Case Studies / Cities

New York City

The Center: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Community Center: New York, NY

The Purpose

The mission of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center provides a home for the birth, nurture and celebration of our organizations, institutions and culture; cares for our individuals and groups in need; educates the public and our community; and empowers our individuals and groups to achieve their fullest potential[1].

The Center provides a secure place to come together and plan, advocate, ACT UP, share our knowledge and expertise, and shape our future.

Completed in 2002: Y2011 Net Assets $10.6M. Y2011 Operating Expenses $7.5M. Y2011 Revenue $7.5M[2].

The History

1969

Stonewall Riots happen in Greenwich Village; beginning a new chapter in LGBT advocacy, organization and infrastructure support.

1983

New York City Board of Estimates approved the sale of the former Food and Maritime Trades High School, located at 208 West 13th Street, to the Lesbian & Gay Community Services Center, Inc.

The Building Facilities

The Center operates a building; and provides LGBT community space to conduct meetings, conferences, forums, classes, and service programs, community-building and fundraising events. The Center has grown to become the largest LGBT multi-service organization on the East Coast and second largest LGBT community center in the world. Every week, 6,000 people visit the Center, and more than 300 groups meet here. In addition, our myriad meeting rooms are booked months in advance, indicating the community is as hungry as ever for a place to call its own.

The Center provides groundbreaking social service, public policy, educational and cultural/recreational programs. It is also an incubator for grassroots groups. The Center is proud of its legacy as the birthplace of such organizations as the AIDS activist group ACT UP and the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the principal organization combating homophobia and stereotyping of gays in the media.

Service Programming

The Center’s direct service programs include:

Center Recovery and CARE Wellness (Counseling, Advocacy, Recovery and Education) is the Center’s adult mental health and wellness program. Since 1983, the Center has been at the forefront of creating awareness for HIV and AIDS, as well as providing counseling, education, prevention and bereavement services. Center Adult services have also been innovators in making available ground-breaking alcohol and substance abuse prevention and treatment services that are tailored to LGBT people; helping people of transgender experience find support, information and community; and helping individuals deal with their anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns.

Center Families and Youth Enrichment Services (YES) these programs aim to foster the healthy development of LGBT families, including current and prospective LGBT headed families with and without children by creating a safe, educational and affirmed environment for individuals at all stages of the family lifecycle; this includes LGBT foster care families that may or may not be LGBT headed households. The Center provides support groups, information and referrals as well as play dates and other networking opportunities for LGBT families in the tri-state area.

YES focuses on ending isolation experienced by many LGBT youths. YES offers professional development training for youth workers, child welfare workers, teachers, guidance counselors and school administrators. YES also has a leadership training and networking project for students working to end homophobia in their schools.

Culture, Community Services and Referral In the tradition of the Center’s commitment to building community, meeting and conference services provides affordable meeting space for 300 organizations and self-help support groups. Each week more than 6,000 people come through the Center’s doors to discover who they are in an atmosphere of self-acceptance and support. The information and referral staff provides over 12,000 unique referrals to center visitors and constituents each year for a wide variety of LGBT-relevant wellness, educational, legal, and social and entertainment resources throughout NY City and surrounding area.

The Center also sponsors cultural programs that nurture, educate and celebrate. It partners with cultural organizations around the City, expanding the community’s reach to broader and more diverse audiences. The Cultural Programs Department engages an extensive variety of artists, authors, speakers and activists to create a safe space for culture and the arts to be well-represented at the Center and among the larger LGBT community.


[1] The Center: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Community Center website. http://www.gaycenter.org/ Accessed 2012-07-29.

[2] The Center: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Community Center. IRS 1099 form for the year 2011.

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