New Year, New Steering Committee!

First off, thank you! 2010 was an amazing year for Out Astoria and 2011 is already off to a great start.  We owe a lot of our progress to our awesome members. Your participation is a huge part of what makes OA such a success. So thanks!

Now, the news. Out Astoria’s new Steering Committee convened on Sunday, January 23rd to elect officers to oversee Out Astoria’s administrative and operational duties. The new officers are:

  • President: Brent Gallenberger
  • Vice President: Jonathan Blue
  • Treasurer: Courtney Joseph
  • Secretary: Chap Day
  • Events Director: Ben Rubinstein
  • Communications Director: Michael Murphy
  • Business Outreach Director: Rian Brooks
  • Membership Director: Dan Fingerman

This first-ever election for Out Astoria earned us a little attention too: a mention in the New York Daily News!

OA's first election earned a mention in the NY Daily News!

Our final transition to a member-governed organization caps-off an exciting year of growth and evolution. Our organization grew rapidly in 2010 and the successful creation of our Sponsor Membership program has brought our ability to benefit our community to a whole new level.

OA also gained attention last year for our fundraising efforts on behalf of the Ali Forney Center’s Emergency Shelter in Astoria for LGBTQ Homeless Youth. The shelter was vandalized with anti-gay graffiti in June 2010. Out Astoria channeled the outpouring of support in our community to benefit the shelter with a fundraiser. Nearly $1,000 was raised and OA continues to support the shelter with volunteer work from our members. Contact Brent Gallenberger at president@outastoria.com if you want to help the shelter.

This year, Out Astoria is organizing our first-ever AIDS Walk team! Dan Fingerman spearheaded this new effort and we’re really glad he got us involved. To join Out Astoria’s AIDS Walk team follow this link. For more information, check out the AIDS Walk website here.

Stay tuned for information on upcoming events and activities. Our new Events Director, Ben Rubinstein, is cooking up awesome ideas and we’re all looking forward to some great events. But, as always, OA welcomes input from our members. Feel free to email Ben at events@outastoria.com and share your ideas or suggestions.

An Open Letter from Out Astoria’s Co-founders

November 4, 2010

Dear Friends,

It has been an amazing year of progress for Out Astoria, one in which we have added new events, officially incorporated as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, branched out into community service, and, as of today, relaunched our Web site.

When the two of us put together the first Astoria gay men’s dinner in February 2006, little did we expect that group to expand so quickly and morph into Out Astoria. With a growing mailing list of more than 900 people, we are now much more than a monthly dinner party. Out Astoria organizes the LGBT community in Astoria/Long Island City, providing our members with a way to get to know each other and support our community. We identify LGBT-owned and LGBT-friendly businesses in our neighborhood and forge partnerships with their owners to plan events for the gay and lesbian community. We also provide a forum for our members to connect with others to improve our neighborhoods for all residents. We collaborate with elected officials, nonprofits, and volunteer groups to help keep the LGBT community involved and visible. And starting in 2011, we’re proud to announce that the entire steering committee will be elected by and represent the growing and diverse membership of Out Astoria.

So that Out Astoria may continue to grow and thrive, we want to give all our LGBT neighbors a stronger voice in the group. We’re writing you today to announce new sponsor membership in Out Astoria. Sponsor members will be able to vote—and run!—in January’s elections for Out Astoria’s steering committee. They will also receive membership discounts at the door to Out Astoria events, and eventually other discounts with Out Astoria partners. Sponsor membership is limited to those who reside in zip codes 11101, 11102, 11103, 11104, 11105, or 11106 and pay $10 in annual membership dues.  These dues fund Out Astoria’s events and activities, including philanthropic and community outreach efforts.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support over these past five years in helping Out Astoria grow into something unique and special in our community. We encourage you to go to OutAstoria.com today and enroll as a sponsor member. Our events will remain open to all who wish to attend, but Out Astoria needs a strong number of active, dues-paying members in order to fulfill its promise as a vibrant organization. And look forward to an announcement in a few weeks on the upcoming board elections.

We would also like to thank and acknowledge the work of Out Astoria’s membership outreach chair, John Paul Detty, and his subcommittee in helping to develop the sponsor membership program, as well as Out Astoria’s Secretary, Jonathan Blue, in managing the technical aspects of membership enrollment.

With best wishes,

Dirk McCall                                                    Brent Gallenberger

Co-founder of Out Astoria                           Co-founder, Acting President of Out Astoria