MOUNT VERNON -- The creation of the first specifically LGBTQ+ non-profit organization in Knox County, the Knox County Pride Alliance, is underway.
Knox County Pride Alliance co-founder Timothy Bussey, who is associate director for diversity, equity, and inclusion at Kenyon College, said the alliance aims to have a board of directors, fiscal sponsor and to file articles of incorporation by October 2021.
On July 16, social media sites for the alliance launched.
“We’re being really intentional with going ahead and getting the social media up and running to make sure folks that do need access to information and resources can go ahead and start plugging in and connecting,” Bussey said.
“But, one of the other reasons we’re waiting in terms of the more formal organization of the board of directors is that we’re going to be an all volunteer working board, as many small new non profit organizations are.”
Bussey wants to be sure information about the alliance reaches a wide range of people before the alliance begins forming its board.
The alliance is being started by and will be run by local volunteers, Bussey said, and the board will likely include 7 to 10 people, specifically people who work and/or live in Knox County.
Bussey said the alliance will seek a variety of people for its board — specifically people with different identities within LGBTQ+ community; people who have different socioeconomic backgrounds; and people from different geographic locations.
“For instance, making sure (the board) is not just people from Mount Vernon, but it’s made up of people from across Knox County,” Bussey said.
Local students are also encouraged to join the board, regardless of previous leadership experience.
“We really want to wait (to form the board) until the students at Central Ohio Technical College, (Mount Vernon Nazarene University) and Kenyon College are really back on their respective campuses because we want student representation on that working board,” Bussey said.
The alliance will have regularly scheduled public board meetings, but the date and times of such meetings will not be determined until a board of directors is established in the fall, Bussey said.
Bussey said active planning for the alliance began this year, but in their position at Kenyon College, Bussey has heard people in Knox County discussing a desire to create an alliance for years.
“It was one of these things where so many folks were continuing to talk about it,” Bussey said.
The alliance will provide information about social, healthcare and legal resources in the county, region and state, as well as connect people to local LGBTQ+ events.
For example, the alliance can help people find a trans-affirming barber or salon, an LGBTQ+ affirming faith community, or LGBTQ+ inclusive healthcare services, Bussey said.
“I’ve had so many personal interactions with local LGBTQ+ folks who have shared that they really need some type of resource,” Bussey said, “or they just need help finding a resource that they know exists, they’re just not sure where it is or how to access it.
“Something like that can be a huge, huge, huge game changer.”
Information about the Knox County Pride Alliance can be found on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn under the handle @Knox County Pride Alliance.