BY JAN STEVENSON
More than 75 LGBT supporters gathered June 8 for a reception and ceremony to rename the LGBT Project of the ACLU after Nancy Katz and Margo Dichtelmiller. Their financial, personal and visionary support of the project was lauded by ACLU staffers, community leaders and even the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Nancy and Margo bring their values to their philanthropy – values that include equality and justice,” said ACLU of Michigan Executive Director Kary Moss. Moss then presented the text of a Proclamation that had been read on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. Debbie Dingell in which the couple was praised for their support for LGBT equality and the ACLU of Michigan.
Allan Gilmour, former president of Wayne State University and former vice chair of the Ford Motor Company, then spoke warmly and graciously about Margo and Nancy, lamenting their imminent move to New Mexico as a serious “brain drain” to the LGBT community here. “Organizations do not grow on their own and these two have made a big difference,” said Gilmour. He also spoke about their large gift to the Affirmations capital campaign that funded the building of the center on Nine Mile in Ferndale. “Without Nancy and Margo the building would be missing a floor or two,” he quipped.
Jon Hoadley, one of three openly gay members of the Michigan House of Representatives, then thanked Margo and Nancy. “I’m here on behalf of the LGBT Caucus of the Michigan House, which we wouldn’t have without you,” he said, noting that their financial support has extended beyond non-profit groups and included significant political contributions too.
Other speakers included Susan Erspermer, executive director of Affirmations, Curtis Lipscomb, executive director of LGBT Detroit, Jerry Peterson, executive director of the Ruth Ellis Center, Jan Stevenson, co-publisher of Between The Lines, and Stephanie White, executive director of Equality Michigan. Each speaker thanked and detailed how Katz and Dichtelmiller had helped their organizations over the years.
Jay Kaplan, staff attorney of the newly named Nancy Katz and Margo Dichtelmiller LGBT Project of the ACLU of Michigan, spoke last. “Two weeks ago was my 16th anniversary working for the ACLU’s LGBT Project. Because of you, we are still here 16 years later. I am honored to be working for this project that is now in your names.”