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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Milwaukee LGBT Community Center fundraises to sustain and expand programming – Milwaukee Business Journal – The Business Journals

Since returning to its second home at 315 W. Court St. in Milwaukee, the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center has set ambitious and achievable goals to expand its programming in the four key areas of older adult and disability, transgender and nonconforming, recovery and victim services, and youth programming.
The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center will hold its annual Big Night Out gala fundraiser this year on Oct. 7 at Discovery World. Tickets for the event, which has a theme of “Step Out and Stand Up,” are almost completely sold out.
Galaviz said the goal this year is to raise $225,000, which will support the center’s mission “to further develop our vibrant lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community in the greater Milwaukee area, thus improving the quality of life for all of us.”
The center was founded in 1998 and will celebrate 25 years next year. The center opened on Second Street in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood before moving to its location on Court Street. For several years, the center again moved to a building near MSOE’s campus before returning to Court Street in August of 2021.
Part of the center’s reinvigoration comes from its new leadership team. Its executive director Kevin Turner-Espinoza became the interim executive director in November of 2021 and then permanent executive director in May of this year.
“That was the catalyst, him getting chosen for that position was the catalyst for a lot of growth, a lot of things that he set up in here, a lot of positions that he established to help the organization run solid again,” Galaviz said.
Galaviz was hired in March. Angelique Rogers, the deputy director, is also new. The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center has a staff of about 11-12 employees along with a large number of volunteers.
The center is currently open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. One of the organization’s goals is to expand hours of operation in order to provide more services after working hours.
“As staffing is slowly rebuilding and quality… diverse, qualified staff… as we’re growing that team, we’re starting to expand. Six months ago, it was barely Monday through Friday 10-6,” Galaviz said. “We’re definitely growing in the right direction.”
The center operates both from unrestricted giving in the community and grant funding for specific programs.
“We try to be very intentional about giving the community what the community is asking for,” Galaviz said.
The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center is looking for more ways for the Milwaukee community to get involved in supporting its organization, including through corporate sponsors. Galaviz said he would like to see companies sponsoring elements of the center such as its cyber center or library. The center also has ambitious goals to expand its food pantry and clothing closet as well as create a workforce development program and potential housing opportunities for homeless LGBT individuals.
“There is a lot of dreams on the horizon. They are not cheap dreams. We will need corporate sponsors or anyone who is out there who is willing to help us achieve those dreams and stay around another 25 years,” Galaviz said.
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