Why did PROMO Fund and SAGE Metro St. Louis decide to merge?
Historically, PROMO and PROMO Fund have focused on the legislative and electoral advocacy to advance LGBT issues. PROMO Fund, starting in 2009, took a stronger focus on public policy, particularly in the field of LGBT health. The primary focus of SAGE has been Advocacy, Information/Referral, Community Outreach, Education and Service Provider Training.
Over the past four years, SAGE and PROMO Fund have developed a close and successful collaboration with the LGBT Health Access project, with SAGE providing the education and training component from a Life Span Approach. SAGE chose this approach due in part from a perspective that to have healthy older adults, we must have healthier young people. By focusing on access to services and reduction of health disparities, we can have an impact on healthy living across the life span.
Looking forward, SAGE and PROMO Fund agree that together we are stronger. While SAGE has primarily focused on the St. Louis region, a consolidation of SAGE as a program of PROMO Fund enables the strengths of SAGE to expand to a statewide basis with a primary focus of community outreach, education, information and referral, in order to support inclusive and welcoming services for LGBT older adults.
How will the organization focus its efforts?
The purpose of PROMO Fund is to provide community outreach and education on issues of importance to LGBT Missourians. Through this merger, we combine two organizations that have developed a strong collaborative model, strengthening efforts across Missouri. The statewide presence of PROMO Fund, combined with the training and education expertise of SAGE, will enhance our focus to include establishing a model of community outreach and education that addresses determinants of health from a life span approach to help ensure access to quality and inclusive LGBT services for all Missourians where they live.
Will programs be affected?
The core programs of both PROMO Fund and SAGE will remain intact for the foreseeable future. Through strategic planning, PROMO Fund will seek new opportunities across the state to establish and grow the SAGE aging service referral network, social support and community education. PROMO Fund will also continue to grow the LGBT Health and Public Policy program to promote LGBT inclusive policies and provide cultural awareness training/best practices to health, mental health and social service organizations across the state.
How will the merged organization better serve the community?
The LGBT older adult population in the U.S. is growing from an estimated 3 million today and will double by 2030. These adults have often been seen as one of the most invisible and marginalized segments with the LGBT community. SAGE is increasingly called upon across the state for referrals and training. Through this merger, SAGE and PROMO Fund are leading the way as the first SAGE affiliate to merge with a statewide organization such as PROMO Fund, which will increase the support for LGBT older Missourians. This will allow the merged organizations to draw upon the successful model of SAGE and older adult outreach and education to identify gaps from an intersectional analysis seeking strategic opportunities to better serve the community outreach and education needs across the lifespan for LGBT Missourians.
How will the merged organization be structured?
The SAGE Metro St. Louis staff, assets and board members will be incorporated into PROMO Fund’s existing organizational and governance structure with 501(c)3 designation. A.J. Bockelman (PROMO/PROMO Fund) will remain as the Executive Director of the organization. Sherrill Wayland (SAGE Executive Director) will become the Deputy Director of PROMO Fund and Eugene Potchen-Webb will remain as the Program Manager for SAGE of PROMO Fund. Stephanie Perkins will remain Deputy Director of PROMO and Andrew Shaughnessy, PROMO Fund Policy Manager, will continue to manage the LGBT Health Policy work. Future plans include hiring a second Kansas City based staffer to coordinate SAGE programs and health and social service outreach and education in the Kansas City Region. The current field position for PROMO in Kansas City is open due to a relocation and will be filled soon.
In addition, three SAGE board members will become board members of the PROMO Fund Board of Directors, including Heidi Martin, Angela Curtis, and Michael Cole. Additional SAGE board members will serve on the SAGE Standing Committee, providing a strategic vision of SAGE programs.