Denver, CO & Fort Lauderdale, FL; June 10, 2014 — Providing vital services to more than 1.9 million people annually, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community centers reported increased revenue for 2013, allowing them to develop innovative new programs to serve youth, homeless populations, and transgender populations, according to an extensive report released today.
Authored by CenterLink and the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), the 2014 LGBT Community Center Survey Report: Assessing the Capacity and Programs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Centers surveyed 111 LGBT community centers from 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Both large and small centers reported increased revenue, for combined revenue of $138.1 million, but the biggest concerns emerging from the survey data are the challenges facing small LGBT community centers. Smaller centers, often operating in locations and communities that are least accepting of LGBT people, struggle with a chronic lack of resources and paid staff; two in three small centers rely entirely on volunteers. These and other report findings are summarized below.
“We are a small center with one part-time employee and a lot of dedicated volunteers, and we work daily to improve the quality of life for the LGBTQ and ally populations of our region,” said Jackson Jantzen, Executive Director of the 7 Rivers LGBT Resource Center located in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. “In rural and less populated regions, centers like ours are a lifeline for the community and without us, people would be very isolated and without important resources. Maintaining stable funding sources and reaching isolated community members with limited means is a continual challenge.”
“At The LGBT Community Center in New York City, we’re especially excited about our new service learning projects like ROAR (Responsibility, Opportunity, Action and Results),” said Glennda Testone, The Center’s Executive Director. “We’re helping young people build workforce skills, while building their confidence to organize and take action on important community issues. It has been incredible to witness our youth grow and develop through ROAR.”
Given the critical role of LGBT community centers in areas of the country with few other resources for LGBT people, small centers in particular are in critical need of additional financial support.
“The first few months we were open, people would show up and break into tears. They could not believe there was a new center in downtown Oceanside, a few hundred feet away from Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base,” said Max Disposti, Executive Director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center in California. “People would come in and share their stories, of when you could get beat up in the streets for being LGBT. Just five years ago, North San Diego County was not the place to be if you were LGBT. There is still so much work to do, but at least now we are more visible, more understood and respected. We are here to stay.”
About the Authors
CenterLink was founded in 1994 as a member-based coalition to support the development of strong, sustainable LGBT community centers. A fundamental goal of CenterLink’s work is to help build the capacity of these centers to address the social, cultural, health and political advocacy needs of LGBT community members across the country. Now in its 20th year, CenterLink has played an important role in addressing the challenges centers face by helping them to improve their organizational and service delivery capacity, access public resources and engage their regional communities in the grassroots social justice movement. www.lgbtcenters.org.
MAP's mission is to provide independent and rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all. MAP works to ensure that all people have a fair chance to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, take care of the ones they love, be safe in their communities, and participate in civic life.