Friday, October 23, 2020

Claudia Castillo and Irwin Drucker Appointed to GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors

                                                                                         

Date: October 23, 2020                    

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

Media Contact:                                                              
Keith Blackburn                                          
954-534-3500
Keith@gflglcc.org

Announcing Two New GFLGLCC Board Members

Wilton Manors, Florida) – October 23, 2020– The GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce the appointment of two new board members -- Claudia Castillo (Claudia Castillo ART Studioand Irwin Drucker (Diversitas). Each of them comes with unique backgrounds and experiences. Together, they will bring a wealth of knowledge to the board of directors. Irwin and Claudia join Keith Blackburn (President & CEO of the GFLGLCC), Lenny Brooks (SERVPRO of Fort Lauderdale South), James Senior (Edward Jones Investments), and RT Good (Lynn University, College of Business and Management) who currently serve on the Board.

Collectively, the 2020-2021 board of directors will focus on the continued challenges our community and businesses are facing following the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, they will be focused on the upcoming NGLCC - National LGBT Chamber of Commerce's International Business and Leadership Conference, which takes place next summer at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Greater Fort Lauderdale.  

"We are thrilled to have Irwin and Claudia join our board. I've known and worked with both of them over the past years and they will each bring a unique quality to the board and our chamber" says Keith Blackburn, GFLGLCC President, and CEO. 

About Irwin Drucker:
Irwin Drucker has lived in South Florida since 1983. Irwin is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and received his MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. He joined IBM’s global software procurement organization in 1983, eventually becoming Director of Global Software Sourcing. In late 1999, Irwin joined IBM’s Global Supplier Diversity team, where he established the first LGBT supplier diversity program in the world and was appointed its first Director. He was instrumental in the establishment of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), and served on its Board of Directors, as Chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Board, from 2008 to 2017, after having first-chaired both the Corporate Advisory Council and the Procurement Council of the NGLCC, from 2003 to 2008. 

In recognition of his accomplishments, Irwin received the first “LGBT Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year” Award from the NGLCC in 2007, and the first NGLCC “Legacy Award” in 2017. In 2003, Irwin’s responsibilities at IBM were expanded, and he assumed responsibility for IBM’s supplier diversity program launch and coordination across all diversity segments outside the US. From 2010 to 2013, Irwin was a member of the Board of Directors of The Pride Center (the LGBT Community Center of Greater Fort Lauderdale) serving as Chair of their Development Committee. In 2011, Irwin received the Multicultural Leadership Award from the Florida Diversity Council.

Irwin retired from IBM in May 2012 and spent 3 years as the Executive Director of PYP Foundation, a non-profit organization that focused on improved HIV Awareness, Education, and Prevention for young people ages 18-29. In April of 2015, Irwin joined WOSH, an NGLCC-certified LGBTBE, where he served as the Chief Compliance and Procurement Officer, until July 2018.

In August of 2018, Irwin launched a new venture, Diversitas, a boutique consulting practice dedicated to assisting businesses that are certified as diverse-owned and operated (by either WBENC, NMSDC, NGLCC, or a similar entity) to maximize their growth potential. Diversitas offers a wide range of consulting services, including Business Development, Supplier Diversity, Procurement, and Strategic Sourcing, Compliance, and Corporate Social Responsibility (Diversity & Inclusion, Sustainability, and Corporate Philanthropy).

In July of 2019, Irwin was named one of Business Equality Magazine’s “Fifty Over Fifty Legacy Leaders” in recognition of his “pioneering and transformational work in establishing the world’s first LGBT supplier diversity program.”

In January of 2020, Irwin expanded the scope of Diversitas even further, when he became the SVP & Chief Diversity Officer of one of his clients’ firms, Acronym Media Inc.

About Claudia Castillo:
Claudia was born in Colombia and educated in the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogota. She sought additional art studies in the Finishing School, NY; Frank Monaco Gallery, the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, and the National University of Colombia. 

