Since 2008, Matt O’Grady Day has been a Taproot Foundation holiday that commemorates the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States by celebrating the wedding anniversary of former Taproot executive Matt O’Grady. The day has always been about more than one particular person’s marriage—it’s about justice, civil rights, and celebrating the victories made in the continued fight for LGBTQ+ rights. It’s a day we take to honor the struggles to date, appreciate the victories, and recommit ourselves to the work that lies ahead.
“Matt O’Grady Day has been hands down the highest honor of my career. How many people do you know whose employers have done something like this? I also know that Aaron [Hurst, Taproot’s founder] didn’t just create it for me. The day makes a statement about Taproot Foundation’s culture: this is an organization that pursues and celebrates the kind of social progress that the legalization of same-sex marriage represents. The fact that Taproot still celebrates it thirteen years later tells me that establishing the holiday was a great way to lock in the value of social progress as part of Taproot’s culture.” – Matt O’Grady, former Taproot executive
Matt O’Grady Day’s Lasting Impact
The day has had a very real impact on our team and our culture. Marking Matt O’Grady Day for us means closing the offices and inviting Roots (that’s what we call our fellow Taproot team members) to use the day to reflect, celebrate, and get involved.
“Taproot has taken this day to celebrate [Matt O’Grady’s] marriage and the step forward it represented for civil rights. As a new staff member, it stood out to me as a powerful sign of Taproot’s commitment to ideals of equality and justice—and as a lesbian, I felt safe, supported, and grateful to be part of this organization.” – Milestones: Celebrating Equality and Civil Rights this Matt O’Grady Day, by Mary Ruth Robinson, Special Projects Associate
Why Change the Date?
For years we marked the occasion on his anniversary, June 19, but Matt O’Grady Day is now officially June 26—the day that the Supreme Court handed down their 5-4 opinion in favor of marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges. Making space to commemorate June 19 for what it is—Juneteenth—is the right thing to do. Matt himself beautifully explained why June 26 is such an important historical date to remember, and why this change is a continued reflection of Taproot’s values:
“In the minutes after the State Supreme Court issued its ruling overturning the ban on same sex marriage, my (now legal) husband jumped online and booked us into a ceremony at San Francisco City Hall. He didn’t call me first, he didn’t even propose! The first day that was available happened to be June 19—Juneteenth. Now Taproot is taking another step to define its culture—one that underscores how much this organization values social progress—by moving the celebration day to June 26. This change commemorates the US Supreme Court ruling overturning the national ban on same sex marriage while making room to recognize another important civil rights milestone.” – Matt O’Grady, former Taproot executive
Serving Communities by Supporting LGBTQ+ Nonprofits:
We work with nonprofits who do this work in the field every day—groups that deserve support whether that means donating, hands-on volunteering, or donating your professional skills to bolster their organization’s infrastructure. Here are some that our team wanted to boost this year as we celebrate Pride Month and Matt O’Grady Day!
LGBTQ+ Nonprofits You Can Volunteer with Right Now through Taproot Plus:
- Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center creates a vibrant community in the Lehigh Valley for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community. Volunteer with them (remotely) if you have WordPress website redesign and migration skills to share.
- GLSEN Phoenix believes that every student has the right to a safe, supportive, and LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 education. We are a local chapter of a national network of educators and students working to make this right a reality. Volunteer with them (remotely) if you have press release writing experience.
- Free2Luv is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering, uplifting, and saving the lives of youth through the arts. Volunteer with them if you have experience in Google Ads, grant writing, or SEO.
More Root-Recommended LGBTQ+ Nonprofits to Support:
- Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund is committed to ending discrimination based upon gender identity and expression and to achieving equality for transgender people through public education, test-case litigation, direct legal services, and public policy efforts.
- Housing Works fights for funding and legislation to ensure that all people living with HIV/AIDS have access to quality housing, healthcare, HIV prevention, and treatment, among other lifesaving services.
- New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center empowers people to lead healthy, successful lives. The Center celebrates our diversity and advocates for justice and opportunity.
- SAGE works to achieve a high quality of life for LGBT older people, supports and advocates for their rights, fosters a greater understanding of aging in all communities, and promotes positive images of LGBT life in later years.
- The Audre Lorde Project is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non Conforming People of Color center for community organizing, focusing on the New York City area.
- Ruth Ellis Center has established a national reputation for quality and innovation in providing trauma-informed services for LGBTQ+ youth, and young adults, with an emphasis on young people of color, experiencing homelessness, involved in the child welfare system, and/or experiencing barriers to health and wellbeing.
- Affirmations LGBTQ+ Community Center provides a welcoming space where people of all sexual orientations, gender identities & expressions, and cultures can learn, grow, socialize and access the vital support they need.
- Ozone House is a community-based, nonprofit agency that helps young people lead safe, healthy, and productive lives through intensive intervention and prevention services.
- Campus Pride represents the leading national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for LGBTQ students.
- The Global Center for LGBTI+ Freedom and Education is on a mission to transform the world through education for LGBTI+ youth, building a world where LGBTI+ youth are free.
- Transgender Law Center changes law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.
- The National Center for Transgender Equality advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people.