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Close to the finish line to help LGBT kids


By Adam Bink

I posted about this earlier this month, but it’s time for one reminder as we near the finish line on December 31st.

Many of you remember how Courage Campaign Institute entered the Pepsi: Refresh Everything contest back in June, and we won $50,000 to support our LGBT work because so many of you voted, day-in and day-out.

We’re back in the contest this month, and currently 3rd (the top 10 come December 31st win). But, things really heat up at the end of the month. The $50,000, no-strings-attached, goes to fund Camp Courage leadership trainings for LGBT youth. Camp Courage is our acclaimed two-day intensive training program based on Camp Obama, which we’ve used in California and in New Hampshire to fight attempts to repeal the state’s marriage equality law. We’ve trained over 1,700 people to organize their communities. For this project, the money will fund leadership and empowerment training for LGBT youth. An example of a Camp Courage we’ve done:

How you can help:

1. Sign up for a quick daily voting reminder HERE. You’ll get a reminder each morning to vote for us and our other partners in this month’s Progressive Slate, which runs the slate of groups going for the money. You vote, and that’s it.

2. You can vote up to three times daily in the month of December: once with a Pepsi voting account, once with your Facebook account, and once by texting our voting code (110852) to the phone number (73774). If we’re in the top ten in our $50,000 category at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, we win! Click here to vote today.

3. There are no strings attached vis a vis Pepsi. We don’t have to sell you Pepsi. You don’t have to buy any. Neither of us has to drink any (unless you want to). No Power Voting Codes. Just good money for a good cause.

So please, sign up for a quick daily reminder to vote for the last week and a half in December and put us over the top! No obligations, commitments, or anything after that. And remember to vote and share! Let’s do this!


  • 1. Fluffyskunk  |  December 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Off-topic but interesting: 11th Circuit rules fundie's religious bigotry doesn't trump science and education (from My apologies if someone has already linked this story…

  • 2. Jaime  |  December 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    The attendees do not appear to be "kids" and it is not clear that any actual training is taking place. It looks like a lot of chanting of slogans and some political speeches with which everyone agrees anyway. Why do you need $50,000 to do this?

  • 3. Adam Bink  |  December 23, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    First, of course the attendees aren't kids — this is an adult training we did in East LA with activists. The youth training wouldn't be the exact same curriculum, but more focused on leadership and organizing within schools. Second, a 2:45 highlight video isn't going to show the breadth of the training, but the empowerment and enthusiasm that came out of it. Last, there is a specific budget chart here ( we are required to submit that lays out how the money will be allocated. I recommend reading it.

  • 4. Jaime  |  December 24, 2011 at 7:20 am

    OK, I know this is the internet and comments always seem to be taken in the most negative light, but I hope that you will take these as constructive and sincere, because they really are. I support the Courage Campaign and I really appreciate what you do. In that light:

    First, if the video doesn't reflect what is to going to occur and what is expected to be accomplished with the proposed youth training retreat retreat, then don't post it as if it is illustrative. I see you also put still pics from the adult session up on RefreshEverything. Don't blame people for looking at these videos and pics and concluding that this is what you have in mind for your project.

    Second, I did look at the budget and the project description and I don't see anything that explains what this retreat does on a practical level. There is just pabulum about how it will involve "story telling" and "leadership training." If you want $50K, you really should explain what specific skill sets and what specific areas you intend to cover. Third, you don't need $10K – 20 percent of the $50K grant – to create a post-event promotional DVD. That's a ridiculous sum for something that takes place after the event for which you claim to need funds. You don't need to create a DVD at all if promotion is what you are truly after. This isn't 1993. Post whatever promo video you want on the internet.

    Finally, I can't fathom how it is you need $25K to procure a meeting space and some transportation for one day. Is this retreat at the Taj Mahal? I hope that you are not folding into this amount any unjustified speaking or appearance fees. In particular, Dan Choi is reported to charge an appearance fee. If that is what the money is going for, you should say so and let people decide whether their votes are better spent on that or on saving puppies and runaways.

  • 5. fiona64  |  December 24, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Jaime, I'm guessing you haven't priced out multi-day conference facilities and transportation in any large cities lately. That's part of my job, and guess what? $25K is conservative.

  • 6. Jaime  |  December 26, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    I know that you can get the entire top floor of the Trump World Tower in New York City on New Year's Eve for 25K. So I would imagine that you could do a lot better if you tried.

    Also, your info on RefreshEverything does not indicate that this is a multi-day conference and in fact makes reference to your procuring food for 1 day.

    Look, I am not attacking CC, which clearly does excellent work. And I think the idea of training youth and adults in practical skills like GOTV and canvassing is great. But this seems to be about storytelling and slogan-chanting and paying Dan Choi to rant and rave. Wouldn't it be better to get the 50K to put on real training in MN or ME, where there will be real electoral battles less than 11 months from now? Do that, and I'll go to the site and vote religiously for you every day.

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