In Memoriam: Urvashi Vaid (1958 – 2022)

NEO Philanthropy mourns the loss of Urvashi Vaid, a pioneering leader for LGBTQ+ rights and justice, who died on May 14, 2022, following an illness.

“Urvashi was a steadfast and creative leader in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. She was also a brilliant and uncompromising colleague and friend. She pushed herself and everyone she worked with hard because she believed there was no other way to do it.  She was inspirational, fierce, and brave,” said Michele Lord, President of NEO Philanthropy.

 A progressive attorney, legendary activist, and award-winning author, Vaid began her career at the American Civil Liberties Union and held many roles, including executive director, at the National LGBTQ Taskforce in the 1980’s and 90’s. She also worked to move money and resources to equality and justice-centered movements in her roles at Ford Foundation and as Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation. Later, she founded the first lesbian super PAC and helped launch the Donors of Color Network, a first of its kind. Vaid was a powerful partner with NEO Philanthropy in her philanthropic roles, growing deep and meaningful connections with both justice movements and donors.

She was also a noteworthy author and was awarded the Stonewall Book Award in 1996 for Virtual Equality. Vaid is survived by her partner, Kate Clinton, and numerous family and friends. NEO Philanthropy honors her memory as a bold leader and dedicated partner in the movement for civil rights, equality, and justice.


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