Fundraiser might buy LGBT center one more month of operation

Charlotte LGBT center raises $3,500 but still faces critical financial shortfall, accountability concerns

by Matt Comer  Editor  editor@goqnotes.com
Published: February 9, 2014 in News

A Charlotte LGBT center volunteer worked the crowd to sign up new center supporters.

A Charlotte LGBT center volunteer worked the crowd to sign up new center supporters.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — About 100 people turned out for the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte’s “Back to the Block” anniversary celebration and fundraising party on Saturday. Those who attended contributed enough money to likely keep the center’s doors open at least one more month.

Approximately $3,500 was raised through event admissions, donations and new memberships, according to center Operations Director Glenn Griffin.

“It’s really going to help,” he said.

Griffin described Saturday night’s crowd as diverse and very positive. Events like “Back to the Block,” he said, will be important to keeping the center alive.

“We are facing a tight deadline,” Griffin said. “It’s getting people more of aware of the center, which has to happen.”

At a community town hall meeting last week, center Chair Roberta Dunn said the group had only about $6,000 on hand. That wasn’t enough to cover the center’s average $7,000 monthly expenses. Saturday night’s fundraising may be enough to keep the center open through March — giving the group four more weeks of fundraising and outreach.

Board member Jenny Richeson said the extra time will be helpful in strengthening the center. As it moves forward, she wants to see a greater engagement.

“I’d love to have a lot of involvement, not only just in support but also having people come out and volunteer and really helping to make this center bigger,” she said. “I’d love to just see it grow for our community.”

Saturday’s event was attended by a variety of special guests, including state Rep. Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford), who is currently campaigning for 12th Congressional District.

Brandon said organizations like the center are important for offering critical services. The community must continue to move forward, despite any challenges it faces.

“The reality might be that HIV is running rampant through our community, but it doesn’t have to be our destiny,” Brandon said, citing HIV education and testing as an important center initiative. “Through our work and stories we will face our realities and create new destinies.”

Several members of Charlotte City Council attended the event, including LaWana Mayfield, Al Austin, Patsy Kinsey and Vi Alexander Lyles.

Among others, several board officers and members of the Charlotte Business Guild, Charlotte Black Gay Pride and the University of North Carolina-Charlotte’s LGBT student group were also present at the event.

The center’s board is scheduled to next meet on Feb. 19, 6:30 pm. at the center, 2508 N. Davidson St. Several issues, including continued concerns on finances, board accountability and membership involvement, are expected to be discussed.

Center board member Crystal Long, center, dances with center supporters and community members during their 'Back to the Block' fundraising event.

Center board member Crystal Long, center, dances with center supporters and community members during their ‘Back to the Block’ fundraising event.