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2020 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 Under our watch, marriage equality was won in Florida, the ban on gay and lesbian adoption has been repealed, and more than 170 local policies have been passed.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

118 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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!

Jonathan37

Volunteer

Rating: 5

i have been with my partner for 8 plus yrs and we would like to get married but the state of florida will not allow EQUAL RIGHTS FOR EVERYONE. hope we get some good people elected in so that this stuff gets over turned

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Equality Florida doesn't always take the easy way, nor the most popular---but with steady leadership, inspired vision, and the ability to find the best in a situation or a person, the organization makes inexorable progress toward statewide protections for the entire LGBT community. Not flashy, but effective; great bang for the donated buck!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Do you wish to be on the right side of issues such as marriage equality, safe schools from bullying, anti-discrimination in the workplace, housing and before our fellow man? Equality Florida, and other statewide Equality orgs will do all this for you and more.

2 Constance G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a proud supporter of Equality Florida since its beginnings, and I know it has changed the face of GLBTQI discrimination in the state. The specter has not been banished, but it is disintegrating. Hearts and minds have been changed by these cool, competent young professionals, in every county and especially in Tallahassee. I stand in awe of their passion for equality, their commitment, their energy and their skill.

Donor

Rating: 5

For over two decades Equality Florida has been on the front line of the struggle for equal rights for LGBT Floridians. The successes have been many including anti-bullying laws in our schools, anti-discrimination laws in many cities and counties, domestic partner registries throughout most of the state and now gay marriage which will soon be a reality in our state. The successes have come by a steady and focused effort to build bipartisan support at the local and state level with both the public and our elected leaders. Minds have been changed and allies forged. The work continues and it is good to know that Equality Florida is there for us.

2 Susanne W.

Donor

Rating: 5

I do my best to give at the highest level I can afford, because this is one of the most effective non-profits I know. Patiently, year by year, they have worked with both parties at the state and local levels to pass laws against bullying, to make hiring more inclusive, and to support gay, lesbian, and transgender families as they seek to be recognized as loving and contributing members of the larger community. The top leadership has been in place for many years, and continues to inspire donors and clients as they press for better understanding throughout the state.

2 Maggie37

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As a same sex parent and partner of 15 years, I can not tell how supported my family feels by the tireless work of Equality Florida. They have brought visibility to all areas of discrimination in Florida. This organization has educated and changed so many hearts and minds. Their work is professional and top of line. It has real, great impact in Florida and beyond!

Kit R.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Great staff and Executive Director. They have a defined mission and stay on message to promote their mission. An effective state-wide organization that demonstrates a knowledge and sensitivity to the cultural diversity that exists.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EQFL is a fantastic organization with a clearly defined mission, well trained staff, and an excellent board of directors. Thank you for all you do for Florida and our community!!

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Nadine and the staff at Equality Florida are top notch!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

EQFL does an amazing job with public education, youth development, and working for equal rights for Floridians across the state. Their commitment to the community is unparalleled.

1 Duane G.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Equality Florida is at once statewide and local, omni-present yet personal. I learn of the latest in state and national Equality battles from my friends on Facebook who happen to work for Equality Florida...at times minute by minute updates that keep me cheering as if watching sports. Their support (sweat and dollar) of local candidates is phenomenal and absolutely vital to maintaining our local vision here in Alachua county. I imagine this is is the case throughout Florida. The group of folks leading Equality Florida are the smartest, most dedicated bunch of people I've ever met. Watching them make our communities better one carefully planned and fabulously executed step at a time is a master class in non-profit management. Other groups WISH they had this much talent, drive, energy, enthusiasm, and support.

1 Rudy M.

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I have been donors and host committee members for several years. This group is awesome. They are getting the job done in securing equality in Florida. They deliver on their promises and work tirelessly for the struggle. We are proud to support them year after year!

Donor

Rating: 5

Several months ago I was invited to join Equality Florida and am very glad I did. Nadine Smith and the entire organization has done a fantastic job of keeping everyone informed of the issues and breaking news stories. Getting involved with the lawsuits that are now pending in Florida was such a big uplift for the entire LGBT community! I can't thank them enough for what they have done to secure equal rights for all. VERY PROUD to be a member of Equality Florida.

Lauren85

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began interning for Equality Florida at the beginning of summer 2014 as their public policy intern. Within a few weeks, I witnessed the passion and determination Equality Florida staff members infuse into their work.
Nadine Smith began this organization with a vision for equality and I can assure you its right on the horizon. Equality Florida is a fierce and tightly knit organization compiled of people who fight against injustices. And if that doesn't move you, than I don't know what will!
I was truly humbled after working with Equality over the summer that I decided to stay on for Fall 2014 as their communications intern. I cannot wait to see what Equality Florida is going to do next in the fight for equality.

