At the same time the Gay Games are underway, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland is acknowledging two new partnerships that will have a lasting impact on the Cleveland LGBT community. The Center received a 1.8 million dollar donation from an anonymous donor, the largest donation in the Center’s nearly 40-year history. The purpose of the donation is for the Center to purchase and renovate a new facility and increase staffing and program capacity.
In addition, a new endowment fund has been created to provide for maintenance, upkeep and renovation of the new facility. The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation has committed to a $500,000 matching grant in support of funding the endowment. Combined, these two commitments total over 2.3 million dollars in support of the long-term health, vitality, and legacy of Cleveland’s Center. To participate in this unique opportunity, ensure the sustainability of Cleveland’s Center and double the financial impact of each donation to the new endowment, visit www.lgbtcleveland.org.
“The Center is an essential resource for the Cleveland community,” said Jason Fishman, executive director of The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation. “Phyllis Harris and the board of directors, led by Bryan Bowser, have been providing inspired vision and careful stewardship, and the Center is stronger than ever. The Foundation is fully confident that by making this challenge grant for the endowment, the Center will continue to thrive well into the future.”
Donations are sought from community individuals, corporations and foundations and will be matched dollar for dollar by the Maltz Family Foundation up to $500,000 through June 30, 2016. With the resulting one million dollar endowment in place, the Center will be better able to focus its resources on fulfilling its mission “to advance the rights, respect and diversity of the LGBT community.” Funding from the endowment will provide a well-maintained facility for a growing number of Center and community programs, events and activities. The endowment fund will be an enduring legacy and will provide community members the opportunity to ensure the sustainability of the Center.
Center executive director Phyllis Harris shared, “We are overjoyed! Through Center programs, services and community outreach we currently serve approximately 500 individuals per month. This funding will allow us to extend Center programs and services through expanded program hours, consistent quality program delivery and increased communication and connection with Greater Cleveland’s LGBTQA community.”
In 1975, the Cleveland community founded the third LGBT center in the nation. Since that time, the Center has had three homes: the Coventry neighborhood of Cleveland Heights; near the intersection of West 29th Street and Detroit Avenue in Cleveland’s near west side; and, since 1999, in the Gordon Square Arcade at West 65th and Detroit Avenue.
According to Bryan Bowser, Center board president, “As the Center prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2015, this is a unique opportunity for the Cleveland community to celebrate its long-time support of advancing LGBT rights. These two donations will be impactful well into the future and the Center is very fortunate to have thoughtful and strategic partners who recognize the need for an attractive, functional, and well-maintained facility to support the Center’s critical programs and services.”
Discussions regarding the Center’s facility have been ongoing since a 2010 strategic plan identified moving to a new facility as a primary goal. Since 2012, a task force of Center supporters, staff and board members has reviewed possibilities for a new and updated Center facility. In 2013, the Cleveland Foundation funded a facility feasibility study completed by Allegro Realty Advisors that aided the taskforce and board in determining that purchase and renovation of a new Center facility was in the best long-term interest of the Center. The search for a new facility is underway and a location has not yet been identified.