November 27th, 2018

Dear Lotus Rising Project Community:

It is with great sadness that we announce the end of our work as a non-profit organization. While we are no longer able to meet the growing needs of our vulnerable LGBTQ+ population in our current form, we have made meaningful strides to create a culture of acceptance in our community and we are excited to open the door for new grassroots leadership in the Rogue Valley.

Social justice organizations have faced unprecedented challenges recently due to diverted funds for growing political and global needs, new changes in the federal tax code that restrict deductions for nonprofits, and more. In this current climate we have found fewer grantors and individuals able to donate.  It has also been an increasing challenge for us to generate and retain volunteers while navigating these difficult times. With lack of volunteers and limited capacity to hire paid staff, our organization is unable to continue valuable programing or put on public events for our youth and community.

Over the last decade we have had the opportunity to witness and take part in some amazing work in our community. LRP has received awards from Oregon Safe Schools & Communities Coalition for our work with local school administrators, teachers, and students. Oregon Health and Sciences University established us as a permanent part of their nursing curriculum for LGBTQ+ competency training, and some of our proudest work has been with our GSA Support Network Program, which significantly improved school culture across the region. So many of you have been touched by our work over the last 10 years, and we are proud of all we have accomplished together. We would like to thank the MRG Foundation, Collins Foundation, Pride Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, and numerous other funders, donors, volunteers, and community members that have sustained us.

It is our hope that a new cohort of robust leaders will emerge in our community with the momentum to carry on some of this work, and to find new solutions that meet the needs of LGBTQ+ Southern Oregonians. We would point these leaders in the direction of the Rogue Action Center (rogueactioncenter.org), which is a hub for grassroots social justice organizing, and the University of Kansas’ Community Tool Box (ctb.ku.edu). To our youth: NSNS/SAGA will be continued at the Youth ERA “Medford Drop,” and immediate needs for clothing, food, and shelter can be directed to our long-time partners at the Maslow Project.

Thank you for the privilege of serving this community.

With gratitude,

Lotus Rising Project Board of Directors

In loving memory of Michelle Abdill and Roxanne Ellis.