Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is donating $75,000 to Fair Wisconsin, which advocates for LGBT civil rights in the state and has an affiliated political action committee.
Abele’s contribution to FW comes just months after he announced a $50,000 matching grant to Equality Wisconsin, a Milwaukee-based LGBT advocacy group and PAC.
Abele is a strong LGBT ally. He was instrumental in enacting domestic partnership benefits for county employees and frequently talks about his support for equality during public appearances.
Abele announced his donation to a standing ovation during a Feb. 9 gala fundraising dinner at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, where FW presented its 2013 Milwaukee leadership awards. The dinner featured special guest Sen. Tammy Baldwin and keynote speaker Zach Wahls, whose Iowa House Judiciary Committee testimony about his two moms became YouTube’s No. 1 political video of 2011, seen by 20 million people. Wahls, who also spoke at the Democratic National Convention and wrote the bestselling book “My Two Moms: Lessons of Love, Strength and What Makes a Family,” presented listeners with a sometimes-funny personal history that ultimately left most in tears.
Also attending the event were out U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, Mayor Tom Barrett, and state Reps. JoCasta Zamarripa and Evan Goyke. Award winners were: Karen Gotzler, activist of the year; LGBT Center of SE Wisconsin, organization of the year; and Chris Forsman, community advocate of the year.
The leadership awards dinner was held in the middle of a leadership conference held Feb. 8-10 at the Hyatt Regency. The conference was a joint project of Fair Wisconsin Education Fund and Diverse & Resilient.