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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Phillip Rush, longtime Atlanta community activist, dies

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From the Southern Voice:

Phillip Rush, a longtime LGBT rights activist in Atlanta, died suddenly April 28 of a pulmonary embolism, according to his close friend, Doug Carl. Rush was 55.

“I think his passion in life surrounded community building — not just for the gay community, but for the entire community,” Carl said. “That was his life’s work.”

In almost 15 years as a program officer with the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Rush helped provide funding, support and encouragement to a variety of non-profit organizations. His role included work on the agency’s Common Good Funds and leading the “Managing For Excellence” awards, according to a biography of Rush still posted on the foundation’s website.

Rush’s work included a variety of causes and issues, including serving on grant-making boards for United Way and FEMA. He also helped direct funding to gay causes. From 1994-1999, he led the Community Foundation’s Lesbian & Gay Funding Initiative for Youth, described by the agency as “Georgia’s first institutional response to the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.” From 1994 to 2005, he worked on the National Lesbian & Gay Community Funding Partnership Advisory Committee.

Maria Saporta has memories of Rush here. Project Q Atlanta has a tribute here. Friends, family members and supporters have been signing Rush's Facebook wall to pay tribute. While no funeral or memorial service will be held, FROGS Cantina in Midtown will hold a "gathering" tomorrow at 6 p.m. to remember him. The Southern Voice reports loved ones have already begun laying flowers at Rush's favorite barstool.

(Photo courtesy the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta)

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