Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Tim Cook, Dwyane Wade & Others Celebrate Utah LGBTQ+ Youth Nonprofit

Dwayne Wade speaking

Apple CEO Tim Cook, NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade, and Imagine Dragons lead singer Dan Reynolds gathered with Utah leaders on Wednesday to announce that a Salt Lake City-based LGBTQ+ youth organization had completed its fundraising campaign to build new homes to assist LGBTQ+ youth across the U.S. West.

The nonprofit, Encircle, provides mental health services for LGBTQ+ young people. It surpassed its funding goal of $8 million that is going to go toward building several homes that will act as safe spaces for queer youth in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah, according to the Associated Press.

Fundraising began in February with donations from Apple and Utah Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith.

“Encircle’s mission is very personal to me because I see myself in so many of these young people,” Cook told reporters at a press briefing Wednesday. “It’s not easy when you’re made to feel different or less than because of who you are or who you love. It’s a feeling that so many LGBTQ people know far too well.”

Utah’s Gov. Spencer Cox also noted Encircle’s impact in local communities. “What Encircle has done is provided that piece of acceptance, even if — especially if — there is no acceptance anywhere else,” Cox said. “There is a place where they can go where they can feel loved.”

Wade, who became part of the Utah Jazz ownership earlier this year, spoke about his experience raising a trans child.

“I stand here as a proud parent of a beautiful daughter that’s a part of the LGBT+ community,” he said. “I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know everything, but I’m willing to listen.”

Tags: Youth, News

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