Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. – Lao Tzu
Cliff Cook is a local Bend resident and recent addition to the Pride Foundation’s monthly giving program. He is also a local community leader who has created the Stars and Rainbows Group. He started his group as a way to generate community for LGBTQ and allied folks in Central Oregon. I recently had a chance to sit down with Cliff, a retired school teacher, to find out what compels him to give.
Why do you give to Pride Foundation?
I give to Pride Foundation because I like that five Western States (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington) are involved with the funding. I believe that if all of us give a little each month then we have the opportunity together to make an impact of the lives of many people who need help for one reason or another. I don’t think you have to make a significant contribution to have an impact; slow and steady is better than no contribution at all.
With so many great organizations doing work in Oregon, why Pride Foundation? Do you give with your values?
I had the opportunity to serve on a Grant Committee and read and evaluate the Letters of Inquiry. I was so impressed with the obvious need in so many of our communities as well as the key areas Pride Foundation funds through their grants program; arts and recreation, youth and family, HIV/AIDS Service Prevention and Education, Health, and Community Service. Such good work is being done in so many locations across the state you can’t help but want to help!!
I fully support the same values that are the values of the Pride Foundation; that of diversity, and mutual respect and to celebrate complete equality. How hard is that to support?!?
Tell me about Stars and Rainbows and why you decided to start the group…
I moved back to Bend full time about 18 months ago and I realized there seemed to be few opportunities for LGBTQ folks to get together and enjoy the company of like minded people. So I met with a few of my friends and we talked about how to create the opportunity for social gatherings.
I knew about the web site called Meetup.com and so we decided to simply try to promote activities like a pizza night, a movie night, a happy hour night, a snowboard/skiing day, a mountain bike ride, and book club, bowling evening and more. We picked public places where the only costs would be the event and we posted our activities on Meetup and over a period of a year we’ve grown from about 35 members to over 260. It is pretty remarkable; attendance at each event ranges from a dozen to sometimes a couple dozen. I think this is especially important in a small town where there are so few opportunities for LGBTQ folks to get together.
Jett Johnson, who interviewed Cliff, is the Pride Foundation Regional Development Organizer in Oregon. To talk to Jett about monthly giving, or other ways to get involved email firstname.lastname@example.org.