By Neal Broverman

Originally published on January 04 2010 5:55 PM ET

An anonymous donor has recently gifted the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center with a $50,000 endowment.

The money was earmarked for the MGLCC's youth program, which provides emergency assistance to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teens and young adults in need of financial, medical, psychological, and legal support. Will Batts, executive director of the MGLCC, says the money could not have come at a better time, as the center is currently encountering an increasing number of gay youths in need of support, possibly because of the recession.

“The suicide rate among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender teens is two-three times that of heterosexual youth,” says Batts. “The rates of homeless youth are much higher as well. We can’t continue to let that happen in our community.  In the past few months, we have barely been able to keep up with the number of kids who need our help. We haven’t had the resources or the staff to provide for all of these kids. Thankfully, this grant will provide the next steps in ensuring a better future for all youth in need of our services. “

The grant will help fund a paid position at the center that will help spearhead the new expanded youth program.