MISSION & HISTORY.
Knit the Rainbow (KtR) was founded in April, 2020 after the Founder, Austin Rivers, discovered the housing disparities facing LGBTQ+ youth in New York City. Austin learned there were a few nonprofits dedicated to providing housing and/or shelter for this community; however, he knew there was still more to be done; this is where KtR was born.
Austin learned to knit while performing on a tour in Japan and felt he could use these skills to provide warm protective winter garments for LGBTQ+ youth facing homelessness. KtR hopes to educate people across the country about the housing crisis these youth are facing and increase the number of youth served by asking volunteers to knit or crochet at home and donate the garments to KtR to be distributed in New York City.
KtR has big plans for the future. We hope to not only serve New York City, but to eventually provide winter protective garments to homeless LGBTQ+ youth across the country. In addition, we plan to partner with other nonprofits who provide shelter and housing to these youth and offer knit/crochet classes for their residents so they too can knit garments for themselves and the rest of the community facing this housing crisis.
Board of Directors
Founder & Board Chair
Austin is an activist, professional actor, and small business owner in New York City. Austin is extremely passionate about social justice and civil rights, specifically within the LGBTQ+ and Black communities. He received his BA in Politics from NYU and his Master of Public Administration from the University of Central Florida. In addition, Austin has worked on several progressive political campaigns and in the offices of elected officials in NYC as a Community Liaison. As an actor, he has toured the United States and globally visiting over 20 countries worldwide.
Cecilia Nelson-Hurt is a proud Afro Latina who was taught to crochet as a child by her Grandma Sophie and learned to knit many years later. Known to many in the fibre community as ‘Creative Ceci,’ she is a global knitting and crochet enthusiast. Ceci is a Diversity & Inclusion practitioner for global brand L’Oreal and has over 15 years experience developing and executing initiatives to create an equal opportunity workplace. She leverages her training and experience as a speaker at many fibre events and is also an inaugural member of the ‘Vogue Knitting Live!’ Diversity Advisory Council. Ceci loves to travel and ensures she visits a yarn shop wherever she goes. To date she’s visited over 150 shops both across the USA and internationally.
Charlie is a political organizer, social justice activist, and public health professional based in Brooklyn. Charlie received his BS in Health Education from SUNY Brockport and his MPH in Community Health from New York University. He is currently a Program Manager at the New York State Department of Health, AIDS Institute. Charlie is a founding Board Member of OutHudson, an LGBTQ non-profit organization in Columbia County, NY. Charlie has worked on various local and statewide progressive political campaigns and has implemented large-scale public health initiatives throughout the Hudson Valley.
Nishant is an activist, journalist, and organizer living in New York. He was a producer working in radio at WNYC in New York and WCRS in Columbus, Ohio. Nishant has been working on campaigns for a few years. Most recently, he has been working with a program called DemocracyNYC to promote civics education and increase voter participation across the five boroughs. Nishant has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Wittenberg University
Pilar is an actor, tv/film writer, and activist in NYC. Pilar caught the activist bug in third grade when she organized and led her first protest around her neighborhood for women's equal pay. She has organized and worked for several community action projects including STAND UP partnering with the Ludacris Children's Foundation, WAND (Women's Action for a New Direction) Zebra Coalition. She recently wrote three political ads for a PAC targeting the Latinx community to vote for Joe Biden, working on the Marti Cummings Campaign and is a member of the Justice Committee. Pilar has always been passionate about social justice and human rights and combines her love of the arts with her love of politics.