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News Release - June 22, 2010

Tyler Davis, Communications Director
858-225-8700

Echoing Green To Fund Empowering Spirits For 2 Years, ESF President A. Latham Staples Named 2010 Fellow

SAN DIEGO, CA — Empowering Spirits Foundation, Inc. (ESF) announced today it has been selected to receive two years of funding by Echoing Green, an angel investor in social entrepreneurial organizations. The selection caps off a six month selection period that saw only 16 social change ventures selected from over 1,000 applicants.

ESF, a nationwide civil rights organization focusing on social justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals, was the only grantee selected from the category of “Civil & Human Rights” when its founder and current President and CEO A. Latham Staples was named a 2010 Echoing Green fellow for “enacting innovative solutions that address root causes to social problems.”

“We found both the mission and the approach of Mr. Staples and his organization to be refreshing and timely,” said Cheryl L. Dorsey, Echoing Green President. “It takes courage and grace to work alongside someone who fundamentally disagrees with you. Through ESF’s community service programs they are engaging in work everyone can agree on and be passionate about. Mr. Staples and his organization are creating a common ground, a new tool in creating social justice.”

“We are thrilled to have been selected by Echoing Green,” added Staples. “We’ve spent a lot of our time these past few months establishing wonderful partnerships across the country as we build a foundation for success to foster an understanding of the LGBT community through our service events. Echoing Green’s assistance will only allow us to grow the foundation at a faster pace and impact more communities.”

ESF is currently gearing up for its national Proud Hearts Reach Out service events to be held across 103 cities October 9th and 10th. Initial funding from Echoing Green will go toward the purchase of tools and supplies for these events.

ESF works to change the hearts and minds of those who do not traditionally favor LGBT equality by coordinating or participating in various projects within local communities, including neighborhood revitalizations, housing builds, canned food drives, and environmental cleanups. Many times ESF will actively seek out partners in these endeavors from within the communities of faith, as they are often engaged in similar activities. By working hand in hand, doing necessary and important work, ESF volunteers are able to interact with and get to know people who are not generally supportive of LGBT equality, and vice-versa.

ESF believes it is in these partnerships that true change happens.

Staples believes “It’s hard to hate someone when they’re working right next to you, sweating just as hard as you, doing work that changes other peoples’ lives. That’s what ESF is all about, empowering spirits for change.”

It is precisely these projects that Echoing Green’s grant is going to help facilitate.

Each of the Echoing Green fellows receive funding over two years for their organizations, health insurance and other benefits, strategic planning and personal leadership support, legal and financial modeling assistance, as well as mentoring from Echoing Green’s network of alumni and other leading social change professionals. Echoing Green fellows also attend a series of conferences throughout the year which include educational workshops and access to experts in the field.

Echoing Green, a global non-profit, received 1,082 social business plans from around the world. The fellows spent nearly eight months answering essays, and roughly 200 experts and Echoing Green supporters interviewed the fellows over a series of months. According to Dorsey the fellows “represent some of the most promising leaders and ideas working today in the social sector.”

Since 1987 Echoing Green has invested over $28 million in 471 fellows, including last year’s fellow Barbara Bush, daughter of former U.S. President George W. Bush.

A full list of the 2010 Echoing Green fellows can be viewed at www.echoinggreen.org.

About the Empowering Spirits Foundation, Inc.
The Empowering Spirits Foundation, Inc. (ESF), a national 501(c)(3) non-profit, is a non-partisan civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality through community service activities. Since its inception ESF has been taking the struggle for LGBT equality into the next era by fostering non-confrontational dialogue with individuals and institutions that may have not previously supported LGBT populations. Instead of attempting to change laws ESF strives to change the hearts and minds of those who are generally ignored by existing LGBT organizations.

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ESF Mission Statement

To dispel the negative stereotypes of the LGBT community and realize a society that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all through service-oriented activities designed to foster non-confrontational dialogue with our non-LGBT neighbors.


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