At age 28, Jaime Bayo of Miami says he has already spent “11 years in the trenches” working with nonprofit groups.
“My first nonprofit job was working for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” said Bayo, executive director and co-founder of the OUT Miami Foundation, a group that strives to “to build an engaged, philanthropic LGBT community in the Greater Miami area,” according to its mission statement.
Bayo, who will be honored Nov, 4 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Miami Chapter at its annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon, grew up in El Salvador and moved with his family to Orlando in 1999.
“I went to Florida State University, where I got my undergraduate and graduate degree — my undergraduate degree is in social science; my master’s degree is in public administration,” he said.
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During college, Bayo worked at FSU’s Center for Leadership and Social Change. “I worked there with a program called PeaceJam. We connect young people with Nobel Peace Laureates to do youth leadership conferences. All social-justice focused.”
At age 19, Bayo came out to his mother during a vacation to South Beach. “When you’re an adult, you have to redefine your relationship with your parents. My coming-out helped redefine that relationship,” he said.
A member of FSU’s pride student union, Bayo worked to get sexual orientation and gender identity added to the Tallahassee university’s nondiscrimination statement. “Ultimately, we were successful,” he said. “We had to fight pretty hard for it. It was my first foray into mobilizing LGBT people to do something for our community.”
After college, Bayo went to work as development director for SAVE, the South Florida LGBT-rights group.
Bayo said that when he began working in Miami’s LGBT community, he “noticed a very small pool of donors, a small pool of people who are engaged; the same people volunteering at Winter Party (the National LGBTQ Task Force’s annual fundraiser in Miami Beach) are volunteering at SAVE.”
He didn’t stay long at SAVE, less than a year. Looking for something else to do, Bayo and a few friends came up with a concept to encourage other young people to become involved in the LGBT community.
“We really wanted to do something we thought would engage and bring young people to the table, minorities to the table. We knew if people were invited to the table, we would broaden the base of support that local LGBT organizations can count on,” Bayo said. “We decided to create our volunteerism program and to increase charitable giving.”
Out Miami Foundation officially launched Feb. 27, 2015.
“It’s about engagement. It’s about getting our young LGBTQ professionals engaged in the community, not just the LGBTQ community but the greater community as a whole,” said OUT Miami Foundation Secretary Johann Ali, 41, an environmental consultant and small-business owner based in Doral. “Jaime approached me when they were still in early planning stages. At the preview event, he asked me to consider being a board member and I agreed.
“What I am most proud about is getting our LGBTQ young professionals engaged in philanthropy,” Ali said. “That’s what we want to do, and I’ve seen us accomplish that in so many ways. You engage people with these social events and you try to make a link with the greater community and community service aspects.”
Bayo said that by the end of 2016, OUT Miami Foundation “will have awarded over $60,000 in grants to local LGBT-serving organizations.”
“We’ve mobilized over 500 volunteers. Our volunteers have done everything from pack meals and deliver them to homebound seniors. We’ve done beach cleanups, extreme makeovers for LGBT spaces — we did one for Pridelines (a Northeast Miami LGBT center for youth, seniors and people with HIV/AIDS). We did one for Survivor’s Pathway (a Miami group primarily for transgender Latinas and abuse victims). We worked with a local religious organization to pack meals for children in El Salvador. That project was a great one to show how we build bridges through service.”
This year, six finalists — Aqua Foundation for Women, Cancer Support Community, The Pet Project, YES Institute, Pridelines and Stonewall National Museum & Archives — are competing for three grants worth a total of $36,000. OUT Miami Foundation will announce the grant recipients Nov. 12 at its Bowtie Bash fundraiser in Wynwood. Honorees will be partners Alex Guerra and Stephan Ginez, owners of the LGBT Hotel Gaythering in Miami Beach.
Bayo said his new organization doesn’t compete with more-established foundations, that OUT Miami primarily works with younger LGBTQ people just starting out in the business and philanthropic worlds.
“Based on the surveys we give out to our members, half to 75 percent of our donors are first-time donors,” Bayo said. “Our hope is that person doesn’t just volunteer or give to Out Miami Foundation, but that we serve as a launchpad for them to get even more engaged in any organization they learn about through us that they feel passionate about.”
How to get involved
OUT Miami Foundation can be reached at 305-521-9050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
▪ The foundation’s Bowtie Bash fundraiser will be 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 12 at Private Key Club, 567 NW 27th St., Miami.
▪ Tickets are $75 general admission and $150 VIP through Nov. 5. General admission $95 and VIP $175 through night of event. For $25 discount on VIP tickets, use code “Herald.”
▪ Purchase online at bowtiebash.org.