The Ruth Ellis Circle

The Ruth Ellis Circle aims to engage women of color and elevate their voices as philanthropists in the LGBT movement. Throughout our history, we have worked to bring full equality and respect to every member of our diverse LGBT community. A significant number of our constituents are women of color and we want to continue to broaden our donor community to reflect and represent this.

The Ruth Ellis Circle will provide NCLR with an opportunity to hear from this dedicated group of donors about the work they care about most and the issues that affect LGBT people of color. By being a part of the Ruth Ellis Circle, donors are also able to demonstrate their commitment to funding NCLR which has been shaped by feminist values and a broader mission for social justice.

Giving to the Ruth Ellis Circle is nonrestrictive, but is a special designation of your gift allowing us to continue a bold vision that celebrates the perspective of women and people of color.

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About Ruth Ellis

elli11The Ruth Ellis Circle is named in honor of Ruth Ellis (1899-2000), an African American woman who spent her life advocating for the rights of LGBT people. In her professional life, Ruth along with her then partner, went on to open the first woman owned printing business named Ellis and Franklin Printing Company. From her home, Ruth became well known in the LGBT community in Detroit by hosting social gatherings which ultimately also became a place of refuge for many. Her support included assisting youth with money for college including room and board. Her home also served as an alternative to local bars and clubs which often were not safe for Black LGBT people.

Ruth continued her activism well into her life–attending rallies, giving keynotes, and mentoring dozens of LGBT young people. Just a month before her passing, The Ruth Ellis Center opened its doors as a youth social services agency that serves the needs of runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth. Mindful of her generosity and spirit, we form this circle to honor her legacy.