LGBT Community Centers Awarded Mental Health Funding

by Denise Spivak, CenterLink Director of Member Relations & External Affairs  @CenterLink

The Johnson Family Foundation (JFF) has awarded CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers a grant to provide mental health sub-grants to seven member community centers. We are pleased to announce the centers that have received funding:

Affirmations  (Ferndale, MI)

The Attic Youth Center  (Philadelphia, PA)

The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach  (Long Beach, CA)

The LGBT Center Orange County  (Santa Ana, CA)

Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County  (Concord, CA)

Rainbow Center /Oasis Youth Center   (Tacoma, WA)

Ruth Ellis Center   (Detroit, MI)

Terry Stone (CenterLink), Michelle Douglas (Rainbow Center), Seth Kirby (Oasis Youth Center) and Denise Spivak (CenterLink)

The grants were awarded to support specific capacity building projects of already existing mental health programs, increasing the variety and quality of mental health services they provide. It’s the fourth year that funding has been made available from the Foundation in partnership with CenterLink.  So, what does this mean to the centers and the people they serve?

Porter Gilberg, Executive Director of The LGBTQ Center of Long Beach (California) said, “Funding from the Johnson Family Foundation means the world to our Center. With their capacity building support, we are now able to strengthen our infrastructure by nearly doubling the number of therapists providing services to our clients, develop vibrant marketing materials to outreach to the community, and invest in training opportunities for our therapists to ensure we are offering the most relevant and engaging mental health support to the hundreds of clients counting on us.”

For Jerry Peterson, Executive Director of Michigan’s Ruth Ellis Center, the JFF funds will “support an expansion of our internal database to track services, achieve substance abuse licensing and prepare for a CARF accreditation review on our residential and behavioral health programs in 2015.  These capacity building components are core building blocks in a sustainable future for the center.”

In Tacoma, WA, Rainbow Center ED Michelle Douglas noted that, “Thanks to the Johnson Family Foundation, Rainbow Center and Oasis Youth Center are in the process of hiring a part-time staff person to support the reception and administrative needs of our mental health program. Additionally, we are increasing the soundproofing of our therapy space so community members have the highest level of dignity and privacy possible while accessing onsite mental health support. We are also expanding our therapy programming by taking in more therapist partners, which will help to alleviate our current waiting list and offer more options to our community. This increased funding has allowed both Rainbow Center and Oasis, in our joint partnership, to elevate the mental health options for the LGBTQ community in Pierce County.”

And for Ann Mason, Director of Mental Health for The Center OC, the grant will afford the center the ability to implement an electronic medical records system in our Mental Health Program. The long-term gain according to Mason? “This will streamline our intake process as well as assist us in billing for Medical clients when we get approval. This increases our capacity to serve more individuals and families in the LGBTQ community.”

According to the 2014 LGBT Community Center Survey, centers offered mental health services to more than 42,000 people in 2013 alone. Andrew Lane, Johnson Family Foundation Executive Director, noted the Foundation’s commitment to supporting this programming: “We are thrilled to continue our partnership with CenterLink to help build the capacity of centers across the country to deliver much needed services to LGBT communities,”

Terry Stone, CenterLink CEO, echoed Lane’s sentiments: “CenterLink is proud to be part of this innovative program, and we look forward to working with each center as they become model programs in the delivery of mental health services.”

DeniseHead ShotDenise Spivak joined CenterLink after working in the private sector for over twenty years. She has extensive experience in team management, talent acquisition and program development. Prior to joining CenterLink, Denise was a corporate executive recruiter. Her background also includes on-air and production roles in the broadcast industry and senior retail management positions with Fortune 500 companies. She currently serves on a number of local non-profit boards and committees focused in the LGBT arena.  Denise is a graduate of Gettysburg College where she received her B.A. in Psychology.


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