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 Under our watch, marriage equality was won in Florida, the ban on gay and lesbian adoption has been repealed, and more than 170 local policies have been passed.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

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.

3 NateKlarfeld

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with Equality Florida for over 7 years and I have found it to be one of the most honest, effective, and exciting organizations in the US. Since working with them over 160 local, city, county and state ordinances insuring rights for all Floridians. I strongly encourage people to visit their webstie www.eqfl.org and see the growth of this amazing organization.

Previous Stories
2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Over the past 30 years I have worked as an executive director and board chair of several non-profits and Equality Florida has shown me time and again that good people, a good mission, and action can bring positive change to Florida. I have personally testified at city and county commission meetings on behalf of Equality Florida and have seen elected officials change their minds due to the diligent presentations of the professional and volunteer staff of Equality Florida.

I have participated in Equality Florida's Lobby Days in Tallahassee and have sat across from Florida State Legislators arguing the case for Equal Benefits, Employee Non-Discrimination, and Marriage Equality. I encourage anyone who has thrown up their hands and said "Things will never change in Florida", to consider becoming active in this organization.

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.