The Old Lesbian Oral Herstory Project, (OLOHP), and Old Lesbians Organizing for Change, (OLOC), are:
- Unparalleled organizations working concurrently
- Committed to service to the community of old lesbians
- Efforts that have been in existence for more than fifteen years
- Organizations whose paths have often intersected
Add to those facts that many of the same women support both OLOC and the OLOHP, and then factor in that the organizational names and acronyms are so similar, and what you end up with is confusion! Here are a few more facts that should help bring some clarity…
- The OLOHP and OLOC are each incorporated separately.
- Each has sought and been granted separate 501(c)3 status.
- Each has its own leadership and Board of Directors.
- Each has its own mission and goals.
- Neither organization is privy to the inner workings and finances of the other.
It is important that everyone understand that the OLOHP and OLOC are separate: They are supportive of each other, have overlapping constituencies, work towards goals that complement each other’s – and they are separate entities.Each organization has directed its efforts to work for old lesbians in distinctly different ways.
- OLOC continues to be an organization for Old Lesbians age 60 and over, committed to addressing what it means to be Old and to be Lesbian, finding ways to gather groups of Old Lesbians together for ongoing support, working against all oppressions that affect Old Lesbians, and standing in solidarity with allies for racial, economic and social justice.
- The OLOHP collects and preserves our life stories (focusing on lesbians aged 70 and older) to honor the lives of old lesbians. OLOHP offers outreach by sharing Herstories with isolated old lesbians and via education of senior care providers and the general public, to create environments that improve the lives of all old lesbians.
For almost every non-profit organization to work diligently towards its goals, money is essential. To find the funds necessary to do this important work, both the OLOHP and OLOC rely on people who believe in what they are doing. Most often, those are individuals. For years, OLOC and its supporters have demonstrated a strong interest in the work of the OLOHP and have generously contributed to its success by helping promote the OLOHP in the OLOC newsletter, on the OLOC website, and at its Gatherings. OLOC has also provided some of the funding that was significant in helping the OLOHP thrive. It is important that the donors understand that they are donating either to the OLOHP, or to OLOC, but that the two organizations are not one and the same.
In addition to individual contributions, both organizations also need to seek out other funding sources, such as granting foundations. When funders are confused about the relationship between the two organizations, it often works against the chances that both the OLOHP and OLOC will be considered for the requested funding. Foundations have very specific criteria when considering funding. OLOC and the OLOHP have divergent approaches to accomplishing their work. When OLOC and the OLOHP are mistaken by funders to be one and the same, they may no longer fit the criteria. It may also give the appearance of double-dipping when both are applying for a grant. While this sounds a bit far-fetched, it has happened. The OLOHP was informed by one potential funder that it couldn’t apply since OLOC had already applied for funds, some of which were to be used for the OLOHP.
Confusion isn’t always a bad thing. It benefits all of us to be a part of, and to witness, the distinctly different efforts undertaken by both groups, OLOC and the OLOHP. Both groups have in the past, and will continue to:
- focus on increasing the visibility of old lesbians, an often overlooked and undervalued segment of the LGBT population
- ensure that stories of our experiences are heard and preserved
- create opportunities for old lesbians to gather, exchange ideas and learn through their work, support and improve the lives of old lesbians
We ask that everyone recognize that OLOC and the OLOHP are two separate organizations, proud of what they are doing and supportive of what each is accomplishing.