It’s said the measure of a society is how it treats its weakest members. Which is why stories like this give us hope that we’re slowly inching in the right direction.
The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center is announcing a major fundraising campaign to provide much-needed help for some of the LGBT community’s most vulnerable — the elderly and homeless youth.
Did we say Gay and Lesbian Center? Because they’ve also announced today the organization will now go by the more inclusive Los Angeles LGBT Center.
And we’re not talking weekly meet-ups and free donuts. It’s an ambitious project to raise $25 million to construct a massive new campus-like complex in Hollywood which will provide over a hundred units of affordable housing for seniors and youth, as well as an additional hundred beds for homeless LGBT youth.
LGBT seniors are 4x less likely to have kids or grandkids to care for them (compared to their heterosexual counterparts). On the other side of the spectrum, an average of 6,000 youth are surviving on the streets of L.A., with a staggering 40 percent of them identifying as LGBT.
Already the world’s largest LGBT organization, the expansion marks a major development in the Center’s ability and commitment to providing meaningful, lasting services to the community.
The number of clients served by the Center’s Senior Services department has tripled in the past three years, and it isn’t expected to slow. Today, some 65,000 LGBT seniors live in Los Angeles and, nationally, the number of seniors is projected to double by 2030.
They’ve partnered with long-time Center supporter (and veritable showbiz legend) Lily Tomlin to officially kick off the fundraising campaign, coming out of the gate with an impressive $18.5 million already pledged, including a single $6.5 million gift from the Wilbur May and Anita & Arnold Rosenstein Family Foundations, the largest ever made to an LGBT organization by a single donor.
“The Center has always risen to the occasion for our community—relentlessly finding ways to build the health and strength of LGBT people when few others had the interest or ability to do so,” said Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “Now that the demand for services and housing for LGBT youth and seniors is acute, it’s time for us to step up again.”
The new facility will span nearly a city block directly across the street from the Center’s current location, and will also serve as the organization’s new headquarters.