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Milwaukee LGBT Community Center launches funding campaign to keep doors open

By Diana Gutierrez

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    MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (WISN) — The Milwaukee LGBT Community Center is working to keep its doors and services open for hundreds of Milwaukeeans with a funding campaign.

The goal is to raise $25,000. Amid a potential shutdown, the center announced their $25,000 will be matched by the Leonard-Litz Foundation.

Ricardo Galaviz, the associate director tells WISN 12 News keeping the center open is not only his goal, but also a full circle moment for him.

“Everyone was telling me, like being gay is going to hinder you,” Galaviz said. “You’re never going to be successful because of who you are.”

At 16 years old, Galaviz found support at Project U, a youth program at the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center.

“At the time, my family was not accepting,” he said.

Now, he’s the associate director of the same center that saved him.

“Not only was I able to find people like me, but I was also able to see people who are like me in positions of success,” Galaviz said.

Galaviz said right now, the center is in need of some saving, too.

“The sustainability of the center is what we’re trying to lock down right now,” he said.

The center just announced a funding campaign to sustain the organization and maintain free counseling services and support groups. The goal of the campaign is $25,000.

“After COVID, a lot of organizations felt a dip in funding. The grants are not there as much anymore. Donors and members aren’t as people aren’t giving anymore. You know, times are tough and we understand that,” Galaviz said.

Galaviz adds funding was decreasing, but the number of people in need of services was increasing.

“From the people that were utilizing services prior to the pandemic. Compared to now, the numbers have multiplied quite quickly,” Galaviz said. “We understand the importance of self-care, of taking care of ourselves, not just health wise, physical health, but also emotional and mental health. So, we’re seeing a lot of those services be the ones that people are looking for.”

Overall, he told WISN 12 News it’s important to keep this center running. And although this might be a tough time, he wants to highlight the positives.

“There’s a lot of things that are happening socially, politically to this community. But there’s also a lot of things to celebrate here in Milwaukee. The great things that the center is doing, the great things that we’re able to provide the community,” Galaviz said. “I want people to know too that this is a thriving community. It’s not just a community that’s, you know, in crisis mode. We are in crisis mode. But as history has taught us, we have to come together. We’re all we have, but we’re also all we need.”

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