PLATINUM2023

Equality Florida Institute, Inc.

Largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community

aka Equality Florida   |   St. Petersburg, FL   |  www.equalityflorida.org

Mission

Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Our organizational objectives are clear: passing local LGBTQ protections at the municipal level, passing a statewide non-discrimination law, passing a statewide anti-bullying law, passing legislation to protect the transgender community, and changing public opinion in the state of Florida regarding LGBT individuals and families.

Ruling year info

1997

CEO

Ms. Nadine Smith

Deputy Director

Mr. Stratton Pollitzer

Main address

P.O. Box 13184

St. Petersburg, FL 33733 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Equality Florida Human Rights Education Project, Inc

EIN

59-3435235

NTEE code info

Lesbian/Gay Rights (R26)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2022, 2021 and 2020.
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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

EQFL's goal has been to uproot bigotry and fight for equality for the estimated one million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Florida. Indeed, we fight for freedom for all Floridians to live without fear of violence, harm to their family, being fired from a job or refused service because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. In this way, our programs improve the quality of life for all Floridians, but those most directly benefited are LGBTQ people of all races, ethnicities, ages, and income levels.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Equality Means Business

We are entering the seventh year of an ambitious LGBT equality-focused campaign to improve Florida's national and international reputation as a welcoming and inclusive place to live, work and visit. The program has grown exponentially in the past two years in particular and now includes over 90 of Florida's largest employers who have embraced LGBT-inclusive policies and make the case for LGBT protections statewide. We have also launched a program aimed at smaller companies that have also taken a public stand in support of LGBT nondiscrimination protections. Our Open Doors/Puertas Abiertas program includes over 1,200 local small businesses helping us deliver the message that discrimination harms employees, customers and the bottom line for businesses.

Population(s) Served
LGBTQ people

In 2014, Equality Florida Institute launched TransAction Florida, a statewide initiative, led by our full-time Transgender Inclusion Director and a dynamic, diverse, statewide Advisory Board. TransAction was created to increase awareness, educate, and promote complete equality for the transgender community. Through this program, Equality Florida is uniquely positioned to counter anti-trans scare tactics with supportive messages from business, community, and faith-based leaders.

Population(s) Served
LGBTQ people

EQFLI's Safe and Healthy Schools Program aims to create a culture of inclusion while countering the bullying, harassment, social isolation, and bigotry that dramatically increase risk factors for LGBTQ students. We seek to shift the culture so that school districts will adopt comprehensive, nationally recognized best practices for meeting the needs of LGBTQ students. The Safe and Healthy Schools program aims to transform entire school systems by ensuring that the school districts themselves invest in and take full responsibility for meeting the needs of LGBTQ students.

Population(s) Served
LGBTQ people
Children and youth

The HIV Advocacy Project is a statewide Public Education Campaign that seeks to transform public opinion. This project informs residents of the danger and injustice of Florida's HIV criminal laws, emphasizing how laws disincentivize people from seeking testing and treatment, culminating in a skyrocketing number of new HIV transmissions, and a public health crisis. More new HIV transmissions occur in Florida than in any other state: rates of new transmission cases in FL have continued to increase since 2012, while the rest of the country's HIV transmission rates decrease. In FL, failing to inform a sexual partner of positive HIV status is a 3rd degree felony offense, punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine per count; multiple offenses may be ruled as 1st degree felonies. This law is applied irrespective of malicious intent or actual transmission.

Population(s) Served
LGBTQ people
People with HIV/AIDS

Where we work

Awards

Nadine Smith - Honoree 2016

National Women's History Month Honorees

Stratton Pollitzer - Harvey B. Milk Foundation Honors Medal 2011

Harvey Milk Foundation

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of policies formally established

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

LGBTQ people, Children and youth

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Local non-discrimination, safe schools, and domestic partnership policies enacted in Florida counties and municipalities

Number of members from priority population attending training

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

LGBTQ people, Children and youth

Related Program

Safe and Healthy Schools Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Number of principals and school district leaders attending LGBT Awareness training

Number of coalition members

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

LGBTQ people

Related Program

Equality Means Business

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Major employers that make up our Equality Means Business coalition which has become a national model replicated in states across the country.

