The Board of Directors of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council elected G. Joseph Garcia, 39, as the chair of the organization’s Foundation.
As part of his responsibilities, Garcia will oversee the Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards program, which grants annual college scholarships to college-bound high school seniors in recognition of their advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community. He will work closely with PBCHRC Board Member Jasmin Lewis, a teacher at Palm Beach Gardens High School who heads the Foundation's Social Justice Awards Committee.
“I am proud of this opportunity to help give back to Palm Beach County's LGBTQ+ community," said Garcia in a media release. "I look forward to developing additional programs for the PBCHRC Foundation."
"The Board is very pleased that Joseph will be at the helm of our organization," said PBCHRC Foundation President Rand Hoch in a media release. "His election as chair underscores the leadership skills, creativity and passion he brings to the Foundation."
Garcia, who is a Wellington resident, was born in Cuba and grew up in South Florida, according to his profile on the PBCHRC website. He received a dual degree from Florida State University — a B.A. in multinational business operations and a B.S. in marketing. He has 15 years of experience in the luxury hospitality and travel industries, working for some of the world's most recognizable brands including the Ritz-Carlton, Royal Caribbean, and Four Seasons Hotels.
While working in destination services at Discover The Palm Beaches, Garcia developed and launched the organization's LGBTQ+ Advisory Board and was instrumental in establishing what will be the first LGBTQ+ visitor information center in Palm Beach County, as stated in the same media release.
The release also states that Garcia was widely recognized for his community involvement, and was selected to serve as a member of the South Florida Fair "Beyond the Fair - Class of 2021" for young professionals throughout South Florida. He is also serving his second year on the host committee for Stonewall Ball, the largest annual LGBT fundraiser in the county. The annual event benefits Compass, the LGBT community center serving Palm Beach County.
The Foundation presents Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Award scholarships to local college-bound high school seniors, according to its website. The scholarships are awarded to applicants who have experience in advocacy on behalf of the LGBT community.
This year, the winners Endora Guillaume, Kyle Ahern, and Theo Shusterman, were awarded $2,500 each.
“[This] award provides financial assistance to LGBTQA high school seniors that have desires to continue their education and fight for social justice change,” said Jasmine K. Lewis, chairman of the scholarship program. “Many LGBTQ+ students often face unique challenges in their personal lives and academia; funding their continued education shouldn’t be one of them. By having access to scholarships and other financial opportunities, LGBTQ+ students can better shape cultural progress.”
The PBCHRC Charitable Foundation is an affiliate of PBCHRC, Florida's oldest, independent, non-partisan, political organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
PBCHRC's Board of Directors voted to establish the Foundation to fund educational scholarships and other charitable endeavors. Because of Integrity Palm Beach and a few longtime supporters, the Foundation was funded, according to PBCHRC.
All funding for the Daniel S. Hall Social Justice Awards, as well as contributions to nonprofit organizations such as the First Amendment Foundation, The National LGBTBar Association and Foundation, ACLU Florida, SAVE, Lavender Law, and ADL Florida will be made from the Foundation.