Yesterday, CenterLink and the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), released the joint project 2014 LGBT Community Center Survey Report: Assessing the Capacity and Programs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Centers. The nationwide survey assesses the current state of both large and small LGBT community centers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For the study, 111 community centers in 32 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico shared their input on questions ranging from center budgeting to programming. Earlier this year, LGBT Tech reached out to CenterLink to ask about the role of technology in the daily operations of an LGBT center. The 2014 report marks the first time LGBT centers were asked about their software use. The report finds that 93% of centers use Microsoft products like Word and Excel for documents and spreadsheets. While smaller centers are more likely to use Gmail (85%) than Microsoft Outlook (15%) for Email, large centers use each product almost equally (59% Gmail and 60% Outlook). Check out page seven of the report to find out more about technology use in the centers.
Some additional highlights from the report:
• Physical Space & Hours: 94% of responding community centers have a physical space to serve their constituency. The seven centers that currently do not have a physical space rely on phone and mobile services to reach out to the community. On average, the centers are open 46 hours each week. Two of the centers reported that phone and online services allowed them to serve the community 24/7.
• Income & Expenses: The combined projected expense budget of the community centers is $145.3 million for 2014. This budget, however, is highly concentrated, with community centers in states like California and New York operating on a disproportionately higher budget than centers in most other states. In the last year, the community centers generated a combined revenue of $138.1 million. While larger community centers were responsible for generating most of this revenue, some of the smaller centers were not able to secure enough funding to cover expenses. For large community centers, the main source of income was federal funding (32%), followed by individual (18%) and foundational donations (12%).
• Who Do They Serve?: On average, centers serve about 37,900 clients each week. In order to communicate with their constituency, centers rely on various means of communication, with Email (99%), Facebook (98%) and flyers (85%) serving as main channels. According to the survey, center clients are disproportionately male, between the ages of 15 and 30 and on the lower level of the income ladder. The survey also emphasizes the importance of community centers for racial/ethnic minorities.
• Budget Allocation: The report shows that a majority of community centers’ budgets are allocated for programming. Most of these programs are educational and informational (20%). In addition to social and recreational events (19%), programs are also devoted to physical (19%) and mental health (18%). Given the diversity of their constituency, community centers also offer special programming for LGBT youth, the genderqueer community and other groups.
• Computer Access: A majority of community centers also provide computer resources, with more than half of the large centers offering Bohnett CyberCenter programs. In these CyberCenters, constituents have access to newer computers and a wider range of computer programs. The main reasons for the use of CyberCenters and other computer resources are job search, communicating with friends and family as well as entertainment. Community centers are vital to the wellbeing of many LGBT people. To find out more about the work of community centers in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, make sure to read the full 2014 LGBT Community Center Survey Report: Assessing the Capacity and Programs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Centers here.