This marks the largest single donation to the cause
of modernizing the Florida Civil Rights Act of 1992
Tallahassee’s Rick Kearney, one of Florida’s most respected entrepreneurs and philanthropists, today donated $100,000 to Florida Competes, the coalition of businesses committed to passing the Florida Competitive Workforce Act, which aims to include anti- discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This is the largest single donation to date supporting Florida Competes.
“This contribution reflects my longstanding commitment to LGBT equality and serves as an investment in improving Florida's reputation for equality and inclusion,” said Rick Kearney. “I’m proud to stand with Florida's business leaders to advocate for equality for all, by adding these overdue protections to Florida's civil rights statute.”
Senate Bill 666 and House Bill 623, were filed last week by Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth), Rep. Ben Diamond (D-St. Petersburg) and Rep. Rene Plasencia (R-Titusville). The bipartisan effort promotes economic growth and attracting the best-educated workforce in the nation to Florida by ensuring equal protections for LGBT people in employment, housing and public accommodations.
“We appreciate those who embrace corporate policies of inclusion and respect for all people regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation. Thank you to Mr. Kearney who has made such a generous donation to move this cause forward in our state,” said Florida Competes spokesperson Christina Johnson. “I hope this largest-ever single donation prompts other business leaders to step forward in support.”
Florida Competes includes 10 Fortune 500 Companies: AT&T, CSX, Darden Restaurants, Marriott, NextEra Energy, Office Depot, Raymond James, Tech Data, Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo; 30 large businesses including Akerman, AmericanAirlines Arena, Bank of the Ozarks, Bilzin Sumberg, Carlton Fields, Carnival Corporation, Chamber SOUTH, Coconut Grove Business Improvement District, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, DTCC, Florida Apartment Association, Florida Blue, Florida Realtors®, Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association, Haskell, HSN, Miami Heat, Mis en Place, Orlando City, On Top of the World Communities, Pointe Group Advisors, Pop Yachts, Rollins College, South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, University of North Florida, University of South Florida Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, and Winn Dixie; and more than 450 small businesses in the state.
Rick Kearney is Chairman and CEO of Mainline Information Systems, Inc. in Tallahassee. A leader in economic development in the community, he served as a member and chairperson for ITFlorida. His vision and work has been recognized with numerous awards, including the Tallahassee Distinguished Leader of the Year Award; the Jim Moran Enterprises 2000 Entrepreneur of the Year award; the inaugural Ethics in Business award from the Tallahassee Rotary Club; the Entrepreneur of the Decade award from the Jim Moran Institute; and Philanthropist of the Year by the Northwest Florida Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
About Florida Competes
Florida Competes, formerly known as the Florida Businesses for a Competitive Workforce coalition, is a 501c(4) whose mission is to support passing the Competitive Workforce Act, which would modernize state law to include anti-discrimination protection based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The coalition believes that the Competitive Workforce Act will make Florida more competitive in the national and global marketplace in much the same way companies have benefited from adopting anti-discrimination policies. For additional information, please go to www.FloridaCompetes.com or visit the coalition on Twitter or Facebook.