04 Mar 2013
March 4, 2013

At The Heart Of Q Center Is The Soul Of A Community

March 4, 2013

by Barbara McCullough-Jones.

On Saturday, January 26th, 2013 Q Center embarked on another new chapter. That night, longtime supporter Bob Speltz, Director of Public Affairs, The Standard and former Q Center Board Chair announced the launch of a capital campaign focused on purchasing our current leased facility. Bob, who serves as the campaign chair, outlined our history and why a campaign is important to our community’s future.

Community centers are often referred to as the hub or engine of LGBTQ organizing. Robert Goman, who works for Nike’s Global Retail Brand Presentation team, once referred to Q Center as the “city hall of gay”. Our Center is the place where we gather to express ideas or join in supporting the ideas of others.

When you walk through the doors at Q Center you find a non-judgmental, supportive environment. You will find staff and volunteers that care about each and every individual that visits Q Center whether LGBT, allied, queer, questioning or not labeled at all.

At the heart of Q Center is the soul of a community. Whether Q Center is where you come to find community or you come to build community – we’re ready to help. As the only LGBTQ community center between San Francisco and Vancouver, BC, Q Center is people, place and purpose.

Central to our role is ensuring that our friends and foes alike find a strong voice for equality. Our role as convener, organizer and collaborator has never been more important than it is today as we continue our march toward equality. The time is now to secure a permanent home for our community so there is always a place to call home, to organize and to create change.

In 2009 Q Center relocated to our current facility on N. Mississippi Avenue. Given its location and potential for growth, this site proves to be an ideal spot for Q Center to live our mission to provide a safe space to support and celebrate LGBTQ diversity, visibility and community building. We occupy the N. Mississippi site through a lease-to-purchase agreement. Through the generosity of our donors in a previous fundraising effort, Q Center raised more than $350,000 to renovate the N. Mississippi warehouse to function for our needs and to create an environment that we are proud to call home.

Significant planning and due diligence has gone into the process of securing our home. Q Center has conducted a formal needs assessment, property and building appraisal and Phase 1 environmental study We are currently negotiating with lending institutions and designing a campaign that is accessible for ALL donors. From grassroots support to major donor support, Q Center’s capital campaign, Dare to Dream is designed for everyone to participate.

Cornerstone to the campaign was a $200,000 matching gift from the Ed Cauduro Advised Charitable Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation. Ed, a long time supporter of Q Center, understood the need for a place where people felt safe, could find ways to eradicate bullying and could organize to achieve full equality. You need only look to our many partnerships with organizations like Oregon Safe Schools and Communities Coalition (OSSCC), Basic Rights Oregon (BRO) and many others to see how Q Center is honoring Ed’s wishes and philanthropic goals.

The campaign goal is $1.8 million. The vast majority of the campaign budget (67%) reflects the building/property purchase with the remainder establishing a maintenance reserve, support of campaign activities and pays fees and studies required to secure a commercial loan.

In the last several years, Q Center has created a firm foundation for outreach, services, and resources for the LGBTQ community. Now, the time has come to build upon that foundation by purchasing our current facility. After a long search to find the right location and space, Q Center has built up a home for our services and resources at the N. Mississippi location.

As outlined above, Q Center is thrilled to have the opportunity to purchase our current facility. To the community members we serve, this building is more than bricks and mortar. Our facility is the embodiment of our mission to provide a safe space and to celebrate LGBTQ diversity, visibility and community building. Our N. Mississippi facility enables our community to share experiences, learn together, create friendships, and support one another, all under one roof.

If you’d like to get involved with Q Center or donate to the capital campaign please let us know. We welcome your time, talent and treasure! (You can find us here: info@pdxqcenter.org | 503-234-7837).