A Letter From Vice Chair Kathryn Gonzales

Hello everyone,

My name is Kathryn Gonzales (she/her/hers) and I am the Vice Chair of the It’s Your Haven Foundation Board. I wanted to tell you a little about me, how your Haven has been doing, and what you can do to help us ensure a bright future for such an important space in LGBTQ geek life.

Let me introduce myself…

When I’m not bossing Shane around, I boss around kids at Out Youth – an Austin-based nonprofit that has served LGBTQ youth and their families for 27 years. I’m also the Interim Director of the Central Texas Transgender Health Coalition, and a member of the City of Austin’s LGBTQ+ Quality of Life Commission.

All told, I have 15 years of experience in LGBTQ+ nonprofits and advocacy, another 10 in startups and entrepreneurship, and I’m thrilled to be lending them to HavenCon, an organization that holds a dear and special place in my life.

…and tell you what we’ve been up to…

I know you probably hear from Shane the most, but our team at HavenCon has been hard at work over the last 7 months.

The biggest accomplishment was making HavenCon its own 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the It’s Your Haven Foundation.

We decided to become a charitable organization so we could give back to our community in even bigger, better, and more unique ways.

Did you know that, to date, HavenCon has raised over $7,000 for organizations like Out Youth and TransLifeline? We also donated to help the disaster relief efforts after the Texas floods and hurricanes. And we were honored to support memorial and healing efforts after the Orlando shooting.

We’ve also helped creators of diverse content by directly contributing to their fundraisers, offering free advertising, and even tables at HavenCon.

This Haven is a family. And we will always try our best to help our family and those in need.

…and tell you how you can help.

This is the part where I ask you for money.

Look, I get it. I’ve got those 15 years of nonprofit experience I talked about up top. We both knew I was going to ask for money at the end of this.

Do I wish we lived in a utopian Star Trek future where the acquisition of wealth was no longer the driving force in our lives? DEFINITELY. And still, we do this work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity. </shameless ripoff of Jean Luc Picard quote>

Thankfully, we’ve totally revamped the membership process to make things more convenient for you all around. By partnering with Generosity and Kindful, we’ve simplify the connection between events and the foundation and can now provide you with extra membership perks.

Full details on membership can be found on Generosity at: https://igg.me/at/RAYewWpF6vo

So…

If you’ve already registered for HavenCon 4:

THANKS! Now go talk about it constantly with all your friends to make them jealous so they want to come too.

If you haven’t registered yet:

Put it on your holiday wishlist. Or better yet, treat yourself to a membership. You deserve it. Plus, registering now gives you Founding Member status and a bunch of cool perks.

If you can’t attend HavenCon in Austin:

First, I’m going to miss you. Second, consider a donation to the Foundation so we can start HavenCons in other cities. (Shane told me I couldn’t talk about it until we met our base goal, but he’s not the boss of me.)

If you’re not in a position to give financially:

That’s okay too! There are a bunch of ways you can give back to the HavenCon family.

The easiest way to support us is to share our membership campaign info with your friends and networks. It’s a struggle for us to be louder than the seemingly endless roar of today’s politically charged world. Every share and like and comment helps.

Another great way is to tell your Haven story. Write it out and share it. Or record it and stream it. Heck, write a song about what HavenCon means to you and donate the proceeds from your iTunes sales to the Foundation.

So, let’s be clear, HavenCon is here to stay.

Working in a startup is hard, and doing that work as a charity is harder. But you know what? It’s also a lot of fun.

The team that we’ve assembled has big plans for the future, and the future is still uncertain.

The one thing we want you to know is that HavenCon isn’t going anywhere.

What Shane began and what you’ve helped us build  is special and we’re committed to keeping this family together and welcoming more people into the family as we grow.

Together, we can make sure that history never forgets the name HavenCon,

Kathryn

PS – I hope we get to see each other in March! Until then, be sure to tune in the weekend of December 8th for our Live Stream event over at Twitch.Tv/HavenCon. It’s going to be a lot of fun and a chance to hear from more of our team.

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