Dear Friends, 

I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to reflect on today, what was supposed to happen in the world of JQ, and how it has affected the organization. Tonight, Sunday, May 3rd, was supposed to be JQ’s Impact Awards Dinner, JQ’s annual flagship event.

Each year, we honor a small group of Jewish LGBTQ+ and ally amazing role models at our annual awards event. Holding up our heroes for our youth and young adults to see helps our community members visualize the positive impact their lives can have on the world around us. This is not to be taken lightly as our community and our stories have largely been marginalized and underrepresented even as we began 2020. 

For the last six years, the Impact Awards have been organized as a festive and celebratory garden brunch. A beautiful outdoor experience filled with upbeat music, colorful brunch foods, amazing speeches, and hundreds of community members and supporters of JQ’s transformative programming and lifesaving support services, all gathered together.

As we began to think about the 2020 event, we decided it was time to reimagine the experience.  We had planned to host our first-ever evening community celebration at the beautiful Katz Family Pavilion at Stephen Wise Temple in Bel Air.  We were thrilled to honor four amazing role models: Rabbi Eli Herscher, Michaela Mendelsohn, and Scott Minkow & Bill Deliman. 

While this flagship event is a festive celebration of the heroes in our community, it is also JQ’s annual fundraising event, raising one-third of our annual operating budget. Unfortunately, we are unsure of when it will eventually take place, and without these funds, JQ is deeply affected financially. As the Executive Director and Founder of JQ, I can’t tell you the stress and heartache this has put on me, at an already stressful time for humanity, one where the repercussions are likely to be felt by all of us for a very long time. 

Over the last 6 weeks, our leadership at JQ has worked diligently to pivot our community programming, education, and support services into online, virtual experiences. I am happy to share that JQ has hosted 25 virtual programs and services, reaching over 500 people since March 26. This stands as the single most impactful month of JQ’s work to date. I have never been more proud of our lay leaders, board members, and stakeholders as they have risen to the challenges we are all facing, and made sure our community members were cared for.

With this new virtual initiative, we have found small ways to assist in filling the funding gap, helping JQ over the course of the next year. Our funders and partner organizations like The Jewish Federation, The Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, The Dianne P. and Guilford Glazer Fund, and The Jim Joseph Foundation are stepping up to assist us and other organizations at this challenging time, and we are grateful. However, even with this assistance, the truth is, JQ is hurting and we need your help. 

This Wednesday, May 5, is #GivingTuesdayNOW, a global day of philanthropy and unity taking place as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. The occasion is organized by GivingTuesday, and is being held in addition to the annual GivingTuesday event that will still take place on December 1, 2020.

On this day, we ask those that have donated before, to please make a donation equal to or greater than any donation you have made in the past to support JQ. If you have not yet supported JQ, please consider a donation now. We want to continue to be there for our community, especially at this challenging time, and we need your help to ensure JQ’s sustainability.

JQ will continue to provide dozens of virtual programming options (see events calendar HERE) for our LGBTQ+ and ally Jewish community. As our mantra states, “Whoever you are, whatever you need, we are here for you!” 

We thank all of you for being a part of our JQ family, and we wish you and your loved ones health and happiness!

Shavua tov, 

Asher Gellis
JQ Executive Director