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Pfund

By Lavender June 20, 2008

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For more than 20 years, PFund has been true to its core mission of strengthening and celebrating the GLBT community by providing scholarships and grants, developing leaders, and inspiring giving.

The organization has its roots in four friends who decided to put their money and their mouth in the same place. They pooled $2,000, and invested in the community. Together, they made a difference—a tremendous one.

In April, PFund awarded some $56,225 in student scholarships, the largest amount in its history, at an event called the Moxie Awards. Considering that the organization and recipients have garnered a reputation for being courageous with a touch of swagger and verve, “moxie” seems to be more than appropriate. Suffice it to say, the initial investment of that first group of friends has made a spectacular return on their investment, and created an entire network of friends in the community.

“More than just money, PFund scholarships are a vote of confidence, encouragement, and appreciation,” Amy Johnson, PFund Board President, says.

But the real return on that investment comes back in human terms. Although most of the awards are to individuals and organizations in Minnesota, the effects are seen throughout the Upper Midwest.

According to PFund Executive Director Gregory Grinley, “PFund’s 2008 grantee partners and scholars are doing important work to support and advance equality in GLBT and allied communities throughout our region.”

One of only a very few foundations in the nation created specifically by and for GLBT communities, PFund provides grants to emerging nonprofit organizations and projects that otherwise might not get funded in large organizations.

Jason Howard, who began his involvement with PFund six years ago on the grant review board, found that making awards to a wide array of organizations throughout the area was instrumental in opening his eyes to the greater need and the incredible diversity in the community.

In Howard’s words, “I would have liked to think I was a pretty informed part of the gay community, but after being a part of that board and seeing the minority in that room, I realized that our community is far more diverse and bigger than I thought it was.”

It also opened Howard’s eyes to the number of worthy organizations and scholarship applicants needing help. That epiphany pushed Howard to step up his involvement into fund-raising.

In 2008 alone, PFund awarded $72,000 to 18 organizations in the Upper Midwest—a tremendous amount representing fully a 30 percent increase over 2007—which Grinley gratefully acknowledges is “a testament to the strong support of our foundation from donors.”

Certainly, development has matured for PFund over the past few years, as the organization held a fund-raiser in April that was a well-run celebration making the most of past collaboration with other organizations. PFund also established a program called “Lavender Legacy,” which promotes an easy, meaningful way for donors to designate PFund as a beneficiary for retirement plan assets.

The important work PFund does for the GLBT and allied communities has been receiving much deserved recognition. Last September, the Twin Cities Human Rights Campaign awarded its prestigious Brian Coyle Leadership Award to PFund. In May, Twin Cities Quorum recognized the PFund Foundation as its Non Profit of the Year during the annual Community Leadership Awards.

To see how you can contribute to PFund, go to www.pfundonline.org.

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