The Boise area got a welcome treat in July when Pride Foundation’s Executive Director Kris Hermanns dropped in for a few days to meet and thank our southwest Idaho donors, volunteers and grantees.
This was Kris’ first networking and outreach trip to Idaho since joining the Pride Foundation staff in January, bringing with her nearly two decades of experience as a program manager, fundraiser, and nonprofit administrator, most recently serving as the deputy director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
It was also the first time I’d had the opportunity to enjoy some one-on-one time with Kris, and watch her thoughtfully engage the Idaho LGBTQ and ally community in our collective efforts to create and support LGBTQ equality. I’m grateful for her guidance, her warmth and her passion for this work.
“There are so many things from my visit to Boise that have stayed with me,” Kris said. “I was amazed by the perseverance and passion that people are bringing to the fight for LGBTQ equality in Idaho. This was especially striking when you consider the personal and professional risk that people are taking when standing up for fairness.”
Her visit included meetings and gatherings with Monica Hopkins, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho, a Pride Foundation grantee; Idaho’s Add the Words organizers Lisa Perry and Mistie Tolman, a 2012 Pride Foundation scholar; Trey McIntyre Project Executive Director John Michael Schert, a Pride Foundation donor; former Idaho Senator Nicole LeFavour, an openly gay politician now running for U.S. Congress; Starr Johnson, a volunteer for grantee Idaho Safe Schools Coalition; members of Idaho’s Pride Foundation Leadership Action Team; and Nampans Janie Burns & Lori Steele, donors who graciously opened up their home for a second annual “Coming Out to the Farm” fundraiser.
My partner Jim and I also hosted an informal “Meet & Greet” summer party, attended by more than sixty Pride Foundation donors and volunteers, where Kris spoke about our five-state Northwest outreach efforts, including our current lead educational role in the marriage equality work in Washington State. A photo album chronicling Kris’ Boise-area journey can be viewed here on Pride Foundation’s Facebook page.
“I was heartened by the hope and connectedness that people shared with and for one another,” Kris said, summing up her Idaho visit. “People are banding together with modest resources against strong resistance and getting even more creative about the ways to inspire greater change for LGBTQ people and families. The time in Boise re-energized me for the ongoing struggle we face and reminded me, once again, how blessed I am to be doing this work with Pride Foundation.”
Steve Martin is Pride Foundation’s Regional Development Organizer in Idaho. Email Steve.