Forward Madison FC is partnering with the OutReach LGBTQ+ Community Center in Madison to celebrate Pride Month this June, the team announced Thursday. The Flamingos are set to launch a line of Pride-themed merchandise items, including a limited-edition jersey, with a portion of proceeds benefiting OutReach.
Additionally, team captains Jake Keegan and Connor Tobin will wear a rainbow armband for every game in June, a tradition started during the club’s inaugural season in 2019. According to Tobin, who is also Forward Madison’s Community Engagement Manager, the partnership with OutReach is a testament to the team’s efforts to create an inclusive atmosphere for all its fans.
“We are excited that the club’s Pride initiatives this year are going to support OutReach,” Tobin said. “Their organization has provided extremely valuable support to the local Madison area LGBTQ community for decades. It is important as a club that we actively support organizations that strive to make Madison a better, more inclusive place to live, as we have an obligation to ensure that we are positively impacting the community that makes this club what it is.”
Steve Starkey, Executive Director of OutReach LGBTQ+ Community Center, said he was proud to kick off his organization’s relationship with the Flamingos.
“We are pleased to partner with Forward Madison during Pride Month 2021,” Starkey said. “We appreciate the support the team is providing to OutReach LGBTQ Community Center and the LGBTQ community in Dane County."
OutReach's mission is a commitment to equity and quality of life for LGBTQ+ people through community building, health and human services, and economic, social, and racial justice advocacy.
OutReach has been providing services to the LGBTQ community in south central Wisconsin since 1973. It provides information and referral, social and support groups, peer counseling, publications, a large lending library and cyber center, a speaker's bureau, and services for LGBTQ seniors, transgender people, homeless LGBTQ people, and advocacy for people experiencing addiction issues.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, OutReach has continued to stay connected to members of the LGBTQ+ community in south central Wisconsin and support LGBTQ+ people by hosting virtual events, support groups, and through financial assistance.
OutReach’s Willma’s Fund has awarded grants totaling $45,000 to 125 homeless LGBTQ+ people since we closed to the public in March of 2020. The Willma’s Fund grants were made possible by generous donations and grants from UW Health, Quartz and Unity Point, the New Harvest Foundation, the Boys & Girls Club, our Big Share online event that raised over $6,000.