Total number of volunteer hours contributed to the organization

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Since 1997, EQFL's goal has been to uproot bigotry and fight for equality for the estimated one million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Florida. Indeed, we fight for freedom for all Floridians to live without fear of violence, harm to their family, being fired from a job or refused service because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. In this way, our programs improve the quality of life for all Floridians, but those most directly benefited are LGBT people of all races, ethnicities, ages, and income levels. In today's hostile political climate, it is more important than ever to confront anti-LGBT messaging across the board. EQFLI cannot let the voices of hate win out against our community. Over the next five years, our focus is on strategic expansion of our programs, so that we can continue our fight for equality, especially for the most vulnerable members of the LGBT community. Under our watch more than 150 local pro-LGBT policies have been implemented in Florida. Nearly 60% of the population now lives in municipalities with sexual orientation and gender identity protections. Our priority to end anti-LGBT bullying has resulted in FL protecting more students than any other state except CA and NY. Our work to pass hate crimes laws helped make FL 4th in the nation in the number of people protected by hate crimes laws. Our access to the LGBT community is unparalleled, and we have created relationships that are the envy of other progressive organizations in our state. Because of our significant resources and membership numbers, we have the capacity to promote our programs and effect meaningful change on a scale that far surpasses the reach of any other LGBT organization currently operating in Florida.

EQFL serves primarily as an organization that educates the public and advocates for Florida's LGBT community, rather than as a direct-service organization. Full equality will not come through legislation alone, but also through education and public opinion; therefore, we provide leadership trainings, volunteer opportunities, and sponsorship opportunities to engage and grow the LGBT and straight-ally community. EQFLI is firmly committed to a foundation of intersectionality within all of our programs. We fight discrimination by empowering vulnerable populations while challenging interwoven systems of oppression including anti-LGBT bigotry, ageism, classism, sexism, racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia. We are especially sensitive to the fact that transgender people of color, especially women, face enormously increased levels of harassment, discrimination, and violence. We will not leave these members of our community behind. Our focus on intersectionality has led to diverse funding opportunities. For example, we have just received a grant from the Gill Foundation to launch a new program focusing on intersectional work, especially with people of color and faith communities. This funding will allow us to deepen our engagement with communities of color; ensure that our strategic plan fully incorporates the priorities of LGBT people of color throughout our state, using our Transgender Inclusion Program as a model; and identify and engage supportive and persuadable faith leaders, particularly Black and Latino clergy, to counter the phony ""religious freedom"" arguments used to justify discriminatory laws. A recent grant from the Contigo Fund will allow us to expand our efforts on behalf of the extremely vulnerable population of LGBT Hispanic and black youth by working with Central Florida school districts to implement inclusive, supportive programs, policies, and procedures for LGBT students. Other current program initiatives focus on promoting transgender inclusion, reaching out to the business community, working with school districts to provide supportive programs and policies for LGBT students, organizing with faith-based partners, and educating about local policies that ensure LGBT inclusive antidiscrimination protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations. We are proud to report that our Equality Means Business program has become a model replicated in a number of states, particularly in the South. We have signed trademark agreements allowing four other states to replicate the programs and we are mentoring many others. Our Transgender Inclusion Program is also a national model and our Safe and Healthy Schools Initiative is being developed with a goal of sharing the model across the South. Our success with these programs speaks first to the urgency of the need among those we serve, and also to the ability of our programs to serve as an effective agent of change, in a strategic and sustainable way.

