For more than 15 years, the leadership of FCN has dreamed about and informally discussed the establishment of a LGBT Community Center. Over the thirty years of FCN’s existence, no central meeting place/focal point has been available. All groups affiliated with FCN: Savannah PRIDE, StandOut Youth, PFLAG, LGBT AA/NA group, and even the FCN Board, meet in public or donated space, in homes and churches; none of which provide privacy. There are no confidential HIV testing sites other than the public health department, no private space for transgender people to meet for support and comfort, and no safe place for questioning LGBT teens and young adults to go for support and, when necessary, a respite from family-centered emotional abuse or worse. HIV and AIDS support groups are meeting wherever they can. Irreplaceable LGBT historic items and equipment is stacked in storage units. Not having a ‘home’ contributes to a lack of common direction and mission, joint fundraising and even something like the difficulty of establishing an events calendar among the various LGBT groups.
So, needless to say, there is an immediate need for a community center in Savannah.
An LGBT Community Center will enrich the quality of life for ALL citizens by inspiring a sense of pride, wellness, responsibility and community among individuals and organizations in the LGBT population. Practical advantages include increasing coordination, eliminating duplication, and establishing a common mission and direction for the LGBT community. Outside our community, it will increase public awareness, acceptance, visibility, and understanding of the LGBT community, including providing opportunities for learning, open dialogues, and forums for discussion. Enhancing access to resources by serving as the focal point for LGBT information and referrals to local organizations will be another major benefit—and all in an inclusive, welcoming, and safe environment.
“Diverse programming for a diverse community” is more than a mantra, because the Savannah LGBT Community Center programming WILL be diverse, offering participation and volunteer opportunities for the entire LGBT population. Imagine some of the many possibilities:
- LGBT youth and young adult support groups, spanning junior high, high school, technical school, and college ages
- Support for LGBT homeless and those at risk of abuse
- Support for LGBT senior adults and those at risk; LGBT Senior Center
- Minority and immigrant LGBT support
- Legal support and information unique to our community
- HIV/AIDS testing and counseling/health initiatives
- Weekly/monthly social and educational activities
- Year-round planning/activities for PRIDE and other LGBT festivals
- LGBT Small Business Group and LGBT Chamber meeting space
- LGBT Visitors Center/welcoming site for LGBT tourists; LGBT heritage tourism
- library, and and/or museum of LGBT history in our area
- Relationship/marriage counseling
- Volunteer opportunities with LGBT organizations and the broader community
So how can you help make an LGBT Community Center a reality? Well, we are raising money to match a challenge gift. A prominent local couple has made a substantial pledge of $25,000 provided we match the gift and develop a solid business plan for the community center. We have begun to quietly reach out to friends and supporters to determine their level of interest. To date, everyone we have asked has agreed to consider a donation; several have already indicated they will help meet the challenge!
To join that list of donors, please visit our Membership Page on this website, or to have a private meeting with the FCN Chair or any member of our board about our community center project, call 912-547-4543. Together, we can do this!