The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2011, March 26-27

Project 515 Education Campaign

Paired with Full Court WordPress

In June 2005, a group of concerned Minnesota citizens – a broad base of people from the LGBT community as well as straight allies – gathered to discuss the negative tone of public discourse which emerged during debate over a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and legal equivalents. Project 515 Education Campaign emerged out of these discussions with the goal of educating Minnesotans on the disparities faced by same-sex couples and their families and contributing to the ongoing efforts to improve rights for these families in Minnesota.

Soon after, a group of volunteers undertook a legal research project which reviewed Minnesota’s state statutes. At least 515 laws which discriminate against same-sex couples were identified and that information was reported in Unequal Under the Law: 515 Ways Minnesota Laws Discriminate Against Couples and Families. This marked the launch of Project 515 in October 2007, sister organization and a 501(c)(4) organization that lobbies at the Minnesota State Capitol and engages in public advocacy. With a focus on greater relationship equality, our family of organizations educates Minnesotans about the discrimination that families face from Minnesota’s current laws and works to correct current discriminatory statutes.

What new functionality we are looking for

Ideally what we would like is to have the website converted to Word Press so we could work with it more easily - our current website is difficult to maneuver and not very flexible. We want a more dynamic way to share news and events, photos, news clips, video, and more overall social media integration, including a blog. We are also eager to have a platform that will better interface with our new database system, Salsa - currently when someone signs up for our listserv that data needs to be moved manually from the website into the database and this is incredibly inefficient. We'd also like to freshen up the look while keeping the branding solid.

How the new functionality will help

Minnesota is facing a critical time right now in terms of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens. The MN Legislature is seriously contemplating advancing a bill asking the Minnesota electorate to vote on banning same-sex marriage and all legal equivalents (civil unions, comprehensive domestic partner protections, etc.), and the Governor, while very supportive of equality issues, does not have the ability to veto such measures. This measure could be introduced at any time between now and May 2012 and if passed, will lead to a vitriolic statewide discussion and campaign. A website that is more functional and flexible will allow us to more easily communicate with our supporters who will ultimately be the ones to stand up and fight against this discriminatory legislation.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

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24 Messages from Supporters

2011-02-15 16:41:11 UTC

Project 515 is amazing. In significant conversations throughout Minnesota and even in other states, with stakeholders of all sorts, the unique education approach and impact - non threatening, real, making things digestable - cannot be overstated. It truly provides a unique lense in particular for non traditional allies (individuals and groups) to "get it." Most recently, Project 515 has compiled amazing independent economic data sets (authored by Gallup, Kenexa, TowersPerrin, et al.) that together demonstrate the amazing negative impact that non inclusive business or public policies create (or likewise, the amazingly positive impact inclusive business and public policies can have) on the economy, jobs and of course families. Once again, 515 leads the way in helping to dramatically educate and change the entire discussion which is no doubt key if we are ever to secure inclusion here. This is huge. Go 515!! I see your impact every single day and am convinced that because of your work we will educate and advance inclusion for all Minnesotans, and also already see leverage of our approach in other states as they do the same!

2011-02-15 16:59:25 UTC
Diane Benjamin

My volunteer time, as the working mother of a young child, is extremely limited. But I'm thrilled to be volunteering for Project 515 because of their thoughtful, fresh approach to the issue of civil rights for gays and lesbians and our families. Their impact far exceeds their small size because of the highly strategic way they approach everything they do, including their use of social media and technology.

2011-02-15 17:58:56 UTC
Tim Reardon

I realized the importance of fighting for our civil rights and equality the hard way. Two days after my partner died of a cancerous brain tumor, I was sitting at the Cremation Society waiting to be able to sign the legal paperwork for the disposition of his remains. I was physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted. Our daughter, who was three and a half at that time, and I had been with him throughout his three year fight with cancer including home based hospice. They informed me that the Medical Examiner's Office wouldn't recognize our relationship. All the prudent work we had done up to that time to make sure my partner Eric's wishes were reflected in the health care directive, will, power of attorney, partnership agreement in the end didn't matter. Our relationship was not legally recognized.

