Stacy Lentz: Her Journey to Stonewall and Beyond

Stacy Lentz: Her Journey to Stonewall and Beyond

As Alpha Chi Omega recognizes Pride Month in June, we connected with Stacy Lentz (Gamma Zeta, Kansas State University), who is a co-owner of the Stonewall Inn and the CEO and co-founder of the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative. The Stonewall Inn is a New York City gay bar and National Historic Landmark that was the site of the 1969 riots viewed by many as the start of the gay rights movement.  

While living in New York, Stacy was approached by several friends about joining a group of investors in saving the Stonewall Inn, which was close to shutting down. Stacy recalls, “My initial thought was, ‘Absolutely, let’s go save history. Stacy identifies as lesbian and saw the value in preserving this important site for members of the LGBTQ+ community, for their allies, and for history and education. She became a co-owner in 2006, later taking over the site’s marketing and community outreach. In 2017, she helped launch the nonprofit arm, The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative (SIGBI). 

Stacy’s professional background in politics, activism, sales, marketing, HR and DEI made her the perfect person to lead SIGBI as its CEO. In that role, she heads up outreach to organizations and brands to partner with the initiative, helping them find ways to support the LGBTQ+ community all year round with programs like the Safe Spaces CertificationSIGBI extends its reach beyond New York City, providing spaces and community resources throughout the U.S. and even globally.  

[Our work] is really about having conversations with other grassroots and community activists about what we do and how we can help you use Stonewall, which is arguably the most famous LGBTQ brand platform in the world, to make sure that we’re doing what you need to support you and your efforts for people on the ground in places where it’s still tough to be LGBTQ,” Stacy explains. 

Stacy says SIGBI does year-round work, calling it “Pride 365,” so that the impact is felt beyond June and Pride Month. But of course, SIGBI’s efforts ramp up this month. The organization (and Stacy herself) are appearing on morning news shows, holding events with celebrities and musicians, and contributing to events panels.  

In her work, Stacy often finds herself in difficult conversations. “That takes understanding, and it takes listening with an open mind and really building partnerships and bridges, not just within our community but outside,” she explains. 

One of the highlights of her time with the Stonewall Inn was helping the Obama administration to declare the park and area surrounding the building as a national monument. “It’s been super powerful and impactful for me to be able to keep that legacy alive, and especially through the initiative, the global outreach and the community-building and partnership-building,” Stacy says. She’s met with Taylor Swift and spoken abroad in front of hundreds of thousands of people, but it’s been the one-on-one conversations that have meant the most to her, like talking with an activist from Uganda and dancing with her at the Stonewall Inn, an act that would be prohibited in the woman’s home country. 

Though she says she could have never predicted this professional path, she says now “it makes total sense that this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.” Stacy studied journalism at Kansas State University and loves that she can use her background in storytelling as CEO. And while she’s made an impact all over the world, she also brought her work back home to Kansas – with some support from her Gamma Zeta chapter sisters, too. 

Last year, Stacy returned to her home state to speak at Kansas’s first statewide Pride festival. Growing up, Stacy was not out as a lesbian; in fact, she shares, “I didn’t even know what being LGBTQ meant. I just knew I felt different.” When she returned to the state in 2022, she was a proud advocate and community member, and her chapter sisters were by her side for the event and plenty of sisterhood bonding. 

“They were some of the first people that I came out to, and they absolutely supported me, and we’ve had lifelong friendships,” Stacy says. “It’s really cool that they were able to share that moment, the first time I went back to Kansas to speak.” 

Stacy is proud that Alpha Chi Omega celebrates Pride Month. To the members who identify as LGBTQ+, she says, “It’s OK to identify differently. It’s OK to love differently and just be your authentic self.” And to those not in the LGBTQ+ community, she shares, “Make sure to support your community members, support your sisters  Make sure that you’re uplifting and celebrating and letting people be who they want to be. 

“I don’t want anybody to have that feeling of not belonging, not being able to feel comfortable to be themselves like I did,” she adds, “and that’s the reason why I do the work I do.” 

You can learn more about the Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative at