Pauline Park

President of the Board of Directors, Queens Pride House

How old is your organization? QPH was founded in 1997.
What sector do you work in? LGBT social services
How long have you been working in this sector? Since 1997
How long have you been with your current organization? Since 1997

Connection to CRE / If you have worked with CRE in some capacity, what impact did it have?
We worked with CRE on board development and board retreats for QPH.

What has been the most significant development in your sector over the last 40 years?
The growth of an infrastructure serving the LGBT community.

What has been the greatest challenge during this same period?
Securing adequate funding to grow and sustain QPH.

Describe a key event that has impacted your sector in the last 40 years?
The 2008 Wall Street crash, which made funders increasingly unwilling to fund smaller organizations with annual budgets of less than $500,000.

How has communication—with staff, clients, and/or donors—changed over the course of the last 40 years?
The big change has been the development of social media.

How has risk-management changed over this period?
With funders being more cautious and conservative, social service providers and community centers need to be more aggressive in seeking funding and need to consider potential risks even more carefully than before 2008.

How has the conversation on diversity, equity, and inclusion shaped your since it was founded?
On the one hand, there’s more funding for LGBT social services than ever; on the other hand, it’s still something like one-tenth of one percent of all funding and non-LGBT-specific organizations are increasingly seeking funding from the same pool as LGBT-specific organizations.

How have nonprofits’ priorities shifted in the last 40 years?
Nonprofits have become increasingly corporatized and bureaucratized.

What have been the biggest trends affecting your sector in the last 40 years?
The biggest has been the increasing caution of funders since the 2008 Wall Street crash and economic crisis.

What is the single greatest challenge you face today in your sector?
Funding (as always).

What opportunities exist now for nonprofits to break through into success that did not exist 40 years ago?
The Internet has enabled nonprofits to identify more funding sources than before the Internet age and to promote themselves more effectively.

What leadership qualities are necessary to succeed as a nonprofit executive today?
Arguably the same as ever, including the ability to do fundraising and grant writing but above all to manage staff and work effectively with board members.

What will nonprofits need to do to remain relevant and necessary to their clients over the next 40 years?
Nonprofits will need to understand the needs of their clients in their full diversity and complexity.

What skills do you believe are necessary for people to succeed as managers over the next few decades?
The same as ever, but with an increasing sensitivity to diversity and to sexual harassment in the workplace.

Where would you like to see your sector in 40 years?
I would like to see both more funding and also more emphasis on social justice work by community centers.

How do you see your sector’s needs changing in the next 40 years?
I think the sector’s needs will continue to be more funding and greater diversity in leadership.

Why did you join this sector?
Because there was a need for an LGBT community center in the borough of Queens.

In what ways would others say you are a trailblazer?
I was the first openly transgender woman to lead an LGBT community center in New York City and state as well as the first openly transgender Asian American woman to do so. I led the campaign for the transgender rights law enacted by the New York City Council in 2002.

What was your breakthrough moment in becoming a leader? / What did it take for you to break through to become a leader?
I think the breakthrough moment was when I accepted the leadership of the campaign for the transgender rights law ultimately enacted by the New York City Council in 2002.

What were the biggest challenges you faced in your career?

Please name three qualities that are inherent in being a strong leader.
Sensitivity to the needs of one’s staff and clients and other constituents, commitment to ethical principles and social and political consciousness.

Based on your experience, please offer one piece of advice to a person hoping to break through as a leader in your sector.
It’s always the right time to do the right thing.

Find out more
Queens Pride House Website

En Español »