Meet Astraea donor, Robin Rosenbluth

Astraea donor and former board member Robin Rosenbluth shares an anecdote about how her daughter and a personal note from Astraea’s former executive director, Katherine Acey, sparked her long-time support for Astraea.

“I always knew that I wanted to change the world. I wanted to be part of a social movement. And when I found Astraea, I thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty right. This is like the best thing since sliced bread.'”

Fundraiser Robin Rosenbluth served on Astraea’s board in the 90’s and has been an Astraea supporter for over 25 years.

In this video, Robin shares an anecdote about how her daughter and a personal note from Astraea’s former executive director, Katherine Acey, sparked her long-time support for Astraea.

At Astraea, every dollar makes a difference, whether it’s a one-time $5 donation or 25 years of monthly support. Join us.


Video transcript:

I always knew that I wanted to change the world somehow. I wanted to be a part of a social movement. And when I found Astraea, I thought, “Wow. That’s pretty right. This is the best thing since sliced bread.”

One of the reasons I started to sustain Astraea by giving on a monthly basis happened 25 years ago. It really mattered to me that my daughter…I really wanted to inspire her to think about being philanthropic. And so she saved a part of her allowance every week. In December, we all sat around, I made hot chocolate and we looked at a lot of the direct mail pieces that came. And I would read some of them and say, “Do you want your money to go here? Do you want your money to go there?”

And when I read the letter from Astraea, right away she said, “Mom, I want the money to go there, because this is an organization that is helping my moms.” And so she wrote a little letter, and she put her $5 in an envelope and said, “Dear Astraea, I’m giving this money from my allowance to support my moms.”

Katherine Acey, whom at the time I hadn’t met personally, wrote a personal letter back. I know because I’m a fundraiser, how important it is to put a personal handwritten note on a letter or a thank you note. But this moved her, and that moved me. That changed my giving to to Astraea, it really did. It became my number one place where I would make a contribution, and for many years, I was a major donor.

I loved being a board member of the Astraea Lesbian Foundation [for Justice]. It gave me an opportunity to be involved in movement building. We were anti-racist, cross-class. It’s a gift to be able to build relationships with people who care about the same values that you care about.

Astraea has an unbelievable way of finding people who are barely even an organization, but an idea, and seeding them with some dollars that will help them to grow. Their attitude is, “We’re giving to the people who are leading their own fights, and we’re gonna sustain those fights.” The participation at Astraea and who they support is the way you would want society to be.

The battle is not gonna be won when I die, and it will go on. And I want my money to continue to make an impact which is why I give now because I feel like Astraea uses my money well, and I want the organization to survive.


Meet Astraea Donors Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin

Astraea donors Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin share why they choose to #GiveToAstraea.

It’s Giving Tuesday! Today is a day that celebrates the role we all play in philanthropy, justice, and changing the world.

Today, in the spirit of Giving Tuesday and to kick off the giving season, we want you to hear from our long-time donors, Jewelle Gomez and Diane Sabin. Watch the video above to hear more about why they choose to #GiveToAstraea.

Want to help us fuel the frontlines of LGBTQI justice all around the world? Donate!

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Jewelle and Diane were plaintiffs in a lawsuit that overturned the ban on same-sex marriage in the state of California. They were legally married in San Francisco in 2008 after 16 years of partnership. Jewelle and Diane also co-launched Astraea’s Justice Social Program in 2005.

Jewelle Gomez is an award-winning author of seven books, including the double-Lambda-Literary-Award-winning novel The Gilda Stories, an activist, Director of Grants and Community Initiatives for Horizons Foundation, and President of the San Francisco Public Library Commission. Jewelle has been an Astraea supporter since the 1980’s and was one of Astraea’s earliest board members.

Diane Sabin is the Executive Director of the Lesbian Health and Research Center at the University of California, San Francisco. Diane has been an Astraea supporter since the 1990’s and was an Astraea board member in the 2000’s. She was also Astraea’s 2001 Philanthropic Activism Award recipient.


Video transcript:

[Donor and Supporter, Diane Sabin]: One of the amazing things that Astraea has done is bring so many individuals and organizations together for that really rich interchange and learning and new efforts that come out of that and better efforts doing what’s already been done.

[Donor and Supporter, Jewelle Gomez]: I feel a very strong commitment to the politics of feminism and to understanding how history has shaped us both as women and as lesbians and as queer people, and understanding how capitalism has been used against marginalized people. Those are really core values for me and seem to be for Astraea.

