One Orlando Alliance unifies and empowers LGBTQ+ organizations in Central Florida
Central Florida serves as the model of nonprofits, businesses, philanthropies and government institutions working together to create a safe, welcoming and inclusive community for all LGBTQ+ people.
- Integrity in each decision we make
- Respect, regardless of differences
- Open and clear communication, always
- Transparency in all activities
- Inclusivity, beyond diversity
- Health and Safety for all
- Accountability for results
Within days of the Pulse tragedy, local LGBTQ organizations and community leaders in Orlando saw a need to come together, and formed a unified alliance of 18 LGBTQ+ service organizations. For the first time in Orlando history, nearly all of the LGBTQ organizations came together to work in a collaborative and transparent way to serve those affected – including victim’s families, survivors, Pulse employees, and the larger community also struggling with trauma, grief, and fear.
Out of this unprecedented need, an informal coalition was formed to ensure existing LGBTQ organizations communicated and collaborated in an effective way to support the needs of the community and those directly affected by the tragedy. As the months progressed, organizational leaders from the various non-profits realized the value in, and need for, a unified voice committed to the betterment of the greater Central Florida LGBTQ+ community. We called this coalition “The LGBTQ+ Alliance” and many simply began referring to us as “The Alliance”.
Collectively, over 30 different LGBTQ+ focused organizations, with full support of both the City of Orlando and Orange County Government, unanimously agreed to move forward on creating a formal non-profit organization dedicated to unifying and empowering the LGBTQ+ Community in Central Florida. 15 community leaders, all from different LGBTQ+ organizations, were tasked with the formalization process. This work was generously supported by the Central Florida Foundation as well as the Contigo Fund and was led by a well-respected non-profit consultant and attorney.
The One Orlando Alliance was created, over a 9+ month process-driven strategy, out of a fundamental need to strengthen our community and those organizations who serve the LGBTQ+ population here in Central Florida. The formation process has been deliberate, inclusive, and mindful of the strengths and weaknesses in our community, with an emphasis on capacity building and bridging gaps to those not yet represented or served. The beauty of this collaboration is that our LGBTQ+ community service organizations are communicating and collaborating at unprecedented levels.
All the while, each individual organization continues to provide their respective programs/services while ‘staying in their lanes’ with the assurance that they could call upon fellow Alliance members, as needed. We’re also, collectively, addressing and bridging gaps in other aspects of the Central Florida community that are necessary if we are to truly thrive as a community. In order to make decisions holistically and for the benefit of the entire community, it is imperative that all voices are represented.
Having LGBTQ Alliance representation in the decision-making process will help ensure a thoughtful, inclusive, and collaborative strategy for not only continuing to heal our community but building on the lessons learned from this extraordinary tragedy. It will also ensure that current gaps in services are addressed and that services are not unnecessarily duplicated.
One Orlando Alliance members are committed to supporting one another and empowering fellow members by strengthening the voice of the extremely diverse LGBTQ community and solidifying our collective position in the greater Central Florida community. When we do that, we understand that all involved will prosper and that this movement is so much greater than the collective participants and will/should affect the progress of our community for decades to come.
Each Alliance member is also committed to leading as good stewards of the intentions from donors around the world through accountability, action, transparency. As we look to the future, the fundamental values of inclusivity, respect, communication, and collaboration – that originally brought us together – continue as we honor those directly impacted with purposeful action that will allow our community to thrive in the future.
The One Orlando Alliance’s focus is on serving existing and emerging LGBTQ+ organizations, while providing an inclusive platform for diverse perspectives and voices from all who make up our community. It is being designed to continuously evolve to meet the needs of our community. Collectively, we have also agreed that we must ensure that all who gather around the table do-so with specific objectives that lift up our community, as well as fellow Alliance members, without diluting the impact of any one organization, segment of our community, or the coalition as a whole.
Ensuring that services, programs, and resources are in place to support and empower the extremely diverse LGBTQ population, and supportive allies, requires diverse and inclusive representation from all aspects of our community and we must ensure that those who are guiding these decisions are credible, that they have the capacity and expertise to commit to long term strategic planning, and that they hold the legitimacy to help shape the future for not only the LGBTQ community but the greater Central Florida community.
While this alliance initially came together to honor and support the victim’s families and the survivors, we are now in the position of shaping the LGBTQ community of Central Florida into what we want it to be, through healing and empowerment. One Orlando Alliance members collectively commit to our core values, to each other, to our community, and to a cultural transformation that will unify and empower the Central Florida LGBTQ+ community for decades to come.
The 49 lives lost on June 12, 2016 will never be forgotten and our efforts will always go towards supporting those impacted by the Pulse tragedy. We honor them through action. As we look to the future, we seek to:
- Increase and exercise our collective voice to shape the future.
- Transform Central Florida into a safe, inclusive and welcoming community for all.
- Focus on uniting our community by serving as the convener, facilitator, and catalyst for productive and collaborative action.
- Bring together LGBTQ+ organizations in Central Florida so that we may work effectively together.
- Provide organizations with resources and connections so that they may become sustainable.
- Provide a forum for collective advocacy that raises and honors the diverse voices of the LGBTQ+ community.
We appreciate your support and encourage your voice, and involvement, in making Orlando a safer, happier, more inclusive community for all.