When you are in life's most vulnerable moments, you don't have the energy to fight for your rights. Project 515 is dedicated to helping people and policy makers understand the importance of being treated with equality, and recognizing the relationships of love that make a "family." Project 515 is an important part of the movement to secure equal rights and eliminate discrimination based on who you love.

Telling our stories in a way that can move people's hearts and heads is important. Having the tools to do it well is vital to our success. I urge you to support Project 515.

2011-02-16 00:00:28 UTC
Rabbi Michael Adam Latz

As a rabbi, a father, and a life partner, I am deeply proud of the vision, leadership, and tenacity of Project 515--their exemplary board, their effective and inspirational Executive Director, Ann Kaner-Roth, and their passionate and dedicated community volunteers. Project 515 is leading the way for equality for all Minnesota families in a challenging political environment. Despite the odds facing them, Project 515 continues to build a movement for real equality, and this has made a tremendous difference for my family & those like us across the great state of Minnesota. Thank you, Project 515!

2011-02-16 03:29:45 UTC

Project 515's mission and vision make it possible to bring real change to the lives of gay and lesbian couples in Minnesota.

I'm proud to support Project 515!

2011-02-17 00:15:13 UTC

Project 515 is an amazing organization that touches all fair-minded people in the state. It continues to fight for equal rights, benfits and obligations for every community member. Personally, if it were not for Project 515's vision, I would have lost my home due to past discrimation against same-sex couples after my partner past away. A married couple would have been protected under MN law, but we were not. The state was able to place a lien on the home and potentially take the home after my partner died with state unpaid medical bills.

I appreciate this organization more than I could ever express in words.

2011-02-17 20:59:23 UTC
Tony Webster

Project 515 does critical work to help improve the lives of same-sex couples in Minnesota: through policy work via their 501(c)(4) and education work via their 501(c)(3) organization. A huge roadblock to true equality in Minnesota are the legal protections automatically afforded to different-sex couples but not same-sex couples. Project 515's "(Still) Unequal Under the Law" report provides scary examples of the inequality that exists for same-sex couples, including an example of a mother not being able to obtain medical care information on her child.

In the past few years, we've added laws that actually add more discrimination, and Project 515 is working diligently to educate the public about it. A new website would certainly help the organization get out their message, potentially raise additional money to help fund their efforts and raise awareness to discrimination. I'm very happy to support Project 515 for the Overnight Website Challenge!

2011-02-18 01:31:59 UTC
Curt Prins

I'm a huge fan of Project 515's pragmatic approach to incremental social change. Too many advocacy organizations are often all flash and little action--aiming for headlines instead of the hard, on-the-ground work that's required.

Their efforts at the state capital and communities across shift perceptions and create lasting equality for all individuals and families. It's a tough gig, but their up for that challenge.

As part of the team which won and greatly benefited from the 2009 OWC (District 202), I can think of no better nonprofit to participate in the 2011 Overnight Web Challenge.

2011-02-18 03:55:27 UTC
Betty Tisel

Project 515 provides a concrete and doable approach to making our state a fairer place to live. I gleefully endorse Project 515 as a candidate for the 2011 Overnight Web Challenge. Project 515's mission will not only benefit my family, a family with two moms and two kids. The mission will also help create economic opportunity for Minnesotans, and make MN a better place for all Minnesotans. Like Paul Wellstone said, we all do better when we all do better. A sparklingly revamped web site will help Project 515 and by extension, my family and yours.

2011-02-18 05:00:47 UTC
Les Bendtsen - Twin Cities HRC

Some complain, whine, blame and dither. Others wring their hands in fear and look away. Then there are those who step up, speak their minds, listen to others, and work hard to advance their State -- make it something even better than it is now. Project 515 is most definitely the latter.

I am proud to be a part of it. It's definitely worthy of this website challenge!

2011-02-18 12:17:30 UTC
Randy Ritterman

Project 515 is a great organization that works to resolve the inequalities for same sex couples and our families. The dedicated people of project 515 are working hard within the political community to make sure that my family and I are afforded the same rights as othe Minnesotans. I am hard pressed to think of another organization more desrving of winning this web challenge. The first step in ridding the world of discrimination is education and communication -- what better way to achieve this first step than an new and improved website.

Go Project 515!!!!

2011-02-18 13:43:34 UTC
Nancy Lyons

Project 515 is a critical player in the equality movement. Education and outreach is a key component to the work that they do. Central to that is the website. A new website would serve as a communication hub for the organization. Simply put - with an improved web experience Project 515 will be able to focus more on the movement, while facilitating critical conversations with constituents. It's always a shame when technology gets in the way of good work. Project 515 is just too important for that to continue to happen. I completely and absolutely endorse the mission of Project 515 and I urge you to work with them in bringing their story to the web in an effective way.

2011-02-18 14:16:32 UTC
Chuck Peterson

Project 515 is the "go-to" organization in Minnesota when it comes to the rights of same sex couples and their families. They are doing incredible work bridging the mulitude of diverse viewpoints on what is for some, a difficult conversation. A new website will go along way in supporting the mission of Project 515, building a stronger and larger community of supporters and educating Minnesotan's on a very important issue.

My partner and I are proud to be supporters of this organization. Thank you for all you do!

2011-02-18 14:22:42 UTC
Laura Smidzik

The impact of the Project 515 website is broad-reaching. It would be great to have their site reflect their incredible work and the ugency of their message. Those who are working to educate and inform Minnesotans about the level of discrimination that exists in MN laws are doing critical work in this political climate. I firmly believe that Project 515's research, message and stories could change the debate around equal rights under the law and that a robust web site is key to their ability to reach a broad audience.

2011-02-18 14:40:11 UTC
Erica Mauter

Project 515's common sense and pragmatic approach to the marriage and family equality conversation is highly effective and so very Minnesotan. They do phenomenal work and are highly deserving of a refreshed web presence that matches and reflects the high regard with which they are held in Minnesota's LGBTQA, progressive, and political communities.

2011-02-18 17:25:07 UTC
Randy Miranda

I have been supportive of Project 515 since its inception. But I became even more dedicated to its mission of advancing equality through education and lobbying after the death of my partner in 2007. Throughout Tom's five-month ordeal, I spent hours each day by his side in the hospital. We thought we had dotted all the I's and crossed all the T's with respect to legal documents. But on the morning of his death, I was ran head-on into Minnesota’s discriminatory policies. I was notified by an employee of the The Cremation Society that one of Tom’s legal next of kin to sign the release for Tom’s body and make funeral arrangements because Minnesota law didn’t recognize our relationship. All of a sudden I was an outsider. For hours each and every day for five months, I was there as Tom’s partner. Yet I was not allowed to take on that final responsibility and carry out Tom’s wishes. Project 515 is working to change this, to make life better and more complete for a community that too often is treated as second-class citizens. Their work needs and deserves a stronger platform.

2011-02-18 17:26:03 UTC
Bruce Ause from Red Wing PFLAG

I would like to take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation to Ann Kaner Roth and Project 515 for the support and help that has been given to the Red Wing Chapter of PFLAG. Last October 21st, Ann gave an excellent presentation to the Red Wing Human Rights Commission about Project 515 and their objectives. From that wonderful presentation, has grown a movement spearheaded by PFLAG and the HRC to have the city council of Red Wing adopt a domestic partner registry for our community. We are well on our way to making this become a reality. We are greatly appreciative to Ann for being the catalyst of this initiative.

