Heather Matarazzo, Actress and Hetrick-Martin Institute Ambassador.
Heather Matarazzo, Actress and Hetrick-Martin Institute Ambassador.

SAN FRANCISCO, May 6, 2009 / FW/ — Harvey Milk catapulted to world fame thirty years after his death mainly due to Sean Penn’s Oscar-winning role in the movie “Milk” which put front and center gay activism.

Following the ideals of Harvey Milk, San Francisco-based Levi’s, the world’s jeanswear leader is launching the “Give Them Hope Now,” campaign supporting the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), home of the Harvey Milk High School.

The goal of Levi’s new, motivational campaign is to help HMI raise $500,000 for their Liquidity Reserve Fund, which will establish a financial safety net to fund HMI’s important work within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth community.

The campaign and its official Web site, www.givethemhopenow.org run from May 6 through November 2009 or until the $500,000 fundraising goal is met. Hetrick-Martin is the oldest and largest non-profit, multi-service agency dedicated to serving LGBTQ youth including educational services for at-risk youth in the Harvey Milk High School.

“Levi Strauss & Co. believes deeply in the importance of equality, social justice, community involvement and corporate citizenship and has a rich history of standing up for the rights of the LGBTQ community,” says Robert Hanson, President of Levi Strauss Americas.

“The Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School, is positively contributing to the lives of many LGBTQ teenagers and we are proud to do our part to help raise money and awareness for this important cause,” Hanson added.

The “Give Them Hope Now” campaign features a vibrant cast of HMI board members, students and alumni of Hetrick-Martin and Harvey Milk HS, and celebrities. Portraits featured in the campaign were shot by acclaimed photographers Jenny Gage and Tom Betterton.

The campaign’s official interactive Web site, www.givethemhopenow.org, will also feature moving personal stories from students, alumni, celebrities and board members; a link encouraging visitors to make donations to the HMI Liquidity Reserve Fund; updates on the campaign’s fundraising progress; and suggestions on other ways to get involved with the cause.

To make a donation in support of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School, visit www.givethemhopenow.org. Donations and support of this important campaign will guarantee a welcoming environment for LGBTQ youth to feel accepted and thrive through a process of self-discovery.