The numbers are in — LGBT community centers are kicking butt and taking names across the country, but they’re not as strong as they could be.
The 2012 LGBT Community Center Survey Report came out this last month. It was coordinated by CenterLink, a Fort Lauderdale based LGBT community center advocate, and by the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), a research conglomerate intended to give LGBT advocates the resources they need. The two organizations solicited 200 LGBT community centers they estimated were active across the U.S. Of those, only 79 responded, giving a worthwhile picture of how LGBT centers are doing.
One of the most significant findings is that these centers serve around 1.7 million people annually, or a collective 33,000 people a week, or so.
“I think it’s important that people understand the work that community centers are doing, in many times with limited resources,” said Denise Spivak, CenterLink’s director of membership about the numbers that the report provides. “It’s vitally important for the centers, so they can use it to let their communities know what’s going on, and for donors to know what’s going on.”
The survey is conducted once every two years. But it’s hard for all community centers to join in, said MAP’s LGBT Movement and Policy Researcher Naomi Goldberg.
“The survey is a time commitment when you look at the breadth of the report,” she said. “For centers that don’t have the budget to have full time employees, it’s hard to find the time to complete the survey.” Goldberg added, however, that getting almost half of the centers to respond is a good sign.
Goldberg explained that one of the most important findings to her was figuring out who’s going to the centers and using the resources they offer. While the numbers showed a diverse collection of different types of people, the results were disproportionately people of color, male, transgender, and of low-income.
“Who comes to an LGBT center is a really important question,” she said. “These people are usually not the ones writing big checks.”
But the people writing the checks are the ones who will be using the report. According to the centers, the main purposes of agreeing to be surveyed were for the community, for the LGBT movement and for funders. Read More