ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It's been 25 years since Trevor Burgess and Gary Hess first met during Pride Month.
"We were at a Pride block party in Boston. I saw him across a crowded room and the rest was history," Hess said.
"I remember it very clearly because Trevor was wearing this black shirt with stars and very bright red pants," he said laughing. "Never forget it."
To celebrate their Silver anniversary this year, they decided to not forget the community that has supported them through the years.
"We've built, together, two successful businesses in St. Petersburg and we decided we wanted to give back to our community. So we picked 10 organizations, many that we have worked with before and some that are in special need right now, and decided that we would make 10 $25,000 gifts," Burgess explained.
Museums, clinics, and LGBTQ organizations are among the group of grateful recipients.
"We decided that we wanted to share this story to encourage others to contribute at such a time of need as we recover from COVID," Burgess said.
Terri Lispey Scott who heads the Carter G. Woodson African American Museum said the $25,000 gift they received couldn't have come at a better time.
"We find ourselves in the middle of a capital campaign where we're working feverishly in order to ensure the necessary funding to build a proper African American museum in the city of St. Petersburg," she said. "It moved us beyond measure."
Equality Florida is also benefiting from the generous donation. In a message from Executive Director Nadine Smith, she states, "[Gary and Trevor] are thoughtful donors who look to support the most vulnerable and they give at a level that has game-changing impacts."
They hope this inspires others to give back too.
"Pick the organization that really speaks to you. These were 10 organizations that made sense to us, but there may be something that you're really passionate about. And giving as little as $5 a month or a one-time gift can make a big difference for that institution over time," Burgess expressed.
Here is the complete list of organizations the couple is donating to: