Brogan-Kator leaves Equality Michigan, Motor City Pride will go on

By BTL Staff

DETROIT -Equality Michigan's Board of Directors announced that its executive director, Denise Brogan-Kator, has decided to step down from that position effective May 4. She was appointed by the board just 10 months ago after serving six months as the interim executive director.

Dave Wait, a board member and the main organizer of the Motor City Pride festival scheduled for June 2 and 3 at Hart Plaza in Detroit, said that the upcoming festival is not in any jeopardy and that plans are moving forward. "Motor City Pride has it's own revenue stream. We are looking forward to a record Motor City Pride next month," said Wait.

Equality Michigan was formed in 2010 from a merger of the Triangle Foundation and Michigan Equality, two advocacy groups that had significant programmatic redundancy. The departure of Brogan-Kator marks the fourth executive director to leave the organization since 2007; Jeff Montgomery resigned from Triangle in 2007, Kate Runyon from Triangle in 2008, Alicia Skillman from Equality Michigan in 2010 and Brogan-Kator in 2012.

In 2009, the then-Triangle Foundation received a $500,000 grant from the Arcus Foundation that funded capacity and, in part, to encourage a merger of the two groups. The combined organization received another $160,000 in 2011 from Arcus. However, fundraising at the new Equality Michigan has apparently not been sufficient since then to sustain the organization at its current size.

The press release stated that the board plans to do an in-depth assessment of the organization including strategic focus, structure and scope of work.

"There is no doubt that to serve Michigan's gay and transgender communities effectively, we need to be more efficient and creative at leveraging our resources," said Patrick Schuh, Equality Michigan board chair. "We need to maximize our efforts; unfortunately,

there are policy makers in Lansing who would rather engage in divisive fights than focus on ensuring all Michiganders have access to good jobs, affordable housing, access to healthcare, and safe communities where they can live without fear of discrimination. This time of transition is a valuable chance to step back, examine our organization and reinvigorate how we engage Michigan's citizens in the fight to achieve equality for all."

There are five remaining staff person's at Equality Michigan; Emily Dievendorf, director of policy, Roland Leggett, the director of field organization, Nusrat Vertimiglia and Sara Spurgeon of the victim services advocate program, and Roshanda Mitchell, the office manager.

The development director, Guy Barast, and the communications director, Michael Gregor, left the organization earlier this year.

Read BTL's editorial response to this story here

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