HISTORY OF EQUALITY OHIO
Equality Ohio was founded in 2005 by a group of 65 dedicated LGBT activists and allies from all corners of Ohio after voters passed a constitutional amendment prohibiting same sex marriage and civil unions. In its first five years, Equality Ohio worked tirelessly to change the hearts and minds of Ohioans about the LGBT community and our civil rights. In 2009, the Ohio House of Representatives took its first floor vote on any legislation protecting the LGBT community in Ohio, passing the Equal Housing and Employment Act with bi-partisan support. That legislation did not pass the Ohio Senate, and there is much important work to be done to achieve full equality and inclusion in Ohio.
In early 2011, Equality Ohio embarked on a strategic planning process to guide its work from 2011 to 2014. Equality Ohio solicited input on its strategic plan from its founders and early leaders, LGBT community leaders and members, and allies around the state. On May 17, 2011, the Boards of Equality Ohio and Equality Ohio Education Fund each adopted the strategic plan. That plan refined the Vision and Mission of Equality Ohio and outlined three Strategic Goals.
We envision an Ohio where everyone feels at home and where equality, diversity and inclusiveness are universally valued.
Equality Ohio advocates and educates to achieve fair treatment and equal opportunity for all Ohioans regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
1. Advance Pro-Equality Legislation and Public Policies Throughout Ohio.
Develop legislative and public policy strategies on the state and local level to enact the Equal Housing and Employment Act and Safe Schools bills during the 2011-12 or 2013-14 legislative sessions; enact additional local non-discrimination and relationship recognition ordinances throughout Ohio; increase Equality Ohio Campaign Fund's influence in the 2012 and 2014 elections; and, seize favorable opportunities as they emerge and protect against anti-equality legislative or public policy efforts.
Organize our community and allies to increase engagement with our government, elected officials and political candidates; in particular, empower minority, faith and allied communities to be strong advocates.
2. Secure Equality Ohio's Long-Term Financial Stability to Ensure the Organization's Capacity to Achieve its Mission.
Organize and recruit regional development committees to expand the geographical base of support; increase and diversify the revenue stream within a development strategy, incuding outreach to allies; develop organizational capacity and structure to implement strategy; and, monitor the cost of fundraising (maintain low fundraising and administration expenses).
3. Grow Equality Ohio's Reach and Ability to Effectively and Efficiently Meet Its Mission.
Recruit and retain a diverse, full Board membership for all three Boards by the end of 2011; establish a Diversity Committee to provide advice and counsel to promote inclusion; increase the effectiveness of political fundraising; attract and retain staff necessary to accomplish the mission; capitalize on local and national initiatives; explore increased presence and engagement in local communities throughout Ohio; and develop a robust communications strategy to change the hearts and minds of Ohioans.