Being around Astraea for a long time, I feel really fortunate because it means I get connected to a lot of people who have serious commitment to philanthropy.

Coming off of a very strong feminist movement in the 70’s, there was a lot of political backlash from that. Astraea was trying to meet the needs of women’s organizations and lesbian organizations that had emerged from the feminist movement, but were now not gonna be supported by mainstream foundations and organizations. And Astraea stepped into that with activism through philanthropy.

[Diane Sabin]: My values would be working to create a world that is more just and equal for all. And I think Astraea has, throughout the organization’s existence, been very, very dedicated to that, been exploring what does that mean, and morphing and changing as the times morph and change, delving into new areas of thought, of action, of geography, of gender. Just an amazing organization that puts into real life the value of giving everybody an opportunity to be fully themselves and contribute to the culture in a maximal way.

[Jewelle Gomez]: I believe that liberation is a process. It’s not something we arrive at, and then we’re done. We all must learn to take part in our own liberation and the liberation of others. Over time we can work towards making social justice happen. And it’s not going to happen like overnight suddenly everything is fine. I think it’s important for everyone to learn how to make social justice as a goal part of your everyday, and one of the things that Astraea is able to do is take that intention for social justice and put it into action by supporting organizations that are doing the work that’s the most important. Then that means we’re monitoring how we give and how we behave, and I think that’s what we have to learn to do, not think “Oh I gave and then I’m done, and it’s happened,” but “Oh I gave, and now what do I give today?”

[Diane Sabin]: And I would just ask you to think of yourself as connected to it all, and dig into your pocket. Give some money. Definitely give some time. Definitely tell people about it. And let’s just continue to make a better world. That’s what it’s about.


Ise Bosch

An interview with long-time Astraea donor Ise Bosch.

Tell us about your relationship to Astraea.
I’ve been a donor to Astraea since 1996. That’s 20 years now! We started with an international fund for Astraea. One day I heard from [Executive Director Emerita] Katherine Acey, who said, “We’re starting to fundraise for the International Fund.” To me, that was arrival. It was, “Yes, this can work out. I do want a long-term [philanthropic] partner. Astraea can do that.”

Another memorable moment I’ve had with them was at a conference in Dallas, Texas. It was an anniversary for Astraea. There were many women there. A donor organized for people to make commitments to give money to Astraea at the event. On the final day there was a queue through the entire hall of women lining up making spoken commitments to Astraea on the microphone. And the Astraea staff just died. They were sitting there on stage! There was just so much emotion.

Why is Astraea the organization for you?
The internal support is so strong. This organization will continue to grow well. I’m someone who understands the difficulties [foundations have] with growing and the relief when major institutional grants come through. When major foundations in the US say, “Yes, we back Astraea! We gave them a major grant,” we include them in our major portfolio. That’s also important, because when one comes, others will follow. This building of major donor contributions brought Astraea up to the level that it is working at now.

What advice, as someone who’s a donor, would you give to others?
Astraea is good in many respects. One of them is because it’s a public foundation. It’s not run by one person or a small group of very rich people who say where things go. There’s care in giving to Astraea. It is a direct way to give to the movement, not only in terms of where the money goes, but also in terms of how that money is being distributed. There’s a fresh influx of ideas and human resources from the movement into the work at Astraea, so it stays up-to-date. Astraea’s developed from one of the first women’s foundations to a lesbian foundation to an LGBTQI fund. It’s a living thing and you’re part of a process. At the same time, there are options to give more specifically to the one project that you want to support or to a group of projects that you want to support.

What does it mean to to be a resource activist? Are there challenges?
In the States, they call what I do being a donor activist. This makes it clear that I work on two sides of a bridge: I work with the money that I inherited, while others work with the money they’ve made, or somebody else’s money that they get to manage. And I consider myself part of the same movement that I’m funding, which means I get to think, too. I get to have impact there.

Any closing thoughts?
Don’t forget your own radical edge! What makes you mad? It’s a very good source of energy. When I speak with friends who have also inherited, and who say, “I can’t find my issue,” I think, “Hey, we are one step ahead here.” The issue is clear. There’s many issues and this is one where we can actually affect some change. And the old sentiment still holds true: If we don’t do it, who will?

