LOS ANGELES — The U.S. distributor of Stolichnaya vodka has entered into a partnership with the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center by investing in the center’s program for the development of LGBT leaders.
Under the agreement, Stoli Group USA will donate $300,000 to support the Center’s Leadership LAB (Learn, Act, Build): a program that helps current and future LGBT leaders and allies throughout the country and around the world to develop critical leadership skills.
The aim of Leadership LAB is to prepare the next generation of LGBT leaders to effectively advocate for equal rights, build strong organizations, and fight anti-LGBT ballot measures.
“Over the last few years we’ve experienced tremendous gains in freedom and equality for LGBT Americans, but there is still much work to be done, especially in states where organizing for LGBT equality remains very challenging,” said Lorri L. Jean, Chief Executive Officer of the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center.
“And while we’re also making gains internationally, there have been big and significant setbacks. Extremists, acknowledging they’re losing the battle here, are expanding their influence in other countries by demonizing LGBT people and attacking our freedoms. Their influence must be countered,” she said.
Stoli, the most recognizable name among Russian vodkas, has been at the center of a boycott over Russia’s anti-gay laws.
In response, Stolichnaya released a statement last year expressing their opposition to Russia’s anti-gay policies, stating that, “Stolichnaya Vodka has always been, and continues to be, a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community.”
The Stoli vodka distributed in the U.S. is bottled in Latvia, but distilled from Russian grain.