PHOENIX (June 17, 2021) – In celebration of Pride Month, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation has donated $1.5 million to GLSEN. The three-year grant will be allocated between the Phoenix Chapter ($1 million) and the National Organization ($500,000) and will support the organization’s mission to ensure that every member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
“In our personal lives and through The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, one of our overarching goals is to be champions of inclusivity,” said President and Executive Creative Director of PXG Apparel Renee Parsons. “Every person deserves to feel whole, equal and welcome.”
GLSEN research has found that six out of 10 LGBTQ students have felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and nearly eight out of 10 have avoided school functions because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable. The level of harassment these students experience negatively affects their ability to learn due to increased absenteeism and lower educational aspirations. The anti-LGBTQ bias can also have a profound impact on a student’s overall health and well-being.
“Many LGBTQ youth face cruel, often unbearable levels of bullying and discrimination,” said PXG Founder and CEO Bob Parsons. “GLSEN is working to help all K-12 students feel safe at school and accepted for who they are.”
GLSEN has developed four focus areas to help schools cultivate an inclusive, safe and supportive environment for all their students, especially those of marginalized identities.
- Activating supportive educators, who are crucial to creating LGBTQ-inclusive classroom environments
- Advocating for inclusive & affirming curriculum, which not only offers support to LGBTQ students but raises the awareness of all students
- Passing and implementing laws and policies to ensure that LGBTQ students can learn and thrive in safe, inclusive, accepting schools
- Supporting student-led clubs because student leaders are integral to creating community and pushing for change
“We are filled with gratitude for this generous grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation,” said Melanie-Willingham-Jaggers, GLSEN’s Interim Executive Director. “It is because of allies like Bob and Renee Parsons that organizations like GLSEN are able to work towards making the world a safe and celebratory place for LGBTQ+ children and young people. In addition to financial support, it’s incredible to have partners who focus their power, reach and influence to lift up our community”
“This transformational gift will enable GLSEN Phoenix to mobilize even more school communities, so that all of our children get to be and become who they ought to be,” said GLSEN Phoenix founding co-chair Madelaine Adelman, Ph.D. “Feeling safe at school means having a sense of belonging, being respected, learning about yourself and others — this is simply the best way to learn.”
In addition to celebrating this grant during Pride Month, GLSEN Phoenix is launching a legacy monthly giving program. To learn more and invest in local efforts to create LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 schools, please visit https://www.glsenphoenix.org/. To learn more about the organization on a national level, visit https://www.glsen.org/ and follow @glsen on social.
About GLSEN Phoenix
Founded in October 2002, GLSEN Phoenix is part of a national GLSEN chapter network that works to ensure that each student in every K-12 school is valued and treated with respect, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We believe that all students deserve safe and inclusive K-12 schools. LGBTQ students who feel unsafe and unsupported at school are more likely to have been victimized and discriminated against at school, and thus, more likely to have high absenteeism, more likely to have lower GPAs, less likely to participate in school activities, more likely to have lower self esteem and a lower sense of school belonging, less likely to graduate from high school, and less likely to consider going to college. We invest the community’s time, talent, and treasure into four evidence-based interrelated areas of activity: supportive teachers, protective policies, inclusive curriculum, and empowered, student-led Gender/Sexuality Alliance (GSA) clubs. To learn more about our local programs, visit: glsenphoenix.org, facebook.com/glsen.phoenix, instagram.com/glsenphoenix, twitter.com/glsen_phoenix
GLSEN works to create safe and inclusive schools for all. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools, via action at the national, state, and local level. Over nearly three decades of work, GLSEN has improved conditions for LGBTQ students across the United States and launched an international movement to address LGBTQ issues in education and promote respect for all in schools. Find more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, school-based programs, research, and professional development for educators at www.glsen.org.
About The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation
The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers support to nonprofit organizations successfully working to empower, educate, nurture and nourish people during what is often the darkest time of their lives. Founded in 2012 by philanthropists and business leaders Bob and Renee Parsons to provide hope and life-changing assistance to the country’s most vulnerable populations, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation offers critical funding at critical times to those in need. The Foundation’s giving is driven by the core belief that all people – regardless of race, religion, roots, economic status, sexual orientation or gender identity – deserve access to quality healthcare, education and a safe place to call home. Follow @WeDealInHope on social media or visit TBRPF.org, to learn more about partner organizations and the important work being done in the community.