Claudia’s art is a process of transformation that starts with an inspired idea from the emotions evoked from nature, earth, and water. The outcome is instinctive and spontaneous: simply colors and forms. Claudia’s work draws upon emotions and feelings to create her own sense of realism which is a transformative abstraction reflecting her unique reality of continual change. 

She founded Claudia Castillo ART studio, a boutique art gallery in the heart of Wilton Manors providing a unique variety of quality original artwork, gifts, and collectibles for everyone. 

Claudia is passionate about helping her community and volunteers for many causes. Claudia’s affiliations include the City of Wilton Manors Wilton Drive Improvement District committee board member since 2017, Island City art advisory committee board member since 2017, Wilton Art board member since 2019, Broward Art Guild, since 2015, American Association of Interior Designers since 2004, Wilton Manors Business Association since 2017, President & Founder, Wall Covering Installers Association, Miami | International Chapter since 2015, Arts United since 2018 and a member of the GFLGLCC since 2017.

About GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce:
The GFLGLCC is a 501 C (6) Non-Profit independent organization affiliated with the NGLCC – National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, dedicated to promoting business and economic opportunities for the LGBT and LGBT-friendly community in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. To be an advocate and resource for all member businesses that promote equality and to promote tourism with a unified approach, by working with appropriate and related organizations.

About NGLCC - National LGBT Chamber of Commerce:
The NGLCC is the business advocate and direct link between lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) business owners, corporations, and government, representing the interests of more than 1.4 million LGBT businesses and entrepreneurs. The NGLCC is committed to forming a broad-based coalition of LGBT owned and friendly businesses, professionals, and major corporations for the purpose of promoting economic growth and the prosperity of our members.

For more information about the GFLGLCC, or to become a member please visit www.gogayfortlauderdale.com or contact Keith Blackburn at 954-523-3500 or via email at Keith@gflglcc.org for media coverage, press kits, membership kits, and live interview requests.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

THE GFLGLCC ANNOUNCES 2019 CHAMBER HERO AWARD WINNERS

Chamber Hero Awards to be presented by Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean J. Trantalis

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla (August 21, 2019) - The Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce has chosen 5 outstanding members to receive the inaugural Chamber Hero Award. The awards will be presented by Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean J. Trantalis at a luncheon event which takes place at the new Wild Thyme Oceanside Eatery on September 5th. The event is sponsored by Capital One. Everyone is welcome, but advance registration is required. Details and registration links are located by clicking here.

The 2019 Chamber Hero Awards will be presented to:
  • Jungle Queen Riverboats – Jeffrey Kaplan
  • Northwestern Mutual Striano Financial Group – Linda Buccilli
  • Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitor’s Bureau – Richard Gray
  • Freedom Travel – Richard Safaty
  • Reyka Vodka – Paola London
"Jungle Queen Riverboats has shown support for our chamber and the LGBT+ community by hosting our annual holiday parties for the past 3 years in a row. The 4th one is scheduled for this December. Not only has Jungle Queen Riverboats donated the boat and crew, but Jeff and his team have always been there to greet our members and to personally assist" said Keith Blackburn, President & CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

"Linda and Northwestern Mutual has supported the chamber and is the exclusive presenting sponsor of our quarterly breakfast events. Linda has been an amazing ally to our community. In addition to the chamber, she has supported fundraisers, like the annual Bowling to Fight Hunger, Florida AIDS Walk and more said Keith Blackburn, President / CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

"Our partnership with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau - CVB is critical to our tourism-related efforts. The CVB partnership supports our chamber and our LGBT+ Visitor Center. With the CVB's partnership and Richard's personal commitment, along with the full support of his CEO, Stacy Ritter we have been able to make a huge impact" said Keith Blackburn, President / CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

"Soon after Freedom Travel joined the chamber, we were strategizing how to create a unique experience while raising money for the chamber.  Rich quickly got approval from Celebrity Cruises to host a Sunday lunch on the Celebrity Silhouette. This event was used to showcase our first chamber cruise, which sets sail on September 7th on the Celebrity Equinox" said Keith Blackburn, President / CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

