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The Importance of #GivingTuesday

We don’t do a lot of blogs here at Iowa Safe Schools, we’d much rather attempt to produce a mildly funny podcast or low-budget video promotion. Nonetheless, here is my crack at blogging and telling you why #GivingTuesday is more than a “hallmark holiday” for our organization.

In an attempt to draw you in without completely losing you on the complexities of our seemingly straight forward youth-serving organization, I want to paint a very broad picture of what we accomplish here on a daily basis here. The catchphrases “more than marriage” and “protect kids, stop bullying” provide both fuel for our messaging machine, but are also very in-depth realities we face as a queer youth organization.

Let’s start with “protect kids, stop bullying”.  Since 2002, we have been dedicated to sticking up for marginalized students by creating safe & inclusive learning environments. As our organization has grown, we have expanded our programs to reflect the needs of the “queer youth experience”. This translates into us providing direct services, affirming literature through our 50-title affirming resource library, gay-straight alliance sustainability/support through our Iowa GSA Network (120+ GSAs), post-secondary student support through our Queer Campus Coalition, educator training through the Schools Academy and much, much more. That was a mouthful, but the point is, we are out here doing things no other statewide queer youth group is doing—especially at the level we are doing it at.

Where we struggle and where #GivingTuesday comes into play, is with the “more than marriage” piece. After a very successful marriage equality campaign, the majority of national funders bailed. Probably for a number of reasons, but mainly because they all thought the battle was over. Why does it matter? National funders set the tone for localized community giving. If the focus is on things like wedding cakes, then we are abandoning some of most vulnerable youth and saying bullying and suicide rates don’t matter. With 70% of LGBTQ students experiencing bullying and with a suicide rate 4-times higher than their hetero peers, it is safe to say we have A LOT  of work left to do in creating safe & inclusive communities for LGBTQ youth.

It takes a village to create change and we have carried out a very robust development plan to build our team and make it happen. #GivingTuesday is your chance to join our team. We are very grateful for the support #GivingTuesday provides our organization and appreciate the gracious charity of folks who allow us to “Continue Our Fight for LGBTQ Youth”. —Yes that was a new catchphrase, but it is the most important one and is the drive behind our organization. If you’ve made it this far in the blog, I hope I have compelled you to join our team and make a difference. or

Thank you for your consideration,

Scott Heldt