As 2019 begins, local LGBTQ-serving nonprofit organizations have big plans for the upcoming year including celebrating milestones, bolstering community-based programs and services, and changing some leadership roles.
A pearl anniversary celebration is on tap for GALAEI this year. The organization will celebrate its 30 years by hosting several community events and fundraising initiatives, said Francisco Cortes, executive director of the LGBTQ Latinx social-justice organization.
In February, GALAEI plans to begin its “Loving the Legacy” dinner series, a “fundraising effort where community members host a dinner at their homes with friends and families to learn more about GALAEI and how to support the organization,” Cortes said.
“Comradery and families are an essential part of building relationships and at GALAEI. We’re excited to utilize this format to bring community together.”
Cortes said the North Philadelphia-based organization also plans to expand its board of directors as well as bringing back its David Acosta Revolutionary Leadership Award gala. The awards ceremony, which will be celebrating its ninth year and will be held in the fall, recognizes influential LGBTQ community leaders.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia Family Pride, a volunteer-run, nonprofit group for LGBTQ parents and prospective parents, began the New Year with the introduction of six new board members, said Stephanie Haynes, the organization’s executive director.
“Our other plans include hosting another Family Pride Picnic in June, our 10th annual Family Matters Conference in October and restarting the Maybe Baby groups for prospective LGBTQ parents,” she added.
The Independence Business Alliance — the LGBTQ chamber of commerce of Greater Philadelphia — has plans to expand its educational and business-development programming for its estimated 200 members.
“We’ll continue to do even more in 2019 to collaborate with other regional businesses and LGBTQ organizations,” said Zach Wilcha, IBA’s executive director. “After hosting the NGLCC’s International Business and Leadership Conference in Philadelphia last summer and helping to bring in millions of dollars of economic impact to the city, we plan to concentrate on building more infrastructure to the IBA.”
The William Way LGBT Community Center is continuing its renovation plans that began in December with the installment of 24 new windows on the center’s façade, according to Chris Bartlett, the center’s executive director.
“We’re continuing our renovations with work on creating an accessible entrance off of Irving Street, new HVAC systems and a new reading room for our archives,” Bartlett said. “The center will also be creating a new transgender-resource center on the building’s fourth floor.”
The money raised at the center’s annual fundraising gala, the Indigo Ball, along with donations, helped pay for the center’s renovations, Bartlett said. He added that William Way also hopes to expand its senior services and add a nutrition program in the coming months.
Bebashi-Transition to Hope plans to reinvigorate Club 1509, its navigation-services program for high-risk men who have sex with men. The HYPE Program, will provides HIV-prevention services such as free and confidential screenings.
The organization is also working towards more involvement in the ballroom scene with its monthly “kiki lounge,” said Brenda Alexander, Bebashi’s communications specialist.
“The lounge attracts an average of 150 attendees who battle for prizes and other incentives, similar to a traditional ball. We also have a trainer program where we train [ballroom] house leaders on HIV-prevention methods and PrEP,” she said.
In Allentown, the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center started off the New Year with a new chair and vice chair of its board of directors, along with three new members. This month, the center unveiled six new programs that include a medical-marijuana enrollment-assistance program, an LGBT spirituality-discussion mini-series, a community book-discussion group and its “Dead & Alive: Floral Photography by Richard Begbie and Will Hübscher” fine-art exhibit.
The center recently received a $10,000 grant from the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation to fund its programs.
“We’re already off to a great start to the year and we’re looking to continue our work of being a fundamental resource for the LGBT community in the Lehigh Valley,” said executive director Adrian Shanker.