By Kaylia Metcalfe
In 2011, when Gay Central Valley (GCV) decided to have a physical office and by extension a one room, less than 100-square-foot LGBT Community Center, they had no idea the events they were setting in motion.
Nine months later, the Center bursting at its seams and the need for a larger space in order to accommodate groups and meetings becoming a pressing issue, the center moved to another suite in the Van Ness Towers building. Suite A, which has been the center’s home for more than three years now, offered almost 600 square feet of space.
But there were issues with the space. Even though it was larger than its predecessor, it was still too small to facilitate even medium-sized groups. And there were more problems—the heating and cooling were fickle and the center had to close down briefly during the summer heat. Also, the lack of private, safe and clean bathrooms was an ongoing issue, and GCV’s ability to have larger community events was limited. Despite all that, the center stayed open and thrived.
Everything changed in early October when GCV received notice that its rent was increasing by 70% and would likely go higher still after the New Year. This increase is detrimental to the current community outreach and severely limits GCV’s ability to function and grow
Thankfully, GCV has found a new location, one that is almost three times the size and has none of the above issues. Of course, the rent has to go up and there are now utilities. But the possibilities of the new place are amazing.
And so, the Fresno LGBT Community Center is moving. To make this happen, the organization is reaching out to the community for financial help. GCV is totally supported by the community and has no paid positions (staff and board members are all volunteers). Virtually all operational expenses come from fund-raising events, tip jars and monthly donors.
There are a few fund-raising events taking place in the next month all geared toward helping GCV cover the moving costs, the security deposit and the difference in the rent for the first several months. The Board of Directors is busily working on grants and hoping to increase the number of monthly donors, but until those things come through, it is all about community support.
- Ongoing: Online fund-raiser at www.youcaring.com/fresnolgbtcenterhastomove.
- Nov. 1, noon–3 p.m.: Local Creations Silent Auction and Raffle Event Noon at the Fresno LGBT Community Center (1055 N. Van Ness Ave., Suite A).
- Nov. 9: Queens and Cakes Event (cake walk, cake bids, samples and a sweet drag show) at the North Tower Circle (2777 N. Maroa Ave.).
Some examples of free programs at the LGBT Center are as follows:
- Registered Safe Place with the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission
- Resource hub with information and brochures for dozens of community groups and events
- Legal rights workshops
- Media lending library (books and DVDs) with community computer and printer
- Twice-a-month HIV and Hep C testing
- Transgender clothing exchange
- Name/Gender change workshops
- Tax workshops for same-sex couples
- Family planning seminars
- Financial planning seminars
- Game days
- Spring Fling Health Fair
- Ongoing support and social groups (Poly Family, Sexual Compulsives, Book Club, Transgender Support, Movie Night, LGBT Chat, Pink Panthers, Weight Loss)
For more information about GCV (a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, Tax ID 26-4218296), the Fresno LGBT Community Center, how to become a monthly donor or the current fund-raisers, call 559-325-4429 or e-mail email@example.com.
Kaylia Metcalfe is a writer, blogger and activist in Fresno. She is a co-founder of Skeptics Without a Cause and serves on the Gay Central Valley Board of Directors, is a co-founder of the Collective of Artistic Women (CAW) and a general blogger. Her short story collection “Links” is available at www.amazon.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.