development officer of Howard Brown Health Center: The project feels that " [ w ] ith a history in organization building through his work with Heartland Alliance and Howard Brown, Fairchild's knowledge of fundraising methods and his relationships within the non-profit realm will be instrumental in the development of the Legacy Project."

—Cleo Wilson, executive director of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art: Wilson showcases the contributions of underrepresented artists and communities through Intuit, and is a former executive director of the Playboy Foundation.

—Owen Keehnen, board secretary; independent LGBT historian, author and researcher: The release states that Keehnen's "assistance with biographical research and candidate-nomination processing is essential to The Legacy Project's central mission of sharing these important LGBT figures with the community."

—Lori Cannon, founder of Open Hand/Chicago: The project feels that Cannon's "experience in grass-roots organizational development, and her wide array of contacts and respected presence in the non-profit world make her a tremendous asset to the success of the Legacy Project."

—Jason Hendrix, board treasurer; finance associate, Chicago Area Interpreter Referral Service: According to the release, Hendrix's "experience handling financial accounts for various non-profit and LGBT corporations will help The Legacy Project move forward with fiscal assurance."

—Gerri Spinella, assistant professor and member of the Education Leadership Department at National-Louis University: The project hopes to utilize Spinella "in furthering The Legacy Project's goal to raise awareness of our history for LGBT youth."

—John Menefee, graphic design specialist, Leo Burnett Advertising: The project stated that Menefee's "knowledge of brand creation, graphics and advertising through emerging technologies will assist The Legacy Project with establishing brand recognition by refashioning its corporate image with an eye toward educating the public about the organization's mission."

—Leslie Schreiber, director of media relations, Winger Marketing: "Leslie's experience and success in the field of public relations and marketing will prove invaluable as we promote The Legacy Walk as a major public LGBT History attraction," according to the release.

—Paul Highfield, senior manager, Levi-Strauss Store Development: The project stated that Highfield's "knowledge of corporate- and community-based fundraising, as well as his contacts among influential individuals in the entertainment industry, make him a vital resource to The Legacy Project's fundraising goals."

With the organization's leadership in place, The Legacy Project has set its sights on the installation of The Legacy Walk, which will transform the "Northalsted Streetscape" into the only "walking museum" in the world dedicated to celebrating the many contributions LGBT people have made. The dedication will take place Oct. 11, 2012—National Coming-Out Day—a day that also marks the 25th anniversary of the 1987 March on Washington for lesbian and gay civil rights, when the idea for The Legacy Project first came to life.

According to Legacy Project Founder and Executive Director Victor Salvo, "Hundreds of thousands of us were there—living history rising up against the country's exploding hatred and indifference to our plight. Juxtaposed against the first National Coming-Out Day celebrating our past was the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt symbolizing the plague poised to kill us all… all I could think of was 'who will remember our history once we are gone…?'"

The Legacy Walk will consist of 18" x 24" bronze plaques affixed to the 22 rainbow pylons that designate Halsted Street as the center of Chicago's LGBT community. Each plaque will bear a bas-relief likeness and 300-word paragraph commemorating the life of a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person who has contributed to world history and culture. Every October the plaques will be rotated, with those new commemorations dedicated on each subsequent National Coming-Out Day. A visitors' resource center and gift shop, with an interior exhibit space, is being planned to one day house all the plaques that have been outdoors while also hosting special exhibits, visiting lectures and multimedia presentations to further The Legacy Project's mission.

By choosing 2012 as the official launch of The Legacy Walk, the organization intends to take advantage of new opportunities to work with Illinois Safe Schools, the Prevent School Violence/Illinois coalition and gay-straight alliance advisors to develop and evaluate educational materials, based on The Legacy Walk, that will help LGBT youth confront anti-LGBT bullying—and their own sense of cultural isolation—with knowledge.

The Legacy Walk's installation will be made possible through philanthropic grants, corporate underwriting, private sponsorships and community donations.

Tax-deductible donations can be made through Gerber/Hart Library, which is acting as The Legacy Project's fiscal agent until confirmation of their 501 ( c ) 3 status is completed this summer. For more information, to volunteer or to donate, visit www.legacyprojectchicago.org or call 312-608-1198.


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