LGBTQ equality: ‘This is a human issue'

When Sally Lapides, president and co-founder of Residential Properties, was asked to chair the Million Dollar Challenge Campaign for Equity Action in 2008, she viewed it as an opportunity to continue a fight for equality that began when she was very young.

“From the time I was a little girl, equality was a priority and an imperative that my parents instilled in us. At that time, race, religion, and creed were our fights. As I grew up, I more fully understood that the world is filled with wonderful people who were diverse in all of those categories, and I added sexual orientation to my list as well. Every day I was grateful for the differences and thought the world was a better place for it,” she explains.

Of the campaign for Equity Action, Sally says, “I felt this campaign should be led by someone who is heterosexual. I didn’t want people to say this is a gay issue. This is a human issue…an everyone issue. I felt it would make a bigger impact, and I think it did.”

Under Sally’s leadership, the Million Dollar Challenge Campaign successfully raised $500,000 for Equity Action, a field of interest fund established at the Foundation in 2003 to advance the equitable treatment and improve the quality of life of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Rhode Islanders. The Foundation matched the money raised dollar for dollar, and the million dollar goal became a reality.

Sally also has supported LGBTQ issues locally through support of Youth Pride and by advocating “for years and years and years” for marriage equality which became law in Rhode Island in 2013. “It’s good to be on the right side of history,” Sally exclaims.

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