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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Equality Florida, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Bullying, Civil Rights, Democracy, Lesbian & Gay Rights, LGBTQ

Mission: Celebrating its 20th year, Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Programs: Through lobbying, grassroots organizing, education, and coalition building, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Equality Florida formed in 1997, following the lopsided passage of a state law that banned the recognition of marriages for same sex couples. Our first commitment was to defeat all future anti-LGBT legislation filed in Tallahassee, and for 20 years in a row we’ve kept that promise, despite repeated efforts by the legislature to roll back our progress. Under our watch, marriage equality was won in Florida, the ban on gay and lesbian adoption has been repealed, and more than 170 local policies have been passed.

Community Stories

105 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Equality Florida is a non profit that truly cares about people and always does it's best to learn and grow. As a young professional, they have helped to guide me in the field of professional advocacy. They also value their volunteers and always look to help them in any way possible. I was looking for a way to get into professional advocacy after volunteering with Equality Florida. Their field director, Amber, continuiously let me know of opportunities and helped me get to where I am today. I couldn't say enough about this non-profit. They are amazing!

1 phototoddr

Donor

Rating: 5

I have volunteered, and donated to this organization because they have created measurable change over the last 20 years in Florida. Before I get involved with any non-profit, I do my research, and this organization passes my "forensics" with flying colors. Until all LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination and harassment, the work continues. Please donate and volunteer to this organization.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I believe in the mission of this non-profit. About 15 years ago, I had two gay friends who were foster parents to two young boys. These boys had been tossed from foster home to foster home. No one wanted them because they were biracial, had emotional and physical handicaps, and were hard to handle. At the time, the state of Florida would not let these men adopt the children together, only one of them were allowed to adopt the kids. After about a year of living with these two guys (one a teacher, the other a lawyer) these two children thrived! Their lives had completely turned around! Today these two children are grown men. One became a Marine, the other is in college doing great. Now that the adoption laws in Florida allow gay adoption, thanks to Equality Florida, it will save so many children from being lost in the system! Please contribute to this very worthy non-profit. Thank you!

Review from Guidestar

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Equality Florida is a great organization with helpful employees who are thorough and knowledgeable about LGBT conflicts. The Tampa officer was kind enough to speak to my club, the Gay straight alliance, in the high school that I teach. Students were excited about his presentation, and he clearly answered their questions. I enthusiastically look forward to working with him in the near future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Equality Florida, even though its mission is to support issues related to the LGBT community, the services they offer and the commitment to equal rights for all is a benefit to all people.

2 Dorothy20

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I can not begin to imagine the last two years of my life without Equality Florida. My involvement started simply with my son asking me to sign up for their emails when we attended the first Manatee Pride. I started reading the materials sent to me. Something touched my soul in those emails and it became clear that as a straight ally, I had to become active in the movement to facilitate change. I witnessed the first legal same-sex marriage held on the lawn on the Manatee County Courthouse on January 6th, 2015, knowing Equality Florida was the legal force behind that day becoming a reality. I have volunteered at Pride events across the state to gather signatures to present to politicians to ensure equality in the workplace, housing and public space. June 12, 2016, Equality Florida took on a new role after the shooting at Pulse in Orlando. They became the voice of the LGBTQ heard across the nation and around the world. In an time when hate and vengeance could have been seen as a justified reaction to such a loss, they spoke out unified with a message of love, hope and change. In a time of grief and sorrow, they collectively showed strength and courage. They have put love into action. Since my introduction to the organization, my son has come out as gay. I could not think of better role models for him than the individuals I have met as staff, interns and volunteers at Equality Florida.

Terry98

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The work of this group is amazing. My experience has been in Broward County where the energy and results are particularly impressive. It's a first class organization with passion and focus.

Donor

Rating: 5

I’ve been involved with Equality Florida (EQFL) since June, 2005, when it was 8 years old. At that time, a Hillsborough County Commissioner pushed an extremely discriminatory policy, one I thought to be unconstitutional, through the Commission banning county employees from recognizing any and all activities of Gay Pride Month even during their own, private time. Needless to say, this caused a huge amount of anger in the LGBT community along with all of those of us who stand with our fellow citizens.

EQFL and some other organizations called an emergency town hall to help ease the tensions. This was my introduction, and it was awe-inspiring.

I watched as the wonderfully well-educated, well-spoken, intelligent and thinking CEO of EQFL, Ms. Nadine Smith, heard our rage and desire for revenge of the something like 700 people in attendance that night and still convinced us to channel it toward positive energy, positive steps, the Michelle Obama’s “going high” approach, and gave us group exercises to do right then to bring everyone along so that we all moved forward together. I repeat: awe-inspiring.

