MSF Digital/Presentational Brochure

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© 1995 Gina van Hoof


The Matthew Shepard Foundation's longstanding mission is to erase hate by replacing it with understanding, compassion and acceptance. Through local, regional and national outreach, we empower individuals to find their voice to create change and challenge communities to identify and address hate that lives within their schools, neighborhoods and homes.





Where To Reach Us

For program inquiries, contact


For communication inquires and media requests, contact


For General Information, fill out our form at Discover ways you can participate with the Foundation by emailing To coordinate or host an event to benefit the Foundation, contact

/Matthew.Shepard.Foundation @MattShepardFDN mattshepardfdn MattShepardFDN

MATTHEW'S STORY AND THE FOUNDATION'S FORMATION On October 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a gay 21­year­old student at the University of Wyoming, was brutally attacked and tied to a fence in a field outside of Laramie, Wyoming, and left to die. On October 12, Matt succumbed to his wounds in a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado. In the aftermath of Matt’s death, his parents Judy and Dennis Shepard started the Matthew Shepard Foundation to honor his life and aspirations. Because of the tragedy the Shepards endured, the Foundation’s beginning principle was to encourage parents whose children may be LGBTQ+ or questioning to love and accept them, not throw them away. Through their personal appearances across the country and around the world, Judy and Dennis Shepard share Matt’s story to highlight the importance of standing up for the LGBT community. Since our formation, the Foundation has centered its efforts on providing a voice and support for LGBTQ+ people and all who are marginalized. It is our sincerest hope that, one day, the Foundation may be able to close its doors. But the same hate and violence that spurred our formation still exists today, both at home and abroad. We will continue to work tirelessly to ensure safety, visibility and inclusiveness for the entire LGBT community until that ideal becomes reality.

THE CHALLENGES WE FACE In a post­marriage equality society, it's vital we don't lose focus on the issues that continue to threaten the rights and lives of the LGBTQ+ community. Lapse in hate­crime law enforcement Employment and housing discrimination Disproportionate violence against transgender people Bullying, suicide and self harm Lack of access to healthcare and social programs


is an extension of Matt's passion to foster a more caring and just world. We share his story and embody his vigor for civil rights to change the hearts and minds of others to accept everyone as they are.

The Shepards Speak

Hate Crimes Reporting

Laramie Project Support

The Shepards Speak Since the death of their son Matthew in 1998, Judy and Dennis Shepard have been determined to prevent others from experiencing similar tragedies. By sharing Matt's story and their experience as the family of a hate crime victim, the Shepards are able to carry on Matt's legacy and help change the hearts and minds of others to create a more understanding, accepting and compassionate community.

Contact us at with questions about availability and pricing for Judy and Dennis' speaking engagement.

Hate Crimes Reporting For nearly a decade after Matt's death, Judy and Dennis Shepard advocated passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which was signed into law in 2009 by President Barack Obama. It expanded federal hate crimes laws to include crimes with bias toward sexual orientation, disability, gender and gender identity or expression. The Foundation continues to work to improve the law's enforcement and the accuracy of hate crimes data that local law enforcement agencies report to the FBI. Our work to improve hate­crime reporting includes: Conducting trainings on state and federal hate crimes laws for law enforcement agencies Creating and partnering with local, citizen­led coalitions that directly address issues of hate crimes reporting and awareness Building relationships between community leaders and law enforcement officials Developing and encouraging policy reform in hate crimes reporting practices For more information on coordinating officer trainings or raising awareness in your community, email us at

Laramie Project Support The Matthew Shepard Foundation offers support to productions of The Laramie Project. After Matthew’s murder in 1998, members of the New York City­based Tectonic Theatre Company traveled to Laramie, Wyoming, to interview residents about how the brutal hate had affected the town. These transcripts were transformed into the play The Laramie Project, which remains one of the most performed plays in America. The issues of hate and intolerance in this play are, unfortunately, still relevant in today’s society, and its message for communities to address this hate is vital in our mission to erase it. Our Laramie Project & Programs Specialist, Susan Burk, combines her personal connection to Matt’s story and theatre background to provide historical and cultural context to those producing The Laramie Project and The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.

Visit­ Project­Support for more information. If you have questions, contact Susan Burk at is a website designed to provide young people with the resources they need to thrive in this world, make a difference, and gain tools to lead healthy, productive, hate­free lives. It provides a wealth of materials including regular blogs from a dedicated group of young people making a difference in their own communities. Matthew’s Place features interviews with individuals in the LGBTQ+ and allied community and a list of shelters, outreach centers and empowerment programs that are welcoming of youth regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

To submit your story, go to Questions? Contact us at

GET INVOLVED Support our programs as a volunteer, invite us to speak at your place of employment, or help at one of our many events. Contact us at The Foundation hosts fundraising activities throughout the country. Either in­person or online, we encourage your participation with: Coordinating functions in your community Private fundraisers, i.e. weddings, walks, etc. Online Peer­to­Peer fundraising MSF’s annual October gala in Denver

To further support our events and fundraising efforts, contact our Development Director at

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