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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 23, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 12
SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Kris Hermanns, Pride Foundation's new executive director
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SGN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Kris Hermanns, Pride Foundation's new executive director

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

Since 1985, the Pride Foundation has been a staple in Seattle's LGBT philanthropic community. As an organization that strives to inspire a culture of generosity, their influence is far-reaching, as they not only service Washington, but as far north as Alaska and as far east as Montana. The Pride Foundation envisions a world that honors diversity, fosters mutual respect, and celebrates complete equality.

It takes a strong and dedicated leader to take the reins of such an organization. The Pride Foundation Board of Directors believes they have found that person in Kris Hermanns, and recently hired her as executive director.

A self-described 'country girl' from rural Wisconsin, Hermanns has nearly two decades of experience and expertise as a program manager, fundraiser, and non-profit administrator. Before joining the Pride Foundation, Hermanns was the deputy director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, where she led the development department, provided day-to-day internal management of the organization, and advised on strategic direction. Prior to that, she was a program officer with the Rhode Island Foundation, where she created Equity Action, a field-of-interest fund for LGBTQ concerns, and developed the grantmaking program for the Women's Fund of Rhode Island.

As well, Hermanns worked for Brown University's Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service, which builds links between the university and the local nonprofits by developing partnerships that address community-identified needs. She earned a Master's of Education in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from Harvard University and a B.A. in political science from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

In addition to her professional work, Hermanns served on the board of directors of Funders for LGBTQ Issues and is a shareholder in the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. An avid non-fiction reader and sports enthusiast, she is looking forward to further exploring every corner of the Northwest.

Now, Hermanns has arrived in Washington to lead the Pride Foundation during a very important time in the region's LGBT struggle for equality.

'In the three short months since joining Pride Foundation, as the new executive director, I've had a chance to meet many thoughtful and courageous people who are working for LGBTQ equality in the Northwest and beyond,' Hermanns told Seattle Gay News. 'It has been a great honor to hear their stories.'

You can read about some of the stories that touched Hermanns the most during her Montana road trip at www.pridefoundation.org/ed-kris-hermanns-reports-trip-montana.

'There are so many grantees, volunteers, scholars, and donors who have expressed their commitment to LGBTQ equality through their involvement and support of Pride Foundation. It makes joining the team particularly inspiring,' she said.

Prior to starting as executive director, Hermanns told SGN she had always heard very good things about Pride Foundation as a vital convener in the community - bringing together leaders and resources with the ideas and programs that impact the lives of LGBTQ people in places urban, rural, and remote.

'To witness and provide leadership to Pride Foundation's unique model of success through hands-on philanthropy has been humbling,' she said. 'It is further an incredible opportunity to draw attention to and support emerging and existing community issues such as, but certainly not limited to, elder care, Trans health, and youth support, as well as advocacy work throughout the Northwest.'

And across the Northwest, communities are leading LGBTQ advocacy efforts with support from Pride Foundation. 'We know that often it takes legislative and policy work to bring equality to every person and every family,' said Hermanns. 'To answer this call, the Advocacy Fund at Pride Foundation is providing financial support to key efforts that permanently and systemically change the legal landscape for LGBTQ people.'

'From research on voting trends in Montana to voter registration efforts in Anchorage, from testimonials for city legislators in Idaho to story-gathering to impact health policy for Transgender people in Oregon, to campaign interns across Washington leading conversations about the power of love and commitment & the Advocacy Fund stands in solidarity and support with all,' she said.

As a leading partner on the Washington United for Marriage coalition, Pride Foundation is committed to building the momentum needed to win and keep marriage equality on the West Coast.

'Though marriage equality opponents have vowed to restrict the basic rights of LGBTQ people, it would be a major milestone if Washington state becomes the first place in the country to affirm the rights of LGBTQ people through a public vote on marriage equality. Through working closely with our supporters and community partners we hope to be celebrating in eight months,' said Hermanns.

'If the first three months are any indication, my time with Pride Foundation is going to be a transformative experience in the same uplifting way Pride Foundation supporters have transformed the LGBTQ community throughout the Northwest over the past 27 years,' she concluded.

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