2011-02-18 17:52:20 UTC
Jim Horan

Project 515 has proven itself a necessary and incredibly effective organization for the promotion of equality. I'm proud of the bi-partisan work they've done towards the elimination of bias in state law. I believe Project 515 is the only organization that can succeed in building the support needed to eliminate discrimination against same sex couples in Minnesota.

A special thanks to Ann, Lee, William and the 515 Board!

2011-02-18 18:03:26 UTC
Michael Wall

The work of equality never becomes less important, and becomes more focused as one group or another gains a freedom that another has yet to achieve. As an ally I support the good work of project 515, as a citizen I look forward to the day that they will no longer be needed, and as a parent I want my children to learn about civil law catching up with the idea that 'the pursuit of happiness' is a universal right.

2011-02-18 23:42:51 UTC

The work of Project 515 has a fundamental and logical message, one of fairness and inclusiveness. We all want to be valued and appreciated for who we are and Project 515's work toward providing equal rights and responsiblities for same sex couples in Minnesota brings us much closer to that becoming reality. Project 515 co-hosted a webinar which highlights the value and importance of inclusiveness. Here is the link.

This fact-based discussion makes it clear that the ability of Project 515 to communicate their message is invaluable to creating an inclusive climate that Minnesotans can be proud of. Thank you Project 515!

2011-02-19 00:21:48 UTC
David K. Wells III

Over the next two years Project 515 will undoubtedly be one of the most critical voices advocating for fairness and equality at the Capitol. This is a critical opportunity for this group in what is a critical time for equal rights in MN. This website represents one of the main methods of communication Project 515 will use to keep the people of Minnesota informeed and engaged in their work. An optimized site means more than just a make-over for Project 515's web presence - it represents an opportuntity for Project 515 to be seen and heard in the most effective way possible as it fights on the front lines for equal rights at the Capitol.

2011-02-19 05:50:47 UTC
Tom Knabel

Though the website be dowdy, the mission of Project 515 is not. Achieving equality for same-sex couples in Minnesota by addressing the 515+ laws that treat same sex couples differently requires education. And the website is a primary means of easily disseminating information. Helping to make the website more interactive and easier for folks to navigate can contribute significantly to the important work of Project 515. Project 515 has proven that it has what it takes to help drive change that is vital to Minnesotans who are not treated equality under Minnesota law. Changing the website would be an excellent tool for supporting that drive. Thanks to Nerdery for providing this opportunity.

2011-02-19 13:57:02 UTC
Kristin Beckmann

P515 is positioned to be a significant player in the national debate around equality for same sex couples. It is a sophisticated organization with an impressive list of board members, donors and volunteers. Members of the media turn regularly to P515 as a reliable resource with a message that resonates widely. State policy makers, whether they agree or not with the work to end discrimination against same sex couples, take P515 seriously.

I am proud to be a board member and raise money for P515. I do not abide discrimination and needed a way to take an active role in working for equality. P515 is that organization and I am committed to its success.

While P515 has the message, the donors, the credibility, and the standing as a signficant player on the issue of equality, it does not have a website that reflects our place in this timely debate. I am hopeful that this process will result in a website that enables us to engage more people, more efficiently in this important debate.

2011-02-20 15:44:14 UTC
Jack Thompson

Project 515 is uniquely positioned to be influential with this legislature. With bridges built and under construction to the Republican majorities in the House and Senate, 515 is a key component in stopping hateful laws and constitutional amendments. Fair minded Minnesotans need this organization to be in top form to fight the good fight. Please support their efforts.

Our Mission

Project 515 Education Campaign and Project 515 make up a family of organizations with a specific, achievable goal: to ensure that same-sex couples and their families have equal rights and considerations under Minnesota law. Project 515 Education Campaign’s work focuses on educating the public, including thought-leaders, business leaders and the media, about the discrimination that exists in Minnesota’s current statutes while Project 515 engages in legislative advocacy and direct lobbying activities.