"I first met Paola in 2015 when I was planning the Welcome Reception for the NGLCC International Business and Leadership Conference, which took place in Fort Lauderdale. The event was huge with 1000+ expected attendees. Paola and her team donated the product and created an amazing and unforgettable Reyka Waterfall. That event led to our ongoing partnership, with Reyka Vodka as our monthly mixer sponsor" said Keith Blackburn, President / CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

# # #

About the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce - GFLGLCC

The GFLGLCC is a 501 C (6) Non-Profit independent organization affiliated with the NGLCC – National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, dedicated to promoting business and economic opportunities for the LGBT and LGBT-friendly community in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. To be an advocate and resource for all member businesses that promote equality and to promote tourism with a unified approach, by working with appropriate and related organizations.

For more information, contact the GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce at +1-954-523-3500 or visit www.GFLGLCC.org. Get social and engage with Greater Fort Lauderdale on social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter

PRESS CONTACT:
Keith Blackburn, 954-523-3500 / Keith@gflglcc.org






Wednesday, August 14, 2019

NGLCC - NATIONAL LGBT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE AS HOST DESTINATION FOR 2021 NGLCC INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS & LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE

World’s Largest LGBT Business Event Brings Thought Leaders Together to Greater Fort Lauderdale

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (August 14, 2019) – The National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) has chosen Greater Fort Lauderdale as the host destination for the 2021 NGLCC International Business and Leadership Conference, the world’s largest LGBT business event. The event will take place on August 8-14, 2021 at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida.

“We are thrilled to bring our 2021 International Business & Leadership Conference to the cosmopolitan Greater Fort Lauderdale and the beautiful Diplomat Beach Resort,” said Justin Nelson, co-founder, and president of NGLCC. “The destination not only offers a thriving LGBT scene, but it also offers event organizers and attendees with stunning beaches and a variety of world-class museums, culinary experiences, and unique attractions.”

“We last hosted the NGLCC in 2015 and are extremely excited to be bringing them back again in 2021,” said Keith Blackburn, president, and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Greater Fort Lauderdale is the LGBT capital of Florida, has the highest concentration of same-sex couple households in the country and has hundreds of gay-owned and operated businesses. The destination also welcomes 1.5 million LGBT travelers annually and has been proactively targeting and welcoming the LGBT market since 1996.

“Greater Fort Lauderdale is very proud to be seen as one of the global leaders in welcoming LGBT travelers, and we are very much looking forward to hosting NGLCC attendees in our destination where diversity shines,” said Stacy Ritter, president, and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to the largest LGBT business organization in Broward County, the GFLGLCC – Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce.  The GFLGLCC also operates an LGBT+ Visitor Center, located in the heart of Wilton Manors.

More than 1,400 LGBT and allied business leaders will gather for innovative leadership programming, networking and engagement opportunities. Greater Fort Lauderdale served as the host destination for the 2015 NGLCC International Business & Leadership Conference.

“We are thrilled to welcome back NGLCC for another fantastic conference,” said Richard Gray, senior vice president of Diversity & Inclusion of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We strongly value our partnership with NGLCC, and we look forward to wowing all the thought leaders and attendees at this globally recognized conference on our sunny shores.”

The NGLCC International Business and Leadership Conference will include workshops, seminars, performances, panels, entertainment and more. Attendees will also have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the destination.

“Greater Fort Lauderdale is world-renowned as a progressive destination and understands the importance of the LGBT traveler and LGBT business community,” said Chance Mitchell, co-founder, and CEO of NGLCC. “It is the perfect fit to bring our conference to Greater Fort Lauderdale, where attendees will learn about business success, make new connections, and hear from inspiring and unforgettable keynote speakers in a truly authentic, welcoming and inclusive destination.”
 
# # #

About the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce - GFLGLCC

GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce:
The GFLGLCC is a 501 C (6) Non-Profit independent organization affiliated with the NGLCC – National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, dedicated to promoting business and economic opportunities for the LGBT and LGBT-friendly community in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. To be an advocate and resource for all member businesses that promote equality and to promote tourism with a unified approach, by working with appropriate and related organizations.