Want to learn more about Bosch? Watch a video interview with her here or her speech at our 40th Anniversary Gala here!

Cydney O. Brown

“I was surprised that I’d never heard of an organization dedicated to doing exactly what I want to do one day–expanding, supporting, and promoting communities dedicated to advancing support in LGBTQ issues. I wanted to find a way to be able to help in any way.”

What did you know about philanthropy before Astraea? 

To be honest, I associated philanthropy with something rich white people did once they had a certain number of digits in their bank accounts in order to have the term “philanthropist” attached to their name as a part of their legend.

Have you ever considered yourself a philanthropist? Why or why not?

It was not something I related to myself LGBTQI justice, queeness, or people of color, so I never saw myself as one. Only as a person willing to give wherever it was needed. Astraea’s Regional Development Officer Zakiya Lord invited me to a fundraiser and I appreciated that the only requirement to attend was to ‘bring your queerest self.’ How many spaces can you find that requires just that simple yet radical component? I fell in love.

What made you become a donor at Astraea?

After the event and doing some research on the organization, I was surprised that I’d never heard of an organization dedicated to doing exactly what I want to do one day — expanding, supporting, and promoting communities dedicated to advancing support in LGBTQ issues. I wanted to find a way to be able to help in any way.

What kind of legacy would you like your donation at Astraea to create?

I’m lucky. So so lucky. Most of my peers are struggling just to survive, let alone give their time or money to a cause. I was hired right out of college and can afford to give. Some of my peers aren’t as fortunate and I think it’s unfair of older generations to criticize us when it comes to being donors. Ten dollars may not be much to some people, but to some young people, that’s a meal or transportation fare for the day. They can’t make that kind of sacrifice every month. So I think that we have to change what philanthropy is associated with. It doesn’t have to be about the money. It can be time. A retweet. A shoutout on Facebook. Just showing up and showing out for what we believe in. Because we’ve been doing that. That’s also what I want my donation to do. To remind people that LGBTQI+ youth of color are capable of showing up and doing the work.

Pat Ewert

“What makes Astraea different than the other organizations that I’m involved with and that I give my money to is that they have a global reach.”

How long have you been an Astraea donor; why?

I’ve been a donor to Astraea for a little over two years. What makes Astraea different than the other organizations that I’m involved with and that I give my money to is that they have a global reach. I don’t have the desire, the ability, or the knowledge to be able to find good organizations and vet them appropriately. Finding a foundation that’ll do those things for me and be sure that the money gets into the right hands is very important. It just increases my reach. It makes me feel like I’m really doing something not just in Chicago, but around the world.

What are some notable moments or memories in your, and Astraea’s combined history?

My relationship with Astraea is, of course, watching what they do and who the grantees are, but importantly to me too are the people that are in charge. I keep in touch with Bob and always know what’s going on with Astraea, its mission, and its goals.

What advice would you give to people thinking about philanthropy and LGBTQI philanthropy specifically?

Be sure that the organization that you go to understands our community, that they have a history, that they’ve got staying power, that they have a reach, and that they’re very specific in our community. It’s very important to me that it’s specific in our community.

My wife was an activist in the community for over 40 years. When she returned from Woodstock she started the first LGBT newspaper and hotline. When we got together she started educating me about the community and sharing her vast experiences. I know that she was very impressed with the work that Astraea does. We were very aware of what goes on in Chicago, but to know that we have a philanthropic partner that we could count on to take care of the rest of our giving, made she and I very confident.

How is it that you use philanthropy and activism to honor her legacy and what she’d wanna see happening in the world?

Well, you have to kind of put your money where your mouth is. I don’t have the time, the energy, or the expertise to do a lot of the things that are necessary in our community, to really make a difference. So, being wise where you put your dollars is very important. I’m not the one that gets out and marches so much anymore. I’m not the one that comes up with all these wonderful ideas about how to do things to support our community, but I have to be the one that supports the people that do that.

Mitch Singer

“Being in this world, being in philanthropy for almost 20 years you tend to kind of collect the organizations that speak to your heart and Astraea is one of them.”

How did you come to know Astraea?

Being in this world, being in philanthropy for almost 20 years you tend to kind of collect the organizations that speak to your heart and Astraea is one of them. And so it’s been a process of learning about them gently or learning them gradually, of learning first kind of, “Okay so this is what they’re about, they’re the Lesbian Foundation for Justice.” And then, “Okay, but what does that mean?” And then learning that they’re international and then learning about the people involved and learning about their projects. It was an unfolding. Every time it would unfold further there was another, “Ah-ha!”

