Helping Orlando Together

To My Colleagues, Friends, Family and LGBTQ Brothers and Sisters,

I’m reaching out today in regards to something I feel very passionate about and I’m hopeful that you’ll feel the same. If you wouldn’t mind taking a few moments to read below, I’d really appreciate it! 

The recent horrific incident that occurred in Orlando has shaken me to my core and has been difficult for myself, my friends and my community. As a result, over the past weeks I have struggled with the tragic loss of 49 innocent souls and have been wondering what I can do to help make a difference. While I am just one person, I feel that change has to start somewhere and for me it is a personal journey to turn ‘pain into purpose’ and I’d like to invite you to join me!

While the tragedy may no longer be front page headlines, the families of those lost and the victims who survived are just coming to terms with what happened and figuring out how to navigate life after such trauma.  Now is the time they need continued support and services, even more.

We need to circle the wagons and band together to support the victims, their families and the LGBTQ community as a whole. Thoughts and prayers are not enough, thus I have decided to start a fundraising campaign to help provide aide to the Pulse Nightclub victims and their families. I know that money cannot erase pain, but I have hope that it will provide a level of comfort to those affected, sending a clear message that they are not alone in their grief.

I have been in contact with the appropriate parties here at ZGF and am pleased to announce that ZGF will match every dollar raised by July 31, 2016, up to $5,000!!  I know how big of a gesture this is, so I made sure to educate myself on the details of the charitable organizations I have been considering.

I have done a good deal of diligent research and have found a charity organization (Equality Florida) that is committed to ensuring that every penny raised goes to the victims and their families and not into the wrong people’s pockets. They have partnered with the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) and are expediting the process for fund disbursement to ensure there is no gap in the safety net for these families. The distribution of funds to the victim’s families of mass casualty crimes, including shootings and terrorist attacks, requires the highest level of transparency, complete accountability and closely managed distribution. For an in-depth description of Equality Florida’s plan to do exactly that, please visit Also, according to (a website dedicated to gathering and disseminating information about every single IRS-registered non-profit organization), both Equality Florida and the NCVC have their highest Gold Rating. I have the utmost confidence that whatever donation we are able to make will have positive lasting effects.

Let us band together to say; “This is not ok and we’re going to do something about it!” After all, one thing everyone can agree on is that terrorism (regardless of the targeted group), is never an acceptable answer to the problems the world faces. Thank you for your time, consideration and for reading my plea for help. Please understand that this is by no means an obligation for any of you. It is quite simply a request from me personally, to help make as big a difference as possible. 

As disbursements are made to Equality Florida, I will be sure to update everyone who has donated to our cause to let them know.

“May love weave us all into a tapestry of understanding and compassion”.  – My Mom

Love, Peace and Unity,

Josh Crowell

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Josh Thomas 
Seattle, WA
Equality Florida Institute, Inc. 
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