LD Thompson and David Rothmiller are writers, filmmakers, and LGBT rights activists. They are also the visionary founders who stewarded the LGBT Sanctuary Palm Springs, Inc. from an idea to being a state-licensed, 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to provide safe and supportive care for LGBTQ+ youth, ages 18-21, who are transitioning from foster care to independent adulthood.
Their 2010 documentary film ‘For My Wife … ‘ changed the national and international dialogue on marriage equality. They continue to advocate for complete equality for the LGBT community and have dedicated years of their lives to ensuring the rights and fair treatment of LGBTQ+ foster and adoptive youth and families.
Their journey with the foster care system began in 1994 when they were trained and licensed to work with boys in the SAY (Sexually Aggressive Youth) program in Washington State. After having five boys live in their home, they became foster parents for a family member – an infant who had just been released from intensive care treatment for pre-natal drug exposure.
Relocating to the Coachella Valley in 2010, they attained a California foster care license and then became the first gay Californians ever to be licensed by the state of Mississippi, allowing them to become foster parents of a transgender teen from that state.
As experienced foster parents they knew first-hand that if an LGBTQ+ foster youth comes out, or is found out, and their foster care providers do not accept them, they can be bounced from that placement – losing their ‘family’ once again.
Building on their dedication to the health, safety, and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ foster youth and their desire to serve more young people than their foster parent license would allow, they soon began their three-year journey to develop the program that would become Sanctuary Palm Springs. Their tireless efforts included establishing the organization’s nonprofit status, securing the state license for a Transitional Housing Program, convening a board of directors, hiring staff, engaging an army of volunteers and supporters, raising start-up funds from donors and by writing grants, setting up the first home, and welcoming the organization’s first residents. Sanctuary Palm Springs, which is the only program of its kind in the Coachella Valley, is an outgrowth of LD and David’s passionate commitment to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ foster youth and their belief that all youth, including LGBTQ+ youth, deserve to be respected, supported, and given every opportunity to learn the skills they will need to lead happy and healthy adult lives.
Before obtaining our license in 2017, the following individuals and businesses made significant contributions as early advocates and adopters of the Sanctuary Palm Springs mission. Their gifts included the financial resources, expertise, and in-kind donations of labor and materials needed to bring Sanctuary Palm Springs from a vision to a reality.
It was through the kindness and generosity of these important gifts that Sanctuary was born. We honor these individuals with membership in our Founders' Circle. A plaque denoting this membership will be displayed at the first Sanctuary residence.
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John Barrowman, Team Barrowman
Carol Berger *
Michael Childers **
Richard Crisman & Jeff Brock
Scott Cullens, Palm Pacific Construction
Charles Drabkin & Michael Herzfeld
Edwards Air Force Base
Ginny Foat **
Diane & Joe Glassett
Grabos Family Fund
Randy George * & Chuck Collins
Diane & Joe Glasset
Frank Goldstin** & Paul Clowers, Momentous Events
Grabos Family Fund
Debbie Green **
Gary Hall** & Gerald Green
Mark Hamilton & Juan Francisco Gomez Contreras
Kerry Hendrix *
Jeremy Hobbs, Western Wind Foundation
Michael Holmes, The Purple Room
Diane Jacoby *
Al Jones *
Barbara & Jerry Keller, Lulu California Bistro
Terri ** & Dr. Bart Ketover
Geoff Kors ** & James Williamson
Barry Manilow & Garry Keif **, The Manilow Fund for Health and Hope
Barry McCabe *
Tim McCormick & Jeff Brizzi
John McDonald & Rob Wright
Jerry Moe **
Jim Moje & Maurice Minno, The Hacienda at Warm Sands
Tim O’Bayley * & David Wilson, O'Bayley Communications
Brien O'Brien, Brien O'Brien Salon
Marshal Pearcy & Douglas Woodmansee, Les Dames Du Soliel
Willie Rhine ** & Albert Gonzales, Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge
Thomas Sharkey & Charles Pearson
Jeff Stanley * & Alain Peracca
Charlene Strong *
Daniel Tabib *
Clifton Tatum, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2015
Steve Tobin, Goodwin Family Trust
Steve Tobin & Johnny Krupa, Grace Helen Spearman Foundation
Toyota of North America
Tom Truhe **
Robert Walker & Ernest Phinney
Donald D. Wolf & John P. Costa
Brian Vatcher & Mark Jones, Brighthaus Marketing