Coleman Prewitt and Ellen Krider
Allen Peterson and Stephen Draft
Wilton Manors – (March 21, 2022) – Our Fund Foundation was conceptualized in 2010 when a small but mighty group of five committed philanthropic activists founded the LGBTQ+ community foundation in response to the low ratio of charitable giving directed to LGBTQ+ organizations in South Florida and across the country at that time.
What started out as a discussion among founders Chuck Loring, Dick Schwarz, Coleman Prewitt, Mark Ketcham and Tony Timiraos blossomed from working out of a spare bedroom into the third largest LGBTQ+ community foundation in the country.
The time had come
The founders were acutely aware that there was a large concentration of wealth among the large LGBTQ+ population in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, but that the spirit of philanthropy was not being nurtured and available grants did not reflect the many unmet needs in the LGBTQ+ community. Without heirs or viable options for LGBTQ+-centric giving, many wealthy donors simply donated millions to their already-prosperous alma maters.
From vision to reality
The founders envisioned a means of acquiring, growing, and then distributing financial resources to strengthen and expand non-profit organizations that provided assistance and enhanced the quality of life for South Florida’s LGBTQ+ community in many ways.
The five founders identified 100 community leaders and philanthropists who believed in the mission and purpose of Our Fund Foundation. These original First 100 Funders generously stepped up when called upon and pledged a significant three-year financial commitment. Half of the contributions were granted directly to local agencies which supported the needs of the LGBTQ+ community, with the balance devoted to supporting startup costs and initial operations.
Currently Our Fund manages $26M in assets and distributed $2M in grants in 2021 to worthwhile projects, programs and non-profit agencies advancing LGBTQ+ causes. It is well positioned to support its mission of making South Florida the most livable community in the nation for LGBTQ+ people and securing a prosperous future for generations to come.
“Our Fund Foundation would not have reached this extraordinary 10-year milestone of achievement without generous support from our First 100 Funders,” said David Jobin, president and CEO Out Fund Foundation. “They were essentially angel investors who believed in our start-up’s mission and entrusted us with a multi-year commitment of financial support.”
Stephen Draft and Allen Peterson are original members of Our Fund’s First 100 Funders. The married couple also contributes to a Donor Advised Fund and continues to cheerlead for the LGTBQ+ community foundation.
“We already knew and had a great respect for both Tony [Timiraos] and Chuck [Loring], so we had complete confidence in their abilities. But what really attracted us to this new endeavor was the potential of making a real and lasting impact for so many in the LGBTQ+ community,” said Draft.
The pandemic underscored the vital need for community foundations to be flexible, pivot with changing circumstances and shift funding priorities as needed.
“One of the many reasons I love supporting Our Fund is that they really have their finger on the pulse of what’s timely in the LGBTQ+ community and understand how to contribute most meaningfully,” said Peterson, who is a Legacy Donor. “When I’m gone, I’m confident Our Fund will allocate my estate wisely. The pandemic reminded us that we can’t predict the future, but by planning ahead and leaving unrestricted funds, I am confident my estate will be put to the best use possible to meet the needs of future generation, whatever those needs may be.”
He added, “I’ve been around for a long time and am blessed to have an enriched life.
Coming out as a gay man was difficult and there has been tremendous progress, but I do not take anything for granted. Now that I’m in a position to give back, it’s a joy to help others get a leg up because it’s the right thing to do. I trust Our Fund to continue supporting causes and issues which matter the most.”
Ellen Ford Krider, CFP is a senior vice president and financial advisor at RBC Wealth Management and a leading ally in South Florida’s LGBTQ+ community.
As a financial planner, Krider is well aware of economic inequities in the LGBTQ+ community. Since the ‘80s, she has represented numerous LGTBQ+ clients, many of whom remained in the closet. Replicating the tax benefits of marriage and accessing the financial protections for beneficiaries in wills and estates are rights only recently offered to gay couples.
“Love is love. I’ve always had an open-door policy and had affinity for helping the LGBTQ+ community,” said Krider. “Back in the day, many financial advisors simply never asked their clients about their relationship status, which for many was a huge detriment to their long-term financial security.”
Krider has been a member of the Pride Center’s Founders Circle for over 15 years, has been a supporter of Equality Florida and other LGBTQ+ organizations but when she was introduced to Our Fund, her interest was piqued. She soon committed to becoming a First 100 Funder and was a founding Board Member of Our Fund Foundation where she proudly served for six years.
“When I first met Chuck [Loring], I was impressed by his breadth of knowledge and instantly gravitated towards Our Fund’s model of giving. I saw it as an opportunity to have a bigger and more meaningful impact,” said Krider.
“I’m like a proud parent,” she added. “It’s been inspiring to witness the evolution and rapid growth of Our Fund. We support so many LGBTQ+-serving organizations and not just financially. Our grantees realize they are not necessarily competing for the same dollar. Our model of care strengthens community organizations and their leaders, mobilizes donors and inspires responsible giving.”
As a 501 (3) (c) nonprofit organization and in the tradition of community foundations across the country, Our Fund promotes legacy giving, allowing philanthropists to leave lasting legacies for specific causes and agencies through estate planning. By inclusively uniting individuals, institutions and resources from throughout the region, Our Fund inspires responsible giving. Through its grant programs, philanthropy initiatives, community networking and education efforts, It also manages Donor Advised Funds, allowing donors to maximize impact and minimize tax burdens. The iGive Society is comprised of donors who contribute $1,500 annually to support Our Fund’s operations and programs. Our Funds Business Council is comprised of businesses and business leaders who share in Our Fund’s mission and contribute financially.
Established in 2011, Our Fund Foundation has grown into the third largest LGBTQ+ foundation in the nation. As South Florida’s only LGBTQ+ community foundation, Our Fund promotes a culture of philanthropy by uniting donors with organizations advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties and supporting causes within the LGBTQ+ community. For more information, visit our-fund.org or call 954-565-1090.