LGBTQ Community CenterMost centres are about 6-12 months away from shuttering their operations if they are not able to raise funds that will not be realized due to cancelled galas and pride.

Recognizing the significant challenges LGBTQ community centres are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CenterLink conducted a short survey of their member centres to take the financial pulse of our communities.

Among the results of the survey:

  • Centres noted a current or expected increase in types of needs of clients or communities, demand for services or support from clients/communities, demand for existing/new programs, disruption of services to clients or communities, unplanned staff and volunteer absences, disruption of supplies or services from partners and increased operational costs.
  • Centres are pivoting to address these challenges head-on, with 45% changing operations to more directly support those impacted by COVID-19. Over half of centres are experiencing cancellation of fundraising, reduced fee-for-service, and reduced individual contributions, and more than 60% indicate losses of up to $150,000 through December 2020.
  • Without additional intervention, nearly 1/3 of centres indicate they would have to shut down operations within two (2) months at the current clip.

“LGBTQ centers truly are the heart and soul of their communities,” said CenterLink CEO Denise Spivak. “When COVID-19 hit, our member centers quickly pivoted to adapt, overcome, and meet the needs of the more than 43,500 people they serve every week! But they are struggling to find a way to make up for major fundraising events that they have postponed or canceled.”

The over 250 LGBTQ community centres across the United States are working to overcome the enormous financial challenge they face, and find alternative fundraising channels in order to continue serving and supporting their communities.

Even before the onset of COVID 19, the majority of LGBTQI centres faced very basic challenges that included a lack of resources and paid staff. As noted in the 2018 LGBT Community Center Survey Report, “Given that many of these centers work in communities with few other LGBT organizations, investing in these centres is a targeted and focused way to increase the infrastructure of the LGBT movement and the support for LGBT people living across the country.” Now, that need for investment is even greater.

Given the critical role of LGBT community centres – a role that has been amplified since the pandemic – CenterLink recommends that the LGBT movement, donors, and funders provide emergency funding to sustain their operations and keep their (virtual and physical) doors open.