For more information, contact the GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce at +1-954-523-3500 or visit www.GFLGLCC.org. Get social and engage with Greater Fort Lauderdale on social media channels including Facebook and Twitter

PRESS CONTACT:
Keith Blackburn, 954-523-3500 / Keith@gflglcc.org

Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce Rebrands as the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce

Date: January 20, 2018                                                                                                                
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

Media Contact:                                                              
Keith Blackburn                                          
954-534-3500
Keith@gflglcc.org

Name Change Fully Reflects the Community we Serve

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce that as of today, we will shorten our name to its acronym “GFLGLCC” and be officially known as the “Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce.” This change, which is accompanied by an organizational visual rebranding, moves to better include the bisexual and transgender members of the LGBT business community for which we've advocated over the past 6 years.

Since our founding, we have been dedicated to advancing economic opportunities for all members of the LGBT+ community, and it's time for our name to reflect that commitment. While our name may be changing, our mission always remains the same: securing economic opportunity and prosperity for the LGBT business community in Greater Fort Lauderdale and beyond.

We have already begun with our rebrand on our website, Facebook page, and Twitter.  Over the next few weeks, you can expect more updates. In the meantime, we encourage you to share our news with your networks and across social media. We're excited to embark on this new chapter together.

 “In an effort to show our inclusiveness, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce decided to change its name to fully reflect the valued participation of bisexual and transgender members of our community,” says Keith Blackburn, President and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce. “While our name has changed, the mission has not: The Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce will continue to serve the needs of the LGBT-owned and LGBT-allied business community and to advocate for the economic interests of the LGBT community.”

Along with the name change, the Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce unveiled a new logo and revamped website.

 The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce recently changed its name for similar reasons. It’s now known as the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
 
About GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce:
The GFLGLCC is a 501 C (6) Non-Profit independent organization affiliated with the NGLCC – National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, dedicated to promoting business and economic opportunities for the LGBT and LGBT-friendly community in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. To be an advocate and resource for all member businesses that promote equality and to promote tourism with a unified approach, by working with appropriate and related organizations.

About NGLCC - National LGBT Chamber of Commerce:
The NGLCC is the business advocate and direct link between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) business owners, corporations, and government, representing the interests of more than 1.4 million LGBT businesses and entrepreneurs. The NGLCC is committed to forming a broad-based coalition of LGBT owned and friendly businesses, professionals, and major corporations for the purpose of promoting economic growth and the prosperity of our members.

For more information about the GFLGLCC, or to become a member, please visit www.gogayfortlauderdale.com or contact Keith Blackburn at 954-523-3500 or via email at: Keith@gflglcc.org for media coverage, press kits, membership kits and live interview requests.


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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is Moving to Wilton Manors, Florida

Date: January 10, 2018                                                                                                                
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   

Media Contact:                                                              
Keith Blackburn                                          
954-534-3500
Keith@gflglcc.org
GoGayFortLauderdale@gmail.com

Expansion Plans Include a Visitor Center and Member Office Space
      
(Wilton Manors, Florida) – January 10, 2018– Six years after they moved into office space located at 4044 NE 7th Avenue in Oakland Park, Florida, the chamber is excited to announce its expansion and move to Wilton Manors, Florida. 

The 1,200sf space at 2300 NE 7th Avenue in Wilton Manors was previously occupied by J Miles and most recently, Al & Chuck Travel.  It is located behind Sun Serve and next to The Shoppes of Wilton Manors. The move will take place later this month.

"We are thrilled to be able to transition into office space that will bring real value to our business community," says Keith Blackburn, GFLGLCC President and CEO.  The new space will house the chambers offices, conference and meeting space where members can meet clients and more.

"Through an open floor design, we will provide our members with space to collaborate, connect and grow their business. By using the modern work environment we will reduce the footprint required for staff work and provide work, meeting and conference space for member programming and services."

Opening later this year, plans are underway for an LGBT focused Visitor Center, which will assist tourists and spur business in the community. Once open, the center will operate in front of the office space.  

About GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce:
The GFLGLCC is a 501 C (6) Non-Profit independent organization affiliated with the NGLCC – National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, dedicated to promoting business and economic opportunities for the LGBT and LGBT-friendly community in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. To be an advocate and resource for all member businesses that promotes equality and to promote tourism with a unified approach, by working with appropriate and related organizations.

About NGLCC - National LGBT Chamber of Commerce:
The NGLCC is the business advocate and direct link between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) business owners, corporations, and government, representing the interests of more than 1.4 million LGBT businesses and entrepreneurs. The NGLCC is committed to forming a broad-based coalition of LGBT owned and friendly businesses, professionals, and major corporations for the purpose of promoting economic growth and the prosperity of our members.

For more information about the GFLGLCC, or to become a member please visit www.gogayfortlauderdale.com or contact Keith Blackburn at 954-523-3500 or via email at Keith@gflglcc.org for media coverage, press kits, membership kits, and live interview requests.

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Friday, August 4, 2017

Wells Fargo and NGLCC Award $2,000 Grant to the GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce

August 3, 2017 


Fort Lauderdale, FL – The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community, awarded the Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce with a $2,000 Chamber Development Grant for its Business Connect program at the 2017 International Business & Leadership Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and administered by the NGLCC, this grant is awarded to support and provide increased visibility to the LGBT Business Summit. The main goal of the program is to foster the development, growth, and sustainability of NGLCC’s 1,000 certified LGBT Business Enterprises® (LGBTBEs®). 

“The NGLCC is excited to see the Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce grow as an organization and a voice in the LGBT owned and allied businesses community,” said Sam McClure, NGLCC Senior Vice President. They have shown tremendous growth in the size of their business membership and outreach programs, embodying the mission that NGLCC has continuously strived for.” 

“Wells Fargo is a proud, long-time supporter of NGLCC, and we share their commitment to helping small business owners succeed financially,” said Lisa Stevens, Wells Fargo head of Small Business. “We are dedicated to providing funding that will support their entrepreneurship and leadership training programs, along with educational tools and resources to help diverse-owned business in communities across America grow and thrive.” 

“The Business Connect Program has become a vital resource to our members as they expand their businesses and engage in long term growth,” said Keith Blackburn, President and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber. “The program furthers our mission of supporting our members through business growth, education, and advocacy. We are thrilled to receive this generous grant from Wells Fargo and NGLCC which will allow us to expand and enrich our program.” 

ABOUT BUSINESS CONNECT:


ABOUT NGLCC: 
The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC is the exclusive certification body for LGBT-owned businesses. www.nglcc.org | @NGLCC 

ABOUT WELLS FARGO: 
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $2 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo serves approximately 3 million small business owners across the United States and loans more money to America’s small businesses than any other bank (2016 SBA government data). To help more small businesses achieve financial success, in 2014 Wells Fargo introduced Wells Fargo Works for Small Business® – a broad initiative to deliver resources, guidance and services for business owners – and a goal to extend $100 billion in new lending to small businesses by 2018. For more information about Wells Fargo Works for Small Business, visit: WellsFargoWorks.com. Follow us on Twitter @WellsFargoWorks. 

ABOUT GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE GAY & LESBIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: 
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce was founded in 2011. Our mission is to promote business and economic opportunities for the LGBT and LGBT-friendly community, be an advocate and resource for all member businesses that promote equality, and promote tourism with a unified approach by working with appropriate and related organizations. 

MEDIA CONTACTS: 
Jonathan Lovitz 
Senior Vice President, NGLCC 
954-695-5896 

Keith Blackburn 
President and CEO, GFLGLCC 

954-523-3500 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The GFLGLCC and TWO Slams Fort Lauderdale Mayor for his Arrogant Sponsorship of Prayer Breakfast Featuring Anti-LGBT Hate Group Leader

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Contact: Wayne Besen
Phone: 917-691-5118

Prayer Breakfast Promoter, the National Christian Foundation, is Key Funder for Anti-LGBT Right Wing Groups, says Truth Wins Out

FORT LAUDERDALE – Truth Wins Out slammed Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler today as “arrogant and disingenuous” for his refusal to back out of an offensive prayer breakfast where a notorious anti-LGBT activist, Focus on the Family’s president, Jim Daly, will be a featured speaker. The organization behind the event, the National Christian Foundation, is a primary source of funds for virulently anti-LGBT activity at home and abroad, according to Truth Wins Out’s research arm, The Center Against Religious Extremism (TWOCARE).

