about us: state leadership project

We build strong, resilient, and adaptive leaders who propel their organizations and the movement for equality forward. We offer coaching, strategy sessions, and advocacy planning to increase the capacity of the movement.

The Challenge

Our movement is often under-funded and under-resourced. In 2015 we faced over 100 anti-LGBTQ bills and in 2016 we are tracking many more.

To guide the movement through these challenges, we need adaptive leaders. To make real progress in purple and red states, we need resilient leaders. To ensure that we’re working at the intersections of the oppression that separates us from the freedom and equality we so long to win, we need strong leaders.

That’s what Equality Federation’s State Leadership Project is all about — building strong, resilient, and adaptive leaders who propel their organizations and the movement for equality forward.

Our Approach

From Austin, Texas, to Birmingham, Alabama, from Columbus, Ohio, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, homegrown leaders are on the ground winning equality in the communities we call home. They’re smart, savvy advocates doing incredible work in challenging places. Yet most do not come into their roles as executive directors, senior staff, or board members with all of the leadership and management skills and knowledge they will need to survive and thrive.

Through our State Leadership Project, we partner directly with these leaders working in the communities they call home to help them achieve their goals. Our work is informed by the shifting political conditions of the movement, the capacity of statewide organizations, and the characteristics and skills of individual leaders. Our work is tailored to address the leadership needs that will have the greatest impact on the work at hand. Because we understand the state-based movement, we’re able to address the unique challenges that state leaders face.

Our Impact

  • Summer Meeting, our annual conference and the premier gathering of LGBT movement leaders, brings together more than 160 participants to build momentum toward even greater wins in the communities we call home.
  • In dozens of states, we’ve worked with leaders to develop strategic and advocacy plans that strengthened their organizations and focused their work on proven strategies to increase their power, win hearts and minds, and secure policy victories.
  • State leaders based in the South and the Midwest come together each year to learn from each other, forge relationships, and collaborate for future success at our Southern & Midwest Leadership Summits.
  • Each year, we host our New Executive Director Boot Camp, a cohort-based, intensive training on the ins and outs of successfully leading a state-based advocacy organization.
  • From recruiting and interviewing to hiring and onboarding, we work with state-based groups through executive transition management, putting to use the critical lessons we’ve learned about what kind of leaders flourish in state groups.
  • Through our coaching program, we help countless state leaders think through their thorniest challenges and share in insights we’ve gleaned through our work with other leaders across the country.
  • In states across the country, we trained hundreds of board members, focusing on defining roles, fulfilling responsibilities, and becoming effective fundraisers so their organizations can thrive and effect change.

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