Nadine did this, and continues always to do this, as does EQFL, because she knew that the only way really to win a struggle is by the long-term changing of hearts and minds. Revenge might feel good at the moment, but it does dreadful harm to changing hearts and minds; positive interaction might take longer, but it is the only thing that actually works in the end. That’s what EQFL showed this huge group of angry people, and they found a way to become positive and move forward with some terrific ideas.

I became a member that night in 2005 and have been a member ever since.

Over the years, EQFL has grown in size—I’m not sure of the full number of members, but I believe it is now something like a couple hundred thousand, and it started back in 1997 with about 15—in stature, in capability, in knowledge—legal, personal, personnel,technical, and you-name-it—but it has never changed its focus on changing hearts and minds. It has fought against bad bills all over the state, including Tallahassee, and for good bills; it has spoken in front of almost every legislative or county/city board you can name in support of the LGBT adults and children; it has been everywhere 365/24 to do what it can to help make the lives of our fellow citizens better, safer, fairer, and what they should be: equal. During all of this tremendous work, their focus has remained to change hearts and minds.

I’ve been so impressed by all the work and all the growth I’ve seen both in the organization as a whole and in each of the leaders individually. Some I’ve seen start as fairly young, just out of college, grow into mature, capable leaders and speakers ready to take on the future of this country. That’s come from working with EQFL, and our country benefits from it.

Again, I’ve been so impressed by the work, the growth, the people, and the organization as a whole and recommend Equality Florida for as many awards as there are available to it.


1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Equality Florida has enabled and empowered my wife and myself to get involved in critical issues facing the Florida LGBT Community (i.e. Marriage , Housing, Employment.) The organizers encourage all Floridians (gay, lesbian, transgender & straight) to feel involved and that each all of our voices are important and will be heard. We have met so many wonderful people through EQ FL events (political and social) that we consider dear friends. The quick response with aid to Pulse victims and their families was amazing in terms of money raised and speed of providing the aid. Thank you Equality Florida (Ro, Nate, & Nadine) for encouraging and providing avenues for so many people to get involved and learn about the past and latest issues, and feel like each one of us can make a difference.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Equality Florida is a remarkable organization​, that's been in existence for twenty years, and I am proud to be a part of it​. It serves several important functions for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Floridians​, and I volunteer to help raise funds for that important work​. Everyone was touched by the massacre at Pulse Nightclub. ​Equality Florida was the first to recognize the need to meet the needs of the victims' ​families and the survivors ​in the aftermath of the attack. ​There was a​n inter​​nation​al​​ ​response to the GoFundMe Pulse Victim's fund set up by Equality Florida. In three months almost $10 million dollars was raised, all of ​which were given to ​directly ​benefit victims and their families.
E​quality Florida was praised for the integrity and transparancy with which they managed the fund, for which they received no fee.​

This year, ​I participated in Equality Florida's ​annual ​lobby days in Tallahassee where the EF staff organized an extensive schedule of meetings to reach out to ​state level Senators and Representatives to explain the importance of protecting the rights of LGBT individuals​ in the workplace, housing and public accommodations, as well as limiting bills that promote religion-based discrimination​. EF ​also ​works with school​ districts​ and organizations to ​promote safe schools for all students​. This year they launched the pioneering Safe and Healthy Schools Project that is developing the resources for all districts in Florida, as well as the tools by which to measure success and require accountability. ​

Equality Florida is an important and effective organization​, that I believe provides good value​.​ It gets high ratings from non-profit rating organizations, too.​

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Equality Florida does outstanding work in Broward (where we live) and the entire state of Florida. Their outreach to the Community through hosted evening events provide updates on the political activities underway at the local and State level. The enthusiastic and competitive staff makes this non-profit a 5 star organization in my book!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved since the beginning of this Organization when they organized in Key West. The commitment and drive to provide a safe space for all LGBTQ persons in Florida is evident in everything that EQFL does.
Their team has the utmost leadership abilities and everything they do is transparent and ethical.

Previous Stories
3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am the past Chair of EQFL and have been involved in the organization since 1997. This group has done MORE for LGBTQ rights on the statewide level than any other organization in Florida. There is full transparency in everything EQFL does. EQFL is an outstanding organization dedicated to bringing Florida into the 21st Century.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This organization is passionate, compassionate and focused. Their leadership is always forward-thinking and a step ahead. Proud to have been a donor for almost 10 years.

1 Victor14

Board Member

Rating: 5

Equality Florida is leading the fight for equality throughout the state. From marriage equality and family recognition to trans action and workplace equality, EQFL has been and will continue fighting against discrimination whenever and however it presents itself. I am especially thankful for the work their doing to create safe schools for LGBTQ youth. I am also thankful for the support they have provided to victims and their families who were affected by the shooting at Pulse nightclub.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The team at Equality Florida is visionary, capable and competent. They have fought tirelessly since 1997 to protect the rights of LGB&T people and children in Florida in all 67 counties. Nadine & Stratton work well together in concert as they drive the vision forward beyond Marriage Equality. Florida still has much work to be done at the city, county, school district and state level. Their "Equality Means Business" program really inspires me and is a testament to their efforts to make our great state even better.

