New lesbian-run nonprofit, The Felicity Project, aims to empower LGBT community through volunteerism, fundraising
A new nonprofit aimed at helping the LGBT community is kicking off the holiday season with volunteer work.
The Felicity Project started over the summer when four friends — Jurni Rayne, her fiancée Dee Edwards, Kimberly Young and Moe Kharizma — came together with a vision to reach out and help the fellow members in their rainbow family.
Rayne, known best as a local lesbian musician, said she came up with the idea two years ago to start a support group for feminine-identified lesbians to socialize and discuss their issues. While the mission was empowerment among the “invisible femme” lesbian population, she later expanded the goal to unify all lesbians and bisexual women through service to others.
“The main goal was to open the eyes of what being a feminine-identified lesbian was because most of the struggles fall on the shoulders of the masculine-identified lesbians,” Rayne said. “I have a very big passion for helping the community, and I can’t do it by myself.”
Over the summer, the idea of starting a service group came up again between Rayne and her friends. This time they decided to make it a nonprofit and combined the idea with social events outside of the club scene to raise money for underprivileged segments of the LGBT community.
“It kind of transformed,” Rayne said of the group’s formation.
The group is open to all lesbian and bisexual women, including trans men and women who date women, Rayne said.
She said the focus on membership is to unite the women-loving segment of the LGBT community.
“Dallas is too segregated,” she said. “TFP includes all lesbian and bisexual women because we wanted to bridge that gap.”
The four co-founders have helped organize several events in the few months they’ve been a nonprofit, including a volunteer day at the North Texas Food Bank, and delivered Thanksgiving dinners to two families this week who they adopted, proving a warm meal for them.
They plan to decorate a nursing home later in December. Their next big event is a bachelorette auction in February.
They eventually want to partner with other organizations in the area and even award scholarships to LGBT youth.
Co-founder Kimberly Young said there was a need for an organization that reached out to the needy LGBT community.
She said many nonprofits are Christian-based, and even though they may be accepting of the community, LGBT people may hesitate to reach out to them.
“It was something that we were seeing that was being overlooked within the community,” Young said. “There’s a lot of nonprofits but none geared toward helping LGBT people.”
Rayne said the group is in the process of building a Felicity Team to have people plan events and blog on the group’s website. She said with many nonprofits in the area, and being one of so few who focus on LGBT people, more input and help is wanted to grow the organization.
Young added that while TFP has a mission of service overall, the group wants to help with other projects not specifically LGBT.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 29, 2013.