Cyndi Lauper Honors Lewis’ Leadership, Grace, and Friendship
Gregory Lewis, True Colors United Executive Director and CEO, announced today that he will be stepping down from his founding role on June 30, 2022.
A longtime advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) equity, Gregory Lewis worked with Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Barbaris, and Jonny Podell to co-found True Colors United in 2008 and has served as its Executive Director and CEO since its inception. Under Gregory’s leadership, True Colors United has grown into the leading national organization implementing innovative solutions to address youth homelessness by focusing on the unique experiences of LGBTQ youth.
“I’m so grateful to Gregory. My team and I first worked with him at the Human Rights Campaign and the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and then we brought him on the road with us to handle the charity part of the True Colors Tour,” said Cyndi Lauper, Co-founder and Board member, True Colors United.
“Gregory eventually went on to become the Executive Director & CEO of True Colors United and an invaluable part of the organization every step of the way. Gregory’s insight, compassion, and true leadership have helped grow and shape what we do at True Colors United,” Lauper continued. “His grace and patience have helped us navigate the trickiness at the intersection of philanthropy and government. His tenacity and perseverance have made a difference in the lives of so many people that we have been able to help. Gregory is a trusted confidant and a true friend. I am sad to see him leave True Colors but I am so happy to see him fly.”
True Colors United board and staff credit Lewis’ steady leadership for creating the programmatic structure and development streams critical to its success. And he leaves the organization stronger than it’s ever been. Today, True Colors United’s programs drive real change at the local, state, national, and international levels, while being supported by strong operations and infrastructure. True Colors United is not only financially stable, but continues to grow the funding and donor base to perform its vital work.
Over the past decade, True Colors United has ensured LGBTQ youth and young people of color (the two populations most at risk of homelessness) are increasingly at the heart of the solutions being created today and set the standard of centering the expertise of young people with lived experience in the greater movement to end youth homelessness. The organization has strengthened communities across the country through robust technical assistance and prioritized implementation of long-term solutions that are essential to ending the problem once and for all.
Some of True Colors United key accomplishments include:
- Advancing vital protections for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness at the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Health & Human Services, while working with Congress to securing hundreds of millions of dollars in new annual federal funding for communities nationwide to develop local solutions to youth homelessness
- Educating thousands of people working at youth homelessness service providers on creating safe, welcoming, and inclusive care for LGBTQ young people, while equipping them with an online learning community filled with a growing array of free tools, resources, and trainings that allow them to measure their progress year over year
- Partnering with hundreds of young people with lived experience to enhance their leadership skills and pioneering the concept of meaningful youth action, which as a result, has become industry standard within the youth homelessness movement
- Advancing the body of knowledge around LGBTQ youth homelessness internationally through comprehensive and game-changing research reports in the United States, Europe, and soon East Africa
- Launching the first-ever global campaign on youth homelessness in partnership with the United Nations Human Rights Office – translating our message into over 7 languages
- Engaging the public through viral campaigns like #TrueColorsDay and the award-winning Give a Damn Campaign, while providing supporters with meaningful ways to make a difference
In the Words of True Colors United Allies:
“Gregory Lewis mobilized a movement of youth activists, advocates and civic leaders who believe we can shape a nation that effectively ends youth homelessness. At True Colors United, Gregory, along with his collaborator Cyndi Lauper, refused to look away from the shocking disproportionality of youth who identify as LGBTQ+ among those experiencing homelessness. He has insisted time and again that others notice and take action. The impact of his leadership at True Colors United will long endure in the lives of countless young people.” – Kevin Ryan, President and CEO, Covenant House International
“Gregory has been a partner and friend in our collective commitment to end homelessness while centering equity and racial justice. We have learned from each other and pushed each other to grow. He has been a soft space for me to land, and a held space for bold conversations rooted in our collective liberation. His leadership in the movement will be missed. I am confident in the unapologetic and necessary work of True Colors United continuing because of his leadership.” – Amanda Andere, Chief Executive Officer, Funders Together to End Homelessness
“It has been a true honor being a philanthropic partner with True Colors United since first meeting Gregory ten years ago. The team he built, and the work they have done, has not only elevated the conversation around LGBTQ youth homelessness, but has fundamentally changed the landscape for youth across the country and throughout the world. Although I will miss Gregory’s leadership in this space, his achievements over the years have ensured a sustainable future for this important organization and I have no doubt our paths will cross again.” – Terrance Meck, Co-founder and President, The Palette Fund
True Colors United’s Board Of Directors has retained Koya Partners and established a Search Committee composed of Board Members to conduct the search for the organization’s next Chief Executive Officer. It is our priority to identify a dynamic leader with a true passion for True Colors United’s mission to implement innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people. More information will be released soon about this search.
About True Colors United: True Colors United was co-founded in 2008 by Cyndi Lauper. We implement innovative solutions to youth homelessness that focus on the unique experiences of LGBTQ young people. Through a broad array of training and education, youth action, technical assistance, and advocacy programs, True Colors United is creating a world where all young people can be their true selves. www.truecolorsunited.org