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City honors gay ‘Neighborhood Leader’
Tim Griffin awarded for work in Morningside/Plaza Midwood

by Will Billings . Contributing Writer

Tim and Neil Griffin have devoted countless hours to their neighborhood and have helped to establish a youth scholarship fund for LGBT Charlotte students.
CHARLOTTE — Openly gay community leader Tim Griffin was honored with the 2008 Neighborhood Leader Award on Mar. 8. The award was presented by the City of Charlotte’s Neighborhood Development department at its 13th Annual Neighborhood Symposium.

Griffin, president of the Morningside Neighborhood Association, has devoted countless hours toward the revitalization of the Morningside neighborhood in the vicinity of Central Avenue, east of Uptown. The bohemian area is popular with gay and lesbian Charlotteans, artists and musicians.

Griffin and his partner Neil have helped organize the association into a strong and vibrant influence in the Plaza Midwood and Morningside areas. They have also helped create various sub-organizations to serve the interests of the neighborhood’s varied population, such as one group for mothers and children.

“We are also working on a new project, the ‘Next Generation of Green,’” Griffin told Q-Notes. He and his partner are buying 300 trees and donating them to the neighborhood. “We want the next generation living here to have a bunch of beautiful trees.”

Griffin and the Morningside Neighborhood Association have also been instrumental in the development of the Plaza Midwood Art Crawl, which just celebrated its third run.
The development of the large-scale housing project Morningside Village, currently in its initial construction phases, has also benefited from close partnerships with the neighborhood association.

“We are also working closely with business owners in the Plaza Midwood area,” Griffin said. “We are developing another new program called ‘Put our Money Where your House is,’ to encourage local residents to buy and shop at the businesses who share our neighborhoods.”
The Griffins are also benefactors of Time Out Youth, a Charlotte-based organization that serves LGBTQ youth aged 13-24. In partnership with the group, the Griffens have established a youth scholarship program.

“Neil and I believe that education is the key to a successful life,” Griffin said. “So we decided that an LGBT scholarship fund was the most important impact we could make on the lives of young people in our community.”

The scholarship will begin awarding funds to two selected recipients with the 2008-2009 academic year. Applications for consideration are currently available from Time Out Youth.
“Many LGBT youth are disconnected from their high schools or lack financial support from their parents, making college an unreachable goal,” said Judy Seldin-Cohen, board chair of Time Out Youth. “With the Griffins’ foresight, Time Out Youth can bridge that gap for two deserving youth each year, changing the trajectory of their futures.”

To raise money for the scholarship, the Griffins are hosting parties at their home four times a year. Their first party raised over $2,300. With matching donations from Bank of America the fund has already reached $5,000. When $10,000 has been raised, Time Out Youth will open a designated fund at the Foundation For The Carolinas.

The Griffins are also making arrangements in their wills for bequests to finance the scholarship program in perpetuity.

info: www.timeoutyouth.org

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