Community Impact

/Community Impact
Community Impact2020-10-14T14:01:55-07:00

Points of Pride

Your donations are an investment in people’s lives and the Center is deeply committed to ensuring that every dime is spent with care. Programs and services are constantly evaluated for effectiveness through the collection of data and experiences that tell the story of how deeply people’s lives have been impacted. Donors should take pride in what the Center has been able to accomplish through their generosity. Download this year’s  Impact Report.

A Message from the CEO 9.27.2020

Hello from our new Center in the heart of Lavender Heights! At the end of January, we moved with great excitement to the former home of Sac News & Review and EA Games at 1015 20th Street; a permanent home that offers more space and greater accessibility for our rapidly expanding community based services. Just as we were getting settled, the pandemic hit and all our plans for 2020 were turned upside down. COVID-19, racial injustice, economic hardship, and wildfires have created intense challenges and uncertainty for the community and for the Center.

Together we are resilient and strong, however, and the Center quickly adapted to ensure that the most marginalized existing clients continued to have access to services online. We also learned by making more than 30,000 wellness calls to community members that there are many who never before thought they would be the ones in need, who are now desperate for assistance with rent, food, transportation, and mental health services. We wanted them to know that we are here for them, especially during these circumstances.

While many organizations were forced to close their doors and lay off staff, the Center has remained open and we are actually expanding services, fighting every day to meet our community’s basic needs and to create a region where LGBTQ+ people can thrive. In order to keep our clients and staff healthy and safe, we encouraged folks who can effectively provide or access services remotely to do so from home. We established strict sanitation and contact tracing protocols in all of our facilities including our STEP Shelter and Transitional Living Program which continued to house youth experiencing homelessness 24-7. We deployed chat and video technology for online support groups and therapy. And we fought to get PPE that would allow us to provide in-person services for things that can’t be done online like HIV/STI testing.

As an essential business, closing our doors to wait out the pandemic emergency wasn’t an option. In fact, including in partnership with the Gender Health Center, we’ve given out more than $20,000 in direct assistance to help queer and trans people of color with emergent needs like rent, utilities, food, medical bills, and transportation.

In addition to our COVID-19 emergency response, we are also focused on the long-term health of the community. Through a challenging spring, we continued to advocate for LGBTQ+ affirming public policy and provide cultural humility training online to create safer schools, healthcare institutions, and workplaces. We continue to support the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equity and demand justice for Black Trans women who continue to face unconscionable violence and death across the country. Our partnerships with Legal Services of

Northern California and the Family Justice Center continue to assist community members who face discrimination or harassment. We’ve been doing Census outreach to ensure every LGBTQ+ person is counted and resources can be allocated to the state to support healthier lives. Every Friday our Bilingual Services and Sexual Health Program staff host a livestream forum on a variety of subjects from hormone treatment to immigration assistance. Your support of this work helps move the region in the direction of a more just and equitable future for all.

In April we made the difficult decision to cancel all in-person events for 2020, including Sacramento Pride, Pride Awards, Q-Prom, Camp Camp, and dozens of others to protect the health of our community. It was a huge loss financially, but equally devastating was loss of the ability to bring people together and build community. To keep the cultural richness of the queer and trans community connections alive, we found creative ways to engage online. The Center hosted a week-long series of Virtual Pride events at the end of June centering Black lives. If you didn’t have a chance to catch the broadcast live, you can still watch the videos at sacramentopride.org. We also hosted our first virtual gala honoring Robynne Rose-Haymer, Kevin McAllister, and the Stonewall Foundation of Greater Sacramento as these year’s Pride Award recipients.

With the support of the Sierra Health Foundation and the City of Sacramento funding, we host virtual pop-up events several times a month, which have been a lifeline for LGBTQ+ youth who desperately need an interactive creative outlet at a time of such stress. And at the end of October, Q-Prom will create a brave space online to give young people who have been out of school for months, and sometimes cooped up with families that don’t accept them, the opportunity to express their authentic selves and interact with other young people from throughout the region.

As challenging as this year has been for all of us, we are in this together. As a community we are strong and I am very grateful for the thousands of people who have come forward to donate, volunteer, and send us encouraging words as we rise to meet this moment and respond to unprecedented adversity. We are in the process of hiring two new mental health clinicians, established a partnership with the Queer and Trans Youth Collective in Fair Oaks, and are opening a sexual health center in South Sacramento to meet increasing demand for services and to expand our reach.

As we prepare for 2021, I have tremendous hope that we will come out of this period in our history more resilient than ever and I look forward to sharing our plans in the coming months. Thank you for your support in this endeavor to create a region where LGBTQ+ people thrive.

In Solidarity,
David Heitstuman
Chief Executive Officer