755 Library Road, Rochester, NY 14626

The Paul J. Burgett Intercultural Center presents our Fall 2022 Lorri L. Jean and Darrel Cummings LGBTQ Leadership Lecture Series featuring Matt Foreman This hybrid event will be in-person in the Hawkins-Carlson Room in Rush Rhees Library and live-streamed.

Matt Foreman is the Senior Program Director of the LGBT Equality Program at the Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund in San Francisco. The Haas, Jr. Fund, founded by descendants of Levi Strauss, has been one of the largest non-gay foundation funders of the movement for LGBTQ equality, making more than $100 million in grants since 2000. Matt co-chaired the Civil Marriage Collaborative, a 10-funder coalition that was a major backer of marriage equality public education efforts across the country. He has also been deeply involved in messaging research on LGBTQ issues and advancing nondiscrimination protections.

Before coming to the Fund, he led a national, a statewide and a local gay organization - the National LGBTQ Task Force (2003 - 2008), the Empire State Pride Agenda (1997-2003), and the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (1990-1996). 

During his tenure, the Task Force's budget and staff doubled, to over $10 million and over 50, respectively; more than $2 million was awarded to state and local LGBT organizations; and the organization's public profile increased significantly. In 2007, the Task Force brought together over 300 gay organizations in United ENDA, the largest coalition in the LGBTQ movement's history, to press for a transgender-inclusive federal nondiscrimination law. For four consecutive years, Matt was quoted in the media more often than any other LGBTQ leader.

During his tenure at the Pride Agenda, the organization was the driving force behind a statewide law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (2003); a law increasing penalties for hate-motivated violence, including crimes against LGBT people (2000); a law repealing the consensual sodomy statute (2000); four laws extending equal benefits to surviving domestic partners of those killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (2002), and the state appropriating $11.8 million specifically for LGBT (non-HIV) health and human services (unique in nation) (1998-2002).

Matt built the Anti-Violence Project (AVP) into the nation's leading LGBT crime victim assistance agency using aggressive case advocacy and street activism to focus attention on hate violence, including organizing anti-violence marches and demonstrations in all boroughs of the city. His leadership has been credited with galvanizing the community's response to a surge in hate violence in the early 90's and forcing the police department to devote significantly greater resources to the crisis. AVP also led the Hate Crimes Bill Coalition, a diverse coalition of more than 100 organizations working to pass a meaningful hate crimes law in New York State.

Prior to joining AVP, Matt worked in prison policy and administration for 10 years, including service as Assistant Commissioner of the West Virginia Department of Corrections, Executive Assistant to the New York City Commissioner of Correction, and as Director of a medium/minimum security facility on Rikers Island (the first openly gay person to head Rikers Island jail).

Matt is a former member of the New York City Human Rights Commission and a founder of Heritage of Pride (organizers of New York City's LGBTQ pride events), where he originated many hallmarks of the annual celebration, including the lavender line down 5th Avenue, the moment of silence in memory of those lost to AIDS, and the annual "Dance on the Pier" and fireworks display. He also served for many years on the board of Dignity/NY, an organization of LGBT Catholics.

This event is sponsored by the Ostrow-Newkirk LGBTQ Fund.

Event Details

  • Paquette, Rebecca
  • Erica Gentile
  • Fernandez, Ciara

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