The idea for PFLAG began in 1972 when Jeanne Manford marched with her son, Morty, in New York's Christopher Street Liberation Day March, the precursor to today's Pride parade. After many gay and lesbian people ran up to Jeanne during the parade and begged her to talk to their parents, she decided to begin a support group. The first formal meeting took place on March 26, 1973 at the Metropolitan-Duane Methodist Church in Greenwich Village (now the Church of the Village). Approximately 20 people attended.
In the next years, through word of mouth and community need, similar groups sprang up around the country, offering "safe havens" and mutual support for parents with gay and lesbian children. Following the 1979 National March for Gay and Lesbian Rights, representatives from these groups met for the first time in Washington, DC.
When “Dear Abby” mentioned PFLAG in one of her advice columns, PFLAG received more than 7,000 letters requesting information. In 1981, members decided to launch a national organization. The first PFLAG National office was established in Los Angeles under founding president--and PFLAG LA founder--Adele Starr.
Also in the 1980s, PFLAG became involved in opposing Anita Bryant’s anti-gay crusade and worked to end the U.S. military’s efforts to discharge lesbians—more than a decade before military issues came to the forefront of the LGBTQ movement. And by the late 1980s, PFLAG began to have notable success in organizing chapters in rural communities. In 1990, following a period of significant growth, PFLAG employed an Executive Director, expanded its staff, and moved to Washington, DC.
Today, PFLAG’s work includes five signature programs: PFLAG’s Chapter Network Support provides publications, online learning programs, advocacy support and media training to its network of more than 400 chapters across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Straight for Equality offers a variety of workshops, resources and tools to empower straight allies in the workplace to be more welcoming and inclusive. The Safe Schools initiative provides support, resources, training, and model policy to create an environment of respect. The 15-year old Scholarship Program supports qualified LGBTQ and allies who are graduating high school and whose activities are aimed at making schools and communities safe and welcoming. Online Academy conducts free, monthly, webinars to move equality forward.
In addition to cultivating, resourcing, and serving the vast grassroots network of PFLAG chapters, PFLAG National has an active lobbying program, which in 2016 included more than 600 Congressional visits, more than 100 White House and administrative meetings, as well as comments on federal rules and regulations, and Congressional and White House events with speaking roles. As an influential part of the LGBTQ movement, PFLAG National frequently partners with LGBTQ-related organizations; participating in coalition meetings and actions, and signing-on to federal policy letters.
PFLAG National is governed by a 21-member Board of Directors and operates with 12-person staff and an annual budget of $3 million.
Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will be responsible for setting PFLAG’s program priorities and operationalizing its strategic plan. The ED will be the lead fundraiser and primary spokesperson for the organization. The successful candidate will enhance programs to support PFLAG’s existing members and reach allies beyond its chapter network. Core responsibilities include:
• Evaluate and enhance the organization’s current fundraising strategy with attention to direct mail, major gifts, planned giving and corporate fundraising;
• Manage significant corporate and individual donor relationships;
• Clarify and enhance PFLAG’s value proposition;
• Work closely with the Board of Directors to identify, solicit and acquire new sources of funding, to encourage board giving and to build long-term, sustainable sources of income for the organization;
• Act as the organization’s primary spokesperson at events, with major donors, and with influencers in corporations and private foundations.
Strategy and Vision
• Engage the Board, staff, and external stakeholders as appropriate to implement the organization’s strategic roadmap;
• Analyze PFLAG’s programs through the lens of trends, competitive landscape, and core competencies;
• Ensure existing and potential new programs to advance PFLAG’s mission, are measurable, financially sustainable, and adequately staffed;
• Evaluate and engage peer organizations in collaboration to maximize impact;
• Create strategies and build partnerships in support of the organization’s long-term sustainability.
Finance and Administration
• Develop the annual budget, ensuring the allocation of resources in accordance with the strategic roadmap;
• Oversee prudent fiscal management of the organization’s resources, establishing proper accounting and controls, and ensuring legal and fiduciary compliance;
• Develop informative and accessible reports, including dashboards and other tools for detailing and anticipating financial positions, and tracking program outcomes;
• Ensure that the organization has the financial and human resources necessary to support members and implement strategic and operational goals;
• Motivate and support staff to advance the organization’s mission;
• Oversee the updating and improving of organizational systems and structures to support and sustain growth;
• Engage with LGBTQ movement leaders, social justice influencers and legislative leaders to advance PFLAG’s mission and values.
• Engage the Board of Directors to achieve the goals of the new strategic roadmap;
• Support the Board of Directors to evaluate and refine the organization’s by-laws;
• Participate as an active member of the Board’s working committees and in the Board recruitment and training process;
• Serve as a resource, catalyst and coach to the Board, providing the training resources necessary to enable them to achieve their full potential as a governing body.