Shelly O’Rourke

Staff | Outreach Coordinator
Shelly O’Rourke

When I knew Frank, we lived in a tight-knit community of neighbors near new Hanover High School. After an epidemic of suicides among gay teens, Frank organized the neighborhood to reach out. He wanted to make sure the teens walking or riding in our neighborhood felt safe and accepted. We all placed rainbow flags outside our homes to signal that LGBTQIA teens were always welcome in our neighborhood and our homes. In the years that I knew him, Frank worked to create a community that welcomed all and took care of its own, a community driven by kindness and basic human decency. Frank inspired me then and now to always work toward that ideal community.

I bring experience and passion to the Frank Harr Foundation. I’ve lived in Wilmington for more than 30 years. I have worked with our local NPR affiliate radio station WHQR as community outreach coordinator, the NC Democratic Party as a political organizer, and I now work to promote, educate, inspire positive change, and bring people from disparate backgrounds together to create a better community and a better world. I also volunteer with the Guardian ad Litem program to protect local children in need and the NAACP to promote racial justice.

The Frank Harr Foundation is Frank’s legacy. While alive Frank made an impact and brought something other than the usual suspects together in a way few have been able to do. I am passionate about continuing his vision and working to support our regional LGBTQ community while putting an action plan and the right people together that will make Frank’s ultimate goal a reality in 2020 – The LGBTQIA Outreach Center of Wilmington.