Then Bob [Astraea’s Executive Director] came on and I interviewed her for this project that I was doing and I thought, oh! “I don’t wanna get off the phone!” We could have kept talking for hours about all of the amazing work that she’s been doing, that she wants to see being done in the world, that I‘d love to see being done in the world. There are not a lot of partners out there that you can kind of feel that way about. She is one of them and Astraea’s one of them. So are the organizations that Astraea partners with. It’s just been a wonderful learning and growing experience just knowing them.

What are the things about Astraea that you connect with?

It’s the whole comprehensive view that they take toward their issues and it’s the particular. It’s being really particular in calling out things like gender discrimination and poverty. Not shying away from things that might make people uncomfortable but hitting them head on and being bold about that. And at the same time, understanding that it takes all of that, that it’s not about one identity or one person. It’s the whole package and it’s attending to issues at so many different levels and it’s the curiosity about learning more, about saying, “Okay, we get that there is an issue because of this going on, because of income inequality or gender or sexual orientation. We get that there’s that issue, but what’s behind it and how is it affecting people in different ways?” It’s that curiosity and boldness, and attention to detail, and really noticing what specifically needs to happen.

In your lifetime, what political/social gains have been made, and if you can reference to just a few specifics as you walk us through?

The policy changes that we’ve seen have been extraordinary. None of us thought it would happen this quickly. It has been amazing and wonderful, and I feel privileged to see them. But really, what I’m most struck by is the cultural changes that we’ve seen. And also it reminds me of how much further we have to go. But around homophobia, we have seen an expectation change dramatically, from when I was young to where we are now where it simply it is not acceptable to be homophobic. I don’t think we’ve seen the same changes around misogyny, which I would love to see. I think that homophobia and misogyny are of course linked, and so I see that as unfinished work or even, I would say, barely started work.

Which is why having a focus on lesbian justice, women, and girls is so important to me because I see women as leading that fight. And when we get farther along, I think we’re all gonna see about how gender has been so damaging, the construct of gender has been holding us all back. And it will affect all of us when we have a much more nuanced and mature view of that. And I see Astraea and the work of its partners, leading that.

Why is it important to give big or small dollars, at any level?

The process of giving itself is an opportunity to engage, and to learn, and to grow. You can do that at any level. It’s less about the exact amount of money. It’s more about the ability to learn, and grow, and to engage, and that’s what giving provides.

Lynn Ballen

“Astraea was the organization that we came to because of our shared values with how Astraea puts all of their work into effect.”

How are you connected to Astraea?

My partner and I established a fund in her name before she passed. And we’ve been donors and supporters in the past, but she passed away in January and in the years before that we were looking for a place to fulfill some promises that she had made to herself and to the community about giving half of her estate back to community organizations and social justice. Astraea was the organization that we came to because of our shared values with how Astraea puts all of their work into effect.

What were the promises that Jeanne made to herself?

Jeanne was planning to be a nun when she left high school and she had some really deeply held beliefs about making vows and setting goals and also giving back in a sense. She had created the Community Yellow Pages which was, in some ways, a very unintentionally successful business. She began it as a political action. She felt that the community had given to her and she wanted to give back. Jeanne also had a sense of being a parent and a mentor to younger generations of lesbians, LGBTI, and queer young folk. To her, they were her children and rather than leaving her estate to, as she once said very humorously, “To some random heterosexual niece or nephew that you don’t really know very well.” She felt that she wanted to leave her legacy and seed money for younger generation who were coming up behind her.

Where and when did the two of you meet? What was the first thing that you noticed about her?

That’s a funny story. We met in the fall of 1989. We met in a women’s therapy group. Jeanne was always asked, “Oh, was it a lesbian therapy group?” And she had to admit, “No.” It was actually a straight therapy group. She joined the group because she had been referred to this particular therapist who was doing work that she needed to do. She also joked that she had slept with most of the lesbian therapists in Los Angeles. She had boundary issues.

The first time we met, I had just come back from South Africa. My dad had been very ill. I walked back into the group and the group was very charming and kind… except for this one new person who was sitting there wearing a hat and boots and had completely different energy than everybody else in the group. She leaned forward very intently and looked at me and said, “Well, do you have closure with your father?” And I was like, “Who is this person and how dare she asking me such an honest, strong, clearly purposeful question?” And that’s how I noticed her.

What happened after that? How did you guys keep noticing one another?

After therapy group, all these women, or several of the women from the therapy group would go out to Marie Callender’s down the street and go for coffee. I kept noticing that me and this woman were the last two always there. We were having the most interesting conversations, we were closing down Marie Callender’s at whatever time they closed. 11:00 PM, I guess. While ordering a whole bunch of cornbread, it became clear that we were really interested in each other even though we were in a therapy group where you were supposed to not be having any kind of romantic entanglements with your fellow group members. For me, it was the fact that we started out being friends first, that was really important. I was newly coming out, and about 13 years younger than Jeanne. She was famous in the community; she had a reputation. There were lots of stories about her. It was probably better that I didn’t know any of them when I met her.

What were your shared values?

Community and giving back to something larger than yourself. We also shared values around standing up against injustice, and the importance of being a part of a movement that may change and brought people together. I think that Jeanne talked often about her work coming out of her own oppressions. I think she came out of being butch and Chicana in so many ways; different and struggling in her own family and struggling in the world. For me, I think, my attraction and connection to social justice came out of difficulties in my childhood and empathy from that that. So those combined values was always us seeing how we felt it was necessary to be of service in a way. To also step up and stand up for other folks.

Katrina Schaffer

“It is the wonderful work that they do collecting together all this information on all the different groups nationally and internationally that are applying social justice values to how they address the different problems that LGBT communities have.”

Tell us how you learned about Astraea.

I was drawn to the Astraea Foundation, at first, through a number of different, smaller grassroots local, queer and lesbian and trans groups and organizations with which I was involved. I went to their events and would often see Astraea as part of the groups that it had funded it. It offers small, struggling groups funding when it’s hard for them to get funding elsewhere.

The name had been on my radar for almost 15 years, since I was in my younger 20s. It was definitely a group that I had heard about and became more familiar with. And as I went into more donor organizing work, it was definitely a group that was coming up that had great social justice values and principles that they based their funding around. When I looked to open up my giving some more, that was one of the groups that I was excited to look into.

Can you talk a little bit about your background?

I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, went to school in upstate New York where I studied art and video, and moved to New York City, where I lived for about 12 years. I mostly did camera work on documentaries about LGBT rights and documenting events and different actions for various projects, mainly a project that used to be around called Dyke TV in Brooklyn. I then decided to shift some gears and went into teaching. I worked at a school for the deaf as a teaching assistant and considering getting a teaching degree as I learned more about deaf community.

All the while, had always been very interested in animation and decided to move west to Los Angeles to get into the stop-motion animation world, and that’s where I’ve been for the last couple of years. I’ve also been involved in a number of other organizations and I would say that’s where my connection to social justice work tends to be.

What is it about Astraea that made you want to fund the work?

One part of it is the wonderful work that they do collecting together all this information on all the different groups nationally and internationally that are applying social justice values to how they address the different problems that LGBT communities have. There’s so much to learn about, So I’m really appreciative to have a group like the Astraea Foundation that is coming from a social justice standpoint and looking at LGBT rights, and involving intersectionality and a lot of that kind of analysis to find those groups. I can put my support into Astraea and know that it’s going to different groups like that. That makes me really comfortable giving money to them and to support the work that they do.

Fawzia Mirza

Fawzia Mirza uses performance, personal storytelling, and comedy to break down stereotypes across a multiplicity of identities: race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender.

Tell us a bit about yourself: What’s your name? Where do you call home? How do you identify?

My name is Fawzia Mirza. Chicago is home. Los Angeles can be home. Asheville, NC can also be home. I identify as a Pakistani, Muslim, woman, queer and lesbian human.

How did you learn about Astraea?

I first heard about Astraea six years ago when I started connecting to the Chicago grants community while producing the documentary Fish Out of Water.

We’re thrilled that you became an Astraea donor earlier this year. Can you tell us something that contributed to your decision to financially support our efforts?

As an artist and a queer person, I have had to overcome a lot of creative, community, and financial hurdles to get to a place where I could grasp my identity, create my work, and harness my voice. When I got to a place where I have gotten stable and I received an artist grant from a Chicago organization, 3 Arts, it felt time to give back and support other groups doing work I admire.

