Even with record attendance at its primary fundraiser, the annual Pride Night at Kings Island the Gay and Lesbian Center of Cincinnati will be closing its doors later this week.
On November 9 the center will no longer be a physical center but, instead, an online slew of information for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and a grant-giving organization to benefit other groups nearby.
Supporters learned that the first grant will be given to Cincinnati Pride to double the number of street banners for the festival and parade in June 2014. At the beginning of the year, grant applications will be made available on the center’s website.
Though no physical building will be around, a letter from the board of directors told supporters that the website will be maintained, emails and voicemails will be responded to, and Pride Night at Kings Island will still be continued. There will also be a public location for annual meetings.
The loss of the Cincinnati Gay and Lesbian Center follows in the footsteps of other Ohio LGBT center spaces. Toledo hasn’t had a physical space for years, and the Akron Pride Center closed in 2006.
[Editor’s note: The following is the announcement letter to supporters in its entirety]
Dear Friends of the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Greater, Inc.,
Today, the Board takes a bold step for the future of our organization by becoming a “virtual” on-line Center, engaging in grant making to local GLBTQ groups, and shuttering its physical location in Northside.
We are a private foundation; our primary funding source remains the ever popular Pride Night at Kings Island (date to be announced for 2014). After the physical premises close on November 9, 2013, please continue to visit www.cincyglbt.com for updates.
Our first grant for the 2014 is to the Cincinnati Pride (www.cincinnatpride.org) for $5,000.00. The Center makes this grant to double the amount of time (two months) and the double the number of street banners (32) in downtown Cincinnati to promote Cincinnati Gay Pride on May 31, 2014 and Pride Month June 2014. A process with guidelines will be published online for The Center to consider your grant request early next year.
We must evolve with the times. It is our desire to continue supporting the local communities by returning even more value through this change.
Here’s a recap of our vision:
We will continue:
Maintaining and enhancing our web site at www.cincyglbt.com listing local and regional GLBTQ resources.
Answering our web based mail and voicemail questions in a timely fashion making the appropriate referral to resource information. The PO Box and phone line will be maintained with voice mail.
Announcing the date of our 2014 Pride Night at Kings Island event on our web page (usually, within the first quarter of the calendar year).
We will develop/announce:
An application process and guidelines in the new year for your group/organization to apply for funding from the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Greater Cincinnati.
Determine a public location for our annual meeting.
Develop the best way to enlist volunteers to continue to support our functions and develop new leadership.
We are changing to adapt to the current situation and make our practices consistent with the actual utilization of our resources all while returning more value to the communities that access us!
The Board of Directors
Rusty Lockett, President;
John Maddux, Vice-President;
Ashley Brazil, Secretary;
Hanna Smith, Treasurer;
Michael Chanak, Member-at-Large