LOS ANGELES, May 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the world's largest provider of programs and services for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people announced the launch of a landmark campaign to help fund an expansion that will more than double the organization's number of beds for homeless LGBT youth to 100, provide more than 100 units of affordable housing for low-income seniors and young adults, create a new senior center, and much more.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center—formerly known as the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center—launched the $25-million fundraising campaign, the largest in the history of the LGBT movement, at a news conference on the site of the new facility.
When finished, the new building will form a campus with the Center's arts, educational and cultural facility—known as The Village at Ed Gould Plaza—directly across the street from it and span more than one city block. It will also become the Center's new headquarters, facilitating a major expansion of health and medical services at the current headquarters (McDonald/Wright building).
Together with longtime supporter Lily Tomlin, Center CEO Lorri L. Jean announced that donors have already pledged $19 million toward the $25-million goal. Jean was joined by philanthropist Anita May Rosenstein who has pledged the lead gift of $6.5 million. The donation will be made by the Anita May Rosenstein, Wilbur May and Anita & Arnold Rosenstein Family Foundations. This is the largest gift ever given by a living person to an LGBT organization.
"My grandparents taught us that 'family values' mean you give back to your community," said Rosenstein. "If you can give, you must give. And because the Center has an unmatched record of effective programs to help make the world a better place for LGBT people, this isn't just a gift, it's a solid investment in the entire community's future. I'm especially proud to support their innovative approach of combining services for youth and seniors on one campus. They've seen the great synergies that this can create."
The early success of the campaign is also attributable to six other pledges of seven-figure gifts, including a $2 million pledge by Ariadne Getty and the Fuserna Foundation and $1 million pledges by David J. Bailey and Ron B. Shalowitz; Jacinto Hernandez & Charles Callahan; Barry McCabe; Loren S. Ostrow & Brian Newkirk; William & Cindy Shopoff.
Today the Center also changed its name to Los Angeles LGBT Center and launched a new logo which symbolizes the diversity and uniqueness of the many people the organization serves. Every element in the new logo is unique in color and shape, but together they form a circle of community
Over the last decade, demand for the Center's services has grown enormously, straining existing facilities and programs beyond capacity. Today the organization welcomes more than 42,000 client visits each month. Because Los Angeles is one of the most popular destinations for homeless LGBT youth, many of these visits are from young people. A staggering 40% of the 6,000 youth living on the streets of Los Angeles are LGBT. So the Center's beds for homeless youth are always full and demand for services at its Youth Center on Highland are at an all-time high.
Concurrently, 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. LGBT seniors are four times less likely than their heterosexual counterparts to have children or grandchildren to care for them, more likely to be poor, and often encounter discrimination in traditional senior facilities.
"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 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. I'm enormously grateful to the many donors who have done the same, especially to longtime Center supporter Anita May Rosenstein for her historic gift, enormous generosity and faith in the Center."
The project is expected to break ground in 2016, with construction taking two years. The affordable housing component is being developed in partnership with Thomas Safran & Associates
About the Los Angeles LGBT Center Since 1969 the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond. Today our health center, shelters, performance stages and classrooms serve more LGBT people than any other organization in the world. We are an unstoppable force in our community's fight against bigotry and the struggle to build a better world—a world in which LGBT people can be healthy, equal and complete members of society. Learn more at lalgbtcenter.org.
SOURCE Los Angeles LGBT Center