“Jack Seiler has hopped in bed with bigots and ignored the billions of dollars they spend to discriminate," said Keith Blackburn, President and CEO of the GFLGLCC - Greater Fort Lauderdale Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and Truth Wins Out Board President. “This reckless and self-serving move harms Fort Lauderdale’s reputation as a top LGBT tourist destination that celebrates diversity.”

“The pre-event media coverage will likely ensure that the Fort Lauderdale Prayer Breakfast is scrubbed of its most extreme rhetoric,” said Truth Wins Out Executive Director Wayne Besen. “Don’t be fooled by the Potemkin Village of Prayer designed to obscure that the group behind the event, National Christian Foundation, has long been the financial lifeblood of the anti-LGBT movement. It is outrageous and appalling that Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler has deliberately ignored this history and given these toxic people the benefit of the doubt.”   

Indeed, Truth Wins Out has meticulously catalogued an encyclopedia of the National Christian Foundation’s anti-LGBT giving history. Since its founding in 1982, the NCF has given out over $5 billion in grant money, and over $2.5 billion of that went out in a five year period, from 2009-2013. By 2013, based on its $603 million in grants in FY 2012, the National Christian Foundation was judged by the Chronicle of Philanthropy to be America’s 12th biggest private foundation. Any attempt by Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler to sugarcoat this event as an effort to bring people together is nothing more than cynical spin.

Truth Wins Out is profoundly troubled by Seiler’s sophistic attempt to both embrace the prayer breakfast, yet distance himself from the invitation to Focus on the Family’s president Jim Daly. The Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel reports that Seiler actually claimed that he wasn’t involved in the decision to invite Daly, even though the April 28 event is billed as the “Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.”
  
“It is arrogant and disingenuous for Seiler to expect us to believe that he was not involved with the decision to invite Jim Daley,” said TWO Board President Keith Blackburn. “Even if that was the case, the event is held in his name and he had the ability to rescind the invitation once he learned of Daley’s history of anti-LGBT advocacy. This is a slap in the face to the LGBT community that will not be forgotten.” 

“We urge the media to hold Mayor Seiler and Jim Daley accountable,” says Truth Wins Out’s Wayne Besen. “This week, a group of 51 members of the House of Representatives asked President Trump to rescind an Obama executive order outlawing federal workforce discrimination against LGBT employees or contractors doing business with the federal government. Those in charge of the prayer breakfast should be asked where they stand on this issue. If they stand in favor of passing a ‘license to discriminate’ under the specious guise of ‘religious liberty,’ all their talk of hope and healing will be exposed as fraudulent.”  

Focus on the Family is a hate group best known for promoting “ex-gay” therapy, which encourages LGBT people to “pray away the gay.” The group had previously hosted “Love Won Out” conferences, where “ex-gay” activists told tales about how Jesus turned them heterosexual through a combination of prayer and quack therapy. Focus on the Family founder, James Dobson, once told TheDaily Oklahoman, “Homosexuals are not monogamous. They want to destroy the institution of marriage. It will destroy marriage. It will destroy the Earth.”

Truth Wins Out (TWO) is a non-profit organization that works to demolish the very foundation of anti-LGBT prejudice. We attack the underpinnings of homophobia by debunking harmful lies, discrediting hateful myths, and countering anti-LGBT organizations. By chipping away at the underlying ignorance that fuels anti-LGBT attitudes, we can ultimately win our fight for fairness and achieve full equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people worldwide.

The GFLGLCC is the exclusive Broward County affiliate of the NGLCC - National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. Their mission is to promote business and economic opportunities for the LGBT and LGBT-friendly community; be an advocate and resource for all member businesses that promote equality and to promote tourism with a unified approach by working with appropriate and related organizations.