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LGBT Community Centers Continue Providing Vital Services During the Economic Downturn, 2010 Survey Reveals

September 24, 2010
PORTLAND, OR – While the economic downturn has taken a toll on many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community centers, these centers continue to provide vital information, education, community and health services to over 30,000 people per week, according to a new report by CenterLink and the Movement Advancement Project (MAP).  
Released today at the fourth annual CenterLink Leadership Summit, the 2010 LGBT Community Center Survey Report provides a detailed picture of LGBT community centers’ staffs and boards, program priorities, constituencies, infrastructure, fundraising, budgets and technical assistance needs.  
The 35 larger centers providing trend data reported reductions in staff (from 916 combined staff in 2008 to 748 combined staff in 2010) and reduced operating hours (the average center was open 61 hours per week in 2008 versus 53 hours in 2010). Larger centers also reported serving fewer people; an average large center served 921 people per week in 2008 versus 668 people per week in 2010. 
By contrast, smaller centers (those with annual budgets under $100,000) saw modest financial, staff and service growth despite the economic downturn. However, the minimal budgets of these centers means they continue to face capacity challenges. Over two-thirds (69%) of small community centers have no paid staff and all have fewer than five paid staff.
Despite these challenges, LGBT community centers are remarkably resilient. Among the report’s other key findings:
  • LGBT community centers in the U.S. serve more than 30,000 people in an average week and refer an additional 9,500 people to other organizations or agencies. 
  • Centers offer a broad array of programming including information services, legal services, community outreach, arts and cultural programs, and health and mental health programs. Many centers offer specific programming for transgender people (83%), LGBT youth (80%), LGBT older adults (64%) and LGBT people of color (59%). 
  • Community center patrons are racially diverse, with the average large center serving a clientele that is 56% Caucasian, 20% African American, 16% Latino(a), 3% Asian Pacific Islander, 2% Native American and 3% other. 
  • For larger centers, 45% of revenue comes from government grants for purposes such as HIV/AIDS care, prevention, and testing and counseling, domestic violence work, homelessness, older LGBT adults and LGBT youth.
“Community centers are the frontlines for so many LGBT people in this country,” said Terry Stone, Executive Director of CenterLink.  “In some communities, a center might be the only place where an LGBT person feels safe and accepted – or where that person can find essential legal or health care services.  This report reminds us that, in the current economic environment, these centers need our support more than ever.”
“The LGBT Community Center Survey Report is the most comprehensive collection of data available on these truly indispensible local resources,” said Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director of MAP. “We hope these findings provide local, state and national leaders and policymakers with information that will ensure the continued health and growth of these vital community services.”
The full report is available online at or

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About CenterLink:
CenterLink exists to support the development of strong, sustainable LGBT community centers and to build a unified center movement. For more information, visit
About MAP:
MAP's mission is to provide independent and rigorous research, insight and communications that help speed equality and opportunity for all. MAP works to ensure that all people have a fair chance to pursue health and happiness, earn a living, take care of the ones they love, be safe in their communities, and participate in civic life.

Terry Stone
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

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