Update to our Central Oregon Community – From Board President.
Update to our Central Oregon Community – From Board President.

Update to our Central Oregon Community – From Board President.

November 3rd, 2023

Dear Central Oregon LGBTQ+ Community,

I hope this letter finds you well. As the Interim Board President of OUT Central Oregon, I wanted to take a moment to provide you all with important updates on our progress toward reorganizing the Board, the organization, and strengthening our commitment to transparency, equity, inclusion, and accountability. 

Over the past months, we have been diligently reflecting and working to build a more robust and effective Board of Directors that reflects the diversity and values of our LGBTQ+ community. I am pleased to report that as an organization we have made significant strides in this regard and will continue to move forward toward our goal, one of serving our community in a manner beholden of an advocacy nonprofit. 

Here’s what we’ve been doing thus far:

Restructuring: In 2022-23 the Board became aware of racist and intolerable remarks by previous members of OUT Central Oregon that caused immense harm and broke trust in our community. The actions the rest of the Board took against the individuals that caused said harm were swift, direct and robust.  As the new representatives of OUT Central Oregon, we unreservedly apologize for the acts felt by our community.  We recognize the gravity of these actions and are genuinely sorry for the pain they have caused. We know that pain is still felt deeply as we continue to address and reengage with our community. 

To move forward we are holding ourselves accountable and are committed to doing better and learning from this experience. We will work to ensure that inclusive practices, policies and procedures are fully in place and we will provide educational opportunities as a core value in our organization. We are listening, we are learning and we are acting. As a result, we have taken steps to reorganize the Board and the organization as a whole to better align with the needs and aspirations of our community. We expect our community to hold us accountable to our commitments now and in the future.

New Board Members: In June and July we welcomed two new Board members to the team, Lauren Rose (she/her) and Stefanie Siebold (she/her) respectively. These two individuals bring a wealth of diverse experiences and perspectives to our organization. Check out their bios here

Onboarding: All of our current Board members have participated in the onboarding process to ensure they are well-equipped, understand our mission, and commit to our organizational expectations to fulfill their roles effectively. The same will be true for future members we bring on to the Board. 

Protocols and Policies: We have established actionable and accountable protocols and policies in the areas of nondiscrimination, harassment, conflicts of interest, codes of ethics, and diversity, equity, and inclusion all of which are clear and unambiguous. These measures will help guide our organization in fostering a safe, inclusive, and respectful environment for all. You can find these policies on our website

We recognize that these protocols and policies are crucial steps in providing transparency, equity, and accountability, as requested by our LGBTQ+ community members, partners, and stakeholders.

2022 Financial Report: OUT Central Oregon is proud to publish its first public financial report. Transparency and accountability is a core principle of the organization. As a nonprofit focused on the LGBTQ+ community in Central Oregon, we take the responsibility of proper financial management extremely seriously. Two examples of this commitment include the fact that all of our Board Members are unpaid volunteers and the fact that Board Members commit to not gaining financially from the actions of OUT Central Oregon. OUT Central Oregon relies heavily on the generosity of regional and national individuals, businesses, and organizations to sustain funding so OUT Central Oregon can continue its mission. You can view the 2022 Financial report here

Community Impact/Sponsorships: This year OUT Central Oregon has proudly contributed to continued community efforts by strengthening partnerships with local organizations who share the same vision for our LGBTQ+ community in Central Oregon. Here is what we’ve done thus far this year:

  • Sponsorship to The Father’s Group as its Volunteer Community Sponsor for Juneteenth Celebration.
  • Donated to The Father’s Group Ujima Youth Program.
  • Sponsored PrideVille during the annual June pride in the park.  
  • Donated to Warm Springs Community Action team towards their efforts to provide health and educational resources to the Warm Springs community. 
  • Donated to Boys and Girls Club of Bend. 
  • Sponsored BendFilm to secure and screen the films “Little Richard: I Am Everything” and “Indigo Girls”.  
  • Partnered with Big Queer Party to create: Queertober Fest – a day of celebration and provide our local queer makers and artists a space to showcase their talent. Followed by Big Queertober Party at Silver Moon.  
  • Held our annual Youth Halloween Night, an event free for our LGBTQ+ youth and families to come together at Boys and Girls Club of Bend. 

The monetary amount Out Central Oregon donated/sponsored to other organizations in our community during the fiscal year 2022/23 amounted to over $28,000.  This amount is greater than Out Central Oregon’s total net revenue for 2022 alone.  Current Board members for OUT Central Oregon have attended Deschutes County Health Advisory Board (DCHAB) in an effort to assist further advancement to equitable access to healthcare across all of Deschutes County for our LGBTQ+ community.  Lastly, Out Central Oregon and its Board members were asked to apply to join the City of Bend’s Human Right and Equity Commission (HREC) in effort to further advance our local governments equitable access for all.  

Our Current Priorities: 

  1. Board Member Recruitment: As we continue this transformative journey, we are excited to announce that we are actively recruiting new Board members who share our vision and dedication to the LGBTQ+ community. 

We will prioritize giving applicants of color, those with varying abilities, veterans, transgender and gender nonconforming individuals the opportunity to be at the forefront of our initiatives and leadership positions. By prioritizing underrepresented and marginalized identities, we aim to amplify voices and experiences, enriching our perspectives, and ensuring that our organization truly reflects the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community that we serve. We firmly believe that a more inclusive and diverse leadership team strengthens our ability to advance the rights and well-being of all individuals in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties. 

If you, or someone you know, are passionate about our cause and wish to contribute to the betterment of our community, we encourage you to apply.

Application Details:

  1. 2024 Winter PrideFest™ : We are deep in planning our most anticipated event and biggest fundraiser of the year, Winter PrideFest™. Mark your calendars for March 7-10, 2024. Join us for a weekend of fun, friendship, and fundraising as we celebrate diversity and inclusion in the winter wonderland of Bend. We anticipate well over 1,200 participants to attend the next festival. We are currently accepting donations and organizational sponsorships for the event(s). Contact us here if you are interested in learning more. Be on the lookout for event details soon along with the announcement of our Winter PrideFest™ headliners! Which we anticipate will propel the festival into the national stage. Something for which we are so excited, you won’t want to miss this! In the meantime, please check out the Winter PrideFest™ website for the most up to date information regarding the 2024 festival here.

So what’s next you may ask? Well, the work is not done.  Once we have a fully implemented Board reflective of our community and another year of Winter PrideFest™ under our belt, we look forward to executing an OUT Central Oregon Strategic Plan promoting visibility, inclusivity, advocacy, and educational opportunities as well as a DEI Action Plan, all with community voices as its cornerstone. Your involvement is vital in shaping the future of OUT Central Oregon, and we welcome all who are interested to join us in this important work. Together, we can create a stronger, more inclusive, and equitable Central Oregon for all LGBTQ+ individuals.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication to our shared mission. We look forward to the positive changes we will bring about as we move forward together.

With warm regards,

Brayan Gonzalez (he/him) 
Interim Board President 
OUT Central Oregon

One comment

  1. Great to see the dedication and progress being made by OUT Central Oregon! The reorganization of the Board and the commitment to transparency, equity, and inclusion is commendable. Keep up the amazing work in serving and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community. 💙🌈

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