VIDA Partners With Athlete Ally To Fundraise For LGBT Inclusivity In Sports
By Mekita Rivas, VIDA editor and member
VIDA’s 4th annual fundraiser and silent auction is quickly approaching. This year’s event is taking place Friday, May 11 from 6–9 p.m. at the Penthouse Pool Club at The Yards. Tickets are $30 ($40 at the door) and include entry and light appetizers from the Penthouse and Eat Well DC. Best of all, 100 percent of ticket sales, cash bar revenue, and silent auction sales will be donated to Athlete Ally, a non-profit organization working toward ending homophobia and transphobia in sports.
“In keeping with our mission to support the LGBT community in the fitness arena, we have decided to embark on a multi-year partnership with Athlete Ally,” says David von Storch, President and Founder of VIDA Fitness. “We believe that by supporting Athlete Ally’s mission of championing out athletes and LGBT-inclusive sports programming in college and professional sports, we are creating a safer and more supportive environment for the entire LGBT community in all aspects of sport.”
The partnership between VIDA and Athlete Ally is an ideal one, David explains, because the two share the common goal of providing safe spaces for LGBT people everywhere.
“While we work hard every day to make our fitness centers safe and welcoming for the LGBT community, we believe our mission extends beyond the four walls of our facilities,” David says. “Athlete Ally is a perfect partner for us. We are excited to get to work and see what we can accomplish together.”
Taylor Carr, director of communications at Athlete Ally, echoes David’s sentiments.
“Athlete Ally and VIDA Fitness share the same values as one another,” Taylor says. “We believe that everyone should have equal access, experience, and opportunity in athletics regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. You don’t often see gyms and fitness studios teaming up with national nonprofits on a regular basis to drive meaningful change within their industries, which makes this partnership quite special.”
Athlete Ally and VIDA Fitness began partnering together around Washington, D.C.’s 2017 pride events, which included a cocktail hour with collegiate and professional athletes; marching in D.C. pride with VIDA’s float; and a house party celebrating Athlete Ally’s work at David’s home.
Money raised by the VIDA auction will help fuel three main components of Athlete Ally’s work.
“First, we focus on education and looking at who needs to be educated within sports on LGBTQ respect and inclusion,” Taylor says. “In 2018, we’ll be launching an online curriculum focused on these issues. Second, we focus on internal sport policies — ensuring that we have policy uniformity across sport governing bodies.”
This year, for example, Athlete Ally will launch the next phase of the Athletic Equality Index, its historic report on the LGBTQ inclusiveness of college athletic departments.
“Lastly, we help mobilize the athletic community to support LGBTQ equality in their communities,” Taylor says. “This materializes through our ambassador program, which consists of more than 180 professional, Olympic, and Paralympic athletes.”
For additional information about the fundraiser and silent auction, visit the event’s Facebook page. Purchase tickets here. To learn more about Athlete Ally and the organization’s work, check out its website.