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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Founder/Executive Director to Leave OutFront Minnesota

**********FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**********

Founder/Executive Director to Leave OutFront Minnesota

Jo Marsicano, Communications Director 612-822-0127 ext. 106 January 24th, 2008

(Minneapolis) Ann DeGroot, Executive Director and one of the founders of OutFront Minnesota, the state’s largest advocacy and public policy organization for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and allied community has announced her resignation from the organization.

DeGroot and other community leaders founded the Gay and Lesbian Community Action Council, predecessor to OutFront Minnesota, in 1987, to coordinate basic social and community services to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community including anti-violence prevention, education, legal advocacy, phone referral and other services.

“When we opened our doors, the level of social acceptance and legal protection we enjoy in Minnesota today was only a dream,” says DeGroot. “I am proud of the work our committed staff, volunteers and community members throughout Minnesota have done the past 21 years to achieve a just and equitable role in their workplaces, city halls, churches, communities and families.”

Whether frequenting state legislative halls or representing OutFront Minnesota at national conferences and meetings, DeGroot has been recognized as a leader in the state and national GLBT movement. Among her many achievements, Ann was instrumental in the organizing and lobbying that led to an amendment to the Minnesota Human Rights Act in 1993, which protects citizens from discrimination regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Under Ann’s leadership, OutFront Minnesota gathered people together from across religious, political and geographic boundaries to support equal rights for GLBT people,” said OutFront Minnesota Board Vice Chair Jane Eastwood. “As a result, Minnesota became the eighth state in the nation to amend its human rights act to include gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals and the first in the country to include transgender people. Ann’s commitment and perseverance have made Minnesota a better place to live for its GLBT citizens and all people.”

DeGroot cited personal reasons for leaving the organization at this time. A community celebration honoring her contributions and legacy is being planned.

She departs at a time when the political climate is expected to be less contentious than recent years. For three consecutive years (2004-2006), DeGroot led OutFront Minnesota’s efforts to prevent a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and its legal equivalent from appearing on the ballot. That campaign was an example of DeGroot’s leadership in helping to bring more people, including allies, into the effort to secure equal rights for GLBT Minnesotans.

DeGroot said, “I am proud to leave OutFront Minnesota secure in the knowledge that a vibrant and empowered community exists to continue our work.”

Since 1994, Ann has served on the board of the National Association of LGBT Community Centers, most recently serving as its co-chair. She is a founding member of the Minnesota Alliance for Progressive Action and served on the board of the Greater Minneapolis Council of Girl Scouts.

OutFront Minnesota is the largest organization in the state offering legal advocacy, public policy, education, anti-violence prevention and other services on behalf of GLBT people. Its mission is to make Minnesota a place where GLBT Minnesotans have the freedom, power and confidence to make the best choices for their own lives. Celebrating its 21st year.


Interesting. I wonder what process they will use to choose a new ED.


DavidD said...

They will appoint whomever the DFL wants, right?

OutFront Minnesota Blog said...

The OutFront Minnesota Board of Directors will use a careful and thorough process to hire an interim Executive Director and a permanent Executive Director. OutFront Minnesota is a nonpartisan organization, beholden to no political party. We work with anyone and everyone who seeks to achieve equality for the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.

Jo Marsicano
Communications Director
OutFront Minnesota

DavidD said...

I'll believe that OutFront is beholden to no political party when they have actions that show that. When I went to the first "TogetherMinnesota" organizational meeting someone who was helping run the program said "We are not particluarly interested in helping out supportive Republican candidates."

lloydletta said...

I am skeptical about OutFront's being "non-partisan", when they are partnered so closely with Take Action Minnesota - which is clearly a liberal group, and has never supported a Republican. Ray Cox voted with OutFront on the Bachmann amendment. Did OutFront Action send any volunteers to help with that tough race?

Markh said...

I hope part of the board discussion focuses on 'why do we exist?'

The mission deserves to be re-examined.