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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Gay-Straight Alliance Network

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Lesbian & Gay Rights, LGBTQ

Mission: Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a youth leadership organization that connects school-based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to each other and community resources. Through peer support, leadership development, and training, GSA Network supports young people in starting, strengthening, and sustaining GSAs and builds the capacity of GSAs to: 1. create safe environments in schools for students to support each other and learn about homophobia and other oppressions, 2. educate the school community about homophobia, gender identity, and sexual orientation issues, and 3. fight discrimination, harassment, and violence in schools.

Results: In the past ten years, GSA Network has: ...Grown the network of GSA clubs in California from 40 clubs to over 7000 clubs, representing over 50% of the state's high schools. ...Provided training and support to over 10,000 youth activists and organizers across the state. ...Played a leadership role in grassroots organizing for the passage of ground-breaking, statewide legislation, AB 537: The California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. ...Achieved a critical victory as plaintiff in the first lawsuit filed under AB 537; the three-year settlement agreement required the Visalia schools to enact sweeping reforms including mandatory teacher and student trainings. ...Helped build the GSA Movement nationwide by coordinating the National Association of GSA Networks, providing technical assistance and support to GSA organizers across the country.

Target demographics: We train and empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersexed, queer, questioning and straight ally youth in middle schools and high schools to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools! We serve GSA activists of every race, income, ability, religion and background.

Geographic areas served: USA

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Jenny P.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I cannot express how grateful I am for GSA network. As a 16 year old they helped me start a GSA at my high school. Today I am honored to serve as a board member. I continue to do the work by being an advisor at the high school where I teach and by serving the community through my masters research.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My experience with GSA Network has been incredible, and life changing to say the least, from the moment I started working with them. I knew little about myself, and found myself into a depression where the internet was my only escape away from the oppression I had at home and in my hometown. It was through there that I heard about Day of Silence, Harvey Milk Day, and this grand organization called Gay-Straight Alliance Network. In the spring time, I applied to an event called GAYLA, and surprisingly was accepted. I knew nobody from the moment I came in, and four days later left knowing more about myself than I ever had, as well as with life long friendships. Few months later, I was asked to be a regional trainer, as well as sent a board of directors application, and my expectations for myself went flying for the roof. GSA Network does everything possible to make sure transportation is available for you, as well as moving any accommodations needed for you to understand what is going on at the time. Gay-Straight Alliance Network is a really great and empowering non-profit, especially the diversity it has and I cannot wait to see how even greater it turns out to be in the future!!

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am constantly impressed with the youth I meet through GSA Network. GSA Network trains them to be leaders, activist and change agents. It gives me hope for the next generation. Whether they are starting clubs at their school or lobbying at Sacramento, I think how lucky they are to have these experiences so early in their lives. I have great hope that they will continue to speak up and out. I also know that many other states have looked to GSA Network to help give them guidance to start statewide coalitions.

Board Member

Rating: 5

My 21 year old daughter grew up at GSA Network. As a teen (after coming out to us) she got involved with the many wonderful programs offered by GSA Network. She was a summer intern and member of their youth councils, She helped as a trainer, attending the national gathering of GSA-related organizations, and ended her amazing tenure as a youth board member. Through the leadership opportunities and from the mentorship of the incredibly talented staff, our daughter flourished. She is now a happy, confident senior in college--in large part because of GSA Network's warm and steady support. Our family is forever grateful. I now serve on the board as a proud mom of a GSA Network alum :o)