By Robert Holgate
NCLR’s Major Gifts Campaign Co-Chair
I first heard about NCLR from a friend and interior design client who does pro bono legal work for Legal Services for Children. During the early years of my business, this client and I would meet, and we would often talk about the cases she was working on. I’m a big advocate for children’s rights and especially young LGBTQ kids. When my friend was describing one of her cases, she mentioned how impressed she was with NCLR, saying that NCLR was always there when she needed support or advice. It did not have to be a LGBTQ issue in order for NCLR to step in and help. When I took a closer look at NCLR, I was blown away at how committed they were to justice for all.
At that time in my life I did not have a lot of extra money to give to organizations, but I always tried to do what I could.
When I met NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell at a NCLR Gala, I was overwhelmed by her articulate, passionate commitment to justice. She spoke about the cases that NCLR was working on over the past year and introduced a young woman who wanted to take her girlfriend to prom, and talked about how NCLR made that happen. I was astonished. I’ve seen and heard Kate speak many times since, and each time I’m hooked.
Now, each time I get an email from NCLR describing a case or addressing an issue in the headlines, I’m impacted. I was very moved by the email about Kate’s son and how she worries that what has been happening to young black men could happen to him, and her commitment to make sure it does not. The emails showing all the cases NCLR is a part of or have won to defend same-sex marriage have also been amazing to watch.
I’m now married a wonderful man, Alvin Baum, who has made philanthropy a main goal of his life. I’m so very grateful to have him as my mentor and spouse so we can now do this work together and I can help continue his legacy. A few years ago, I’d mentioned to Al that I’d love to do anything I could to help NCLR. He said, well, let’s have lunch with Kate.
So we did.
I told Kate at that lunch how much I loved NCLR and that I’d like to help. When I was asked to share my story with other NCLR donors, I said yes immediately. One benefit of this is that I get to help make clear that NCLR works on behalf of our entire community. I want everyone who hears the name NCLR to know they are here for all of us. NCLR is for everyone, lesbian, gay, straight, bi, transgender, questioning. All ages and all genders. It’s time for everyone to see how important NCLR is for all of us.
I want to see NCLR continue to grow and have the same degree of support all over the United States and the world that it has in the Bay Area. It’s a vision I intend to make a reality. And, I now work to help make it so. We are moving into a time of new challenges. I know NCLR will be at the forefront of tackling them just as they have done for 37 years.