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Celebrating the Birthday of Barbara "Robbie" Smith

A few years ago, The Barbara "Robbie" Smith Award of Excellence was created to honor the life of Barbara “Robbie” Smith. The recipient being an Affinity community member who exemplifies leadership, perseverance, strength, compassion, and integrity; all of the qualities that embody the essence of Robbie. Someone who unabashedly lends themself to the implementation of Affinity's mission - both with us and with the community at large. Today, we honor Robbie Smith by taking a moment to remember her life and legacy, while introducing her life to those who weren’t able to meet her.

Barbara “Robbie” Smith (1946–2015) was a founding board member of Affinity Community Services. Her activism and advocacy for “creating your own” within your community dates back to the 1960s. Her passion for engagement with the world lasted throughout her life, leading her to campaign for Barack Obama in 2012. She was a wife and mother to two phenomenal women, Phyllis Johnson and Chris Smith, respectively, both who are still active within our community. Robbie along with her community instilled that passion for leadership and advocacy into her daughter, who is also a founding board member of Affinity. The passion and legacy for advocacy is passed down through generations of our Affinity family.

As a founding board member Robbie helped establish our foundation for quality financial management practices. In large part of her efforts, we still uphold a reputation of exemplary stewardship of donor investments and financial management. This long lasting impact is why we still highlight our financials on our website.

Robbie was also a founding member of our longest lasting peer groups serving Black queer women; Forty Plus and Trailblazers. Her reputation for longevity is embedded within our organization. Her many contributions helped form our organization into a nationally recognized model for service and community building.

To learn more about Barbara “Robbie” Smith check out her bio as inductee into The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame:

You can also view an interview, conducted by Tracy Baim for the Chicago Gay History here:

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