LGBT center seenas connecting point
Best Of The Gays
by Cynthia Laird
The San Francisco LGBT Community Center has been one of the go-to meeting spaces since it opened its doors 12 years ago. A prolonged process to establish a community center began in the mid-1990s, following the closure of other San Francisco gay centers over the years. Bay Area Reporter readers have a soft spot for the center, located at 1800 Market Street, as they deemed it the best LGBT community nonprofit in this year's readers' poll.
Rebecca Rolfe, the center's executive director, thinks she knows why the center has become a familiar part of the LGBT community since it opened its doors.
"The center is and always will be the connecting point, the heart and life-blood for the San Francisco LGBT community," Rolfe said in an email. "We are a welcoming, inclusive, and embracing place. A home where all members and allies of the LGBT community gather to celebrate milestones and victories; mourn and seek comfort in our losses; and engage and activate around issues of importance that affect us all."
These days, the center focuses on economic empowerment issues and programs aimed at LGBTQ youth. Partnering with Openhouse, it also serves as a hub for LGBT seniors (see the People category.)
"The center's programs speak to the unique needs of the LGBT community and will continue to evolve to address emerging issues," Rolfe explained. "As the LGBT community continues our march to gain full civil rights and equality, the center's safety net and economic programs ensure that we leave no member of our community behind and those most impacted by discrimination and bias have the resources they need to be strong and full participants in the community."
As with any nonprofit, community support is a must and for the center, that means its annual Soiree anniversary benefit. This year the party takes place Saturday, April 5 from 6:30 p.m. to midnight at City View at the Metreon, 135 4th Street. Look for live performances as the center celebrates a jazz tribute to the San Francisco Beat Generation. Tickets are $95. More information is at www.sfcenter.org.
The community center operates on a $2 million budget, board member Angel VanStark recently said. This weekend's Soiree is expected to bring in $150,000 for the center's programs.
It will also be the beneficiary of the B.A.R. 's Besties celebration Friday, April 4 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Cafe, 2369 Market Street. The public is invited to the party, which will feature Besties winners. Proceeds from an optional $10 beverage benefit go to the center.
San Francisco LGBT Community Center, 1800 Market Street, San Francisco, (415) 865-5555. www.sfcenter.org.
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
San Francisco Pride