Supporters Like You

Meet the People Shaping Our Community

These are people just like you who are fueling the LGBTQ movement in the Bay Area and beyond. They’re shaping our world so that LGBTQ people everywhere can live with pride, dignity, justice, and joy. These are wonderful, caring, committed people. Meet some of them now.

Audrey’s Legacy Is the Future of Our Movement

As a young adult, I barely heard the word “lesbian.” There was little representation of people like me in the media beyond garish stereotypes. There were few meeting places beyond lesbian bars or gay dance clubs. There were no children conceived by lesbian couples or gay men couples.

We have come a long way. In this millennium, the struggle toward legalized marriage equality has finally been won. I sometimes have to pinch myself to believe it; I feel so fortunate to have been part of a civil rights process that is actually working!

Despite the many triumphs of our community, the march to equality is not yet over. Many in our LGBTQ community, even here in the Bay Area, continue to face discrimination, violence, poverty, and isolation. And since last year’s election, we’ve seen that the rights we’ve fought so hard to secure are, once again, under attack. Our future is hard to predict.

That’s why I support Horizons Foundation’s Now and Forever Campaign and its visionary goal of identifying more than $100 million in future legacy gifts by Horizons’ 40th Anniversary year in 2020. These gifts will help ensure the future for generations of LGBTQ people to live lives of pride, dignity, justice, and joy.

While $100 million seems like an ambitious goal, it is entirely within our reach. Collectively, LGBTQ people own more than $35 billion in Bay Area real estate alone. If even a fraction of our community left some of that wealth to Horizons, our entire community would reap benefits for years to come.

This campaign will help Horizons continue to strengthen hundreds of organizations that do the day-to-day work that secures the rights, meets the needs, and celebrates the lives of LGBTQ people. It will ensure that young people thrive in safe and supportive environments, that our elders can age with dignity, and that we can safeguard and expand the gains we’ve fought so hard to win. It will ensure that we have the funding to tackle unanticipated challenges to our community.

No one can predict the future. But together, we can build a strong foundation that will secure our community now — and forever.

Chuck’s Legacy of Pride

Chuck Roppel says he’s had a ringside seat to the political and social evolution of the LGBTQ community in San Francisco since moving here in 1974, when gays were just starting to gain political clout. His longtime roommate, Bill Cook, was a political wonk who worked for Mayor George Moscone, and dated Dianne Feinstein’s chief of staff, so the house was always abuzz with the energy of politics and movement-building. Chuck still lives in the Victorian house where Moscone’s staffers and supporters gathered to grieve on the night he was assassinated along with Harvey Milk. But it wasn’t the political scene that made him fall in love with this city.

When Chuck moved to San Francisco from Louisville, Kentucky, he called his new home “the city of yes” for all the opportunity to be one’s true self.

“I had spent the first 30 years of my life full of shame because every single source of authority in my life not only disapproved, but considered gay despicable,” Chuck recalls. “This community was a gift.”

Just days after the historic 2015 Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, Chuck and his partner, Stephan, marched in the jubilant Pride Parade with the 1,000-strong Apple contingent. A former Pride marshal, he reflected back to the early days of the Pride Celebration – back to a time when it was scary to go.

“As we marched down Market Street, I looked behind me and could hardly believe my eyes,” Chuck says. “There were so many people, so many corporations. I could see how far we had come. Something inside me got completed.”

Retired from a long and rewarding career in mental health and coaching, Chuck is now exploring the “interior life, and how we fill our existence with joy,” he says.

One successful example was staging his own one-man show, “Love, Dance, Sing, and Wear a Dress.”

Chuck has crafted a Legacy of Pride that includes Horizons Foundation because “Horizons is the foundation for my community through which I can earmark money for the kids who will come to this magical place in the future,” he says. “I am so grateful for those who came before me, and I know I have to do the same for those who will follow.”

How George’s Legacy Is Inspiring Others to Give

George Lord’s legacy is having a lasting impact on the LGBTQ community. Through his philanthropy and volunteer work he modeled “giving back to the community, especially to those less fortunate,” says George’s best friend and executor of his estate, Mark Cooper. “It was a value George’s father passed on to him.” George passed away in 2012.

Mark and George were close friends and travel companions for nearly 40 years. Travel was a lifetime passion of George’s and he is remembered as an avid cruiser who sailed to nearly every port of call. He and his life partner, Dennis, were well-known in the community for their annual Halloween parties. In addition, they volunteered their time at Food for Thought, the Sonoma County food bank dedicated to helping clients with HIV and AIDS. George also served on the board of directors.

According to Mark, “George searched for charities with low overhead and direct impact in the communities they serve.” Horizons Foundation was a grateful beneficiary of George’s estate.

Mark himself is following in the steps of a man whose legacy of pride has enabled the foundation to support the LGBTQ community in many important ways. “Because of George’s influence,” Mark is a generous and loyal donor to Horizons’ work today.

This Couple’s Legacy Is an Investment in Our Community

When it comes to giving both time and money to organizations in our community, Bev Scott and Courtney have a history that dates back to their childhoods, when each of them were encouraged by their parents to give to things they cared about.

When they moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1982, Bev was worried that her ex-husband would fight for custody of her daughter. At the time, lesbian mothers across the country were having similar courtroom battles—and losing. Bev valued the important resources to support her family at the Lesbian Rights Project, now the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR). Courtney was already an LRP staff and supporter of their work, as was Horizons (Horizons gave NCLR their first grant and has supported them throughout their history.)

Years later, Bev and Courtney wanted to be sure their legacy plans reflected their shared values of giving back to the LGBTQ community that they’ve been so passionate about during their lifetimes. “We want to take care of our daughter and grandson, but we’re still committed to giving a portion of our estate to Horizons Foundation,” Bev says.

During their planning, Bev and Courtney learned that retirement accounts are a great asset to leave to charity. Courtney, a tax preparer, especially appreciates this planning tool, saying, “If we leave these assets to an heir, there’s a big tax liability, but by leaving them to charity, 100 percent of our dollars go to the community.”

“We’re leaving a legacy gift to Horizons because with one gift, we can support the whole community, including an emerging organization we don’t even yet know about,” Bev says. “That is important to us.” Bev and Courtney celebrate 38 years together this year.

Marissa’s Gift: A Better World for LGBTQ Youth

When Marissa Guerrero came out to her family as a young adult, she was met with “wholehearted acceptance from the very beginning.”

Knowing that her coming-out story differs dramatically from the experiences of many young people, Marissa was inspired to help create a world where all LGBTQ youths have the same opportunity to thrive in safe and accepting homes and schools.

Marissa, a seasoned nonprofit development professional, wanted to learn more about philanthropy and to engage with giving more personally. So when a friend told her about Horizons Young Professionals for Equality (HYPE), she decided to learn more.

HYPE members contribute monthly and pool their gifts to make grants to nonprofits serving the LGBTQ community. Through HYPE, Marissa has enjoyed supporting organizations like Somos Familia and LYRIC, which put youth and family support at the core of their missions.

Although Marissa joined HYPE for its philanthropic mission, she stays “for the community” and now serves as its co-chair. She has been impressed by what this small group has been able to accomplish and describes HYPE as “a close-knit group: having fun, doing good work, and fostering new leaders.”

Marissa also recognizes the value of HYPE’s connection to Horizons. “It’s so beneficial to be part of Horizons’ long history of giving to our community and supporting the LGBTQ movement,” she says. “Following in the footsteps of donors who are committed to our community and movement makes our work so much easier.”