You’re a writer and performer, who also has a background in law––we loved your in work Jen Richards’ Her Story. Kudos on the Emmy nod! What are you currently working on? How have parts of your identity, shaped your work?

I loved working on Her Story, it was beautiful creatively, changed my life, and gave me a group of friends I adore. I just finished filming my first feature film, Signature Move, which I co-wrote, -produced and am starring in. It will be world premiering at film festivals in 2017. The film was a Tribeca Film Institute All Access Fellow and received the Tribeca/Labodigital/Los Cabos Film Festival post production grant. We’re screening a rough cut in Mexico in November of the film as part of the grant! I have a short documentary, The Streets Are Ours: Two Lives Cross In Karachi, in post-production. You can see screenings of my newest short comedic film, Spunkle, all over the country including Reeling and Chicago South Asian in Chicago.

Coming out stories surrounding gender and sexuality are par for the LGBTQI course. At Astraea, we’re always interested in an additional type of ‘coming out’ narrative–those ‘lightbulb’ moments when a person becomes aware of the need for change, and their capacity to affect it.

I was performing my one woman show Me, My Mom & Sharmila in Pakistan last year. It was overall a life-changing experience for me. And I often either suffer from imposter syndrome or wonder, ‘Does anyone hear me?’ or ‘Does this matter?’ A young Pakistani woman who’d seen my show found me on Facebook and sent me a message. She said she came up to me after the show but was too scared to talk to me because if she opened her mouth she might cry; that she had been confused about her identity and her feelings her whole life, that seeing me on stage made her feel less crazy and less alone. She said she didn’t think she could talk to anyone about this. And that this was the first time she’d admitted it. And that she was coming out to me. That moment solidified in my mind why I do this work, that there is great capacity for change, even if for one human being.

Do you find that art and activism are intricately connected in your own life? If so, how?

YES! I call it ARTivism. There’s great power and awesomeness in art, comedy and storytelling as a way to reach people. Comedy is powerful in breaking down stereotypes across race, gender, sexual orientation, class, religion. I mean, if you can laugh with someone, the opportunity for connection and conversation is that much greater.

Feel free to share anything else about yourself regarding your connection to Astraea and your willingness to stay engaged with us.

Astraea has powerful, strong, beautiful voices within it. I feel grateful to be able to support in any way I can. I believe in manifesting the thing you want. Supporting Astraea means supporting a mission I believe in and supporting a community I want to be a part of.

Denise Kleis and Mary Beth Salerno

Like many donors, Denise and Mary Beth place confidence in Astraea’s knowledge of the issues and longstanding relationships with organizations on the ground.

Denise Kleis, a human resources executive, and Mary Beth Salerno, a veteran of corporate philanthropy, met in the early years of the women’s movement and have been together since 1979. Denise and Mary Beth believe strongly in Astraea’s mission and have supported the foundation since the late eighties. “I first heard about Astraea from one of its founders, and at that time, there weren’t many other organizations focusing exclusively on lesbian issues,” Mary Beth explained. “We thought that pooling our modest resources with others through Astraea was a terrific way to support issues that we cared a lot about; and we knew that if people like us didn’t support this work, how could we expect others to support it?”

Like many donors, Denise and Mary Beth place confidence in Astraea’s knowledge of the issues and longstanding relationships with organizations on the ground. Over the years, they felt fortunate to be able to increase their giving. There is so much “excellent work being done by creative, dedicated people who are coming up with innovative ways to help their communities,” said Denise. “We give to Astraea because of its expertise and leadership in the field of social justice grantmaking, which allows us to support global LGBTI social justice in a way that we just couldn’t accomplish on our own.”

Both women believe there are many different ways to be an Astraea supporter, one of which is to spread the word to others who might not be familiar with Astraea’s work. On a few occasions when they have celebrated an important birthday or anniversary, Denise and Mary Beth have suggested that their friends and family support Astraea in lieu of giving gifts. They share the conviction with the people in their lives that giving back to the worldwide community is important, since it is only by working together that we will be able to bring to life the vision of a more just world.

When discussing a vision for the future, this dynamic and dedicated couple echoes each other. They envision a world in which there is significantly more equality for LGBTI communities across the globe, less poverty and more tolerance of difference. Mary Beth and Denise believe in Astraea’s ability to make the necessary inroads, helping to transform their vision into reality.