Kevin O.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Equality Florida is one of the best organizations in which I have been involved. I say this speaking from 40+ years of experience in advocacy interests. EQ is professionally managed. Their directors and spokespersons are consistently top notch. They know the content and issues and speak eloquently, thoroughly and professionally.
I have been to many EQ events. I have volunteered and help with events. In all instances, I want to keep coming back for more.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Equality Florida has been the leader for LGBT rights for Floridians for close to 20 years. Thanks to Equality Florida the majority of Floridians now have access to anti-bullying in schools, domestic partner registries, anti-discrimination, employment and housing rights that was not thought possible in the years past. Bringing these equal rights to the balance of LGBT Floridians along with equal marriage rights is EQFL's future mission. They are the best organization to do this and they deserve the support of all of Florida's LGBT community and straight allies so they can get this accomplished for us.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Sometimes you run across an organization that compels you to take action. It reminds you injustice still exists, and it provides an opportunity for you to stand up, be counted, and help move the needle on a cause you care about. For me, that organization is Equality Florida. As a volunteer, I see firsthand Equality Florida's progressive impact on helping to secure full equality for the LGBT community, and I am proud to be a part of it!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

My involvement with EQFL started four years ago, when I attended the Tampa Bay Gala as a guest. After hearing Nadine speak for the first time, I knew the organization was the right one to support financially and with my time. Four years later EQFL is still working very hard for equal rights for everyone. -MM

Review from Guidestar

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

As the past Steering Committee Chair for Broward often logging 50 hour weeks in volunteer work and current Board Member, I would not be doing this work if I didn't think that EQFL wasn't a first class organization. The people who criticize the leadership have always had a hidden agenda. EQFL has reached out to work with these folks only to be rebuffed at every turn. The State wide results of bringing about countless Domestic Partnership Registries, Equal Benefits Ordinances, protecting students under the Safe Schools Programs while partnering with other organizations and helping to reverse the ban on gay adoption are many of the successes EQFL has earned. The staff from top to bottom is first rate.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Equality Florida has clearly done impactful, law changing work in our state. Especially over the last three years, this group has leveraged positive policy change through smart and strategic thinking. I am grateful for their diligence and tenacity and applaud their savvy efforts and successes.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work for Equality Florida and know firsthand that Nadine Smith is the fiercest defendant of equality, the hardest working, widest-ranging, most sought after expert and visionary, who leads by example with a dedicated team of almost as hard-working staff, and that their accomplishments speak for themselves. A reviewer below said that Equality Florida has not passed state-wide policy, but the Jeffrey Johnson Safe Schools Act passed in 2008 and was one that Equality Florida worked long and hard on. In addition the gay adoption ban was overturned in 2010. Equality Florida does not take sole credit for these victories, as many entities contributed huge resources; Equality Florida is proud to form alliances and build coalitions in order to get these policies passed. Local and State legislators as well as business leaders call on Equality Florida for expertise when developing new LGBT-inclusive policies.

Equality Florida spends so much on their programs, and less on lavish travel and dinners and parties. Fortunately, our membership see the big picture, and don't require obsequiousness--just results. An example of our CEO Nadine's hard work, leadership by example and eye on the bottom line: Just this past weekend, Nadine drove her car from St Pete to Fort Lauderdale (holding tele meetings the entire way) for the bi-annual weekend Board meeting, where she stayed at the home of her Deputy Director working until 2 a.m. each night, and ate home-cooked meals the entire weekend. Her wife runs a garden co-op for low-income families, btw.

All with the will to make positive change are welcome to join the ever-increasing network of individuals and LGBT-equality non-profits who recognize that while Equality Florida may not be perfect, we are the most connected agency, with the clearest vision, the most developed infrastructure and the greatest capacity to pull us all together to bring equality to Florida---not that it's going to be easy to pull this Southern State into the 21st century, but it is inevitable.

1

Donor

Rating: 1

I have learned that my hard earned money has gone to the director's huge salary, travel, entertainment expenses, fundraising/party expenses, parades, etc ... yet no statewide LGBT laws have been passed. In fact, things have gotten worse. Do your homework and check with others who have learned to tell her "NO".

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When my partner and I moved to Tampa, Florida five years ago were were astounded that all the civil rights which we took for granted in New Jersey were not assured us in Florida. Equality Florida has made major strides on the local and state level to assure equality for the LGBT community in Florida, for example our rights to adopt children. In addition to raising our voice in government, Equality Florida has an important educational mission and increasingly includes our str8 brothers and sisters in our efforts. I doubt there is not more important human/civil rights effort in Florida today than Equality Florida.

The Reverend frederick S. Baldwin, retired Episcopal preist

Review from Guidestar

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Equality Florida is the hardest working social justice non-profit in the State of Florida. They are providing the tools to let activists and citizens throughout the state make change where they live - whether this is encouraging their employer to offer domestic partner benefits, helping pass non-discrimination ordinances in their city or county, lobbying their state Representatives or Senators to repeal Florida's anti-gay adoption ban, or joining national actions to pass hate crimes laws. Equality Florida is helping elect pro-equality champions and openly gay officials in every corner of the state. They are helping donors in Florida understand the power their contributions can have when mobilized in a coordinated way to fight for equality. Powerful coalitions are a hallmark of Equality Florida's work, as with the Fairness for all Families coalition, made up of the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, the Association of Retired Americans, consumer groups, unions and a range of faith leaders.