Utah Billionaire Donates to LGBTQ Organization and leaves the mormon church

Utah Billionaire Donates To LGBTQ Organization, Leaves Mormon Church

The richest man in Utah has officially resigned from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), donating more than half a million dollars to Utah’s leading LGBTQ+ civil rights organization. And he did it in part because of the church’s stance on gay rights. 

44-year-old Jeff T. Green, chairman and CEO of technology marketing company The Trade Desk, unofficially left the church a decade ago. A few days before Christmas 2021, he sent a letter to the LDS church's President Russell Nelson officially resigning, requesting the removal of his church records, and explaining that he thinks the Mormon church is actively hurting LGBTQ+ people, among others.

In the letter to President Nelson, Green said he believes most of the church's members are "good people trying to do right," but that he thinks "the church is actively and currently doing harm in the world.” Green said he believes the Mormon institution has specifically "hindered global progress in women’s rights, civil rights, and racial equality, and LGBTQ+ rights,” according to The Salt Lake Tribune.  

Green also told President Nelson that the first major donation from his family foundation's giving arm, Dataphilanthropy, will be $600,000 to the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Utah, and that it will be the first of many donations.

“We made this investment sizable and publicly to send a message that Equality Utah isn’t going anywhere,” Green wrote.

Equality Utah said it was "tremendously grateful" for the donation.

 

The letter says that about half the initial donation will go to forming a new scholarship program for LGBTQ+ students in Utah, including those who "may need or want to leave" his alma mater of Brigham Young University, which is sponsored by the LDS church, and has an honor code that prohibits same-sex “romantic behavior,” The Tribune reports.

In October, Brigham Young University was named “one of the worst colleges and universities for LGBTQ students” by Campus Pride, a nonprofit organization that advocates for LGBTQ inclusivity and safety at U.S. colleges and universities.

The Mormon church, whose members include around 86 percent of Utah’s lawmakers, stringently opposes same-sex marriage. More recently, the church has opposed the Equality Act, a federal bill that would protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in housing, employment and jury service, among other areas of life.

Green’s letter was also highly critical of the LDS church’s wealth, including its investment fund which is paid for with contributions by church members. The fund had $48 billion worth of stocks as of September 30th, according to the New York Times.

In November, Green, who is worth an estimated $5.2 billion according to Forbes, pledged to give away more than 90 percent of his wealth before or at his death.

Posted by Brit Smith

Brit Smith is a Staff Writer & Associate Editor at GWK. A native of London, England, Brit started her American adventure nannying and waiting tables in Texas in 2006, and eventually graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017. Brit has previously written and created podcasts for WBZ NewsRadio, iHeart Media, and Different Leaf.



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