About The Change Project

Taking revolutionary art off the walls and onto our bodies

It is the mission of The Change Project to elevate the voices of LGBTQ people and advocate for an improved quality of life through the arts, education, and local policy initiatives in the Deep South and Midwest United States. 

Founded in 2012, The Change Project was inspired by a capstone project of founder Steven Romeo. The organization brought visibility and empowerment to LGBTQ identities through its first photo campaign, “Embody Progress.” Shortly thereafter, The Change Project developed “Shop Progress,” an online and touring vendor space featuring affordable products with activist messaging. In November of 2015, The Change Project was honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change."

The Change Project works with queer folks in Southern, Midwestern, and rural communities, QTPOC, youth, people living with HIV, and low income communities. The Change Project provides leadership opportunities to those from the communities we serve through an expansive internship program where emerging leaders entering the nonprofit sector gain experience advocating for social change, coordinating dynamic programs, and developing grassroots level funding strategies. 



Board and Staff

Matthew Pagnotti     President, Board of directors

STEVEN ROMEO, MPA Founder & Executive Director

Shani-Angela Hervey florida director

shawn reilly             National Field organizer


banner shop progress.jpg

Stories are what change the world.
Why not wear your story on your sleeve?

Shop Progress is a program of The Change Project that works to make advocacy affordable for everyone. Designed by queer artists living in the south, Shop Progress creates apparel that is stylish, innovative, and intentional about representing the vast array of different identities in the LGBTQ+ community. 

Grab your new t-shirts, tank tops, and more at ShopProgress.org


The Embody Progress Conference is an annual conference that is held in an area of the country that is traditionally under resourced with regard to LGBTQ issues, providing access for all individuals regardless of barriers, presenting up-to-date resources and information, relevant in trends and topics, and providing space for all voices to be uplifted in unison.

Queer Library is a just pay shipping mail-order library. The collections is exclusively filled with LGBTQ content and/or written by LGBTQ Authors. You can join the library and start checking out books for just $7/month.


The Change Project has created a new and comprehensive story collecting campaign called Faces of LGBTQ America. Beautiful portraits paired with the stories will be curated in an online collective, and in physical form. Faces of LGBTQ America creates a dialogue about the intersectional nature of LGBTQ identities. By sharing the stories of LGBTQ people from all walks of life including rural and/or low-income backgrounds, we create an online community of support in those communities that will better serve those struggling to come out, or simply learn more about LGBTQ identities. Click here to view the online gallery.


Shop Progress is a fundraising program of The Change Project. We believe that advocacy should be affordable and effective in its messaging. We have created a shop for people to buy screen printed shirts, bags, hoodies and more for affordable prices with a powerful message. All items are screen printed by the staff of The Change Project. Click here to shop the current collection.

IAMHIV seeks to work toward the end of stigma by engaging people living with and affected by HIV in a viral photo campaign. This campaign intends to give a face to the virus - the familiar face of "everyday people just like you." AIDS Alabama and The Change Project believe the best way to combat stigma is through visibility. This unique partnership allows the campaign to become viral in 7 of the states with the highest HIV rates in the country. These states are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Click here to support this campaign. 

Technical Assistance & Speakers Bureau

The Change Project has an awesome group of artists/non-profit professionals that are available for speaking engagements at colleges, conferences, nonprofits, and other public events.

All topics can be adapted to be presentations, keynote speeches, or workshops and can be tailored to the audience. If you don’t see a topic that quite meets your needs but think we can cover it, just let us know. We are also willing to create a signature talk or workshop for groups.

Please note that all speaking engagements require that at least the travel expenses be covered as our speakers are located all across the US. We are willing to work with every organization no matter what their budget. The total fees ranges from $2,000-10,000 depending on the speaker, type of presentation, and number of presentations requested.

Book A Speaker Now! To arrange to have one of our artists speak at your event, please complete the form below their bio, and we will get in touch with you soon.



Event Outreach & Development Associate - Great Lakes Region

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