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Updated: Apr 23

Respected LGBTQ+ advocate returns to the Gulf Coast with an expansive vision to grow a beloved local nonprofit.

The Project Pride SRQ Board has named Paul Lotierzo the organization’s first Executive Director.

With his new role set to commence on May 1, 2024, Lotierzo is poised to leverage his impressive array of non-profit networking and development experience to usher Project Pride SRQ (Project Pride) into the next chapter of its ever-expansive presence and increase its impact on the local Sarasota community, the gulf-coast region, and beyond.

Having recently exited a position as Chief Development Officer at Civic Influencers, a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to amplifying the voices of young voters, and a three-year tenure as Director of Development with Athlete Ally, a NYC-based organization dedicated to ending homophobia and transphobia in sports, Lotierzo is particularly well-suited to implement advanced strategies for non-profit fundraising and growth. Exceeding development targets year over year throughout his career, Lotierzo designed, executed, and oversaw wildly successful fundraising campaigns, generating multi-million-dollar annual revenue streams. Lotierzo’s keen development acumen seems to arise from his embrace of diversity as both a moral objective and a necessary framework for building a comprehensive and valuable donor network. Layered on top of this framework is his seemingly fearless approach to thinking broadly and reaching wide for opportunities, including nurturing successful funding ties with corporate heavy hitters like Adidas, Gatorade, P&G, Gillette, Nike, and Major League Soccer.

Lotierzo also spent six years at Immigration Equality, a non-profit dedicated to providing free legal representation for LGBTQ and HIV+ refugees, where he supported successful fundraising initiatives that grew the organization’s operating budget significantly, again hitting the multimillion-dollar mark through strategic corporate sponsorships and major donor support. Early in his activist career, he was also on the Greater New York Steering Committee of Human Rights Campaign as Pride Co-Chair for Long Island.

Reflecting on his past work, Lotierzo opines that he has “experienced firsthand how the struggle for equality intersects across different identities, histories, and life paths. This unique intersectionality profoundly shaped my understanding of the movement for equality at large and taught me that our efforts must be as diverse and interconnected as the communities we serve.” Stepping into this inaugural role at Project Pride, Lotierzo sees a vision for organizational growth that “champions inclusivity and allyship in every facet of Project Pride’s work. By acknowledging the complex realities of those we stand with, we can foster a more visible, inclusive, and united front in the ongoing fight for equality.”

Especially cognizant of Project Pride’s role as an organization dedicated to uplifting and celebrating the local LGBTQ+ community of Sarasota and its Gulf-coast neighbors, Lotierzo proudly points to his local connections and formative roots in the area. While he is originally from New York State, Lotierzo attended the University of Tampa, worked in administration at the Florida Department of Transportation in Tampa, and volunteered with Equality Florida for LGBTQ+ rights and Clean Water Action to clean up the Hillsborough River. Lotierzo also celebrated a more recent and heartfelt connection to the local area by happily becoming engaged to his partner, Verden, during a trip to Lido Key Beach.

From Project Pride’s perspective, Lotierzo’s arrival is the next step in the upward trajectory of a thriving local non-profit with a dedicated board, passionate volunteers, an outsized vision for where it is headed, and the irrefutably propulsive power of a community that shows up day after day to support and love each other.

Buoyed by the enthusiasm for his arrival, Lotierzo’s insights align with the organizational vision for his role, noting that the professional and personal journey that brought him to Project Pride taught him that “change is not just about the big moments -- it's about the everyday actions, conversations, and support we offer each other. As the first Executive Director of Project Pride SRQ, I am committed to making every day count for the betterment of our LGBTQ+ and allied community and the celebration of our shared humanity.” Reach out to Project Pride to learn more.

Paul Lotierzo Press Release
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