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Brendon Urie Pledges 1 Million for Youth
Media Relations Manager, GLSEN
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Panic! At The Disco’s Brendon Urie Pledges One Million Dollars to GLSEN to Support LGBTQ Youth via Newly Launched Highest Hopes Foundation
Funds to Support Students in Creating GSA Clubs in Every U.S. High School
New York, NY (June 29, 2018) – This morning on the Today Show (NBC), GLSEN, the leading education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth, and Panic! at the Disco, a critically-acclaimed rock band fronted by Brendon Urie, announced a new alliance in support of the creation of student-led GSA (Gender & Sexuality/Gay-Straight Alliance) clubs in every high school across America, to support LGBTQ youth and advocate for inclusive schools.
To help realize this goal, Brendon Urie has pledged a one million dollar gift to GLSEN to provide resources, training, and support to students working to create student-led GSA clubs in their K-12 schools, through his Highest Hopes Foundation. Launched this week, Urie founded the Highest Hopes Foundation to support the efforts of non-profit organizations that lead, develop, and advocate support for human rights for all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity. GLSEN is the foundation’s first beneficiary, with more to follow.
GLSEN Research shows how LGBTQ youth attending schools with a GSA are less likely to hear anti-LGBTQ remarks, less likely to feel unsafe, less likely to be victimized, and are more likely to report staff intervention when bullying or harassment occurs. About half of LGBTQ youth report having a GSA in their school. Urie’s pledge aims to ensure every child, in every school, has access to this life-saving resource. Given the Trump Administration’s efforts to erase LGBTQ youth from government services, eliminating existing guidance to schools on protecting trans youth, and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ refusal to allow the Office for Civil Rights to investigate complaints of discrimination from trans youth, the support a GSA can offer LGBTQ youth is both critical and life-changing.
“For years my fans have inspired me with their determination and creativity as they have created a safe and inclusive community,” said Brendon Urie. “I felt the time had come for me to join them boldly, to bring that energy and power to bear on the huge challenges facing our whole society. Launching the Highest Hopes Foundation with GLSEN as our first cause feels natural to the DNA of P!ATD, I am beyond excited to see what we can do together. Some of the most inspiring leaders out there right now have come from GSAs. Working firsthand with GLSEN, student leaders everywhere, and all my fans, I want to make sure that every one of our future leaders out there has the support they need to form their own GSA and begin their work to make a better world.”
“GSAs and their leaders are out there every day doing the work and leading the way,” said Eliza Byard, GLSEN Executive Director. “We need their energy now more than ever. Over the past three decades, GLSEN has worked alongside them and seen the GSA movement grow to reach half of the middle and high schools in the United States. With Brendon’s partnership and this transformative gift, we will make sure that students have the support they need to reach every single school.”
The first GSA was founded by a student at Concord Academy in 1989, with the support of their teacher, and later GLSEN founder, Kevin Jennings, and the student-led clubs have since been created in more than half of our nation’s high schools. GLSEN currently supports more than 6,500 registered GSAs and tens of thousands of youth through training at local youth summits, free print and online resources, and ground-breaking programming, including GLSEN’s Day of Silence, No Name-Calling Week, and Ally Week campaigns.
Panic! at the Disco’s Pray for the Wicked Tour kicks off on July 11 with special guests Arizona and Hayley Kiyoko. The full list of tour dates and tickets can be found at panicatthedisco.com/tour.
Fans can join P!@TD and GLSEN in rising up in support of LGBTQ youth and youth-led GSA clubs by visiting glsen.org/panic. GLSEN will announce further participation and programmatic details throughout the year.
GLSEN works to create safe and inclusive schools for all. We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools across the United States, and our network of 39 community-led chapters in 26 states brings GLSEN’s expertise to local communities. GLSEN's progress and impact have won support for inclusive schools at all levels of education in the United States and sparked an international movement to ensure equality for LGBTQ students and respect for all in schools. For more information on GLSEN’s policy advocacy, student leadership initiatives, public education, research, and educator training programs, please visit www.glsen.org.
About Highest Hopes Foundation
Panic! At The Disco’s Highest Hopes Foundation supports the efforts of non-profit organizations that lead, develop, and advocate support for human rights for all people and communities subject to discrimination or abuse on the basis of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. All donations are tax-deductible through Highest Hopes 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF). EIF is a Charity Navigator 4 Star Charity and meets all 20 BBB Charity Standards. For more information visit www.highesthopes.org.
About Panic! At The Disco
Award-winning internationally acclaimed rock band Panic! At The Disco have released of Pray For The Wicked ( via Fueled by Ramen/DCD2 Records)which comes off the heels of their critically acclaimed fifth album, Death Of A Bachelor. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Chart and was nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2017 GRAMMY® Awards. The RIAA platinum selling releasewas the highest selling rock album and fourth-highest selling album released in 2016, according to Nielsen Soundscan. DOAB has also spawned RIAA certified gold singles “Hallelujah,” “LA Devotee,” Don’t Threaten Me With A Good Time,” and platinum singles "Death Of A Bachelor,” "Emperor's New Clothes,” and “Victorious." The band's Gold-certified fourth studio album, Too Weird To Live, Too Rare to Die!, was released in October 2013, and debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. Panic! At The Disco's previous albums include 2005's double-platinum A Fever You Can't Sweat Out, 2008's Gold-certified Pretty. Odd., which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, and Vices & Virtues, which debuted at No. 7. Panic! At The Disco have been nominated for multiple awards, including a GRAMMY, Teen Choice Award, Alternative Press Music Award, Kerrang! Award, and MTV Video Music Awards. At the MTV VMAs in 2006, they won the highly coveted Video of the Year trophy for the video for their smash "I Write Sins Not Tragedies." Most recently, frontman Brendon Urie took on Broadway - he was nominated for a 2018 TONY Award for “Best Original Score Written For Theatre" for the song he wrote called “Simple Sponge” for SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical and in 2017 he starred as Charlie Price in the critically acclaimed, TONY Award-winning, Broadway hit Kinky Boots.