Grants Pass, Ore — A local faith-based non profit dedicated to helping homeless youth is having a change of heart about a donation they turned down.
Earlier this month they rejected money from the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus.
Hearts With a Mission says they made a mistake, and they invited the public to hear their apology.
“We would like to extend an apology to our community,” said Hearts With a Mission Board Member Ann Hitchcock.
An effort to avoid controversy turned into a public apology from the local non-profit.
“We also want to sincerely apologize to the LGBTQ community for the hurt and offense we have caused you,” said Hitchcock.
Faith-based Hearts With a Mission rejected funds raised by a concert featuring the Portland Gay Men’s Chorus.
“The board originally made the decision to reject the funds to avoid undue controversy, clearly that didn’t happen so today was an opportunity for the board to recognize publicly and to the community that they had made a mistake,” said Program Director Sharon Rush.
The apology struck true for Margaret Keip, a member of the PFLAG group, or ‘Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.’
“To learn that this whole experience has been a turmoil for them has been heartwarming, and heartrending and important, it’s crises that cause us to change,” said Keip.
The funds ended up with the Maslow Project, an organization with a similar goal.
“The intention of the money was to help homeless children and that’s exclusively what we do, and we work with over 183 homeless kids in Josephine County so we were happy to receive the donation,” said Mary Ferrell, Executive Director of the Maslow Project.
Rush says many of the children Hearts With a Mission serves are themselves LGBTQ youth.
“We’re honest with the kids and we invite them to talk about it and they have the benefit of the experience of being in the shelter and being accepted and being loved unconditionally by those staff,” said Rush.
She hopes the controversy will help Hearts With a Mission better serve every child in need.
“Hearts With a Mission whether it’s Josephine County or Jackson County is a safe place for kids to come, regardless of their background,” said Rush.
Three Hearts With a Mission board members resigned over the controversy.
Maslow Project says they plan to use the $3,500 raised to reach Josephine County youth at risk of homelessness.
Matt earned a Meteorology Certificate from Mississippi State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Oregon. Before joining NBC5 News, Matt spent a year in Alexandria, Louisiana as a reporter and anchor for KALB News. Matt was also a production assistant at KEZI 9 News in Eugene and an intern at CNN.
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