INCREASE AND DIVERSIFY RESOURCES AND REVENUE
Paramount to ETs success in continuing and expanding its breadth of service to our area’s LGBTQ community is our ability to identify, foster, and sustain reliable and consistent sources of funding. For the past 10 years, ET has been able to live its mission statement largely through the generosity and support expressed through individual donor contributions, grant funding, in addition to monetary gifts from other non-profit organizations and our annual fundraisers. With these financial resources, ET has been able to position itself in the community and sustain its impactful operations. However, as we look to the future through the lens of our strategic planning efforts, we recognize the need to adopt a resource development model that not only sustains but also cultivates capacity for growth.
For any non-profit organization with a growth agenda, individual donor gifts and non-programmatic grant funding are table stakes. Our efforts to find sustainable funding from those avenues will not cease. However, we now find ourselves in a position where we are challenged to look beyond our traditional methods of funding and seek-out alternative avenues for revenue growth. We believe a significant opportunity lies in funding from our community’s corporate and business partners. Their goal of attracting and retaining talent in Toledo aligns with our goal of making Toledo a welcoming, safe, and inclusive community. By developing these symbiotic relationships, ET will have a new forum in which it can demonstrate the positive impact that it has and will continue to have on the community and on their employees who call the Toledo-area “home.” We believe that drawing increased visibility to the kind of value that our organization brings to Toledo has the potential to translate into on-going financial support of the ET mission and vision from local like-minded business partners. The caveat to pursuing this route will be for ET to make clear that a financial gift from any corporation does not carry any obligation for ET to be beholden to such donors.
Lastly, consistent with our goal of positioning ET as a brick-and-mortar operation in Toledo’s Uptown District, we feel that it is imperative that we commence a capital campaign so that we may obtain a space. The Board and staff of ET will work together to effectively allocate resources necessary to achieve this goal.
DEVELOP A TOLEDO LGBTQ HEADQUARTERS
Equality Toledo has been committed to serving Toledo’s LGBTQ population. As we continue to grow and expand our services, a physical space becomes increasingly integral to our work . A space of our own can offer a central location for people to gather for events, meetings, and support. The space will be a symbol of our viability, strength and compassion. It will signal a long term commitment to serving the area LGBTQ population.
Ideally the space will be located in the Uptown District of Toledo, as some of our stakeholders preferred. The space could provide offices for the staff of Equality Toledo and house and support the work of other LGBTQ organizations in our area. Offering a space for marginalized people to interact safely is key to the progress of our local movement.
ENHANCE OUR SERVICES AND SERVICE AREA
A common theme gleaned from stakeholder interviews was that our community would like to see more from Equality Toledo in relation to the services we provide and the people we serve. It is also clear to us that we need to expand geographically the work that we currently do. ET will continue the education and advocacy work we do in schools and universities, hospitals, social service agencies, community organizations, and businesses around the community as well as exploring how to expand into new spaces. ET will partner with like minded organizations in the Northwest Ohio area to provide resources to the LGBTQ community. We recognize the importance of this work and will work towards increasing our capacity to provide more services to the community.
Our service expansion will include utilizing ET as an incubator. People request various services, clubs, activities, and more from ET. Often times we don’t have the capacity to fulfill all of the requests in an effective manner. Our goal as an incubator is to facilitate, guide, and provide resources to make these requests happen. Once a space is a reality, we will be able to offer a launching pad for the ideas that people want to see through.
In addition, we see the space as an opportunity to house services that can cause discomfort to LGBTQ people. We will look into providing offices for counseling services, health care referrals, and support services. We will do this work in partnership with various organizations in the area who are welcoming to Toledo’s LGBTQ population.
Lastly, our expansion will include being committed to work in outlying areas that surround Toledo. We’ve been fortunate enough to work with the City of Toledo to add protections for its LGBTQ population and we seek to do the same with municipalities that surround our fair city.
Equality Toledo has come a long way since its inception in 2004. We recognize the challenges moving forward and are committed to accomplishing the three goals laid out in this strategic plan over the next three years. All of these goals seem distinct but we cannot achieve any of them without achieving all of them and we cannot do any of this without you.