I cannot endorse Equality Florida enough. I know that my donation always goes to good use and am happy to be a volunteer and supporter.

1 Linda446

Donor

Rating: 5

Equality Florida took immediate action after the tragic events at Pulse and took a strong stance of advocacy for LGBTQ rights and common sense gun control. Equality Florida served as a bridge between religious faiths, ethnic groups, and and conservative groups to provide education and become a positive change agent for human rights for all. Equality Florida has taken steps towards blocking the passage of anti-LGBT legislation, including the detrimental motion for conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth. This is, arguably, one of the most important nonprofits in Florida.

Christopher86

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Equality Florida is an organization I became acquainted with because of the energy and charisma of individuals within the organization. At first I simply attended the annual gala but as I began to meet more people who shared a special part of themselves with me--I knew this was an organization I would want to spend more time with, and I did. I work in higher education and over the last couple of years we have had guest speakers from the community talk with our students. This year I was so very pleased when I reached out to Equality Florida and pitched the idea of having all of our speakers be from EQFL; that the organization obliged and once again very special people from the organization are sharing a piece of themselves. Except this time these hardworking people are sharing their stories with undergraduates and the college community.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I went to every elected Official in Largo due to a man who had attacked me several times and the only help I had was the Largo police. The next door neighbor and even the HOA of the condo I was renting but discriminated against me after the attack fro the neighbor (2 counts of aggravated assault) he tried to kill me and I almost had to shoot him, The HOA tried to evict me the victim, I went to state Reps to Senators offices I called the Governor the Mayor , the City commsiioner who helped me largo police, I called the FBI as the neighbor would stand on his lawn and scream curse threaten to kill use the "N" word and call me derogatory names. I was being attacked from every which way including flying the Gay flag during the month of June right after the Orlando massacre . Even though there were ZERO rules regarding this. Finally I heard about Equality Florida who listen to my story, let me volunteer in such a crucial time, I had just moved to Florida and didn't know any Gay people and was so alone during this crisis. I went to all the candle light vigils in Tampa thanks to Equality Florida telling me about them I went also to Hillsborough County Commissioners meeting to raise the flag and even spoke before them . Finally I was told by Equality Florida about Pinellas County Human Rights in Clearwater and to go and file charges and than and only than did my story and my pain and suffering change because I filed charged against the HOA and was able to connect the story to my attacker including I won 30 year Injunction against hime as well. Up till than the HOA and my victim were successful in terrorizing me and I moved here not knowing anyone. I had a great weekend volunteering with Equality Florida during the Gay Pride event in St. Petes. I felt alive again and proud to be me. Thank you Equality Florida. I hope I have the opportunity to volunteer again every year. I also volunteer for Suncoast Hospice and St 'Cecilia's as well. Thank you John Bibby

2 Dwan L.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

As a field organizer with the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality, my experience working with Equality Florida has been amazing. I first became involved with Eq Fl as a volunteer, helping to raise awareness to the HRO issue in jacksonville. From then on, my experiences with this organization has grown and has been amazing.

2 ambernoel1214

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a volunteer and intern with Equality Florida and now work full time for them. They truly care about their employees, donors, supporters, volunteers, and partners. One thing I especially like about EQFL is their commitment to transparency! It's easy to see what work we are doing and where our donations are being spent. I feel honored to work for them.

Previous Stories
4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great organization, great people! Loved volunteering!

Review from Guidestar

2 Eileen31

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Proud to have been involved with this great organization for years. It's fills me with awe that in a few short years our nations restrictions and prejudices and most importantly our laws have become so much more inclusive. Marriage equality is something I've been supporting my whole adult life. As a straight woman, I've been privileged to witness so so many loving unions between my lgbt friends. There's still a lot of work to be done so I will remain involved for as long as necessary!

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

As a straight ally I am proud to be a donor and volunteer with Florida Equality- a great organization which works hard to guarantee the rights and benefits of LGBT individuals and families. As a mother with two children (now adults) I believe that all couples should have the opportunity to love and parent. I also feel it it is my duty to work to ensure that all people regardless of gender identification or sexual orientation, can live their authentic self while feeling safe and equal in their home, school, work, and community. I endorse Florida Equality for their effectiveness and leadership. They do an excellent job of working to help victims of intolerance and hate, fight for their basic human rights, such as equality in schools and workplaces, marriage equality and the right to adopt.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for several of their events. They work diligently to educate the public to end discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

I was not familiar with Equality Florida until my then 18 year old son told us he was gay. Looking for resources to help him have a better life, I found Equality Florida. The most accepting, transparent and action taking group in our state. Grateful for the work they do, so that all Floridians have a fair and equal chance !

