How long have you been an Astraea donor; why?
I’ve been a donor to Astraea for a little over two years. What makes Astraea different than the other organizations that I’m involved with and that I give my money to is that they have a global reach. I don’t have the desire, the ability, or the knowledge to be able to find good organizations and vet them appropriately. Finding a foundation that’ll do those things for me and be sure that the money gets into the right hands is very important. It just increases my reach. It makes me feel like I’m really doing something not just in Chicago, but around the world.
What are some notable moments or memories in your, and Astraea’s combined history?
My relationship with Astraea is, of course, watching what they do and who the grantees are, but importantly to me too are the people that are in charge. I keep in touch with Bob and always know what’s going on with Astraea, its mission, and its goals.
What advice would you give to people thinking about philanthropy and LGBTQI philanthropy specifically?
Be sure that the organization that you go to understands our community, that they have a history, that they’ve got staying power, that they have a reach, and that they’re very specific in our community. It’s very important to me that it’s specific in our community.
My wife was an activist in the community for over 40 years. When she returned from Woodstock she started the first LGBT newspaper and hotline. When we got together she started educating me about the community and sharing her vast experiences. I know that she was very impressed with the work that Astraea does. We were very aware of what goes on in Chicago, but to know that we have a philanthropic partner that we could count on to take care of the rest of our giving, made she and I very confident.
How is it that you use philanthropy and activism to honor her legacy and what she’d wanna see happening in the world?
Well, you have to kind of put your money where your mouth is. I don’t have the time, the energy, or the expertise to do a lot of the things that are necessary in our community, to really make a difference. So, being wise where you put your dollars is very important. I’m not the one that gets out and marches so much anymore. I’m not the one that comes up with all these wonderful ideas about how to do things to support our community, but I have to be the one that supports the people that do that.