Watch this short video to see the important work I’m From Driftwood does:
VISION | MISSION | VALUES
I’m From Driftwood envisions a world where every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer person feels understood and accepted, and every straight person is an ally.
I’m From Driftwood aims to help LGBTQ people learn more about their community, straight people learn more about their neighbors and everyone learn more about themselves through the power of storytelling and story sharing.
Increasing empathy and empowering individuals is accomplished by creating an apolitical forum for LGBTQ stories from every age, race, gender, background and culture. The stories deepen our understanding of each other, preserve history, and open hearts and minds.
The most personal and meaningful stories are shared when the storyteller is in a trust-worthy, welcoming, judgment-free environment. I’m From Driftwood strives to create that environment on every level, whether you’re a long-time supporter at one of IFD’s events or a first-time visitor to the site. Be yourself, be comfortable and let’s get to know each other.
A LETTER FROM FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NATHAN MANSKE
I was inspired to create I’m From Driftwood after seeing a photograph of Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States, riding on the hood of a car and holding a sign that read, “I’m From Woodmere, N.Y.” The sign showed just how far people came to attend the 1978 San Francisco Gay Pride march, but it meant something more to me: It meant that there are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in every small town and every big city across America and the world. I was thinking about that photo the morning after watching Milk, the biopic of Harvey Milk written by Dustin Lance Black. Harvey’s from Woodmere, New York; I’m from Driftwood, Texas.
Since launching I’m From Driftwood in March, 2009, people all over the world have shared stories from their lives. The result is an open, honest, and genuine look into what it’s like to be LGBTQ throughout the world. The expanding, inclusive archive of stories not only preserves our history, but reminds people that they’re part of a larger community and never truly alone.
Or as Harvey Milk’s nephew, Stuart, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, told me:
“Terrific work and vital messaging for a global community to become connected! Thank you for all your work and for mentioning that my uncle was an inspiration for this project. Harvey somewhere is smiling broadly about that!”
Thanks for reading, sharing, and believing in the power of storytelling.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
QUENTIN ROACH | Quentin is an internationally recognized leader with broad, multi-industry executive management experience known for delivering exceptional results through the development of high performing teams. In community and not-for-profit work, he has worked extensively supporting organizations in program profitability excellence and fund development efforts across Professional, Arts & Entertainment and Educational institutions.
Quentin is currently Chief Procurement Officer & Senior Vice President for Global Procurement, External Manufacturing, Externalization, and Supplier Development & Performance Management at Merck & Co., Inc. where he is responsible for company-wide expenditures in excess of $17.5B, leadership of external manufacturing operations, implementation of supplier development & performance management processes, and productivity & cash conversion management improvement initiatives.
Quentin has been involved in a number of organizations and boards, including: United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – Senior Executive Council Advisory Board, Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey College of Business – Advisory Board and Network for Value Chain Excellence, Garth Fagan Dance Company and The Center for Youth Services.
He was named by Savoy Magazine as “Top 100 Most Influential Blacks in Corporate America”, recognized as a “Top 10 Most Inspiring Leader” by Executive 50, and is a past recipient of the Rochester Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” – recognizing the top 40 young leaders for achievements in professional and civic leadership.
JASON COSTA | Jason Costa is a New York City-based entrepreneur, investor and founding board member of I’m From Driftwood. He is the owner of Casa de Costa, a cutting-edge contemporary art gallery located in New York’s Upper East Side. Jason also runs The Costa Group, a boutique marketing, production and creative consulting agency. He previously managed the US media relations operations of DLA Piper, the world’s largest law firm. Jason is a graduate of the Stern School of Business at New York University.
MARQUISE LEE | Raised in Garland, TX, Marquise Lee ventured to the Northeast after high school to attend college at Rutgers University where he studied Film & Video. Marquise created the idea of the I’m From Driftwood Video Stories and has been producing them from the very start. His commitment to IFD extends beyond the camera, as he’s been instrumental in planning several initiatives such as the 50-State Story Tour and the Black Community Spotlight. By day, Marquise is a Senior Operations Analyst for Comcast and the Community Service Co-Lead for Comcast’s LGBT Employee Resource Group. By night, Marquise can be found out and about in Philadelphia with his boyfriend Paul, promoting their monthly Queer parties, and recruiting out-of-owners to make Philly their new home.
