Serving over 200 LGBT community centers across the country in 46 states and the District of Columbia, as well as centers in Canada, Israel, Mexico, China, Italy and Australia, CenterLink assists newly forming community centers and helps strengthen existing LGBT centers, through networking opportunities for center leaders, peer-based technical assistance and training, and a variety of capacity building services. Our efforts are based on the belief that LGBT community centers are primary change agents in the national movement working toward the liberation and empowerment of LGBT people. Serving over 1.7 million people annually, they are the heart and soul of the LGBT movement and are vital to our current well-being and dreams for the future. Whether they provide direct services, educate the public or organize for social change, community centers work more closely with their LGBT constituency and engage more community leaders and decision-makers than any other LGBT network in the country.
Centers serve a vital and multi-faceted role in many communities across the country. They are often the only staffed non-profit LGBT presence in the area and the first point of contact for people seeking information, coming out, accessing services or organizing for social change. 40% of LGBT centers provide direct health care and 10% of these centers exclusively serve LGBT communities of color, youth, seniors or women. At the same time, half of the LGBT community centers have budgets under $50,000 and no full-time staff.
A fundamental goal of our mission is to help build the capacity of centers to meet the social, cultural, health and political advocacy needs of LGBT community members across the country. CenterLink also acts as a voice for LGBT community centers in national grassroots organizing, coalition building and social activism in order to strengthen and build a unified center movement.
Expert Reviews of CenterLink
Evidence of Impact Summary:CenterLink connects and supports LGBT community centers around the country and around the world to ensure that they thrive. By providing a network for center leadership to share best practices and resources, they are able to facilitate meaningful information sharing and connections. Additionally, Centerlink provide in-depth technical support on a variety of topics through individual connections, trainings, and an annual conference. One expert describes Centerlink as one of the tiniest national organizations with one of the greatest impacts.
Organization Strengths Summary:CenterLink has strong leadership at all levels of the organization. This leadership has been helpful in facilitating important connections for centers that are members of the organization. Likewise it has been helpful in building a strong and strategic organization. The staff of CenterLink is knowledgeable, diverse, and dynamic. While Centerlink is a small organization, their strategic and dynamic technical assistance has a huge impact around the world.
Areas for Improvement Summary:CenterLink’s great work is in high demand and experts agree that the community would benefit greatly from additional Centerlink staff to fill the need. The organization may also wish to focus on growing their funding sources. When looking outside of their current funding partners, they may consider courting individual donors more, and expanding beyond their membership for funds. They should also consider diversifying the Board of Directors.