EQFL has a long history of achievement, effective governance, strong financial management, and stable, diverse funding base. We are committed to transparency in all of our financial and administrative operations and practices, and we ensure that our audited financial statements and tax form 990 from previous years are available to the public. Gold rated by the leading charity ranking websites, EQFLI has successfully turned the tide on some of the worst anti-gay legislation and policy in the United States. EQFLI is one of the three largest state-level LGBT advocacy organizations in the country, and we have gained national recognition as one of the most effective. EQFLI is uniquely situated to create change locally and statewide. We have built powerful coalitions that include 65 of Florida's largest employers and 1,300 small and medium businesses. We also benefit from the support of 700 faith leaders, a talented statewide group of transgender advocates, and an unprecedented level of bipartisan support in our state capital. EQFLI's leaders inspire others to fight on behalf of those whom discrimination has marginalized and oppressed. They lead with authenticity and compassion, by maintaining a steadfast focus on social justice and the inherent dignity of all human beings. Their integrity is demonstrated by their accomplishments: Nadine Smith, CEO, co-founded Equality Florida in 1997. Nadine was one of four national co-chairs of the 1993 March on Washington. She was part of the historic oval office meeting between President Clinton and gay community leaders. She served on the founding board of the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization. She is a Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee, board member for Green Florida, and served on President Obama's National Finance Committee. In 2013, she was named one of the state's "Most Powerful and Influential Women" by the Florida Diversity Council. She was given the League of Women Voter's Woman of Distinction Award earlier this year. She serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Florida Advisory Committee. Stratton Pollitzer, Deputy Director, co-founded Equality Florida in 1997. A Political Science graduate of Emory University, Stratton spearheaded numerous community based campaigns responding to far right political attacks and building support for antidiscrimination ordinances, safe schools policies, and domestic partnership laws. Stratton is a regular contributor to major television, print, and radio outlets throughout the state. Stratton served on the board of directors and as Vice-Chair of the Equality Federation from 2004-2006. He has raised over ten million dollars for LGBT organizations and political campaigns. Gina Duncan, Transgender Inclusion Director was recently featured on the cover of Florida Trend magazine, Florida's largest business monthly magazine; she has also been featured several times writing blogs for the Huffington Post.

Florida is in many ways a barometer of things to come on the national level; holding the line for LGBT justice in Florida is critical to the success of our southern neighbors, and to our allies nationwide. Our state is widely considered to have the best chance in the country of passing the next statewide ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation/gender identity. Last year we became the first state in the South to hear such a bill (it deadlocked in committee on a 5-5 tie). Just this month, in a coalition effort powered by our business allies, Jacksonville passed a Human Rights Ordinance that protects one million more Floridians from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The same effort had failed five years ago in a 17-2 vote, but this year with 700 businesses helping lead the way it passed 12-6. Continuing to forge strong ties with the business community through our EMB program and transgender inclusion efforts is essential to our future success, especially as we face a growing backlash from right wing extremist groups (a majority of which are based in South Florida) who seek to block our progress. We are guided by our commitment to social justice, integrity, human dignity, and respect for diversity. We strive to manifest this commitment in our work on behalf of the LGBT community, and in our solidarity with other oppressed groups. We maintain relationships with hundreds of elected officials, media outlets, and community leaders. We have a long and valuable history of partnering with school districts, healthcare facilities, and government agencies to improve our communities and change discriminatory political climates.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback

Financials

Equality Florida Institute, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Equality Florida Institute, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 09/05/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Annie Hiotis

Carlton Fields Jorden Burt

Term: 2017 - 2023

Victor Diaz-Herman

Executive Director, Pridelines

Jeff Delmay

Delmay Corporation

Nadine Smith

Equality Florida - CEO

Susan Bottcher

Community Activist

Annie Hiotis

Carlton Fields - Chief Operating Officer

Dan VanTice

Community Activist

Selisse Berry

Founder & Former CEO, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

Angus Bradshaw

Executive Director, Miracle of Love, Inc.

Nathan Bruemmer

LGBTQ Consumer Advocate, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services

Dana Farmer

Community Activist

Danny Humphress

President, Surpass Software

Pauline Parrish

CFO, Planned Parenthood of Central & Southwest Florida

Barbara Signer

Retired Professor, St John's University

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/19/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 09/05/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.