This week at the Taproot Foundation, we were celebrating "Matt O'Grady" day on June 19th, a Taproot holiday honoring the wedding anniversary of our former vice president of national expansion and Taproot pioneer, Matt O'Grady, who tied the knot with his partner in San Francisco six years ago.
I joined Taproot as CEO and President just four months ago. I was already convinced that this was the place for me, but I was even more excited, impressed and moved when I heard about Matt O'Grady day, a holiday unique to Taproot.
We give our "Roots" as our employees are called, the day off to celebrate and more importantly, to remember and acknowledge a major milestone in the civil rights movement in this country -- the legalization of gay marriage in the largest state in the land. It really showed me that Taproot is living its values and is publicly showing support for its employees, partners and supporters.
The fight for gay rights and more specifically gay marriage is far from over, despite so much progress. 19 states have legalized gay marriage but 31 states still have a same sex marriage ban. Last Friday, a federal judge temporarily blocked same-sex marriages in Wisconsin, pending appeals.
At Taproot, our mission is to lead, mobilize and engage professionals in pro bono service that drives social change. We are training, preparing and connecting business professionals with nonprofits to provide high impact pro bono services -- offering critical skilled resources like marketing, strategic planning, HR and IT support to nonprofits who would not normally be able to afford or access this kind of top talent. We are proud of the work that we have done with the LGBT community in our five cities including: helping with strategic planning for Raise a Child an LA based organization which educates and encourages the LGBT community to build families through fostering and adoption to answer the needs of the 400,000 children in the nation's foster care system; using our pro bono consultants in the Bay Area to create key messages and a brand strategy for ORAM- Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration which advocates for refugees fleeing sexual or gender-based violence and The San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Community Center which connects their diverse community to opportunities, resources, and each other to achieve their vision of a stronger, healthier, and more equitable world for LGBT people and their allies.
Taproot Foundation practices what it preaches. We proudly have gay and lesbian Roots at every level of the organizational chart. Something simple like Matt O'Grady Day sends a clear message to all potential employees that -- regardless of their background -- Taproot Foundation is a place where staff will be respected, treated equally, and given the opportunity to thrive.
To our former "Root" Matt O'Grady and his husband Steve, happy anniversary. And to all of the companies, politicians and individuals who continue to fight against what we believe is a core human right, we encourage you to join us in toasting this couple and the thousands of others who are part of our communities, our families and our lives.