Michael Holtz was raised in Naples, Florida, where he took to the water and began swimming competitively at age six. A precocious individual, Michael served as the drum major of a 300 piece marching band, started educational-related endeavors, and built social organizations into prominent vehicles for change in the gay community.
Holtz attended Fordham University, graduating in 2007 where he then entered graduate school at Cambridge.
During his tenure in England, which included working at the Deutsche Bank as a financial analyst, Holtz was inspired to swim as part of an English Channel relay as part of a fund raising team challenge. His relay cross-channel success inspired Holtz to conceptualize, produce, and implement two of the open water swimming events on the East and West coasts of the United States to raise money for LGBT equality by benefiting nonprofit organizations in 2009 and 2010.
Swim for EqualityEquality California is on the front lines, advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights across California. Equality California advocates for pro-LGBT legislation in Sacramento and works with key coalition partners and thousands of volunteers to build public support for full LGBT equality, nothing less.
Holtz is the force and inspiration behind the Second Annual Swim for Equality. Its motto is "Together, we will achieve equality for LGBT Californians, one stroke at a time."Swim for Equality series - the 1.2-mile cold-water swim in June from from Alcatraz in San Francisco Bay and the 1.7-mile swim in the warmer waters of Southern California waters in Malibu.
Support for Swim for EqualitySwim for Equality participant, ""Issues of LGBT equality hit particularly close to home, as I have friends who are LGBT, some of whom have been afraid to come out of the closet. I see the work that Equality California is doing as so important to the welfare of my friends and all LGBT people."
Swim for Equality participant, "For me, sports are the perfect way to provide a message of a hopeful future to our community, particularly LGBTQ teens. I’m grateful to see so much support for the Swim for Equality, particularly from two Olympic heroes like Gary and Lenny. The Swim for Equality is a win, win, win all the way around!"
Swim for Equality participant, "Knowing that the Swim would to help the LGBT community come closer to obtaining equal rights made it a no brainer to do. Last year's Swim itself was great, but it was really the people I met along the way that made this such an enjoyable event to participate in. I’m looking forward to another great year and excited to give back to the community that has given me such great friends and a comforting outlook on life."
Holtz volunteers and fundraises for numerous LGBT organizations, such as Equality California, GLAAD, and Stonewall Foundation and cumulatively raised over $1 million for these organizations since 2006. Through his active participation and example, he has built a fan base of people of all ages and sexual orientations who collectively collaborate to support the organizations for which he volunteers and supports through MKH2O.
- Compete Magazine's Athlete of the Year
- Mr. Gay USA 2011
- First runner-up Mr. Gay World 2011
- 2004 USA Swimming Olympic Trials qualifier
- USA Swimming National Championship qualifier
- Student Athletic Committee Conference President in The Atlantic 10 Conference