Case Studies / Cities

San Francisco

The Charles M. Holmes Campus at The Center: San Francisco, CA

The Purpose

“The Center inspires me. It’s the place I belong, you belong, and we all belong. How could I not be part of that?”

The mission of the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Community Center is to connect our diverse community to opportunities, resources and each other to achieve our vision of a stronger, healthier, and more equitable world for LGBT people and our allies. The Center’s strategies inspire and strengthen our community by:

•      Fostering greater opportunities for people to thrive.

•      Organizing for our future.

•      Celebrating our history and culture.

•      Building resources to create a legacy for future generations.

As the only non-profit in San Francisco serving the full spectrum of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, and working across a broad range of issues impacting the community, the Center plays an important role as the physical and spiritual home for LGBT culture and is vital to the ultimate survival of our identity as a community[1].

Completed in 2002: Y2011 Net Assets $6.9M. Y2011 Operating Expenses $2.2M. Y2011 Revenue $2.0M[2].

The History

Since its opening in 2002, the Center has established itself as a cornerstone of the LGBT community with an impact that goes beyond its direct services.

The Building Facilities

The Center operates a 35,000 SF solar-powered building; and provides LGBT community space to conduct meetings, conferences, forums, classes, service programs, community-building and fundraising events. The Center also provides small and emerging non-profit organizations with affordable office space. Other amenities include a childcare facility, auditorium services and equipment, a catering kitchen, a panoramic rooftop terrace, a public Cyber Center, and an open communal space throughout the building. The Center hosted ~2000 meetings and/or events in the fiscal year 2010-2011.

Service Programming

The Center’s direct service programs provide leadership that brings the community together to work on issues of civil rights, public policy and community activism, tackling problems of discrimination, homophobia and disenfranchisement. It typically hosts over 200 programs and welcomes more than 9,000 individuals monthly.

The Center’s direct programming is designed to serve low-income community members who are among those most in need, including youth, job seekers, children and families, city newcomers, women and the transgender community. Programs areas include:

•    Economic Development assists LGBT jobseekers in finding safe and secure living-wage employment, help LGBT-run businesses grow, increase LGBT community financial assets, and eliminate barriers to transgender economic success.

•    Health and Wellness programs work to prevent HIV/AIDS infection, through social networking, information services and peer support targeting city newcomers. We provide a robust Information and Referral program where 60% of referrals include mental health services, sexual/and or domestic abuse, HIV/AIDS or general health / health access.

•  Children, Youth and Family. We provide childcare services to LGBT families four days a week. Over 500 youth annually receive leadership development, job training, queer youth prom, and free meals.

•  Community and Policy Initiatives empower community members and respond to important emerging community and policy issues such as marriage equality and employment protection. These programs are conceived, designed and implemented for and by community members, and are supported by Center staff.

•    Arts and Culture hosts art exhibits and collaborative programs to increase the visibility of LGBT artists and public access to cultural activities.

San Francisco is rich with organizations and agencies serving specific needs of the LGBT community; and The Center works to enable collaboration. Rather than duplicating existing services, The Center works alongside 70 local organizations, fosters relationships and insures that people in need find services and resources.


[1] The Charles M. Holmes Campus at The Center website.  http://www.sfcenter.org/aboutus.php  Accessed 7/28/2012.

[2] The Charles M. Holmes Campus at The Center IRS 1099 form for the year 2011.

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