TAMPA, Fla. — Equality Florida's Tampa Steering Committee presented Jason Gibson, CEO and founder of Corbin Fisher, with its 2013 Service and Leadership Award on Feb 15.
The award, being given for the first time in Tampa, honors an individual whose tremendous support has directly contributed to Equality Florida's ability to break through to a new level of outreach and effectiveness in the effort to secure full equality for Florida's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
"Jason's incredible generosity over the past several years has been a tremendous catalyst at a pivotal time," Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida said. "His quiet generosity and commitment to our mission has been a catalyst and an inspiration."
Equality Florida is the state's largest civil rights organization "dedicated to securing full equality for Florida's LGBT community… through lobbying, grassroots organizing, education, and coalition building." In recent years, Equality Florida led a broad-based coalition to secure passage of an anti-bullying law protecting LGBT students from harassment and bullying throughout the state; the organization played a critical role in bringing an end to Florida's 33-year-old anti-gay adoption ban; Equality Florida's efforts have contributed to the passage of more than 60 local policies across Florida outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, banning harassment of LGBT students, and providing domestic partnership benefits to LGBT families.
The organization’s efforts have also helped Florida lead the southeastern U.S. region in voting 24 openly LGBT officials in to elected office in recent years.
"It is a great honor to be recognized by Equality Florida," Gibson said. "Since its founding in 1997, they have had a perfect track record in defeating every attempt to pass LGBT discriminatory legislation at the state and local level in Florida. It was not only the very important work they do, but the personal sacrifices many of the EQFL family have made in their fight for our basic rights that motivated Corbin Fisher to contribute to their efforts in a meaningful way, even after our path took us out of state. I hope that others too will be inspired to give back to their community."
The company said it and Gibson have given more than $120,000 to Equality Florida in recent years, and employees have also contributed video editing and production skills to public service announcements. During the 2008 campaign seasons, Corbin Fisher assisted Equality Florida in developing a mobile voting website and provided legal services to the organization. These contributions have continued even after Corbin Fisher's relocation from Florida to Nevada in 2010, and been complemented by contributions from the company and Gibson to LGBT groups in their new home state.
Since arriving in Nevada, Corbin Fisher and Gibson have contributed more thab $25,000 to local and national LGBT advocacy organizations, Las Vegas' arts and culture community, and the city's new gay and lesbian center. Beyond financial contributions to LGBT groups and non-profits, the company said it encourages activism and philanthropy among staff — all employees of the company are given paid time off to volunteer for charitable organizations, continuing its policy where charitable donations made by individual employees to non-profit groups are matched by the company.
"I can honestly say that, as humbled as I am to receive this award, observing and being able to contribute in any way to Equality Florida's achievements is a constant honor and privilege,” Gibson added.