Additions to the Delta Foundation Board

Pittsburgh's Delta Foundation recently announced the addition of two new board members.  Cindy Daro was elected by the Foundation membership.  Keri Harmicar was appointed by the existing board members. 

Both were gracious enough to respond to a few questions about their new roles in our community.

1.  What role do you see the Delta Foundation filling for Pittsburgh's LGBTQ community?

KH: I am hopeful that the Delta Foundation will be able to bring the LGBTQI community closer together. By recognizing there are differences in the communities, we should be able to address the overall needs better. The community as it exists now would gain so much more by working together for a (or many) common goals.

 

CJD: The Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh has the potential to become the communication and event planning hub of our region’s LGBTQ community.  Delta has already demonstrated their capabilities to provide community-related events and to raise monies for concerns like the GLCC of Pittsburgh.  The Delta Foundation is raising the bar for other LGBTQ organizations. That’s a good thing.

2.  Why did you apply to serve on the board? 

KH: I am new to Pittsburgh and I wanted to be involved with a group of people that are willing to get out there and make a difference. I saw the Delta Foundation as that group!

 

CJD: I applied because I saw the initiative and teamwork of the Delta Foundation in action.  I wanted to be part of a group that is striving to improve the quality of life for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Community of the Pittsburgh region.  I believe Delta has the capacity to catalyze change and follow through to make it happen. 

3.  Please describe how the current board represents the diversity of Pittsburgh's LGBTQ community.

KH: I feel the current board is reflective of the community as large; I would love to see more diversity at this point as advisors.

 

CJD: The make-up of the Board does not reflect all the letters in the acronym.  But, it is fully capable of representing all of those letters.

4.  What is your personal goal or objective for the duration of your tenure on the board?

KH: As I mentioned earlier, I want to make a difference. I have a lesbian aunt and a close gay cousin. Their lives could have been much easier if they had someone to help them ‘fight’ or stand up. I was too young at the time, but you can believe I am most definitely in their corners now. The labeling that I see in both the straight world and the LGBTQI world is so destructive. I want people to know people; to understand we are all the same. We all want/need/deserve love, respect and opportunity.

 

CJD: My main goal is to be a team player.  Additionally, I have a heart for spirituality, women’s issues, and problems faced by queer youth.  My dream is to help make the Pittsburgh region a safe place to be openly LGBTQ.  It won’t happen overnight and I can’t do it alone.

5.  What role should the Delta Foundation play in relationship to other LGBTQ organizations, specifically the GLCC?

KH: Delta is relatively new to this; they (we) are committed to bringing the entire community together to accomplish so much more. I am hopeful that the GLCC and the Delta will find some commonality.

 

CJD: Delta is currently in the process of tuning relationships with other LGBTQ organizations.  As to their role with the GLCC, that’s something which needs to be determined between both entities. 

6.  The Delta Foundation is very connected to Pittsburgh's gay bar scene, which leans heavily toward gay men.  How do you see the organization stepping out of that paradigm to meet the needs of other segments of the community?

KH: I think its natural that the Delta Foundation is so heavily connected to the ‘bar scene’; it is where most of the members came from! That being said, there is so much more we as a Board hope and plan to accomplish out of the bars….we’ll get thereJ

 

CJD: Delta knows the bar scene.  It’s smart to capitalize on what you know at the onset.  That’s one of the keys to success.  They also see the big picture.  As time goes on, the bar scene will be just be another faucet of the Delta Foundation.  Even now, the face of Delta is morphing: one of the new projects we’re sponsoring is Potluck Productions “Funny Grrlz: Laugh OUT Loud.”  That’s happening on Saturday, June 14th at the Carnegie Library of Homestead Music Hall.  I’m really looking forward to it.    

7.  People have recently been quoted as saying Pittsburgh's LGBTQ community needs to be united or to work together.  Can you identify any recent local examples of gay unity or cooperation (outside of the Delta Foundation) that inspire you to continue along that path?

KH: I know many members of the Renaissance Choir and I admire the work they do together. The company I work for (Borders) is very supportive of diversity and we recently were awarded one of the highest honors from the Human Rights Campaign for our work environment for LGBTQI. I am proud of that and I hope to have all of the stores I work with reflect that position.

 

CJD: Speaking from my personal experience, I’d say the Renaissance City Choirs show how LGBTQ and straight people can work together in musical unison.  Susan Haugh’s queer youth performing arts troupe, Dreams of Hope, shows how creative expression connects people (in general) and educates the straight community.  Others successful collective efforts include Celebrate Art/Celebrate Life and Pittsburgh Pride, which show our teamwork in presenting benefits/celebrations for our community and the community at large. 

8. Beyond members of the Delta Foundation, please list at least one local LGBTQ leader who should always be at the table?

KH: I think as a Board, we are very open to suggestions from the community; if someone felt they had a thought or an idea to share, I know we would welcome their contribution.

 

CJD: I don’t know that the Delta Board needs to have leaders from other organizations at their meetings.  I guess it would depend on the project du jour.  I do believe there should be an annual or periodic meeting, of all LGBTQ leaders – a summit – to ensure that the ‘collective community’ is presenting a healthy perspective to the community at large. 

9. How long do you plan to serve on the board?

KH: My term is for two years.

 

CJD: My term expires in August of 2009.  I will serve as long as they need me, and as long as I think I am adding value to the organization.

I appreciate both women taking the time to answer my questions, poorly crafted as they (my questions) were.  Increasing the number of women on the board is a step toward diversifying leadership and I hope the organization continues to move forward in that direction. 

What do you think?