How Anne Friedman, Gay For Good’s First National Director, Is Learning To Lead As A One-Woman Team

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In 2008, Steve Gratwick, Tony Biel, and Frank Roller founded Gay For Good, an LGBTQ service organization that sends groups into their communities to volunteer for social justice and environmental causes. It began in Los Angeles in the wake of Proposition 8, with the goal of bringing LGBTQ people together with the broader community to share in experience and understanding. If you want to ignite change, the founders reasoned, start in your own backyard.

10 years later, Gay For Good has chapters in 14 cities. It has partnered with over 240 nonprofits, completed over 700 projects, and volunteers have given over 31,000 hours. Until recently, it has been entirely volunteer run, but in June, Anne Friedman became the organization’s first ever employee by stepping into the role of National Director.

In search of a way to meet people, Friedman became involved with Gay For Good’s Los Angeles chapter in 2010. She loved that Gay for Good offered the opportunity to make friends while also making a difference. She was one of the only women in her chapter at the time, but it didn’t stop her from rising through the ranks. In 2012, she became the chapter leader, then a board member, then board treasurer, and after a few years, board chair.

Throughout all of this, Gay For Good continued to grow—and quickly. They were constantly turning down requests to start new chapters because they simply did not have the capacity. Friedman wanted to see the organization move forward. So she quit her job, created a business plan, and started working for Gay For Good full time.

“To have the opportunity to lay the groundwork to where we’re heading is an honor and a privilege,” she says. In addition to the many years she spent as a Gay For Good volunteer, Friedman had significant nonprofit work experience. She spent almost 5 years as the marketing and communications coordinator at the Jewish Community Foundation Of Orange County before taking on Gay For Good’s National Director role.

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