A Message from Gerry Coon (December 2015)

December 1, 2015

By Gerry Coon, PhD, President & CEO

December will mark the start of my fifth month at Diverse & Resilient, and I am happy to report that, despite some challenges, we are doing well!

One of those challenges has been a shift in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The CDC has made the strategic decision to move their limited resources from Wisconsin to states in the South to combat the growing rate of HIV there.  This has resulted in a significant decrease in critical HIV prevention and treatment funds to organizations in Wisconsin, including Diverse & Resilient.  We have responded to this loss by eliminating several vacant positions, and sadly, eliminating one filled position.  We have reassigned some duties to remaining staff so that we are each more involved in the operations of the agency.  Difficult decisions needed to be made and we made them.  As our name suggests, we have a diverse and resilient staff and together we are learning more about each other, the work we do, and how we spend our valuable resources.  Diverse & Resilient staff and board members are making the decisions necessary to prioritize our work and keep us strong.

Of our many strengths, our work with our community partners is so important.  It has been especially gratifying for me to meet the staff of our partner organizations.  There are so many people who are critical to our success and who are great advocates on our behalf.  We all have important roles in this work, and I appreciate the hard work so many others do.

I have found a real sense of both the challenges the LGBTQ community faces, but also the hope that comes with the opportunity to collaborate and partner based on our common goal of LGBTQ equality.  I truly believe we are at a point in the LGBTQ community to collectively do amazing things.  We are talking to each other, supporting each other, enjoying each other, and sharing a vision for the future.

For 20 years, Diverse & Resilient has envisioned a future in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Wisconsin thrive, living healthy, satisfying lives in safe, supportive communities.  I promise to do my best, as just one part of this community, to help make that vision a reality.