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Dorothy Awards Sponsors
7th Annual Dorothy Awards HonoreesPublished Jan 1, 2010
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The New Haven Pride Center is proud to introduce the honorees for the 7th Annual Dorothy Awards. This year's group of recipients proudly continues the tradition of honoring people who made a difference in the community. Interviews are also available on the site with additional information about the honorees.
Michael Morand is Associate Vice President of Yale University for New Haven and State Affairs, helping lead community partnerships for economic development, strong neighborhoods and public schools, and a vibrant downtown. Yale’s Community Investment Program represents a commitment of more than $200 million over the last 15 years towards efforts to strengthen New Haven.
In 1989, he was elected to the first of two terms as Alderman in New Haven, the first openly gay person elected to public office in Connecticut. As alderman, Michael mobilized an effort to pass a lesbian and gay civil rights ordinance in 1990, which passed without opposition. In 1993, he and other community leaders put forward a domestic partnership ordinance that lost by one vote after heated debate and ugly tactics by opponents. That defeat, while disheartening, spurred activists to rally and establish the New Haven Gay and Lesbian Community Center.
Michael has always been passionate about local LGBT causes, beginning with his time as a student, when he became involved with the Connecticut Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights. He continues to support many community organizations, providing advice and resources to the Pride Center, CABO, and True Colors, and raising funds to purchase LGBTQ resources for the public library.
He is president of the Elizabethan Club of Yale, immediate past chair of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce, and a board member of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges, Greater Dwight Development Corporation, and STRIVE. He has also served as president of the New Haven Public Library and on the State Judicial Selection Commission.
A graduate of St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Yale College and the Yale Divinity School, he is a proud longtime resident of New Haven, with his partner, Frank Mitchell.
Dena Castricone is the President of the Board and founder of the Connecticut Alliance for Business Opportunities (CABO), the state’s LGBT chamber of commerce. CABO launched in October 2007 and has experienced great success. In May 2009, CABO accepted the National Rising Star Chamber award from the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in recognition of its rapid growth.
When she is not working with the Board and membership of CABO, Dena is an attorney at the law firm of Murtha Cullina LLP (CABO’s Pioneer Sponsor) where she works primarily in the areas of construction and business litigation. She is noted by others at her firm for the interest she takes in finding reasonable, pragmatic solutions to clients’ problems.
Dena has taught classes in business, employment and health care law at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven. Prior to joining Murtha, she served as a law clerk to the Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court. Dena also serves on the Board of Directors for the Connecticut chapter of Professional Women in Construction.
Dena lives in New Haven with her partner, Jennifer.
Leif Mitchell began his involvement with the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) in 1996 as the organization’s first summer intern. Leif served on the GLSEN National Board of Directors from 2000 – 2004, is the Co-Chair of GLSEN Connecticut, and a member of GLSEN’s National Advisory Council and National Training Team.
In 1998 and 2007 he published a resource module for educators, “Tackling LGBT Issues in School,” which has been distributed throughout the US and abroad. Leif has a chapter titled “No Regrets” in the book “Out on Fraternity Row” about his experience being a gay member of a fraternity and does presentations on this topic throughout the country.
Leif has been providing training since 1992 on sexuality and diversity issues and has worked with the Anti-Defamation League’s A World of Difference program since 2006.
Leif is the Assistant Director of the Community Research Core at Yale’s Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. He is the Co-Chair of the AIDS LIFE Campaign, a statewide AIDS advocacy group, and the Co-Chair of the Ryan White Planning Council of New Haven and Fairfield Counties.
Leif enjoys the rich diversity of life in New Haven, Connecticut, with his partner, Will, with whom he celebrated a civil union on October 14, 2006.
Imperial Sovereign Court of All Connecticut
The Imperial Sovereign Court of All Connecticut is a 501(c)3 non profit organization whose goal is to raise needed funds for community and social service organizations. The Court’s mission and purpose is to provide a social union securing equality, liberty and justice by promoting positive morale and pride to the community at large. Their goal is to raise needed funds for community and social service organizations by providing a social environment for people with the same interests as those of the court and to create and promote community awareness.
The Connecticut chapter of the Imperial Sovereign Court is one of about 70 chapters that exist across North America. The state chapter was initiated in 2000. Over the past 10 years, the court has raised tens of thousands of dollars for nonprofit organizations throughout the state, including many serving the LGBT community. Their reach has been vast, from a “Fur Ball” celebration in January benefiting an animal shelter, to the support of the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen and Mid Fairfield AIDS Project in their most recent year.
The members of the Court do not profit personally from their involvement; instead, they donate time and energy to raise needed funds for organizations the Court supports.