LGBTQ Center in Milwaukee Asking for Community’s Help

Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, 315 W. Court Street, Milwaukee, Wis. (Screenshot: Google Earth)

The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center is working to keep its doors and services open for hundreds of people with a funding campaign. The financial outlook currently is dire, as the center has a May 31 deadline to raise the required funds so that the Leonard-Litz Foundation will match it.

The community center is attempting to raise $25,000. When it achieves that goal, the Leonard-Litz LGBTQ+ Foundation will match the funding for a total campaign of $50,000.

In an interview with ABC News affiliate WISN 12 News in Milwaukee, Ricardo Galaviz, the center’s associate director said keeping the center’s doors open is not only his goal, but also a full circle moment for him.

“Everyone was telling me, like being gay is going to hinder you,” Galaviz told WISN 12 News journalist Diana Gutierrez “You’re never going to be successful because of who you are."

WISN 12 reported that at 16, Galaviz found support at Project U, a youth program at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center. “At the time, my family was not accepting,” he said.

Years later, he’s the associate director of the same center that saved him.

“Not only was I able to find people like me, but I was also able to see people who are like me in positions of success,” Galaviz said. He stressed that currently, the center is in need of some saving, too. “The sustainability of the center is what we’re trying to lock down right now."

In a Facebook post the center noted: “Free activities like yoga classes, potlucks, teen nights, crafternoons, discussion groups, book clubs, and so many more would not be possible without the generosity of our members and donors.”

According to the website of the Leonard-Litz LBGTQ+ Foundation, its mission is to “fund organizations which advance the interests and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community.” The foundation gives grants to local LGBTQ+ organizations, usually focusing most on the U.S. Northeast.

WISN 12 reported the fundraising plan is meant to bring the organization, located at Dr. M.L.K. Jr. Drive and Court Street, back to its full operating status. The organization’s new Interim Executive Director Ritchie T. Martin Jr. and the board of directors created this plan and partnership.

“We are extremely grateful to the Leonard-Litz Foundation for providing us with a grant to keep our doors open and a further matching grant,” said Martin Jr. “Now we look to our donors and community to help us in this next step of getting the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center to a stronger future.”

“From the people that were utilizing services prior to the pandemic. Compared to now, the numbers have multiplied quite quickly,” Galaviz told WISN 12. “We understand the importance of self-care, of taking care of ourselves, not just health wise, physical health, but also emotional and mental health. So, we’re seeing a lot of those services be the ones that people are looking for.”

He stressed it’s important to keep this center running. And although this might be a tough time, he wants to highlight the positives.

“There [are] a lot of things that are happening socially, politically to this community. But there [are] also a lot of things to celebrate here in Milwaukee. The great things that the center is doing, the great things that we’re able to provide the community,” Galaviz said. “I want people to know too that this is a thriving community. It’s not just a community that’s, you know, in crisis mode. We are in crisis mode. But as history has taught us, we have to come together. We’re all we have, but we’re also all we need.”

Editor’s note: If you’d like to help Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, donate here.

Los Angeles Blade courtesy of the National LGBTQ Media Association.


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