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With Significant Revenue Growth and Innovative Programs, LGBT Community Centers Serve Over 1.9 Million People Annually

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.

CLIENTS & DIVERSITY

  • Participating LGBT centers serve over 37,900 individuals in a typical week and refer over 9,900 individuals to other agencies for services and assistance.
  • LGBT community center clientele is diverse, and community centers often offer tailored programming: 90% of LGBT community centers offer specific programming for LGBT youth, 82% for transgender people, 61% for LGBT older adults, and 48% for LGBT people of color.
  • LGBT community center patrons are disproportionately male, people of color, transgender, and/or low income.

“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.”

SERVICES & PROGRAMS

In many regions, local LGBT centers are the only organizations serving the LGBT community, offering a variety of much-needed resources including:
  • Physical and Mental Health Programs: Large centers spent approximately 19% of their 2013 budgets on physical health programs and 17% on mental health programs, including general health and wellness programs, medical and pharmacy services, STD/HIV prevention and treatment, counseling, and facilitated support groups.
  • Information, Education and Computer Programs: 20% of community center budgets goes to information and education programming, including referrals to LGBT businesses, speakers’ bureaus, employment training/counseling, or in-house libraries. Many LGBT community centers (78%) also provide patrons with computer resources.
  • Legal Services and Programs: While two-thirds of centers provide LGBT-friendly legal referrals, only 20% provide direct legal assistance such as legal document preparation.
  • Social and Recreational Programs: LGBT community centers offer a range opportunities for patrons, including parties and dances, social groups for targeted populations, summer camps for LGBT youth, and sports leagues.
  • Arts and cultural programs: Centers often offer arts and cultural programming, such as gallery space and film screenings.
  • Community Outreach and Civic Engagement: LGBT community centers target community outreach to the general public, to schools and healthcare providers, and to policymakers in their communities, among other populations.

“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.”

STAFFING & REVENUES

  • Revenue Growth. Both large and small LGBT centers reported revenues increases from 2012 to 2013; small centers experienced a 20% increase in revenues from 2012 to 2013, compared to a 12% increase for large centers.
  • Revenue Sources. Fifty percent of 2013 revenues of large centers were from government grants, followed by 18% from individual donors and 8% from fundraising events. Foundation funding was only 12% of center revenue.
  • Staff. Despite the increase in average center revenue, many centers still struggle with a lack of funding and resources; 21% of all surveyed centers have no staff and rely solely on volunteers; and 57% have five or fewer paid staff. Almost half of center staff (49%) identify as people of color.

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.”

The full report is available online at www.lgbtmap.org or www.lgbtcenters.org.


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.

Launched in 2006, the Movement Advancement Project is an independent, intellectual resource for the LGBT movement. MAP’s mission is to provide independent and rigorous research, insight and analysis that help speed full equality for LGBT people. Learn more at www.lgbtmap.org.

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Media Contact:
Calla Rongerude
Movement Advancement Project (MAP)
415-205-2420

Denise Spivak
CenterLink
954-765-6024