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Memphis Gay Center in Fiscal Trouble

Memphis Gay Center in Fiscal Trouble

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The Memphis, Tenn., Gay and Lesbian Community Center is in danger of closing but has launched a fund-raising drive in an attempt to avoid doing so.

The center has seen reductions in individual donations and grant opportunities because of a change in its financial setup, in addition to the weak economy, Memphis's Daily News reports. It is seeking to raise $45,000 by the end of May to avoid closure.

The center used to operate under a system in which donors paid a membership fee, but it ended that last year and could have publicized the change more effectively, board chair Christy Tweddle said. "We didn't do as good of a job as we should have going back to those former membership donors and asking them to continue to give," she said. "That's where we fell down, and it had a large impact on us."

The center, founded in 1989, offers youth and family programs, free HIV testing, referrals for counseling, and cultural opportunities including a book group and a film festival. Jonathan Cole, board chair for the Tennessee Equality Project and a former board member at the Memphis center, particularly praised the center's work with young people, noting that, among other services, it can arrange temporary shelter for youths who have been kicked out of their homes for being gay.

"You may not access these services yourself, but there are people in this community who desperately need it," Cole told the Daily News. "It will be a travesty for the center to close for lack of funding."

Read the full story here, and find more information on the center here.

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