Thank You For Your Votes and Support


The Board of Directors and Staff of the Matthew Shepard Foundation would like to thank each and every single person who voted and supported our efforts to win the million dollar grant in the American Giving Awards presented by Chase. We have been overwhelmed by your messages of support and the shear number of votes.

Many thanks to the people and organizations that have helped to promote voting. We would especially like to thank Ellen DeGeneres, Betty DeGeneres, Cyndi Lauper, Andy Cohen, Chelsea Handler, Ben Cohen, Reichen Lehmkuhl, Rib Hillis, Alec Mapa, Dr. Drew, the Human Rights Campaign, the Give a Damn Campaign, GLAAD, the StandUp Foundation, the American Foundation for Equal Rights, NOH8, Equality PA, Casper Star Tribune, One Colorado, Denver Business Journal, Advocate/Out Magazine, Windy City Times, Out Front Colorado, Channel 13 in Casper, Hamburger Mary’s Denver, Tracks Denver, HW Home, Out Beat Youth Radio, Love and Pride, K2 Radio, STAMP, That’s Pretty Gay from YouTube, Pop Chips Colorado, Vitamin Water, & Matt Shepard is a Friend of Mine and many others.

A note from Judy Shepard

Dear Friend,
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your support for the Matthew Shepard Foundation. As many of you saw tonight on NBC, we were honored at the American Giving Awards presented by Chase. Dennis and I and the Foundation staff were incredibly touched to see so many people around the country, and even the rest of the world, cast their votes for the Foundation online as part of this program. Those votes determined how a total of $2 million in new grants were distributed.
While we learned tonight that another very deserving organization won the top prize of a $1 million grant based on the final vote totals, we truly feel like all five organizations were “winners” tonight thanks to this program, and the huge amount of visibility and awareness that it brought to all of our groups and our work.
In the end, we placed third and will receive an extremely generous grant of $250,000. We intend to put it toward our educational and outreach work so we can reach more LGBT and allied youth with a message of embracing diversity, erasing hate and encouraging respect for human dignity.
We remain deeply concerned about all the bullying and harassment our young people face in their daily lives, and we intend to forge ahead with our plans for online educational tools to help them face these challenges. We’ll have to do it on a smaller scale than we would have with a million-dollar budget, but we will find a way. The work is just too important not to.
Thank you from all of us at the Foundation, from the bottom of our hearts, for all the love and kindness, all the votes, and most importantly, all of your encouragement. You inspire us.
All the best,
Judy Shepard
President and Co-Founder
The Matthew Shepard Foundation
P.S. — As part of the run-up to the awards program, Dennis and I and some of the Foundation’s staff and supporters got to spend some time with the other four finalist organizations’ leaders. They are truly making a difference in exactly the spirit we see in our own supporters. We were humbled to be among them. Perhaps the issues they are working on are also of interest to you, your friends and loved ones?
To Write Love on Her Arms – $1 million winner – working to address depression, self-injury and suicide
Let’s Get Ready! – $500,000 winner – helping low-income youth prepare to apply to top colleges
Move for Hunger – $125,000 winner – collecting food is otherwise thrown out when people move
Wish Upon a Hero Foundation – $125,000 winner – connecting people to improve each other’s lives

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