LYLE MATTHEW KAN | Lyle Matthew Kan is Director of Research and Communications at Funders for LGBTQ Issues. Lyle oversees the organization’s research into trends, gaps, and opportunities for LGBTQ funding. His reports on the scale and character of LGBTQ grantmaking have been cited by academic journals, think tanks, non- governmental organizations, government agencies, newspapers, blogs, and other media. He also develops and implements the organization’s communications strategy and leads efforts to educate the wider philanthropic field about how LGBTQ communities are affected by a range of grantmaking priorities. He previously sat on the grants review committee for the Queer Youth Fund at Liberty Hill Foundation, which invested approximately $5 million in innovative and effective leadership development and organizing projects that empower LGBTQ youth. From 2011-2013, Lyle led development and communications efforts at Stonewall Community Foundation. Prior to that, Lyle worked at the Foreign Policy Association and in the private sector specializing in business development and branding. Lyle holds a B.A. from New York University and a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science. His master’s dissertation focused on contemporary issues surrounding the creation and politicization of “gay” identity in the United States.
DAMIEN MITTLEFEHLDT – BOARD TREASURER | Damien Mittlefehldt is a native of Queens, New York. He attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, where he earned an Honors BA in International Development Studies. Active in LGBTQ causes since he returned to the United States in 2003, Damien has been involved with I’m From Driftwood from its inception, assisting in the planning and organization of its earliest fundraisers and events before moving on to serve as Board Secretary and, later, Treasurer. A video editor in his spare time, Damien currently resides in Brooklyn with his husband Rafi, with whom he regularly enjoys watching awful, terrible movies.
DAVID TOMCZAK – BOARD SECRETARY | Daveyjoe! Tomczak is Midwestern-ly rooted yet Metropolitan-ly minded. He lives his life to the fullest exclamation mark or its most ironic hashtag, and passionately pursues his purpose to positively/creatively engage those around him. Professionally, he is the Marketing Coordinator for dirty sugar photography and the Contributing Editor for The Queer Interior. He is proud to bring his insights as an artist, his experience as a member of the LGBTQ community, and his energy as an optimist to serve as Board Secretary.
RAFI MITTLEFEHLDT – SITE DEVELOPMENT | Rafi Mittlefehldt maintains the tech side of I’m From Driftwood, with some help here and there. He’s helped orchestrate many I’m From Driftwood fundraisers and was instrumental in the launching and maintenance of I’m From Driftwood’s website. He’s from Clear Lake, Texas, a suburb of Houston. Despite growing up in a conservative community, he ended up having it pretty easy compared to many of his gay friends, and came out at 18 to full support. He spent seven years in Austin, two of which he worked as a reporter for a small paper, before moving to Brooklyn in 2007. He is the author of It Looks Like This, a gay young adult coming-of-age novel, and works as a metadata manager at Scholastic. He married his longtime boyfriend Damien in September 2013. The two live in Brooklyn together, spending their time coming up with excuses to cook for friends.
CELESTE WARNER – SOCIAL MEDIA | Celeste moderates I’m From Driftwood’s Tumblr blog. Born and raised in The Bronx, New York City, Celeste loved life in such a fast-paced city and was always interested in the individual lives and journeys of the millions of people around them. Life slowed down just a bit when Celeste left NYC at 18 to attend college in rural Vermont. There, Celeste fell in love with nature while studying Creative Writing and Sociology, and getting involved on campus as a student leader. It was through their creative writing and sociology studies, particularly, that Celeste gained an even deeper understanding and appreciation for the important role that storytelling and story-sharing play in strengthening marginalized people and the communities they make up. Through the I’m From Driftwood blog on Tumblr, Celeste aims to truly represent LGBTQ people of all backgrounds, while connecting and communicating with IFD readers and viewers.