Executive Director & CEO
A longtime advocate for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) equity, Gregory Lewis worked with Cyndi Lauper to launch True Colors United in 2008 and has served as its executive director since its founding. 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.
Gregory built the organization from the ground up, creating the infrastructure and development streams critical to its success.
True Colors United’s work grew out of a yearlong in-depth assessment conducted by Gregory into the crisis of LGBTQ youth homelessness and the existing resources to address the issue. Through a wide array of advocacy, training & education, and youth collaboration programs, True Colors United works to prevent and end homelessness among LGBTQ youth, creating a world where all young people can be their true selves.
One of Gregory’s first undertakings at True Colors United was founding the Give A Damn Campaign. Through its website, online engagement, and award-winning public service announcements, the Give a Damn Campaign encouraged folks to get involved in ensuring equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. From 2010 to 2016, the Give a Damn Campaign spread its message of equality around the world with the help of its over 100,000 members and numerous celebrity partners, including Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg, Susan Sarandon, Ricky Martin, Jason Mraz, Anna Paquin, and many, many more.
Prior to joining True Colors United, Gregory served as the managing director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Under his leadership, the organization grew significantly and developed a strong programmatic direction in its efforts to erase hate and promote acceptance and understanding.
Gregory’s career as an advocate was, in fact, prompted by Matthew Shepard’s death in Wyoming in 1998. Shocked by the hate crime, Gregory began volunteering with the DC-based Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in the country, where he was soon encouraged to apply for a full-time position. He spent seven years in HRC’s development department, including four years as the associate director of development operations and special projects, a role in which he oversaw the operations of a $30 million fundraising and membership department and focused on the creation of new revenue streams.
Gregory’s interest in bringing people together to make a difference dates back to his high school years, when he started a county-wide coalition of chapters of Students Against Drunk Driving. He spoke to national media, lobbied Congress on the issue, and was named one of the most Caring Young Adults in the nation by the DC-based Caring Institute.
Gregory grew up in New York and attended the University of Southern California, where he joined a long list of successful college dropouts.