4 Frank55

Donor

Rating: 5

My spouse and I have been part of and supported Equality Florida since the early 2000s when we moved to Florida. It has been a constant champion of equal rights for LGBTQ people and was instrumental in changing Florida's anti-gay adoption laws and also securing the right to equal access to civil marriage in this state.

5 Ovidio P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered with Equality Florida in the past for Gay Days of 2014 and I loved my experience volunteering with them. We in fact were signing up people on a petition for marriage Equality here in the state of Florida which we now got. It makes me happy knowing that I was a part of something bigger in life that I played a part in it. That Equality Florida goes above and beyond with the work they do.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Equality Florida fights for the rights of an historically maltreated population with great vigor and earnestness. They have helped many smaller (and larger) organizations, extending their reach from the Statewide all the way to County, City and neighborhood campaigns. Their reach is not limited to the political realm, as they have helped outreach and counselling organizations as well. Their staff is unfailingly professional and energetic. I am proud to have supported them since I became aware of them. They are highly deserving of any accolades available to them.

6 Robert163

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a proud supporter, volunteer and donor of Equality Florida. Key West became one of the first cities and Monroe County one of the first counties to pass comprehensive LGBT legislation through the efforts of Equality Florida. Having seen their good works I have joined their Key West Host committee and each year have increased my donations. I believe they do an outstanding job and results are being seen through the state in local protections, marriage equality and adoption rights. The cause, however is not complete, until we can have housing and employment protection extended throughout the state and anti- bullying policies in every school.

Review from Guidestar

5 Anna97

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Equality FL is the state's leading advocate for LGBTQ rights. This is an organization that I admire greatly. As a donor and volunteer I am proud to support such an incredible and impactful organization.

Review from Guidestar

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm very proud to be a part of Equality FL. I am both a volunteer - have helped at numerous galas and equality connections and also a donor.

Review from Guidestar

3

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a great organization that puts their funding towards education, community outreach, and legislation. I've been following them since I first moved to Florida five years ago and I'm really grateful for their progress.

Review from Guidestar

1 Rand H.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

In-Depth: Equality Florida's Endorsements Under Scrutiny
Inconsistencies found in way state's largest LGBT rights org backs candidates

Please check out this article published in the March 25, 2015 edition of the South Florida Gay News: http://southfloridagaynews.com/Local/in-depth-equality-florida-s-endorsements-under-scrutiny.html

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 1

This is hands down thew worst agency advocating for LGBT rights. They primarily serve as a news source, although they collect money under the guise of being advocates. Then they get you on their mailing list and never take you off. They don't follow opt in procedures and they don't remove you when requested. After requesting to be removed several times, they started to call my cell phone. They keep calling my cell phone. Then I call the number back and that voicemail is full. I never gave them permission to use my number for anything. I never opted in to any marketing, telemarking, news, program of theirs. This is non-profit at its worst.

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I am a straight ally, a donor, a volunteer, and a member of Equality Florida. I have been so for many, many years.

Equality Florida has grown from a few to thousands of members over its two decades of life, because it has worked from the trenches—you name a trench, and EQFL is working there—with respect for all and asked for and stood for respect for all, especially, of course, the LGBTQ community. They have worked for and won anti-bullying laws, domestic partnerships—even in some of the most conservative towns—stood with those who were angry about horrendously discriminatory policies while turning that anger into positive actions so that, always, in the end, we are winning the hearts and minds of Floridians, at least those who are part of what is called the “moveable middle.” Their successes go on and on just as does the work still necessary. What is continuous is EQFL’s commitment to respect for all, fair and equal rights for all, and working hard until we reach that point.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a financial supporter, Tampa Gala Steering committee member and volunteer and I'm very proud of the work we are doing in fighting for and incrementally winning equal rights for the LGBT community around the state.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thank you Equality Florida for being there for me when my wife passed on March 13,2014. They are always ready to fight the fight wherever and whenever they are needed in the state of Florida. I made a call for I knew it was time for Lee County to get with the "Equality for all" program and there was Equality Florida....ready to work with us...It sure it wonderful now that they have a presence in SouthWest Florida.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Equality Florida has been one of the most consistent and successful state LGBT organizations in the history of our movement. In the face of overwhelming bigotry from a state government that lurched hard to the right over the past two decades, it has woven together a tapestry of discrimination protection, partner recognition and more in local jurisdictions around the state, affording protections to the majority of Florida's LGBT people, couples and family. Executive Director Nadine Smith, a real force of nature, leads an outstanding team of professional staff, volunteer leaders and ordinary folk all committed to equality and fairness. Support them!