John D. Allen and Keith E. Hyatte for LGBTQ+ Interests Fund

Est. 2019 to support and advance the LGBTQ+ community in Greater New Haven.

John Allen (left) and Keith Hyatte (right) care deeply about the support of LGBTQ+ rights, the arts, veganism and animal rights in Greater New Haven. Photo Kathleen Cei

Anybody can do it

The 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots inspired John Allen, founder of the New Haven Pride Center, and his husband Keith Hyatte, retired director of paint at Long Wharf Theatre, to start thinking about their legacy. They decided it was time that giving back to the LGBTQ+ community take on a new form — one that will provide a revenue stream long after their lifetimes.

The couple, who met in New Haven, cares deeply about LGBTQ+ interests, the arts, animal rights and veganism. They established a fund at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and included a bequest in their wills so that the support of these interests will be advanced for generations to come.

John Allen keeps gay rights history alive in New Haven on a LGBT History Walking Tour in 2016. Photo Courtesy of Lucy Gellman/New Haven Independent

"We're at a point in our lives when we want to start thinking about a legacy and how to plan for our retirement and thereafter," say Allen and Hyatte. "We're new to more formalized philanthropy. We never realized this was something that was open to us. That's been exciting to realize; anybody can do it. We're looking forward to having a greater influence within The Community Foundation and within the community. We really feel a part of The Community Foundation family, and we want to help share that and make sure others feel the same."

"While it is thrilling to experience the tremendous progress being made legally and culturally in the LGBTQ+ community over the past few decades, for all the advancements made, there are also powerful influences trying to dismantle them," notes Allen. "We hope to inspire others to make sure that LGBTQ+ issues are vibrantly supported by the community."

The couple agrees it is important to "celebrate and share what makes you strong, but above all, be kind. It costs nothing and is what is most remembered."

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