Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition, Karen Foley
A 2019 DEI study examined the challenges that the LGBTQ+ community face worldwide despite recent advances in legal and cultural progress. The results reflected the dilemma that Karen Foley was facing as a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Lancaster. There was a vacuum with a critical need to fill, and Karen was ready to make a move to bridge that gap.
Fueled by an Empathetic & Tenacious Spirit
In her role as a trauma therapist and LGBTQ+ advocate Karen was able to observe the inadequacies in the level of opportunities and support available to the LGBTQ+ community in Lancaster. "Fueled by her tenacious and empathetic spirit, Karen stepped forward to address the problem, find solutions, and begin filling the gap by founding Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition."
The Coalition was created with a considerable measure of her personal vision for the LGBTQ+ community. One of the first steps that Karen took in this process was to reach out to SCORE Lancaster-Lebanon to request the assistance of a SCORE mentor.
Pictured from left to right: Karen Foley, Executive Director, Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition; Larry Keating, and Bob Thomas, SCORE volunteer mentors.
"So, I reached out to SCORE because I was kind of on my own in starting this organization, and I wasn't sure I had the capacity to do it. My first SCORE mentor was Larry Keating. Quite frankly, he was the first person to really believe in me. Larry told me that this organization could not fail because the need was too great. That has helped me throughout this entire process. Then SCORE mentor Bob Thomas came on board to add his prowess as a non-profit leader in this community. He has been an incredible asset to our organization and to me. I am deeply grateful to both of these volunteer mentors."
- Karen Foley, Executive Director, Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition
Lighting the Torch for a Supportive & Enriching Community
Through her passion for the marginalized community, Karen has created an organization that facilitates education, promotes health and well-being, cultivates connections and a sense of belonging, and supports the vulnerable subsets of the Lancaster LGBTQ+ community. Karen's SCORE mentors are delighted to work with a client who is so committed to their mission.
"I was assigned Karen randomly, so I can just thank my lucky stars for that one. The minute she walked into the SCORE office, I knew she was a winner. Every meeting we had was exciting and productive. The outlines of her organization grew over time as she assembled her board, drew up the bylaws, and took the other necessary organizational steps. SCORE was delighted to be along to provide guidance and support. Karen ignited a torch for the LGBTQ+ community in Lancaster that led the way to what was needed."
- Larry Keating, SCORE volunteer mentor
Pictured from left to right: Karen Foley, Executive Director, Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition; Todd Snovel, Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition Board Member; Larry Keating, and Bob Thomas, SCORE volunteer mentors.
Karen recently took another critical step in the journey for the LGBTQ+ Coalition when she received the keys to "The Loop." This new home for the Coalition will be a community space and non-profit seedbed where every intersection can feel safe and celebrated.
"The Coalition now fulfills an incredible need we have seen in our community, which is to have a space that is brave and is welcoming and is affirming and celebrates queer communities from across Lancaster. As we continue to hear about the needs that our communities are facing, how are we coalescing with other organizations, and how we are offering education and training to make sure that Lancaster is a welcoming and affirming County and City for all."
- Todd Snovel, Board Member, Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition