Bow tie sales to benefit LGBT center, other orgs
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A new fundraising campaign wants people to support the LGBTQ community by purchasing rainbow-themed bow ties.
But #Bows4Pride, which aims to sell 10,000 rainbow-colored bow ties in support of the LGBTQ community, is more than just a fundraiser. Organizers said that it's also a way for supporters to put their advocacy on display and bring awareness to equality and human rights.
"The bow tie is a conversation piece," said Hendrik Pohl, a straight ally who's owner and founder of San Francisco-based neckwear designer Bows-N-Ties. "It's like a billboard fighting for LGBTQ rights, and right now with what's happened with the election, it's more important than ever."
He was referring to the Trump administration and its many anti-gay officials who have started to rescind LGBTQ policies around schools and other areas.
The microfiber checks and plaid bow ties, designed by Bows-N-Ties, go on sale May 22, which also happens to be the eighth annual observance of Harvey Milk Day.
Retailing at $25, 100 percent of the proceeds of the campaign will equally support three nonprofits: the San Francisco LGBT Community Center; Free2Luv, a Seattle organization spreading equality and anti-bullying messages through arts and entertainment; and SAGE, the country's largest and oldest agency dedicated to improving the lives of older LGBTs.
For the fourth year in a row, Bows-N-Ties has designed products for fundraisers supporting various charitable organizations like the San Francisco Peninsula Camellia Society for veterans and organizations facilitating clean water projects in Africa. But this year, with the equality of LGBTQ people being threatened and increasing rhetoric advocating exclusion and hate being spread by the right-wing, Pohl said he felt it was especially important to bring awareness and support to the community.
He chose the nonprofits due to the significant and varied support they offer communities in their area.
"This will directly impact our community," said Alberto Lammers, director of communications for the LGBT community center, which offers more than 200 programs on housing, employment, education, and more to around 10,000 people monthly. "The center is a safe space for everybody, not just LGBTs. We wanted to honor the entire community with this item."
Lammers said the bow tie is a way to educate the community about the center's resources and that even if the campaign doesn't reach its goal of $250,000, education is more valuable than a monetary reward.
"It opens doors for community members to learn more about the things we can offer them," he said.
Free2Luv, which focuses on empowering LGBT youth, was chosen for its capability to reach audiences globally, advanced in part by its many celebrity ambassadors from "Friends" star Lisa Kudrow to actress Vanessa Hudgens.
Tonya Sandis, co-founder and president of Free2Luv, founded in 2011, said the #Bows4Pride campaign proceeds will help fund Free2BeMe, an art installation that tells the story of self-discovery and identity of youth from around the nation. Sandis hopes to bring the project to San Francisco and said partnerships like #Bows4Pride are incredibly important in that they unite like-minded voices in a message that love is stronger than hate.
"We love synergy and holding hands with like-minded companies to make an impact on the community and give fans the opportunity to show their pride. The more we can prove love is stronger than hate the better," she said.
The #Bows4Pride campaign does not have an end date and Pohl hopes it will continue well after San Francisco Pride weekend on June 24-25. Beginning Monday, bow ties can be purchased at https://www.bows-n-ties.com/bows4pride/.