Meet the Donor Community
One summer, Emmy Howe's kids returned from a California camp for LGBT families and suggested that she start a camp closer to home. So, for the last five summers and counting, 35 kids from LGBT families across the country have spent one week on a working farm in Western Massachusetts. "It's a chance for them to be in an environment where they can say whatever they want and it will be ok." It's a goal that drives Emmy at work, in her community, and at home.
She, her partner and three daughters (ages 8,16, and 18) live in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After coming out in high school, Emmy was amongst the fourth class of women admitted to Yale. As a sophomore, Emmy helped file a Title 9 Suite against the University. She worked to bring federal investigators to campus, and organized women athletes to testify at hearings. The next year, Yale complied with the law and implemented the steps which eventually brought gender equity to their sports program.
Emmy is the family liaison from the Cambridge Public School Department to the LGBT community. She works with families to build community, create social events and issue-related forums. She also works with classrooms, and recently created a ten-week curriculum on homophobia and racism for middle school grades. One session she explains, is devoted to "helping teachers see difference in the classroom as an asset, not a problem."
Emmy also serves as the New England coordinator of a nationwide curriculum project called SEED/Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity. "SEED helps teachers balance the textbooks of our lives with the textbooks on the shelves, and to understand their own students and the diversity within them."
"In my work," Emmy says, "I interact with many people who live in countries where they'd be killed if they came out. I personally don't know what needs to be done. That's why we need to support to the pockets of people with expertise and first hand experience, like Astraea, who do."
An Astraea member for twenty-five years, Emmy has always been drawn to Astraea's unique mission and its role as a leader in the philanthropic arena. "Astraea's integrity and innovative funding criteria resonate with me in a very profound way. Astraea is often only source of funding for an organization-the difference between a groundbreaking conference actually materializing, or an outreach program succeeding. I continue to be grateful that a place like Astraea exists-a place that funds those organizations on the ground who are getting the job done."