Tony Biel in in foreground. Twelve volunteers in background in front of Barak Obama mural at an elementary school in Los Angeles, CAToday we’d like to introduce you to Tony Biel.

Hi Tony, how did you start your non-profit?
While hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains with my hiking group, friends Frank Roller, Steve Gratwick and I discussed finding ways to mobilize my hikers to volunteer. We were a gay men’s hiking group, but after Prop 8 / Marriage Equality failed in 2008 and seeing the movie MILK – I was inspired to mobilize the LGBTQ+ community to volunteer. The idea came from how Harvey Milk finally won the Castro – by listening, supporting and uniting the whole community (not just focusing on the LGBTQ members of the Castro). So we started Gay For Good here in LA. Our first project was with the Tree People – a clean-up in Runyon Canyon – trails, mulching, tree planting, etc. Our goal is to get LGBTQ+ volunteers to interact with organizations and communities that might have never met an LGBTQ+ person and foster change through volunteerism. And it has been fun making changes one service project at a time. Over the past 11+ years, we have 17 chapters in the US (5 in CA) and have worked with over 527 non-profit partners and completed over 1340 service projects.

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Interview By: VoyageLA