Kristin McLaughlin Above and with family, below
Resource Center’s new chief development officer Kristin McLaughlin plans on getting innovative
Tammye Nash | Managing Editor
There would the LGBTQ community be without our allies? Certainly not where we are today in terms of legal recognition of our rights and relationships. Our allies in the halls of power — whether those were the halls of government, the halls of business or the halls of culture — stepped forward to champion our causes, when we were not in position to do so ourselves, played key roles in our victories.
Now, a longtime LGBTQ ally has stepped into the role of chief development officer for Resource Center, and she has big plans to turn all her experience and her commitment to the community toward helping shepherd one of North Texas’ biggest — and oldest — LGBTQ organizations through the strictures of a pandemic.
Kristin McLaughlin joined Resource Center staff last month after 14 years fundraising for the ALS Association. “ALS is a fatal disease with no known cause, treatment or cure,” McLaughlin said. “Your body shuts down, and there is nothing you can do to stop it. The devastation families face is horrifying, and I wanted to do what I could to stop it.
“Working for The ALS Association taught me how precious and fragile life can be,” she continued. “We need to love each other and fight for what is right. I view my role at Resource Center [as being] to show donors what is possible by giving through Resource Center. They have so much to offer the LGBTQ community and can make such a huge difference.”
That is especially true right now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, McLaughlin said.
“The last six months have been really difficult for everyone, including for nonprofits who have seen many of their vital annual fundraising events cancelled or scaled way back,” she said. “And, at least for now, there’s no certainty that we will be getting back to ‘normal’ any time soon.
“If this pandemic taught has taught us anything, it’s that ‘Necessity is the mother of invention,’” she said. “In the absence of events, [which are] a huge revenue stream for Resource Center, we need to be able to find new ways to connect with donors. It is my belief getting to the heart of why people support the Resource Center will open the floodgates.
“Quality relationships with our donors will be key,” McLaughlin said. “Philanthropy is emotional, and connecting donors to the possibilities and impact they create will ensure not only sustainability but growth in these strange times.”
Part of creating that connection is making sure that people understand what Resource Center does for the the LGBTQ community, because when they understand the organization, McLaughlin said, they will know why it is so important to keep it going.
“Resource Center’s commitment to its community is truly inspiring,” she said. “Nelson Tebedo [the organization’s HIV/AIDS health services program] was only closed for five days during the pandemic! Our food pantry is providing meals via drive-thru, and our Youth and THRIVE and Prevention programs are operating virtually with impressive response.”
And, she stressed, “None of this is possible without our donors. The important lessons we are all learning right now are helping us all build a better organization together and we will be stronger on the other side.”
Becoming an ally
McLaughlin explained that she first became an LGBTQ ally more than 20 years ago, after meeting her friend Jason.
“As a gay man, the challenges he faced with his family, his work, getting married and adopting children were enormous,” she said of her friend. “As a heterosexual woman, I face my own challenges. But the things we all want — love, acceptance, family, connection — have come to me without barriers.”
McLaughlin said she truly believes that she is “called to fight injustice, and I would not be living my values if I did not fight for LGBTQ equality.
“Being an LGBTQ ally is a privilege,” she continued. “This community has always shown me love. The world can be so ugly; I want to help create as many opportunities for love and acceptance as I can.”
McLaughlin said her “role as an ally” for the community has evolved over the years, maturing as she has matured herself.
“In my younger days, I loved attending Pride parades, drag shows and AIDS Walks as a way to celebrate and show my love and support,” she said. “As I have matured, so has my work as an ally. I began donating money to LGBTQ organizations and educating myself on the experiences of LGBTQ people and voting for candidates who will fight for equality. And, of course, joining the Resource Center team has allowed me to put my passion
for equality into practice every day.
“But probably my most important work as an ally is as a mother,” noting that she and her husband, Andrew, have two daughters, 6-year-old Betsy and 3-year-old Cora. “It is my duty to teach my young daughters about inclusion, love and celebrating differences, not fearing them.”
Andrew McLaughlin is director of e-commerce for Peacock Alley, a family-owned luxury linen brand based in Dallas, and, Kristin McLaughlin said, “He has taught me so much about how organizations can thrive in the
digital space.” In addition to their daughters, the couple have an 18-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Dexter.
McLaughlin said she loves traveling, and her favorite place she has been abroad is Paris. “I love everything about it — food, fashion, language, architecture,” she said of the City of Lights. Here in the states, “my favorite spots are definitely Chicago and New Orleans because of the charm, energy and food! I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest, though, and I would love to go to Japan some day, too.”
She also loves doing crossword puzzles, cooking, reading or listening to audiobooks and learning about wine.”
But for now, McLaughlin said, all her focus is on her work at Resource Center. “I am so excited to connect my passion for equality with my profession as a fundraiser,” she said. “There is so much great work to be done, and I am ready to dig in.”